Friday, September 30, 2011

Real Okinawa Adventure...and because I am lazy.

I had a fun filled, cultural adventure this weekend and I got to have some great friends around me while Mark is off away in sand land. That is what I call it since technically I am not supposed to say. I take keeping my soldier safe and practicing good OPSEC very serious. OPSEC is a military way of saying, keep your mouth shut, it can affect the mission. Back to my Okinawan culture packed weekend.


Okinawa Prefectual Peace Memorial Museum
The men that Setsuko-San helped bring to peace.

On Saturday I headed out with my friend Anthea and her friend Stacie to go on the Battle Sites of Okinawa tour through Kadena’s ITT. *Side note, Kadena is technically pronounced Kah- deh-nah.* The tour guide was Setsuko-San and she was a survivor of the War World II battle that happened on Okinawa. Her family was held up in one of the many caves in Okinawa during the war and due to her mother’s lack of education (she notes) her mother could not be brain washed by the Japanese soldiers that told the Okinawans to kill their children and themselves. She was three months old when the Americans found her family and she feels it is her duty to teach the truth. Setsuko-San is truly an amazing woman. Setsuko-San also had a part in finding remains of fallen soldiers; she will continue to search always because the way she feels is that the war’s tragedy will never be over until the MIA have names and faces. Our 1st tour stop was Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum. We were not allowed to take pictures inside and there were graphic pictures and stories. I only received a glimpse in to a world of war and lose. My friend Anthea did make a very valid point. It seemed the whole truth was not told in the exhibits but I am curious which side tells the whole truth? I was bothered while watching a video and coming to the part about the Tsushimamaru, a ship filled with civilians that were bombed by the Americans and someone said, “oops.” Oops? What would this person say about Pearl Harbor and a Japanese person said, “oops.” This comment was in poor taste and it saddened me. No one won, the Japanese own a land that is not theirs, much like America “owns” Hawai’i. We are still here, on Okinawa and on “Japanese soil”, and the Okinawans lost their nation. Countless lives were lost on both sides. War, necessary evil I suppose. The battle of Okinawa, for Okinawa, will hold a place in my heart. At the cornerstone you can find the names of all the lives that were lost. Setsuko-San showed us the names of the men she helped find within the last 10 years and were added to the walls. There is a monument to the Korean “comfort women” as well, though Japan refuses to apologize for the forcing of Korean women to lie down with Japanese men, being raped after being pulled from their homes. It seems there is much the Japanese government refuses to say they are sorry for. I cannot judge though, show me a “just” nation as I will show you surprised.

Next we had lunch at a lovely hotel, I was so ready, and Anthea, Stacie and I got to sit with Setsuko-San for added cultural info. Setsuko-San is a real spitfire. She was such a joy to have around. After lunch we made our way to the former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters, where Rear Admiral Minoru Ota made his last stand, along with many others. His ashes, and those of his wife, now rest where he died. Strings of 1,000 paper origami cranes line the walls on the way down to the underground bunker. They are symbols of peace and healing. A young girl affected by the radiation of the a bombs believed if she could make 1,000 cranes from paper, she would be healed, but she was only able to make around 960 before she died, her friends made the rest, and the tradition of the paper cranes continues. As I ducked and weaved through the tunnels I was taken back, seeing where soldiers slept and ate. How horrible it must have been for them, and in the end, only death awaited, by ritual suicide or being killed by their fellow soldiers. One room still held the marks from where soldiers took out their grenades and blew each other up.

 Each bundle is 1,000 origami cranes.
The ashes of Ota and his wife.

Caption says it all...
The tour also took us to “Sugar Loaf Hill”, the scene of a bloody battle now surrounded by shopping and roads. The DFS (duty free shopping) Galleria is right across the street. We also went to a cave around Yomitan where 83 people died, killed for fear that the ugly, “demon Americans” were coming.

 A soldier's diary
Final resting place of many Okinawan people
Sugar Loaf Hill Memorial

Later that afternoon I then went to the Devil Dog Derby Dames bout and saw my favorite team the Machine Gun Mollies give the Blitzkrieg Betties the Heidi ho! (What does that mean, I should know since I am saying it.) After the bout it was dinner time with the Collazo’s and we went well in to the evening chatting away. It was the perfect day. I also found out that even though a bathroom may only have one stall that locks, you best make sure to lock the other door too because this embarrasses some to walk in to a free sink but not a free toilet. Talk about double protection. You would think in a nation where squatter toilets still are the norm you wouldn’t be shy about sharing the room. I say this but I am also forgetting the nature sound button that you can press in many places to distract other people for your sounds and you from other people. This scenario brought to you also in a place where if you are at a bar or izakaya you may find yourself sharing a bathroom with someone of the opposite sex. Luckily last time I had share a unisex bathroom it was with my friend Schuyler. I have now gotten past the point of caring about this since in Japan. I mean I haven’t seen anything and I also will go to the public bath so my modesty is slowly going out the window in certain situations.



The next day was the Shi Shi Mai O-matsuri! I went to the BX and had asked Kimie-San to dress me in my yukata for the event. I wear Japanese clothing every chance I get now. It was just a little festival where they had lion dancers and Okinawan musicians from the neighboring cities to perform. Food was sold and they had games for the kids. Beer, Orion beer, is a staple at an Okinawan festival. I had yakisoba and cotton candy that my friend Anth shared. It was a great time, good music, and we even got treated to a tarp to sit on by kind Okinawan ladies sitting close to us. Okinawan people are some of the nicest in the world.

I in my yukata (summer kimono) and Anth in her Haori (kimono jacket)


Festival video

I had a great time going on these tours!  It really is a relief to have someone do the driving for you and share things about Okinawa or Japan that you may not find out yourself, so if you get the chance to take a tour, I say go for it! Sit back, relax, bring a camera, an open mind, and yen, and let someone else worry about the rest. Friends make it better but it's worth making the trek on your own.



Ja, matte ne from the Scott!
Cause sayonara is when you truly are saying goodbye!


Friday, August 26, 2011

My last day in Tokyo

It's taken me a long time to finish my exciting trip to Tokyo part of my blog, but now that I must stay awake until at least 9, I have plenty of time. Must get my body on schedule quickly, it's very hard, making my head hurt, but I am going to be thankful tomorrow. Herca and Mark are helping!



On my last day in Tokyo I went to Mount Fuji aka Fuji-san. I didn't hike it; I was ill prepared for such a hike so I opted to just take a visit and paid handsomely for a bus tour of Fuji, the area Hakone, and the ability to ride the shinkansen (the bullet train) back to the Shinagawa eki. (Station) 1st off, today was the only day where there was NO WAY, I could get lost. The tour guide picked me up at the hotel where I then met the other tourist as well as my tour guide Junko and traveled on another bus to Mt Fuji. Junko was very soft spoken, as many Japanese are under most circumstances, and her voice was very pleasant, pretty sure I could have been lulled to sleep. Of course when out having fun, like all of us do, they like to cut loose. I am also intrigued by listening to Japanese conduct business with each other; I can never understand how they hear each other! While riding through the city, I sat at the back of the bus, I had the big window with no lines in the middle and then I didn’t have to talk to anyone. I also got some pretty good shots of Tokyo Tower and other parts of the city. It took some time to get to Fuji-san. For some reason I was under the impression the mountain was not far in to the countryside and actually in the prefecture Tokyo was in, this was not the case. We weren’t at Mt. Fiji till noon-ish after setting on our way at about 9:45 am. It was cloudy the Sunday I went so on the way up I could not see Mt. Fuji from far away, we had to get to station 5 for the mountain to peak through the clouds. I was disappointed that we didn’t stay longer up at Mt. Fuji, but really, there isn’t much to do but eat and hike. While I was there the clouds did actually part, we got to see the top and I wrote Fuji-san a message and received a pin for sending a message to Fuji-san. I then proceeded to have my picture taken with Fuji-san and due to the size of the blow-up mountain, I am thinking mini Fuji-san was a woman.
The bus

Tokyo Tower

The famous Ginza shopping district

Going towards Fuji



We then traveled to Hakone (http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5200.html) and then had lunch at a hotel before going to Owakudani Valley (also in link). Here, I ate with an American who lived in Beijing, I believe his name was Brian….or I am making that part up, a Belgium gentleman, and a lady who lived in Singapore for the last 5 years. At 1st I wasn’t in to chatting with them, but it soon changed. Owakudani Valley was home to a massive, beautiful lake with a gorgeous view as well as a steaming hot spot that was used to boil eggs, among other things. Due to the water, the egg’s shell turned black and these eggs were called kuro tamago (black eggs). The legend says, if you eat 1, you will live 7 extra years, eat 2, you will live 14 extra years, eat 3 and you will have a tummy ache, HA! I ate one, shared one with a young German man that was on my tour bus, and forgot about giving the rest away. You got a bag of 5 for 500 yen and I wasn’t staying in Tokyo long enough to eat the rest. To get to the part of the valley for the eggs we took a sky gondola up and I was okay with this, until I realized how high up we were, it was still very exciting. The eggs had their own gondola too! That was pretty neat, they had to get the eggs up there somehow and the little metal basket held the eggs only. If you felt adventurous you could try wasabi ice cream, I did not, but I believe the young German man did, I should have asked him how it tasted. The Belgium man walked and talked with me to where the eggs were sold and though I was getting the stranger danger, OPSEC vibe from him, I think I handled myself well and I found him quite charming. I think I had him and the rest of my tour group I ate with fooled in to thinking I was younger than I actually am. Back down the mountain, we rode a pirate ship to the other side of the lake. The lady from Singapore, whose name was Gigi, kept me company then, I made a point to not entertain conversation with the men at this point for the most part. On the ship there was a “captain” who for some reason had to hold on to his hat, I am not sure if this is the captain’s pose? On the pirate ship, along with singing the many themes of One Piece in my head, I went by the gift shop and couldn’t resist buying a Kitty-chan (What Hello Kitty is referred to as here in Japan) pirate. They had One Piece items there too of course. (Those who don’t know what One Piece is, google it) The trip was over and then we headed to a station where you could ride the train back to Tokyo versus taking a 2 hour bus ride back to your hotel. I was a seasoned train rider then so I couldn’t pass up my chance to ride the famous shinkansen back in to the big city. The bullet train was fast, duh, and it only took about 30 minutes back to Tokyo! We were over an hour out of the city! I could never figure out how people could sleep on the trains and not miss their stops but there were people passed out. Noise is a big no no on the trains in Tokyo so I was trying to be as quiet as possible holding my walking sticks I bought at Mt. Fuji, and of course I had to buy the ones with jingle bells on them. At my stop, I said good bye to Gigi and exchanged pleasantries and made sure to take a taxi back to the New Sanno.

The gondola

Where they boil the eggs

Cheesu!


Oh the Shinkansen

Kitty-chan and the kuro tamago

The pirate ship! One of three. 
YARGH!  I think there was a rule, if you looked at him he had to smile and nod.



I had made sure to order a nice Japanese breakfast the morning I was to set off. I had everything ready and a full belly. After reading that it took about 50 minutes to get to the airport I made sure to set off early. I found out, it takes 50 minutes on days that I am not going to the airport because the driver hopped on the expressway and it took maybe 30 minutes, if that. I was waiting around to be able to check in but I didn’t mind, I was used to waiting around at an airport. I went home on the fourth of July and my good friend, Anthea picked me up and then later I went to a beach party. It was such a lovely trip, I cannot wait to go back and share Tokyo with Mark. Maybe the Sky Tree will be built by then. Tokyo is a wonderful city and if given the chance to see it in its entire splendor, please do! I can only imagine how amazingly beautiful the rest of Japan is.
The view on the way to the airport.





Sayonara from the Scott!!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Tokyo ni ikimashita Part 2

Tokyo Trip Day 2!



Bus stop outside of the New Sanno

Day 2 in Tokyo, Do-yobi (Saturday) I had the honor of hanging out with my friend, Mari Townes and her
dear, sweet mother. I, however, had to get to them 1st. I was meeting them at 11 am, okay, I get up at like 7, not a problem. I was to meet them at Shinagawa, hey, I've been there before, I can get there again right? Well sort of. I go 1st thing in the morning and used the front desk travel services to ask how should, could, one get to Shinagawa Eki? (Eki=Station) Well there are a few ways, 1st off taxi, which she didn't suggest, this is how I got from Shinagawa to the New Sanno when I touched down in Tokyo. 2nd, you could always walk up to Hiroo eki, and travel by subway and train, easy enough if you are not me. Lastly, the way they lady that helped me suggested was by basu aka bus. It cost 200 yen AND gets you right to Shinagawa eki. Well that is easy enough and cheap, so it was a no brainer. She let me know that it takes roughly 20 minutes to get there and she let me know to take bus 97 right outside the hotel. Sounds like I got all the info I needed and I did, but my brain doesn't process easy like everyone else's brain does. I must do everything the HARDEST way possible. I decided, since the bus arrives every 20 minutes, I'd have more than enough time to wait at 10 am for the bus, I would be way early. Well come to find out the bus didn't get there until 10:20 am. Still not a problem, I will still get there on time. My bus arrives, I get on, and about 7-10 minutes in to the ride, I read the screen wrong and I get off of the bus way too early. Now I am waiting for the bus again, paying the fare, again, and I am late to meet my friend and her mom that so graciously allowed me to tag along with them, knowing full and well they'd have to baby sit a slightly clueless American. I am texting Mari this whole time, giving her play by play and she is trying to help me, but I finally get on my bus, go the right direction, and thought of another way to help myself, when in doubt, follow the other person that is not Japanese. I did see the sign just fine however and got off at the right stop and sure enough that is where the other non Japanese person was going. I was told by Mari, STAY PUT, we will come get you. So, I did what I was told, I learned a long time ago when someone is helping you, sometimes you need to shut up and take orders. Though after a couple of minutes when they couldn't find me, I walked to the top of the stairs to use the elevated crosswalk and luckily, because of my height, I was found. NOW, I was off on the good part of my journey, with my friend, and I didn't have to think anymore, just follow, I liked, no, LOVED, that part.  I was so nervous on using my Japanese when you are introduced to someone that I totally didn't even hear Mari's mom's name!  I was saying "Hajimemashita. Talya Desu. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu", at the same time she was!  We were now off to Asakusa and Harajuku.

Mari and her mom showing me the way.


Mari's mom was too kind to me, I wish there was a way I could pay her back, she completely took care of me as if I was family, I am thinking that this is what it means to be a guest sometimes and goodness knows if Mari and her mom ever came to visit me, I'd do the same for them. Both are great women. Mari and I were catching up and her mom would give us tid bits of history as we were off the Asakusa, which you get to by exiting at the Shimbashi eki, well at least we did.

There was a steam engine out where you could see it. I was amazed that the Japanese used the same trains we once did to travel across our country, but then again, why would I be? Japan, in it's own right, is huge. The bullet train from Tokyo still takes you 3 hours if you are traveling to Osaka, I'm not even going to think how long that would take by car, regardless, in Asakusa I was taken to a very famous shine. My pictures show it's glory and how big it was. Though I forgot to ask whether the shrine was an actually Shinto shrine or a Buddhist temple. (There is a difference, Shinto religion, from Japan, is the worship of multiple spirits, animal spirits as well where as Buddhism, is not.) I took pictures as we made our way to the shrine and all down the road there were shops, food, snacks, knick knacks or various sorts, even wigs, and yukata. We went up and received our blessings after a wonderful tempura lunch. I was in awe of the fact that people from all kinds of countries were there in Japan, but then again Asakusa is very famous.

The actual shrine in Asakusa
From the street you can see the up and coming Sky Tree. The Sky Tree will be opened for tourist to come and go up and see Tokyo, just like Tokyo Tower, but the Sky Tree, once opened will be taller. Though this should give T.T. a complex, I am sure people will still flock to it enough that both buildings will not be lonely.


The Sky Tree (Not yet opened)
As we head off back to the station for Harajuku, I am realizing that as far as square miles, Tokyo doesn't seem that big, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in population, making it hard, very hard to get around by car, and making the subway and train systems ideal. I notice people taking naps on the subway, and I wish I could do the same, but I was way to excited to sleep as we were now going to the famous Harajuku.


Hello, Harajuku

Harajuku, some have asked, and I am more that okay with this question, did you see the Harajuku girls?
Well, yes I did, but not many. In Japan, the day off is Sunday, so when I went, I saw a handful, maybe
5, 7 at the most. I was surprised that Harajuku wasn't all that big, or at least the shopping part. The streets were packed with people, I got very close and brushed up and bumped more people than I can
count. This doesn't bother me however, because when you don't have hardly any room to even breath, you
better know, you are gonna get close to strangers, my tip, just hold on to your purse. Back to the Harajuku girls, and boys. What I didn't know, and luckily didn't even try, is that you are not suppose to take pictures of them. Yeah, go figure, the reasoning, they'd rather hold out for the magazines that patrol Harajuku and want to snap pictures of the Lolita styled boys and girls(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lolita_fashion#Sweet_Lolita) I mainly saw the sweet Lolita dressed girls, but there were a couple others that were dressed on the Punk Lolita side. (It is goth, get it right) Knowing the rule about the pictures, told to me by Mari, I didn't attempt to catch a shot because I respect the places that I go, I am the guest and should act like such. I was shocked by the amount of Africans in Harajuku, my main question was, how do I get to live in Japan, others make it seems so easy, but I am sure it is far from easy to get in and stay in the country. They weren't the only culture though, Indians were there as well. I was amazed, thought it was pretty neat actually. America is not on everyone's top spot of places to go to live. Harajuku had stores like H&M and Forever 21, so I stopped for some shopping, once we were down it was back to the station to head back home, well to the
hotel for me. I followed Mari and her mom back until they got off the train, we said our good byes and I made it back to my hotel just fine once I realized where it was that I was going. Which turned out to be very easy once I got the hang of it. Get to Ebisu, once at Ebisu, you head down to Hiroo, which is one stop and then I walk back to my hotel. I ate dinner, had a nice miso salmon, and I crashed. Lovely time but hard work, and I had to get plenty of rest, because Sunday was Mt. Fuji.

Good bye, Harajuku



Sayonara from the Scott!





Monday, July 4, 2011

Tokyo part 1!

Tokyo ni ikimashita Part 1





Ahhh, I am back from Tokyo. Part of me is glad because Tokyo was a lot of work for me, though I had an
outstanding time, I can get back to cuddling with Hercules. He is rather happy I am back and being very
demanding of my attention. Now, it is also time to go back to school, awww. I decided to break my trip
up in to 3 parts, for the 3 full days I spent there. I will be sharing photos that I will not be posting
on facebook right away so make sure to check them out, though they are just alternative shots of the
same places ha ha.



Touchdown in Tokyo.


I arrived in Tokyo around 7:30 at the Haneda airport. Haneda is more for local travel though international flights stop through. From Haneda it was on me to head down past baggage and hop on the train. Since the taxi is around 7500 yen ($90) I opted for the train system. I wrote down long before I left that I needed to go to Shinagawa and from Shinagawa, I would take a taxi to my hotel. Of course I had no clue how much I needed to pay so I went to the information booth and took care of my fare this way. (I soon found out that when in doubt, INFORMATION BOOTH!) The ticket buying system has an English option, but without knowing where my destination was on the map, I had no clue how much to actually pay. (Though this is also not a problem if you don't pay enough, as I found out, they won't let you out if you don't pay enough.) Easy enough, now to hop on the train. I had no clue which train to take, 1 or 2, I believe either would have taken me where I needed to go but in my mind, it is now freak out time. Train 1 or train 2, well train 1 was the only one there and so I got on 1. Well, shortly after, because I am an over thinker and because a stranger kept bumping against me in a disturbing manner, I got off the train. I then realized there was no need for this and had to wait for the next train to come. Luckily, I wasn't waiting long and by looking on the local map I saw I was indeed on the right train. I made it to Shinagawa, out of the station and quickly realized unless you are actually IN the taxi line, the taxi will not pick you up. I made it to my hotel, the New Sanno, without too much trouble and felt VERY accomplished, very. I am a very smart traveler, but with a whole lot of "I'm a spaz" that traveler in me gets lost in translation.



The New Sanno is beautiful. If you are military, you must stay there. The services they offer are
worth the money, I paid $56 a night!! They make up for it though, if you eat there, you soon find out
why everything else is so cheap! (I found out my last night there, they have a food map of places to
eat at the hotel front desk.) The hotel is clean, the staff is friendly and fluent in English as well as other languages. They have service desks open during the day to help you find your way around Tokyo and I employed them every day. They really have everything you need at the New Sanno and again the service and the room made me feel like I was staying in a 5 star hotel. In my mind, it beats the Hilton hands down, though I have only stayed in Hiltons state side, not in Japan. I am sure anything accomendations in Japan trump much state side. Regardless, I truly felt the New Sanno was my home away from home. I quickly settled in, for tomorrow, I was going to the Ghibli Museum.



I was 1st introduced to Princess Mononoke and Grave of the Fireflies in high school by my then good friend, Heather Grice. This was the 1st time I was introduced to Studio Ghibli, and had no clue. I had been in love with Anime since middle school but these 2 movies were not at all my cup of tea. One was just weird and the other extremely depressing. A few years later, I saw a movie that would capture me in a way no anime had ever before, the movie was, Spirited Away. After that, if I saw that a movie was made by Studio Ghibli, I'd give it a watch, Kiki's Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, Howl's Moving Castle, and I even gave Princess Mononoke another watch. I found that more often than not, I LOVED Miyazaki-San's work. I now collect his movies and I always new that if I ever had a chance to visit Tokyo, I would visit his musuem, the Ghibli Museum. So I did.

This place had me truly smiling from ear to ear, I felt like a kid, or rather, the adult that can still get lost in a world created just for that purpose, to get lost, to see someone's imagination spark your's. My photos are limited and makes the Ghibli Museum even that much more special, because you are not allowed to take photos of inside the museum, so I keep the images I saw that day close to my heart and mind. I saw people from many places there, Europe, North America, Asia (duh) and the sights were amazing. There is even a mini theatre to see shorts created for the Ghibli Museum by Studio Ghibli. The movie playing that day was a short about a little boy who went to play after a good rain, while playing he finds a cane and goes to pick it up, but a little bunny boy had the same idea. After failing to find a clear winner in a couple feets of boy strength, the boys deside to go see the bunny boy's grandmother and find out it is in fact, her cane and the boys are rewarded with hugs for finding it. Each ticket to the musuem (That much be purchased at Lawson, if you are in Japan) gets you a little slide from one of Hayao Miyazaki's film. I received one from the movie Princess Mononoke. I left at 9:30 am just to make sure I got there for my 2:00 pm entrance time. Good thing too, because I arrived at 12:00 pm, and of course, there was a "Misadventure of Talya Hood-Scott", I arrived ALL that way, from the New Sanno to Mitaka, a good hour and a half away and saw I left my ticket to the museum at the hotel. Of course I freaked, but after talking and waiting and with the help of an awesome staff (aka my knight in blue armor)
 I was able to get in the museum. Luckily, I know what my name looks like in kanji as well as knowing my 11 digit Japanese telephone number. The musuem was packed and shopping for things to bring home was almost too much to handle. I did score a very special music "box" if you will. Modeled after the character, Baron Humbert von Gikkingen, he is a magical, dashing cat figurine that comes to life in, "The Cat Returns". Played by Cary Elwes in the American movies staring the Baron, (Also in "Whisper of the Heart.), the Baron is one of my favorite characters, so I had to have this special item, no matter what. Another highlight of my trip to the museum was being able to sit in THE cat bus. If you ever have seen "My Neighbor Totoro" you don't even need to ask. For those who don't know, the cat bus is the magical transportation called upon by Totoro to take Satsuki to find her lost sister, Mei. The cat bus was
amazing, with scenes from the movie outside his "windows". He was soft and inviting, exactly what I would imagine him to be if he were in fact real.
       I didn't bother eating there, I just waited to get back to the hotel. I did have a snack, Japanese pear ice cream, more like sorbet. While I waited for my time to enter, after all I did get there 2 hours early, I walked around the park the Ghibli Museum is nestled in, got ate up my some hungry mosquitos, and had a friendly, or angry Japanese man come talk to me. He spoke only Japanese and asked if I was American. I understood this much only, after telling him "Hai, so desu" (Yes, that's right), he then asked me where in America, I only understood the "Doko" and "Amerika". I told him "Tennessee" and he seemed to understand this and either wished me well or told me to go...fly a kite...I'd like to think he wished me well as he biked off on to the trails. I ate a rice ball at Lawson, was called "kawaii" by some chreepy old man, and I attempted to buy another ticket, but they were sold out, and it turns out, there was no need anyways, as they found my reserved spot. I did not walk to the museum from the Mitaka station, as I figured I would get lost, so I bought a special ticket for the Ghibli Museum bus.

 My trip was over after I saw EVERYTHING in the museum and I decided to head back around 4:30 pm.
Believe by the time I got back to the hotel at about 6:30, I was so tired.




I was told by another American in my class that the Japanese will help you, they love to help foreign
people, and I found this to be slightly true. My classmate made it seem that they would be very curious
about me, talking to me, but only 3 people spoke to me, that I didn't know, the whole time I was there,
and it was only the one day I was completely by myself. I am okay with this, though I did stick out as
I was rather tall, I didn't want to attract too much attention, as they teach us not to in the military.
I did receive glances, but of course, I was looking too, and I felt very safe. My 1st thought was that
Tokyo was cleaner than Okinawa, though Tokyo had some smells that I was none too pleased with and I learned very quickly Okinawa is nothing like the mainland when it comes to being Japan, but of course, Okinawa is not Japan, only by law, so I can understand the differences. I would totally go back to Tokyo by myself, though like any big city, there are dangers too.



Next up, my day at Asakusa with my good friend Mari and her mother, but for now, Sayonara from the Scott!



A side story about the Baron in his first movie, "Whisper of the Heart": A grandfather onces traveled
to Germany to attend college and there met a beautiful woman and they fell in love. One day while
shopping, the couple stopped at a cafe where the Baron and the Baroness had caught their eyes. The 2 cat figurine's eyes were made out of stunning jewels that glittered in the light. The, at the time, young grandfather, decided to purchase the Baron one day, but the cafe owner could not sell the Baron. You see, the Baroness was in another shop receiving repairs and the cafe owner would never split them up, they were only to be sold as a pair. The beautiful woman, Louise, told her Japanese boyfriend, who was to leave Germany very soon, that she would buy the Baroness once she returned and keep her until he returned to Germany to be with her once again and both her love and the shop keeper were fine with this option. The grandfather promised, that once he returned, they would be togehter. After the man left with the Baron, and made it back to Japan, war soon broke out, he made good on his promise and returned to Germany years later, after the war, but the cafe was gone, and Louise was no where to be found.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tokyo ni ikimasu!!! YATTA!!!

That's right, I, Talya Hood Scott, am off to take my misadventures to Tokyo, Japan.  It is my 1st time in a city on the mainland that does not consist of me wandering around and falling asleep in an airport.  If airports count, than I've already been to Osaka and Tokyo, but since they don't really, I have traveled the cities of Okinawa.  Post earthquake Tokyo has gone back to normal now and I plan to see as much as I can in 4 days.  What better way to spend the 4th of July than in another country, right?  My trip will consist of 3 things.  Seeing my dear friend and Mommy to be, Mrs. Mari Townes, who is from the area, going to the Ghibli Museum (http://www.ghibli-museum.jp/en/welcome/), and attempting...maybe, to hike Fuji-San.  The only one that now poses a problem is good ol' Fuji.  I didn't realize that to hike the whole mountain it takes a person anwhere from 6-10 hours.  Now though I am love hiking, anyone who has hiked with me knows I need my breaks, and like my mom, I got to take about 1,000,000 pictures.  Now I find out I need a flashlight?  I see this though as a once in a life time experience.  Fuji, not Tokyo, I'll be back in Tokyo probably sometime in Sept./Oct.  This may be it for Fuji unless Mark and I come back to Tokyo together and in July or August.  You can only hike the full mountain in those months and we have found out we leave in April.

Thant's right, our time in Japan is quickly coming to an end.  April will be here before we know it.  We have no clue where we will be yet, but I assume, yes assume, we will be back state side.  I pray somewhere close enough where I can spend time with my dad and my inlaws monthly, but maybe that is wishful thinking.  It also puts us in the south east and I am pretty much done with all of that, not really sure why, just have no desire to settle down there which means, we will.  I mean after all, what remains of my family is in the south east and very close to it, so that is probably where we will settle down...in about 15 years.  Until then, the military will tell us where home is.

Speaking of home, I am home alone. "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH"  Couldn't help myself.  Mark is off and away.  Though I am sure I can tell you where he is, as he is now there safely, I will not blog about it for the sake of OPSEC. (Operation[al] Security)  Mark will be gone for the rest of the year and we plan to meet up again for a visit with family on his way back to our current home of Okinawa where we will then be preparing for our move.  So what have I decided to do with my spare time?  Since my facebook is my twitter I am sure you know by now that it is, school, World of Warcraft, traveling, begging people to come see me, derby, and sweating my yellow buns off.  I am also back down to around 1300 calories a day in attempt to lose some weight for some exciting photos I will be taking for myself and for Mark, as well as being told by my new doctor here, "Has anyone told you, you could stand to lose a few pounds?"  Believe me, I know, so with Mark not around begging for Mexican food and friend chicken, it's time to get serious.  The all makes for keeping me busy.

Also in Poonabe news (play on my suburb Sunabe) Hercules is here with me.  Mom was taking care of him and after Mom had to go, Paul was.  It is real nice having him around and I really appreciate what Mom and Paul did for their fur grandbaby.  Mom took some really great pictures of Hercules, I hope to post them so everyone can see.  It makes me so happy to know she was doing all she could to live until she died.  I pray I always do the same. 


Off Topic of Japan, if anyone would like to send Mark a care package or even just drop him a letter, let me know and I can give you his address.

Sayonara from the Scott...since I am the only one here!  I am getting ready for my trip!

*Learning Japanese*
Ikimasu- I'm going
This works for places that are not your home or home country.  Tokyo ni ikimasu = I am going to Tokyo.  Tomodachi no uchi ni ikimasu = I am going to a friend's house. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

No Batteries

So all pictures and video will be brought to you by iPhone,except the 1st one, thanks Steve Jobs!

It has been a LONG time since I have blogged.  Honestly, the life has been sucked out of my love for blogging since my mother's death.  I figure, who really wants to keep up with me? Mom does, now that she is gone who wants to keep up with me?  I remembered though, I also enjoy blogging for myself, I decided to channel that and write again, time permitting because...

The derby monster has eaten my life!

"Talya, what did you do today?".....Derby.
"How is Japan doing?"....Derby.
"You going to go to school while you are in Japan?".....Derby school.
I have shared and have not shared that I am with a derby league here on Okinawa.  The Kokeshi Roller Dolls.  Check us out at http://www.kokeshirollerdolls.com/ , yes the plug is out of the way.  I started back in December.  I was going to start before but after emailing the president of our league, yes, it is that serious, I decided I didn't have the time.  After Mark kept after me, I figured I would give it a go.  After Mom's disapproval and death, I struggled with skating but decided to give it a go.  What some people don't realize and some people do, I dabbled in Jackson, TN with derby when one of my friends was starting a league, the Hub City Roller Girls, they have now disbanded.  I have heard,"you, derby?!"  "I can't see you playing derby."  This annoys me to no end, more so because most that say that think they know me and really don't.  "Talya, athletic?!"  Many moons ago I was a 2nd degree black belt in tae kwon do, I was my school's top student...yes, I am indeed, athletic.  You don't realize your body doesn't lose that drive once you have trained to be an athlete.  It's easy to get back in shape again.  Now, do I think I am tough stuff in any sport, no, not at all, but do I give my all in any sport I set my mind to, yes.  I am a proud member of the Sake Bombers team.  For some reason the rest of the league sees us as a joke, but whatever, we love each other and we take our team seriously.  I happen to be the captain of the Sake Bombers as well.  I am suppose to be a co captain but for some reason, no one else wants to join me.  We had a great one but she decided to step down so she can take care of herself and her little baby, she is going to be a brand new mommy!  It's a family affair, Mark happens to be the head coach of my team.  It works best when you can get your spouse in to what you are doing because we do derby 3 days a week.  Now it's May  and our 1st official bout is right around the corner on May 14th.  I wish I could say I am excited, but I am more nervous than anything.  I am still ready to give it my all, but truth be told, I am not sure how long I will stay with it.  I love my derby sisters....most of them, I love the social aspect....most the time, but in the end, I don't believe I am willing to sacrifice my body to the sport.  It is dangerous, and I think I already proved to myself I can still get out there and be decent at something, don't let the fact that I am getting older slow me down.  In the end, the only person I owe anything to in this realm is myself.  I do enjoy the work out aspect of it, but hey, got skates will travel, watch out roads!


The butterfly garden

I wanted to write a quick little blurb about having the extreme honor of taking my students to the butterfly garden in northern Okinawa earlier this year...yes I know, we can already say earlier this year.  I was absolutely amazed and would love to go back myself as I love butterflies.  My kids hung in there too, they enjoyed it and most of them didn't cry.  They were pretty much okay as long as the butterflies kept their distance.  All in all, the kids loved their up close and personal encounter and so did I.  They got to watch a movie all the way up to the butterfly garden and back down to school.  It was a great day, taking the children to the restroom however was a nightmare, but I'd rather look at the upside of the trip with including a picnic and allowing them to run around a grassy area.  Since Japanese people love children they were never in anyone's way and they were allowed to just be kids. Here is a picture of a butterfly on Coco's water bottle.  Cocomi was none too happy, though the child in the picture is not Coco-chan, it is obvious, Kiera-chan wasn't having it either. 


Shuri Castle

I have been itching to go to Shuri Castle and Naha again for a long time now and I finally got to go one day last month during "birthday month".  We didn't get to see too much because it just so happened we pretty much got there when it closed, but I was okay with that because it was great just to get out with my husband and our friend Troy and see what Okinawa has to offer us besides derby, wait you mean there is more than derby on Okinawa!?  Shuri Castle has a rich history in the Ryukyu Kingdon, it was the capital for the country of Okinawa for many years.  Some may not realize that Okinawa was at once it's own country, but after many wars it became property of Japan.  They didn't even drive on the left side of the road until the 70s, then it was decided that it would be easier to change to the way things are on mainland Japan.  Of course Shuri Castle has had to change their plumbing situation as you will see in my video, there was an obvious need for a water and mouth wash fountain that Shuri realized and gave to it's visitors, but it was still nice to walk around and see the architecture of centuries past.  I am just so curious about what we will leave behind and what it will be like walking in our shadows centuries later.  I am hoping this is not my last visit to Shuri Castle while on Okinawa, but with Mark leaving soon, it is doubtful I will travel too far on my own, since those who know me know I hate to drive in Japan, but then again, it is also known that won't stop me from doing something I'd like to do. 

Here are my Shuri videos.  One is showing a feature that many toilets in Japan have.  If you don't want people to hear the noises that come out of your....body....you simply trigger the sound device beside you.  Sometimes it deploys whether you wave your hand or not.  There are flushing sounds and sometimes the oh so magical woodland creatures with running water sound (my favorite).  The other video is of me not being able to say no to having the chance to use the gargle station.

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Now, that is it for today, I will blog again!!!  I got the fever back, now if I could just get fever back for other things, we won't go in to that.

Everyday Okinawa:
I no longer work at my school due to the fact that I need to be stress free for a bit, I am just hoping when I am ready to work again I can find a job quickly.
Mark will be leaving soon, deploying, you know how that goes.  You can come see me and keep me company, just know you'll be sleeping on the couch and will need to pay for gas if you want to go anywhere.
I am planning a trip back to see family as well.  I really wish I could see my dad and my Shirley as well.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Earthquake

Friday, March 11th, 2011, Okinawa, Japan.


At 3:25 PM in the afternoon I was quietly and unassumingly working with my students who stay awake in the afternoon and do not take naps. My coworker, Ms. Kozue, came in to tell me that her boyfriend called and she heard on the new that an earthquake hit the mainland and that a tsunami hit Japanese island of Hokkaido causing much damage to the island's port cities. "Nani, hontou?" "What, really?" "Now, we are under a tsunami watch," Kozue said, "It was big." I didn't realize how big until I got home. Mark,who was being an amazing husband and cleaned the entire house to help me, had taken the day off. As soon as I got home I told him about what had happened and because of our tv situation, or the lack of cable, we went to the internet for news. We didn't have to do any digging. I brought up the never seen photos of my derby team, the Sake Bombers', photo that just came out that day as well as internet explorer where instantly, the destruction was at my finger tips. Fires, waves, rivers filled with cars, this IS Japan now. Mark and I were more on the lines of, "Wow, this was happening to our next door neighbors?" The host country that has been kind to us is in trouble!  "EARTHQUAKE, 8.4, 8.8, largest in Japan, ever." Quickly our tsunami watched turned in to a tsunami warning. Taking to facebook to talk to my friends on island helped keep me in the loop. The tsunami was coming but it was only a little one, about 0.5 meters as told to me by my good friend and derby sister Anthea. My planned dinner with my boss and coworkers would go on with nothing more than a bump. As soon as I get in the car and find myself stuck behind a car trying to go to my dinner I hear on AFN radio that in 8 minutes a tsunami that will stand 2 meters tall will hit Okinawa, stay away from the water. 2 meters, 6 feet, am I far enough away from the water? I can see the ocean, is that too close? Will the seawall stop a 6 foot tsunami from reaching me? I live close to a beach and now I am in my car, the worst place you could possibly be during any flooding. 6 minutes, I called Mark, he says turn around, but now I roll down both my windows, not realizing this wouldn't do much and after believing I was far enough away I told him I would press on. Songs come on the radio, the tsunami should have hit, Okinawa is safe. The warning came and went with no tsunami to hit our shores. Despite heavy traffic, I met my coworker Paula at the school where I work, Sunshine Montessori School, and we decided to drive by the sea. The water went out, it was so low. I saw grass and water plants where I had never seen it before. Was it because of the tsunami, I couldn't be 100% sure. All the other people that were attached to the military that were suppose to be at the dinner did not come, but I did. We went to the hotel Laguna and had a lovely dinner of talking and fellowship, still completely oblivious, or at least I was. I used facebook on my phone as well as free foto messenger to tell friends and family Mark and I are alright. They were worried and for some reason I still didn't understand why. Even with the urgent message my father sent me, I couldn't wrap my head around the tragedy that was happening. All I could think about or wonder is why the one salad said, "salad RAPE", on the food card. Not exactly something I wanted to try. After a 4 hour dinner, I was home, with Mark and my cat, Marie, watching B movies on the couch. After dreaming about trying to meet LeBron James and Bleach characters while dressed in Okinawan kimono by my coworker Ms. Feby who is not Japanese, I wake up to the morning after.



Saturday, March 12th, 2011, Okinawa, Japan.


Waking up at 6:30 am on a Saturday is nothing new for me, neither is the unfortunate pain in my neck. I figured I'd wake up to more facebook messages and I did. I read my Sake Bomber sister, Racks would be stuck in the States for a little while longer due to the earthquake. The airports on the mainland were still shut down or flights were still being cancelled. I sit down to my computer to find, "8.9," as well as all the damage, the current death toll, a nuclear power plant in danger. This is bad. Bad is not the word, this is horrible, tragic. This has really happened. So far away and yet so close, yet so safe. Mark and I had felt nothing, Okinawa was safe and yet if you took a 2 and a half hour plane ride, you would find a city shut down, power out in Tokyo and that is not at the 8.9 earthquake's epicenter. Hundreds are dead and that is at 7:00 AM, what about later, what about when the waters go back? What will be found? We can't help but be thankful, disenchanted, in a surreal blanket of what didn't happened to us. What has changed that we have seen? It isn't much because Tokyo was visited by the views from the plane window as well as roams through an airport with a hazy fog from the death of my mother. Visits to Tokyo Disney were the topic of conversation the night before but now what does this mean for Tokyo, for Miyagi, for Japan? The people, they didn't have time to get away, they didn't have time for sirens. I just can't help but wonder what were our natural sirens? The 29 earthquakes we have had since February 19th? The animals acting strangely? I doubt anyone or anything knew THIS was coming. This was "the big one". The biggest for Japan, one for the world record books, the one that many have feared, and many fears have become reality. After talking to Mom Scott this morning I found out that Japan is the only thing people are seeing on the news. Mark and I don't have cable, so we are not being flooded with images except for when we get on the internet. Will the military call Mark and his coworkers to go to the mainland to help? We don't know yet. Today, on Saturday, as far as I know we will go about our Saturday routine. There is a St. Patrick's Day parade that my league, the Kokeshi Roller Dolls will be in. We will do laundry, hang out with friends, the only difference is that in our prayers we will add Japan to our daily list.



The news site Mark and I are watching:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42023385/ns/world_news-asiapacific/?gt1=43001

Video of the beach right by our house this morning, the day after.

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Our hearts and prayers go out to Japan.



Sayonara from the Scott's.
Okinawa, Japan

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Oni wa soto!

Fuku wa uchi! "Go away demons and good luck and fortune come inside", is what the children and I chanted on Feb. 3, 2011.  For Setsubun, a Japanese holiday, it is custome for the father or an older male sibling to wear an oni mask.  While wearing the mask they come in to the house and the children will through roasted soy beans at the oni and say, "Oni wa soto fuku wa uchi!"   The oni hates soy beans and quickly leaves the house. Afterwards, children then through the soy beans inside the house.  They also eat the quanity of soy beans that matches their age.  With this, the oni will leave you alone for one whole year.  I work at a Japanese school with American children and English is our primary language but we have Japanese staff that tries to incorporate the Japanese culture and introduce it to our students.  Here you will see my students greated by a red faced oni coming to steal our good fortune.  (Mr. Ken)  Our students did really well!  None of them cried, you will also hear my lovely, rich, southern accent.  I hate my voice.
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We later were told to make sure to tell the children our oni was not real and it was just for fun.  There was an upset parent or two, but again, luckily, not from our class.  The only child that was upset was Japanese and Mom was okay with it, she just knew she didn't have to have the oni come visit the child at home too.  I think one oni is enough for the day when it comes to 2,3,4, and 5 year olds. 

Lunar New Year came and went, all I could tell you is that it's the Year of the Rabbit.  I figured I'd hear people in the streets or be able to find some kind of festival.  I am sure there was one but I completely dropped the cultural experience ball on this one.  In Hawai'i, I never missed it, go figure. 

Super Bowl Monday!!  You mean, Sunday?  No, Monday.  It's a virtual holiday here!  Crazy, I agree.  Mark is off work so I decided to take an extra day of rest and relax with my husband.  The big show starts at 7:00 AM for us, kick off at 8:00 AM, I can not promise that I myself will be on time for the football festivites, but I am sure many out here have their alarms set.  Not everyone gets off work.  Alot of people do though, lets just hope the post office isn't one of those places.  A service that boasts being able to survive rain, sleet, and snow being side tracked by football would be laughable, but you never know.


Mark and I had our 1st YHOPJ experience today.  Jakkepoes, also known as the Yomitan House of Pancake, no, not pancakes is a pancake place that I have wanted to check out since I have heard of it.  That apparently means something around here because the little eatery sat 5 tables only and shortly after Mark and I arrived the sign up sheet was put outside the door.  A nice couple with their son offered to share their table with us, but we respectfully declined.  I wouldn't have mined but I figured I'd keep my tourist moments to myself.  Parking is almost non exsistent and for that reason I doubt I will put it on the top of my list when it comes to going back.  The food was amazingly tasty, but traffic and seating left much to be desired.  For the most part though, that is an Okinawan and Japanese staple.  Little places tucked in to neighborhoods with not many places to sit, it makes it cozy and personable, but getting in and out seems like a stress fest!  This place is pretty popular, I hadn't heard of it until a friend posted pictures on her facebook and I decided I must try this place.  I had hot milk with my meal which for a little while went with my Anko Pancakes pretty well, until it settled.  I do not drink whole milk often and the heated whole milk was almost too much for me.  You can check out their website here: http://jakkepoes.com/eng/index.html.  They urge you to walk down to the beach for an after meal stroll, but how could you when your care is in the way?  Now to show you our meals.
I opted for the pancakes with Japanese flare, the Anko Pancakes.  My pancakes, which are made fresh to order, the batter is not even pre made, come topped with green tea powder, another powder made from another type of tea, and azuki bean paste.  On the side, fresh, home made butter and whipped cream.  You also see my hot whole milk, along with my spoon for skimming the film from the top. 
My husband, along with his high blood pressure, decided to go with the Meat Lover's.  Spam, egg, bacon, and sausage complete his 3 pancake meal.  At least it doesn't look like it will kill you...much.

Now it's nap time!
Sayonara from the Scott's!

Everday Okinawa:
Will Marie be able to stay with us, she seems to have worked her furry way in to Mark's heart.  It may be her time to go regardless.  We found out, the cat chews couches. Sunabe, we have a problem.
I have come back to work to be temporary lead teacher, but will it be temporary?
Mark has high blood pressure, time to make life changes, but is there something else going on, we will find out soon. 
It rained all week last week, but it is warming up.
Feb. is proving to be a wonderful month to view cherry blossoms, kawaii!
I am continuing to enjoy roller derby.  I hope to work hard so that in April I am actually able to secure a place in the bout and actually be able to play.  It will be on my 30th birthday weekend which is quickly approaching.  I am pretty excited.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Japan's First Sakura, The Disgusting American, and Hello Kitty

What's a sakura?  Better yet, you mean that Sacura in Jackson, TN?  Some people actually can at least pull off sa-kura and hey, I am a southern girl, I once said sa-kura and I actually still do when I am not speaking to people that know there is a difference.  I actually don't see the point in saying it "correctly" unless you are speaking with someone who is Japanese or speaks Japanese.  For the most part I don't think we are expected to say it, "Sakula" and really, sakula is not exactly right.  The R is still technically an R sound but sounds more like a combination of R and L and just like RR in Spanish, you gotta know how to do it just right.  For the easy out, SA-ku-la.  So what are sakura, finally the question is answered. 

They are cherry blossoms and in Okinawa they have to bragging rights of hosting and showing the very first blooms in Japan.  Spring gets to the Ryukyu islands before any where else on the great island of Japan so the sakura festival is in full swing in Feb. as oppose to mainland Japan's April hoopla.  Nago is the place to go to see the tiny blossoms and they truly are a sight to see.  Everyone is out enjoying themselves, taking pictures, visiting the temples, and most importantly spending time with family.  The smells on the street are glorious and they almost over shadow the beauty of the sakura, almost.  There is something amazing about the sakura.  Gentle, delicate, and very small, the pink blossoms are eye catching for anyone who enjoys nature and the scenery of Japan.  Sakura are a Japanese staple and are as famous as the country itself.  


I am DONE with going on culinary adventures at my local Japanese McDonald's.  Those who know me know for the most part I am pretty adventurous when it comes to food and truth be told, not nearly adventurous as most.  When I go to McDonald's I always go out on a limb to try new dishes as I really don't like anything at McDonald's anyway.  I hate McDonald's and very rarely eat there, even for the fries which I happen to love.  So why not try something new?  Well because when I do I pick this.


The Idaho Burger.  A burger with a hashbrown, onions, bacon and 2 kinds of sauce. How could it be bad when it has bacon!?  Well because McDonald's in Japan takes the normal and makes it beyond wonky. It was pretty much the nastiest thing I have tried at a Japanese Mickey D's and that is compared to the McSalad and the Carbonara and I could handle the McSalad.  The Idaho is one of 4 featured in their Big America 2 selection and boy do they have us WRONG!  If they think this is what America is like or what Americans eat they may want to try it again.  While the Texas burger had chili on it and that seems about right, I dare not try it.

There is a new cat in town.  She will join the ranks with Hercules, which depending on how things turn out, will be coming home with us in May or stay where he is until we move back to the States.  Her name is Marie, like the Aristocats.  The family she belonged to before has two little girls that loved the movie.  Marie, is unique in the fact that she likes to chew on things.  Like my mom 2 said, "we like to adopt the cats with special needs."  Marie had a problem with chewing the little girl's stuffed animals to bits and after 2 years of trying the family had to let her go.  So I see her, fall in love with the little "Hello Kitty" and we have since bought her chew toys, which she does not touch might I add.  We don't have stuffed animals, so she has moved on to our socks.  Which works.  We left some out with toys and in the night, after becoming somewhat comfortable with us, she chose the foot coverings off the buffet of things that could be chewed on.  So now we have Hercules, our poor ginger heart murmur kitty and Marie, the white Japanese Bobtail that acts like a dog or a rabbit, confused on which she actually thinks she is.  She probably is just a cat with a different personality and Mark and I are perfectly okay with that, now if we could just get her to stop meowing nonstop at random parts of the day and night.  I doubt that will be happening.  It was funny because I am one of the biggest Hello Kitty fans I know and now I have a real one of my very own, white, bobtailed and all.  Though unlike Hello Kitty, Marie has one blue eye and one green.  How could I leave out a picture of our new baby?  Well that is because she is showcased on facebook and by now those who read probably have seen her.  I am a bad mother I know, pictures of flowers and burgers and not the fur babies.  Here is one of my Herca boy in Ohio from the last Dec.  He cuddled with Mark and I in the bed he shared with my mom as if we had never left. 

Now when will we add real children to our family?  That is for God to know and us to find out.
(As I was typing this, it was discovered by my husband that Marie aka Jaws aka Little Rabbit had chewed a massive whole in one of my new Old Navy shirts I wore once....she better be glad she has truly found a family that is accepting and knows to keep stuff out of her way...grrr, too bad cat pelts are worth what the used to be.)

Japan at a daily glance:
Work is work, crazy as ever, not going to let it stress me out because life is too short.  I have done a fantastic job with giving it to God and not letting it give me a headache.  We are getting prepared for Setsubun. (Feb. 3rd)  Where the children will be visited to an oni (Japanese demon/monster) and the children will say, "Oni wa soto, Fuku wa uchi".
Mark will be deployed this year, not telling when or where because as his wife it is also my duty to keep his operation as safe as possible, OPSEC!  Yes I will be here and nobody better DARE say, "I'm so sorry!!!"  My husband is a solider 1st, good or bad.  God and country.  I'd also like to remind those people I lost my mom, his deployment is small potatos compared to losing my best friend and shoulder or all shoulders.  This, Mark signed up for.  Mom's death, Mom and Dad signed me up for that one, thanks guys.  It really touched me to hear my favorite coworker Ms. Leona say, "I could tell when I saw you Monday you were strong."  It's hard, but God has given me a strength that I had no clue I had, and I am really proud of it.
It has been crazy cold lately, it should start warming up already, but it got cold later than it normally does for what I hear and now it's slow to warm up.  I know, I know, it's not cold like the States cold but hey, I am entitled to my opinion and you are reading it, so deal with it.  50s are cold enough.  Just think, when it was 50s in Wyoming we were coming out of our coats, 50s on Oki we have them and scarves on!

Sayonara from the Scott's!

Monday, January 17, 2011

My hazel eyed girl.


I think of the times I have heard or have said in the past, "I don't know what I would do without my parents, my mom, or my dad," and now I see to find the words ironically funny, odd if you will. The reason being is because I have now found out what I would do without one of my parents, my best friend, my matron of honor. Do you want to know what I found out? I lived.




Now please, keep it mind this mental picture. The moment Mark came to me while I was sitting in a chair in fron of my computer, frantically trying to get in touch with my daddy back in the States and said what I had already feared and yet some how knew, "Talya, your mother passed," I immediately dropped, as Mark held me on my way down, lower and lower, until I was lying on the cold floor. I chanted no, that was all, simply, no. What happened next? My brain became full of information hearing the voice of my mother, father, Mark, Paul, God. I wanted to tell everybody. What was going to be a day of cleaning and visiting Menewsha.com for the upcoming holiday event very soon took a turn for the, "I have to get to Ohio." I facebooked, I posted a thread on my menewsha.com avatar site, and most of all I cried, I was in pain. The feelings of telling everybody soon went to I don't want to talk to anybody. I talked to my dad, which thankfully for Sara and Justin Cook, I was able to call him with their phone as except for Skype which was down for the day, I had no way of calling the States. I talked to Mark, at Mark, it was all a blur because Mark had to act on my behalf. Mark tasked himself with washing dishes, clothes, as well as calling his bosses. I talked to Paul, and I couldn't remember a thing we talked about, I just remember saying, "I am thankful she wasn't in pain." My Aunt had contacted Red Cross. In a very short amount of time, I was on my way to Ohio, but not my home. During this time, I cried. If I talked to my boss on the phone I stopped, to Mark's bosses, I kept it as together as I could in a trance. I drove back home from on base and I could hear my mother's voice telling me, "Don't drive while you are upset, wait for Mark to be with you." So as soon as I was in the comfort of my husband's arm, I cried. This happened off and on for days. I had a wall up for some people, actually I would like to think it strength from God, and did not cry while having to do tasks I had to do. Though picking out my mother's funeral flowers and poem to go inside her funeral cards proved to be too much for me, God gave me the strength to be the leader of my family. My step father, "Pops," needed me and I had to be there for him. Now 28 days after my mommy's death I am still here, breathing, hurting, choking, walking, doing. I lived.



It is the worst pain I have felt in all of my 29 years. Not trying to sound old or young, just stating a fact. Anyone who knows my mother or me knows what we mean to each other and the relationship we had...have. There is only one Talya Mercedes Hood Scott and I had only one Pat Florence Gwilym as my mother, the woman that with God and my father gave me life. This is the woman that let a stranger follow her home so that she could give her a pink Victoria's Secret Santa Claus hat. This is the woman that said to me when I was 12, "I am going to keep spanking you until you cry." This is the woman that when I was 10 and feeling low sent a bear and balloons to my school for me just to let me know I was being thought of, even though we were getting canned food from the church because times were hard. This is the woman that bought me Tommy Hilfiger jeans while she was shopping at Wal Mart for herself. She loved her bi-racial child not for the novelty. She raised me with firm kindness dispite of her abusive childhood. She gave me a childhood, she gave me life, she gave me love. I was never afraid to kiss her or tell her I loved her in front of my friends and kiss her. She was my best friend, my mother, and our relationship was/is amazing. Now that she is gone, and I don't share the true understanding of my grief with many, I let myself cry when I need to, I let myself laugh, LOUD! I let myself look at the sky and think of her. I lived.



The day I found out my mom passed away it was my father's birthday, though in the States, it was still the day before. I never once asked God, "Why?" Though if I did, it would be natural. Instead I began to thank Him for the time I shared with my mother, seriously, I did. We all know, tomorrow isn't promised or guaranteed but let me tell you again, tomorrow IS NOT promised or guaranteed. My mother and I knew we loved each other, we knew about our special bond. I love you was replaced by, "Okay I'll talk to you later, muuuah!", a while ago. I love means alot to me it always has, but again it's like the 90's rock song by Xtreme says, what if you couldn't say I love you? Would you be able to show me. My mom sure did, everyday, near or far. I had no feelings of guilt. When I have children of my own it will be bitter sweet. The happiest and saddest day of my life because she was suppose to be with me and Mark holding my hand. Even so, I have no regrets, none. We live to die. My mom was never going to live forever. At some point I would lose her, 29, 39, 49, 59, if not now when? She was always going to die. I take comfort in knowing she lives on in me and she is now with her Father, not just her father, her Lord and Savior. I remain thankful. I still pray and thank God for allowing me to have her as my mom for as long as I did. I thank God! I will not be sorry when I personally know people that lived without their parents far longer than me. Dads, moms, both. I know 2 children, a brother and I sister, that lost their parents in a RV accident while they were on vacation. The children stayed behind and at 6 and 3 they became orphans. Let me repeat myself, I THANK GOD. I do not ask why, it is not for me to ask. My mother lost her dad at 6, another woman close to me was a child when she lost her dad. I thank God. I still have my daddy. Do I want to lose him, of course not! When his time comes can I stop it? Of course not...for that I cherish every moment. I thank God. I am thankful I am living to thank Him.



So, what am I going to do without my mom? Well, she is still with me and I am not dead, yet. Until I am put to rest, I will live. I have so much to live for and no matter what is going on, you do to. We all do. I pray. I take my time. I take baby steps. I lie in bed an extra minute if I need to and then I get up. I get up and I live.



Those that would like to visit my mother's website: http://www.schoedinger.com/obituaries/Pat-Gwilym/

There are so many thank you's that go out and I tried to send them all. For the love, support, condolences, and most of all prayer.



Sorry I was unable to post anything new an exciting about Okinawa for you. I felt I should honor my mom and I know those who read my blog understand. I found out while I was away that I was put on the Kokeshi Roller Dolls team the Sake Bombers and I am super excited. Our colors are green and yellow. My skates should have arrived while I was gone. I will also be receiving my mom's last Christmas gift to Mark and me along with her last letter. I am excited about this as well.



Sayonara from the Scott's, muah!