Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Look at What's to Come

It's been a hectic couple of days and the next few will be as well. Last Tuesday I went up to Asakusa Temple for a field trip in my Japanese class. A small group of us went without our kids and it was a lot of fun. Yesterday we took an ITT trip down to Hakone. We visted a couple of the same areas from when we went this summer, only this time we added in the Hakone Open Air Museum; we even had the same guide, Kazumi! So here's a look at what's to come...and I've got a few videos that will be included as well.

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Tell me what you want to see or read about!

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Christmas from Coca Cola & Our Thanksgiving in Tokyo

I type this as I'm watching the "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade" live on AFN Prime; it started at 11 pm. I wish we had digital cable and a DVR so I could record it for the girls. Our Thanksgiving is over and those in the United States are just getting yours started.

We drove up to the New Sanno today for our Thanksgiving meal. We met up with Julie and her family and the seven of us had a really good afternoon with lots of laughs. We had a couple attempts at a family picture and I thought I'd share them here. Julie thinks I should use the first one in our Christmas card....hmmm....yeah, probably not!

Just as I was turning left into the parking garage the guards at the hotel were putting cones out closing the entrance; they were full. Mind you this was my first time driving on the expressway for more than 10 minutes, never mind the fact that we were in Tokyo and not in Zushi on our way to the base. I asked where I could park and he said, "Down the road." Bob got nervous and tried telling me to turn onto a side street, but that was the last thing I wanted to do. I stayed on the main road and found a parking spot with a meter. Only problem is we couldn't figure it out. First of all we had no change since we used it all on the tolls on the expressway on the way up. So Bob walked a little bit to a convenience store to break a 1,000 yen bill. He put three 100 yen coins in the meter and we hoped for the best. There was something on there in red that looked like it said it only took 300 yen at a time. Not sure how long we had, but we winged it. The number in the picture says "115" and I took that as we were leaving. It kept getting higher starting from when he put the money in. I remember it was at "11" when we started walking towards the hotel.

Lunch was very good with a lot to choose from. From turkey and cranberry sauce to stuff shells, fish and fresh fruit, there was a plethora of food. It beats prepping, cooking and cleaning, that's for sure! If Bob hadn't just come back from sea we would have had Thanksgiving at home, but things have been hectic this week and we're still adjusting to having him home, so going out was the easiest and most logical thing for us.

Bob drove home so I was able to take some pictures and you'll hear at the end of the first one he wasn't overly thrilled. The ticket for the toll is what you see to the left. The second includes another toll booth, us figuring out which exit we need and Keanna's solo of "The Star Spangled Banner." She sang it at least four or five more times but I spared you and cut it off during the second time.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had a Thanksgiving celebration in Keanna's class today and Bob was able to come. He had to go back to work afterward, but Keanna didn't mind. She was so happy to show him her classroom, introduce him to her teachers and show him the chair with her name on it. As you can see, Bob got into the spirit too!

What are you thankful for?

Maruetsu Fun

Fried chicken is what most people eat on Christmas...

This is kagamimochi which is eaten on New Year's

Raspberry Kit Kats, Passion Fruit Kit Kats & Fried Chicken Doritos

Kit Kat released a new flavor in conjunction with Nescafé and today I got my hands on it! And since I bought a certain amount I got a free timer to go with it. I didn't jump up and down clapping [in the store] like Julie did though!!! But then again she got two timers, so perhaps it was worth the embarrassment. These make flavors #30 and #31.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Kit Kat Cookies Plus

They came out today and are still in the box...haven't smelled them yet and the kids haven't tried them. Apparently there's Oreo cookie in the top layer. I'm trying to talk Bob into trying it and then I'll get a picture of the inside. He's not cooperating, so it'll have to wait until tomorrow when the girls are awake! This makes flavor #29. You can see my most updated list here.

Choco Pie for Ladies, Chorus Water and Soup from a Vending Machine

We took Bob to our new favorite restaurant, Kura, last night for dinner. The girls and I had shrimp okonomiyaki (お好み焼き) and Bob had scallop. We went our friends, and apparently the husbands were having trouble! One of the cooks came and helped us out. Ahem, [clearing my throat] I'd like to point out Julie and I managed it just fine on Thursday night!

The restaurant is within walking distance to where we live, but we took the train last night because of the narrow sidewalks and walking in the dark. At the train station there was a promotion by AU, one of the cell phone companies here. The kids all wanted to try, and the girl working was more than happy to oblige. Keanna won a noodle cup which looks like an oversized coffee mug made of plastic, and Sydney got some stickers and tissues. You'll see these little packets of tissues being passed out all the time as advertisements. There's no print on the tissue itself, but on a card in the packaging and they're perfect for fitting in your purse or even in your pocket. Bob is probably going to take the noodle cup to work to use in the microwave...yet another thing won by Keanna that he gets his hands on! First the iPod Nano from the Halloween costume contest in Tokyo and now this! To see video of the girls playing scroll down a little bit.

After dinner we stopped at a little convenience store for a snack. The girls ended up getting their new favorite yogurt introduced to them by Julie and her son. And I couldn't help but take some pictures of funny products I haven't seen before. Chorus water, some kind of dessert decorated like a bear and something else, Biz, have some for your lucky time, and Choco Pie for ladies only, (and yes, they had a spot for men's but the shelf was empty).

And lastly, waiting for our train, Julie spotted two vending machines with soup in them! I have seen and heard of all different kinds of things being sold in vending machines and even posted about it, but seeing it just made me laugh!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I Have a Husband Home and Here's Proof He Really Does Exist

We went to the top floor of Fleet Rec to get a picture of the ship before heading to the pier. Bob said he'd be off at a certain time, but we ended up standing there for almost 45 minutes waiting for him in the gusty winds. As you'll see in the video below, none of that mattered once we were able to hug him. Julie took a picture of us while we were waiting. It's great to know that he'll be home for a little while this time...unlike in September when they were only here for a week!


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Arigatou Gozaimasu

Last night the visitor count topped 10,000. Thanks to all those who peak in once in a while, to my loyal readers who have been here since May and those who joined along the way!

If there's something you'd like to see please let me know. I added a "Contact Katie" box on the right margin. Drop a suggestion or even a note to say hi!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Okonomiyaki at Kura

We went out to dinner last night to a new restaurant near our house and will definitely be going back! Well it's not new, but new to us. On the walk over there we passed a dry cleaner and couldn't resist this picture.

The restaurant we went to was so neat! There was no English at all on the menu and no pictures. Julie said, "I'll do the best I can," because she can speak a little and read a little Japanese. I was completely clueless, but did see a picture on the wall of something and Julie said it's
Okonomiyaki. Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き) is a pan-fried batter cake and ours had egg, shrimp, green onions, ginger and something that looked like Rice Krispies. Okonomi means "what you like" or "what you want", and yaki means "grilled" or "cooked" (cf. yakitori and yakisoba); thus, the name of this dish means "cook what you like." As they're cooking you put bbq sauce on it and mayonnaise. I loved the bottle with the mayo in it!

The floor was all stones, tiny ones, with a cement walking path. Before we went up into the area to eat we had to remove our shoes. When I sat down I noticed a hole in the floor for my legs and was relieved since I've been to a restaurant where we sat on the floor and my feet and legs kept falling asleep!

We ate for ¥800 (about $8) each and ended up taking one okonomiyaki home. This restaurant also had the largest glass of water I've ever had at a restaurant here.