Friday, October 22, 2010

Pull or get out of the way!

 This is the last Friday I have to spend alone, but with the tank on empty and nothing being for free, where does one go without the husband? I am thinking nowhere. This is the last Saturday Mark has class. I shouldn’t have suggested Saturday classes while I am visiting my husband in Japan, but I figured it would be quick and painless. Boy was I wrong.

      The Naha Tug of War was enjoyable if you like the feeling of Time Square on New Year’s Eve, which some do and some don’t but something tells me it, was not that bad. We actually got on the train pretty fast after the show, though we did have to wait in a line that wrapped around the station. Nationals got a free ride home or to the festival after the tug of war, we did not. They estimated that down near Kokusai Street where the tug of war is held there were over 250,000 people that gathered for the yearly tug of war. Only about 15,000 of these people assisted in pulling the rope. Since we pulled a mini one in Chatan back in August, Mark and I were just fine missing out on pulling this rope. To join in on pulling the rope it is more than suggested that you wear long pants as well as tennis shoes due to the fact that the street is packed like sardines and the chances of you getting stepped on is great. All ages come out for the tug of war and watch who will win the battle of the north and the south. Though the result of this battle just gives the winning side blessings and good fortune for the next year and it is a custom to retrieve a piece of the rope from the winning side to bring the good luck to you and to your home. More often than not, the tug of war ends in a tie. The giant rope is not moved enough to give one side alone the glory and bragging rights. They have a time limit and at the end of that limit or in the event one side actually wins, the golden ball in the sky releases streamers and confetti for everyone to revel in and for the cleanup crew to keep busy. After the rope pulling you are welcomed to a giant festival a few meters down the road, a little over a mile. There are rides, food and game vendors, and a beer paradise much like the Eisa festival but much larger. They have fireworks at the end of the festival and luckily we did NOT see the mad dash home because we left early to beat the crowd.  God willing I will be there next year. I may even pull the rope, or just skip the rope, walk Kokusai Street and go to the festival. We shall see.

   I am going to be alone. I can’t give away too much, OPSEC for all you knowledgeable on military terms. While I am alone there are 2 tours I can take. There is a tour to Ie Island, which you are taken to my a 30 minute boat ride then get to go on a hike, or I could go on a tour to the butterfly observatory. Both of these events are right up my alley, though mentioning the journey to Ie island made Mark a little jealous, so I may not go, or I may go anyways, because hey, it bees like that sometimes. :p I think I now know what to get Mark for Christmas though, we will see what I can put together in the upcoming holidays.

    Speaking of holidays the season of turkey and ham is approaching and Mark and I are honestly just considering letting someone make it for us! I have cooked a turkey twice and the rest of the dishes once. I don’t consider myself a good cook so in order to make it a great Thanksgiving, I may need to leave it in someone else’s hands. American holidays are observed by the Americans and as Mark found out from his Japanese coworkers; many look forward to being able to order a big, juicy turkey from on base. Our holidays seem to be the only time you can get one with ease. Next week is Halloween and at the school I volunteer at, the kids will be having book character day and the teachers have to dress up…now I need a costume and have a week to find one with limited cash flow. I am a creative person though; I am hoping I survive this. At least it will be on a Friday! Did I mention we have to take them trick or treating…is it selfish to ask for prayer?

Sayonara from the Scott’s!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Es pink, no?

Ahhhh, my kimono.  This past Friday I purchased my 1st kimono.  Not without some major drama surrounding it, because that is the only way I am able to do things it seems.  Regardless, all will be well soon and the kimono will be used for many occasions.  The kimono I am wearing was put on after I told the kimono ladies I was looking for a kimono for a Christmas party. I tried on a cheaper one and the I was happy with my choice until the one lady, while speaking Japanese said, basically, for a party, you want to go big. They then put on me this pink number, a furisode, meant for young, unmarried women. With a beautiful purple obi, which I was unable to purchase. Then, my ears were flooded with, KAWAII, Kawaii, ne? Which is translated to Cute, yes?! Of course, I know what kawaii, ne? means, I am a girl and it is a part of every woman and girl’s vocabulary. So then the lady takes out my camera, we got to get a picture of me in THE DRESS, right? Hook, line, and sucker! It was beautiful and they were telling me, its okay for me to wear a furisode. How could this be, I am almost 30 and MARRIED. Isn’t this a big taboo!? I sometimes am super careful and don’t want to offend the nationals so I didn’t buy the kimono, I walked out without it. I quickly called Mark and went to his work to have a Japanese intervention. I 1st talked to Naomi-San who like me saw a red flag and said no. Don’t buy this one; it is for woman who is NOT married. So, I was right, I wasn’t about to be hustled or lumped in to the “dumb American” group I created myself. So then, after talking to Naomi-San and learning I made the right choice, I then go to see Yoriko-San who told me the complete opposite. Yoriko-San informed me that it is okay. I look young and I don’t have children, this is more than okay. Then she brought over “Mama-San” and Mama-San not only gave me the thumbs up she told the tale of old singers that now love to wear furisode on stage because the others are not dressy enough and everyone wants to pretend they are young. Yoriko-San had to translate for Mama-San. So with my new found confidence and my go ahead by my Japanese friends I bought the kimono of my dreams, IT’S PINKU! It’s a furisode and my furisode can be worn to any dressy occasion such as New Years parties, weddings, nice romantic dinners, but nothing less than that. I couldn’t go out with my friends in this type of kimono. Houmongi are meant for married women to wear and was the type of kimono I was looking for before I bought my pinku kimono. This would be the ones I would wear out and around just at an evening singing karaoke or going to the izakaya, but even the houmongi have different levels of dressiness. I am able to get away with the furisode because I am young women, so I bought it, and it’s absolutely kawaii, ne?! One of the guys working the venue even took a picture of me as well. I felt famous and drifted off to Talya World…When I bought it, an American woman, and a British woman asked me if I was going to hang the kimono and art for my house, I politely told them, PSH, NO, I am wearing this, act like you know I am obsessed with Japan and Korea!

Now, just because I bought this beautiful piece does not mean I know how to get in it or that I now have all that I need to wear it. I still need an obi, obi cords, tabi socks, the kimono shoes (which also have a name but I forgot), the underwear and collar that go underneath, hair accessories, the scarf that I need to tuck inside my obi, and the basic kimono strings meant to ties the kimono together and used to keep it in place. I will then need to find a place, which my Japanese friend Yoriko-San has found a couple, that will dress me for a fee. I still have to find out the cost when you have the kimono, without, 21,000 Yen and up. That’s over $200 to rent a kimono and have them dress you. With some places though, that includes pictures and hair styles, as well as makeup. This is starting to look like my Christmas gift for this year.

I still don’t have a yukata, the summer kimono, but you can get them for good prices around here as well and will get one closer to the summer. Those are easier to wear and I will need to learn to put on my yukata myself. I will find a murasaki one, purple, to wear. These kimono are only for the summer, you cannot wear them any other time, unless you have it on around the house.

So there you have it! I bought my 1st kimono, I am on a kimono high. Anyone who knows me knows, of course, I would have this pink contraption as mine, the kimono hustlers must have smelled it on me. This will not be my last kimono purchase. Good thing Mark understands.

Sayonara from the Scott’s!

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Milk is out to get you!

Boring it was not, I had a blast. I just figured it would be boring to those who are kind enough to read my rambling thoughts. The military ball was lovely. By now I am sure you all have been bombarded by my pictures of the event. Services did the food. I am sure there is only 1 person who reads this that knows what that means so allow me to just say, usually services food is what you eat to sustain life. We have had food on base, usually our Saturday morning breakfast that has been really good. Then, you have food prepared by services, like on Okuma, where Mark and I were having a romantic get a way to that we wish we would have packed out food! The food at the ball was outstanding and I was really prepared for the worst. For a $40-50 ticket, they did a wonderful job. I guess with that many colonels in one room, you had better. (Military Joke) They had Mr. Dan Clark as a speaker. Never knew who this was but he has had his hand in helping create the 1st Chicken Soup for the Soul book. Best speaker I have ever heard. My speech class came flashing back and everything our teacher said made sense. You actually wanted him to keep talking. A Very entertaining and a very interesting man. If anyone gets a chance to hear him or learn about him, I encourage you to do so. There was dancing, but we didn’t dance. It was pretty funny because after the Cupid Shuffle was played then Cha Cha slide, the more he played the more people left. We tried to check out the other party, because they had to split the ball it was so big this year, but though there were having a good time, it wasn’t going to happen. The Scott feet were not in the mood to move I suppose.

I completely forgot to tell everyone about the milk. Gyuunyuu! On base milk is the scariest thing you will ever drink. I have not had milk off base basically because Mark and I can not read Japanese and don't want to buy the wrong thing. Yeah, you assume that the carton with a picture of a cow on it would be milk, but we have bought things before in error and an error in milk we cannot afford. Okay, maybe I am making more out of it than I should, I'll leave it for you all to decide. Mark bought milk Tuesday, Sept. 26th, 2010. The Sell By date? Oct 24th, 2010 is that date. Sept. 26 is not even when the milk was put on the shelf! Milk that last forever long, milk that we have a month to drink. Technology is wonderful or an abomination? So, Mark and I are low on groceries, my options are running low and cereal with milk seems to be what I crave every morning. The milk is low and I know that if I pour this milk on my cereal we will be out. That is not the point, the point is that when I pour my milk to get ever last drop I also got every last CLUMP! THE MILK HAS CLUMPINESS NASTY ON THE BOTTOM. The “even worse” part for me is, IT WASN’T SPOILED! Yes, the clumps were not sour milk. Flashback to a conversation I had with my coworkers when I had just started, everyone loves to shop on base, it’s cheap, we go, the nationals love to go, they even bring their friends. People escort as many as possible to come get this cheap, food. From American, Korea, Mexico, Japan, everyone shops on base. The one thing, well I won’t say one, because there are a couple I am sure but the one thing my Japanese coworkers shy away from buying is, yes, THE MILK! Because why? Because, “it has the “cheese” in it,” as my coworker Ms. K told me. Ms. G agreed. So far, I had not encountered “the cheese” so I figured it was just a once in a while thing. I am believing now you get a surprise at the bottom of every carton just like our cereal boxes when we were growing up and will now throw the last of the milk away. I had cinnamon rolls and milk for breakfast just now and I feel like I am going to be sick. It may have been a onetime thing and goodness knows I won’t tell Mark because he will look at me with his forehead scrunched and maybe rightly so. Moving on…

Big changes going on at work, I am confused, what else is new? They moved me out of my one class and put me in another, for a month, or 2, or for good? I am seriously along for the ride, getting everything out of learning more Montessori. One day I hope to get certified and have my own school.

I may not be going to school on the 25th of Oct. Getting signed up and getting things paid for by the military is turning in to a royal pain.

I have much to do. Need to get some things done around the house and play with my Instant Immersion Japanese lessons Mark bought for me.

Sayonara from the Scott’s!