Tuesday, May 27, 2008


And...I'm outta here! It's been an awesome, less-than-a-year in Japan but I'm so excited for what lies ahead. Although I'll probably scoff at those words in a few months once I'm fully immersed in the bleariness of residency sleep deprivation. Things are newly up in the air (of course) after a fire on the G-Dub, but there's no sense in worrying about things now. It'll take a week before any real news comes through about how the KH may be affected. So, I don't even have my fingers crossed right now because in the grand scheme of things, my lil' residency plans are pretty puny on the importance scale. I mean, except to me, but it's only on my blog that I'm the star of the show!

I wrapped up my time in Japan with a duty day, followed by a trip to Nikko and Tokyo. Yesterday was a crazy busy day, but I have now crossed off everything I wanted to do in Japan. After all, I even got to eat at Pepper Lunch, under the JR train tracks in Shibuya! It's a punch-button menu place where you hand in your ticket and get a plate of whatever raw beef you ordered that cooks in about 30 seconds flat in the hottest cast iron skillet known to man.

Thanks for reading. I'm planning on continuing my writing because it's a nice little outlet. If I become too boring during residency, please let me know. Then I'll start making stuff up!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Sayonara minus 2

Good-bye Yokohama! I finished cleaning the apartment yesterday. I paid the final bills between 1300-1500, then met with the agent and landlord rep at 3 o'clock. The timeliness of it all was amazing. I love the narrow time frames- forget the "morning" or "afternoon" options you get in the States! Not that I am a States hata' after this brief Japan interlude. There are just a lot of things I appreciate and/or will miss. But I'm on my way to residency, which in a way is where I've wanted to be all along.

After the apartment close-out frenzy, I went to Kamakura and bought some more beautiful things at the paper shop, continuing my trend of using the KH as my own personal moving van. Tomorrow I have off and I'm planning on going to Nikko. I would love to see it in the sunlight as opposed to the mist I saw it in with Mom. Although it was beautiful then, I think the gold leaf in the sunlight will be amazing. So, fingers crossed! Or I could just check the weather report.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Packout complete!

So, what do I do? I go to the Loft, the best store around, and pick up a few last minutes things that I've always wanted. Nice! Fill the house as soon as it's emptied. Other than the Godzilla sized dust bunnies. The movers left those behind, curses! But it's ok. I have lots of storage room on the ship *huge eyeroll*. At least I bought my coolest!bike!ever! prior to the packout. I love Japanese bicycles and now I own one. I am the kewlest!

I definitely cashed in my moving karma this a.m. so I better work on banking some up. The movers showed up at 0758 and the appliance guys arrived at 0858. So, by 11, I was done for the day (see: shopping note above). Best move ever! The two guys were pretty speedy and I tipped them so I think all my stuff should arrive. They won't steal my Sponge Bob pinata or lifesize Elvis cutout as payment. Not that I think they would, but really, you can't be too careful with such priceless items.

Among my purchases, I bought two "sake cups," which are little glasses of sealed sake. There are the funniest pandas on them with very peculiar, doesn't-seem-very-panda-more-anteater-but-then-again-I've-only-seen-pandas-from-afar-at-the-zoo snouts. Longest made up adjective string ever!

But have you ever bought something "cute" or carried something *super* necessary that became much less positively superlative the longer you carried it? Yeah, that was me and the panda cups. But I stuck it out. And now they're in my empty apartment, save me, a bunch of trash I need to sort (gack! Japanese recycling laws, dame!), and my new purchases.

Pictures tomorrow. Indeedy. I love the surfing pics. And I will share with you. Only because you asked so nicely!

Surfing Safari!

Last Saturday may have been one of my favorite days in Japan. I went on a surfing safari with an awesome group to roll with. Zuks and Mechen had been talking about surfing Chiba forever and in the course of various conversations, the group shaped up to include me, Ben and Bernard.

Zuks had borrowed Andrea’s ridiculously large Jeep Wrangler. We took the auto ferry to Chiba. The day was completely gorgeous, especially since 4 out of 5 of us had spent the previous day on the ship in duty status. We sat out on the top deck with the exception of a chu-hi break. Hey, start the morning off right!

We drove around Chiba for a few hours with a few snackie breaks. The main point was to get around the point of the peninsula to see the waves on the ocean side. We scoped out a few spots before deciding to stop at a really nice reef spot. It was a difficult spot to surf even for the experienced guys because the waves were breaking left and the current was pushing us right. I had an awesome time. BTW, I’ve never surfed prior to this. My paddling is pretty set, but I have to work on the whole pop thing. But I had fun trying and using the surfboard as a boogie board worked!

We were all kind of wiped when we started driving back, but all of a sudden we saw an AWESOME beach spot where we had actually looked at earlier in the day. We walked down to the beach and I decided that we were definitely going in. Mechen was with me and we convinced the other three, mainly with the “When are we ever going to be here again?” argument. Pulling on damp wetsuits in the fading light of day was slightly unpleasant but the surfing was so awesome that everyone was really happy we stopped.

We left around 1930 and headed back to the ferry with a growing sense of foreboding that maybe we really should have checked the ferry schedule for the last ferry of the day. After getting a little lost, we arrived at the terminal exactly 27 minutes after the last ferry had set sail. So, we went to dinner and ate just about everything in sight. Then we took the tunnel/bridge across the water to Yokohama. By the end of the night, I was definitely done with being in the car after multiple “scenic routes”. But there’s no way it could have been done without wheels and it was an amazing trip. I was just a little cranky after being in the middle seat all day-stupid short legs not needing legroom!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sortie, sortie!

I'm writing this entry as a slight break from cleaning/organizing my place in preparation for the Tuesday pack-out. BUT! We are in Class C sortie status b/c a typhoon is apparently lurking to the South. I am crossing my fingers (and my toes!) that we actually don't leave because that would cause ever so slight a hiccup in my "leaving Japan" plans. As well as hundreds of other people on the KH but hey! This is my blogie blog!

So, the rest of Hong Kong was awesome. On Thursday, I played major tourist with my one friend who wasn't on duty from that main group I was rolling with early in the week. We went on the Star Ferry (the rickety one!), Man Mo temple, the Peninsula for Brit style tea (delicious!), Ladies' Market, and dinner and nighttime city views atop Victoria Peak. It was awesome. I got to see a lot all in one day and even though I was ready to head out, my palie walie headed back to the ship b/c he was tired from his duty day. What a weenie! So, I headed back to my hotel to sleep. My liver was pretty happy if not my party face.

Friday, I went to Macau. The Portuguese architecture was pretty cool but it was quite different than I was expecting. I thought it would be a little piece o' Portugal on the seaside. Instead, it was a fairly congested small city with tons of casinos. I'm definitely glad I went- it was just different. We actually decided to head back to HK for dinner, which was a great decision since we had a great dinner at Vivo. Then Sue and I headed to Lan Kwai Fong and didn't get back to the ship until 0240 (curfew was at 0300! We're so naughty!).

Then we left Saturday. Underway was notable for the fact we came into port early, which was totally sweet. I definitely did work hard for the week and a half underway because there was this totally raging stomach bug going around that was slaying people. I saw over 100 people my duty day. It was almost fun to be busy although I was burnt by the end of the day.

So, we came back Monday the 12th. I didn't do too much the first two days, but then I went to a BAYSTARS GAME!!! My favorite!!! I bought a wristband that I've been wearing non-stop. It's my Kinjoh #1 power! I love it. I also bought a cell phone charm. I hope my Iphone-to-be has a little cell phone charm attaching place. I love that about Japan. I feel so Japanese and blend in-able when I have my cell phone charm.

When we were at the game, Sue and I decided that we had to karaoke one more time (at least) before leaving Japan so the very next night, we went to 2econd Home with an awesome group. Prior to, we had some awesome Indian food. There are pictures floating around somewhere that I am a little afraid to see. Being caught mid-sing is actually very unflattering. Almost as bad as mid-bite but really, there's nothing worse than that. Other than the completely separate category of being caught doing socially unacceptable things, nose-picking and the like, etc. [Please not, I do not pick my nose nor do I know of any photos that would document this completely false fact, unless they exist of Caroline, age 4 or younger.]

Then yesterday, I went with four friends to Chiba for a surfing safari. It was so awesome, it deserves its own entry so until next time, space cowboys!