Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Out and About

It's been drizzly, raining and at some points absolutely pouring over the last few days. I heard last June it rained all but four days, so when we woke up this morning and saw the sun with blue sky, I knew we had to do something outside. The Wii helps with cabin fever, no doubt about it, but I'm about out of finger paint, so perfect timing for a sunny day!

Every time I drive to the base I pass a small spot with hydrangea bushes. For you local readers, or Dave and Mayumi, it's on 24 just after the toll road entrance on the right. Over the past week or two they've bloomed and look absolutely beautiful. They're so full of flowers, and the blooms are huge! It's a stretch on a main road, so pulling over to snap some pictures isn't an option. My mom has a few hydrangeas in the yard, and she does a great job of maintaining and pruning them from year to year. But I have never seen such large flowers, or bushes so full like this before! Mom, you think it's the salt air? We're about 10 minutes from the beach, so I'm not sure if that's what helps them along or not.

The last few times I've driven that way I've paid close attention to a parking lot or side street. Well today I got the courage up to navigate off the main road, and found a small side street to park on. We walked down a small hill and onto the sidewalk with the flowers. The girls couldn't believe it. Keanna wanted to pick them and put them in the vase with the flowers I already have. No, not flowers from Bob, but weeds from the front yard that the girls so lovingly picked for me; they're in a shot glass on top of the stove. I explained that these wouldn't exactly fit in the "vase" with the other flowers, and that we couldn't pick these since they're not in our yard. I'm assuming they're on city land, and the last thing we need is to get into any type of trouble. They're very strict here, and the crime rate is incredibly low. So as beautiful as those flowers were, there was no way we were picking even one. Sydney picked up a couple off the ground, but they weren't the snowball, just small buds. I took a lot of pictures of the girls out there, and the rest can be seen in my online album.

After our short walk, we went to Maruetsu. It's a store with 3 levels...the basement is a grocery store, main level has clothing, cosmetics and shoes, and the top floor is stationary, a little play area for kids, books/magazines and a small sewing section. Which, by the way, I'm still on the hunt for straight pins. The NEX is always out, and the ones today had the colored ends on them. I need plain ones so I can hang the girls' wooden letters in their rooms! Anyway, getting back on track, we've been in there once before with Bob, so at least I knew where to park. That's half the battle after all! It's on the same road as the hydrangeas, but it has a parking garage off a side street. I've never seen such a small parking area...well, maybe Aloha Tower in Honolulu, but this one is a match or a very close second. I think it feels smaller because the ceiling is so low. You have to get a ticket when you pull in, and thank goodness there's a green light blinking. I hit that, and sure enough the ticket popped out. They validate parking, so I knew to bring the ticket in with us. Now on the way out, all I had to do was stick the ticket in the slot. Thankfully I didn't owe anything, and knew I wouldn't. But look at this thing! Not a word of English on it! Oh, forgot to mention that there's a recording on both machines. It's a woman talking...I'm guessing she's saying "Press the button and bring your ticket in for validation," but who knows. And on the way out the same voice said something including "Arigato," so she thanked me for something!

We browsed around inside the store for a little bit, and I couldn't help but chuckle at the shopping cart. It's a small one, just like the others I've seen here, but this one had a child's seat in the front! Sydney wanted in right away, then she got bored and Keanna wanted a turn. Sydney was too big for it...I mean, she fit just fine, but her legs hung low. Keanna on the other hand was moving the thing on her own.

Lately Keanna's favorite book as been The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, and she instantly recognized the cover. Keanna wanted to know why it looked different, so I explained that since we live in a different country and the people here speak a different language, the way they write is different too. She's familiar with them talking different from us, but hasn't noticed, or at least said anything, about seeing it.

The grocery store is always my favorite part about shopping out in town. I checked for Kit Kats, and they had White and Green Tea. Already have those in my collection, so was able to keep on walking down the candy isle. We passed an interesting product though, Calpis Milk. You thinking what I'm thinking? "Cow piss?" Yumm, appetizing, huh?! And in the cookie isle I found Elise cookies. My sister spells her name "Elyse," but I thought this was a neat find.

On the way home I drove the same way I also do, only today I got stuck at a red light in front of a little corner market. I don't think it's even considered a market since it's so tiny, but anyway, I snapped a couple of pictures, and love the expression on the woman's face. I was able to zoom and crop it in the Shutterfly album, so you can see it better there, but she must work or own the place since she has an apron on. The next time I'm out and it's not raining, I'm going to find a place to park and go there. If worse comes to worse I can park in the Maruetsu garage and figure out how to pay!!! I drove by a car dealership too, sorry Uncle Bruce, not Honda! I man in a suit came out into my lane a little bit and put his hand up asking me to stop. I did, wasn't sure if he was crossing or not. When I came to a complete stop he bowed to me. Then he waved out a white Toyota Crown. He bowed a couple of times to the car as it was driving away, then again to me. I figured a guy just bought a car and was taking it off the lot. But it was kind of neat, being bowed to like that. I waved at him and nodded my head in return, then he bowed again at me! We were no more than 10' away from each other and we had made eye contact.

Lastly, the kids each got a treat of their choice today since they behaved so well and didn't drive me crazy. Keanna was so happy to get her ice cream cone. It's not actual ice cream, but it's a wafer cone with sort of a sweet cake in there. I think they're gross, but she loves them. Sydney wanted me to take her picture after Keanna asked, and the expression on Sydney's face is priceless. When I was filtering through today's pictures I saw it and instantly thought of a picture of her from a couple of years ago. I don't know how I remembered this certain photo, but it just clicked. She just has a look of pure disgust on her face, and I can't help but chuckle and shake my head.


Mike and Jamie said...

I noticed you checked out my blog, so I had to take a looksy at yours too! When you said "cow piss" I just about died laughing because that's what my husband and I called the Calpis drink all the time! Oh, we used some funny words while we lived there. :) Nice blog! Hope you enjoy it there in Japan!