No, I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth. I haven’t done much updating for the past few weeks because we’ve been spending as much time with our family as possible… but, after a very long trip, we are in Japan! Our flight left Wichita Sunday morning at 6:55 and we didn’t get here till after 7pm Monday night. Of course, that is with the 15 hour time difference, but it was still more than 24 hours of traveling.
We flew from Wichita to Dallas, Dallas to Tokyo, then took a bus to a different airport in Tokyo and flew to Okinawa. The bus part actually wasn’t as bad as I expected. We got off the plane in Tokyo and had to go through immigration, then customs, then pick up our bags, buy bus tickets, take a 90 minute bus ride, check into a new airport, check our bags, go through security… and we only had three hours to do it, but we got to our gate in plenty of time. Amazing…
After we arrived in Kadena, our sponsors here took us out to dinner at a local restuarant, CoCo’s. Apparently it is very popular. The food is mainly curry – Curry Chicken Cutlet, Curry Pork Cutlet, etc. I wasn’t in love with it, but I think curry is an acquired taste. After eating some of it, I find myself craving more, so we will probably go back. Since then, we have been eating our meals on base – Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, A&W. Maybe after we get a little bit more adjusted I will be brave enough to go try some local cusine.
Our hotel is… well, it’s actually pretty nice compared to what I expected, but a little different from American hotels. I was going to take some pictures this morning but I ran out of time and only managed to get this one as we were driving out of the parking lot:
Our room has a fridge and stove top, three bedrooms, a shower/bath, a washer (but no dryer?), and a cute balcony with a really pretty view. The funny part is there was no alarm clock. The first night, we had to find Matt’s watch and set the alarm on it, but we weren’t sure what time it was locally, so we set it one hour too fast and were ready way too early in the morning. Also, the pillows were really uncomfortable, so I went and bought new pillows and an alarm clock on Tuesday morning.
On Tuesday, we had our Drivers License test first thing in the morning. It was way too easy considering we will be driving on the opposite side of the road. I’m not sure that I am looking forward to that. We also bought a car. It is a Mitsubishi Dingo. It was one of the few cars that didn’t have cigarette burns or a smoky smell, and that the uphosltry wasn’t overwhelming. So many of the cars here are so ugly! Anyway, it doesn’t have third row seats like I wanted, but after seeing the roads here, a small car is probably better for me. And I think it is pretty cute.
We won’t be able to pick it up till Saturday though, after they put on new tires, install a CD player, and take care of the JCI and road insurance. We used Payless Motors, and they gave us a great discount for paying in cash. We still haven’t found a car for Matt, but we should be able to take our time finding one now that we have the first car out of the way.
We also got new Japanese cell phones yesterday. We went with SoftBank because Matt and I can talk to each other as much as we want for only $10 per phone. We did have to buy the phones though, which we weren’t used to coming from the states – and they were pricey. Oh well. I feel much better now that I have a cell phone again… too bad I can’t use it to call back home 😦 One thing I though was funny is at the place on base where we went to buy our phone they had big advertisments up on the wall for SoftBank with Cameron Diaz and Brad Pitt in them. You’d think they’d use local celebrities or something…
Today we are at an all day Newcomer’s brief, but I am skipping the boring parts to update the blog while we have internet access at the community center – I don’t know how long it will be until I’ll be able to get back on. On Friday we’ll get to go to our housing brief and find out how long it is till we get a house. I’m hoping we’ll walk in and they’ll give us keys to some of the newly rennovated quadraplexes… I can always dream, right? Once we get a house, we’ll be able to get internet and set up our Vonage phone so we can talk to the family again – and I’ll be able to update the blog more frequently.