I’m getting rather annoyed with having to constantly carry two currencies. I know, poor me. I always seem to have yen when I need dollars and dollars when I need yen. And don’t even get me started on the change.
1.) We had a snow day in Japan! The morning started rainy but by 9 it was sticky clumps falling from the sky. Those of us who live on post headed to the bowling alley for lunch, one of the only places to stay open. Traffic getting off post was horrible. It took our kids on the buses an hour and a half to get across post and out the gate. That is only about a mile. Releasing a whole installation at one time is not a good idea. However, four of us had a great afternoon. We hit the shopette for beer before it closed and then hung out at my quarters. We headed back to the bowling alley for some fun and then had my crock pot chicken for dinner.
2.) I took my first bullet train trip. Tokyo to Nagano. It cost each of us $210 and it did go faster than a speeding bullet. You can slip the seats around so the four of us could face each other and chat. Brittnay is in the green, she teaches English-language students. Erika is in the pink and she teaches first grade and Julie in the black does preschool special education and 3rd grade. All three teach at the elementary school.
3.) I saw the famous snow monkeys of Nagano. It was a beautiful walk to the monkeys. They are very tame, but signs instruct visitors not to look them in the eye and do not feed them.
4.) I stayed in my first Japanese reacon and took a dip in my first onsen. The lack of a real bed — well, three nights is all my back can handle.
5.) The sounds of freedom: One day on my morning walk a company of soldiers out for their morning run came up from behind doing cadence. The ship is in and so the fighter jets are flying a lot and boy are they noisy. Jets, planes, and helicopters, oh my!
6.) Again and again I will bring my friends into this blog. Life is about people and relationships and I am so blessed here in Japan. My friends are the people who give me a hug when I walk into school overwhelmed, homesick and full of tears. They are the ones who check in to make sure I am fine when I look otherwise. They laugh at me and with me at every turn. Someone is always willing to go out for drinks or dinner or a train ride somewhere, anywhere. I have my Japan friends who help me survive on days that are tough and comfort in knowing that back home I have family and friends who love me too.