Monday, November 26, 2012

Fun from the Past Week

Thanksgiving already feels so long ago.  On Friday, my friends Tim and Christine, who are currently teaching in Hong Kong, came to visit.  We had a really great visit, and we did so much!  In only 48 hours we were able to visit a Temple and a Shrine, the fashion district, the electronics district, the Imperial Palace Gardens, the area where John went to school (that I had never seen before), along with a few other key places.  We also took them to our favorite restaurant, and discovered a fantastic ramen place with (spicy miso ramen is amazing!), did Karaoke, and went to the bar from Lost In Translation which is on the 50th floor (or maybe even higher) so there is an amazing view of the city.  While we were up there, there was a small earthquake and the elevators shut down, but then they didn't come back on.  Eventually, we were taken down the emergency elevators back in the staff area.

As I write this all down I realize how crazy much we did.  It reminds me of the weekend that Cindy and Ellie came to visit me in DC last fall.  But it was also great to visit with them, and for them to get to know John since they had only met him at our wedding.  So, everyone else should start planning their trips to come visit us now.

But other fun things have been going on, and I've been accumulating pictures that I want to post, so I'll go ahead and dump them here.

One night Raku and I came across this gentleman riding around in the sunroof of a Rolls Royce conducting wildly to the music from 2001: A Space Odyssey with a light up baton.  His driver went all over the neighborhood at about 5 mph.

I've also spent some time helping Raku put together some furniture that she ordered (and crawling in the boxes).

And finally, Wendy's has come to Japan (and even the street we live on).  It's much fancier here than in the US (note that it's 2 stories) and supposedly offers a lobster and caviar sandwich.  We found it to stay a little truer to the US menu than McDonalds does, and it has huge drinks!  We were so excited!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

I was torn as to whether we should try to do something to approximate Thanksgiving today or if I should just give up and do something really Japanese like eat ramen.  But in the end I decided to give it a shot despite our small kitchen.

While John was at work (he gets Friday off instead) I did some grocery shopping, with some entertaining finds.

I saw this mistake in more than one store

So, our final menu was chicken picata, mashed potatoes, and green beans with almonds.  I also found a place to buy pie and got a slice of pecan for John and apple for myself.

Here's our dinner

And our pie

Other than that things are pretty good.  My friends from Hong Kong are coming to visit tomorrow, so it should be a good weekend.  There's not much to report on the apartment front.  But in the spirit of Thanksgiving, here is what I am thankful for this year.

1.  Being married to my wonderful husband and getting to share this new adventure with him.

2.  Kind and supportive friends and family that we have here and around the world.

3.  That the dollar has been getting stronger against the yen all week.

Hope you all have happy Thanksgivings!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

We're here!

I can't believe we've already been here for more than a week!

Our temporary apartment is very small, much smaller than last summer, but at least it's a place to stay.  Again the kitchen only has one burner (so stay tuned for an interesting Thanksgiving post), but we're making it work.  Tonight I made potato soup for dinner (which John claims to have never eaten before) complete with a cheesy bacon crouton.

And although things tend to be pricier, I've found kiwis to be a bargain.  And I do love their packaging.

Most of what we've been doing is looking for apartments (beside John's whole job thing), and it's not nearly as fun as International House Hunters makes it look.  Mainly it's exhausting, emotional, and agonizing.  We've seen a ton of places and we've applied for two.  We just found out this evening that one of them rejected us, but we're waiting to hear from the other place, and I'm going to see another place tomorrow.  I know it sounds really weird that a place rejected us, but here there's a whole negotiation process over the price, and because John's firm signs our lease for us they require the apartment to agree to certain terms, so that's where the hang up was.  But just to lighten to the mood here is a picture of the funniest things we've seen so far while searching.

In case we forgot what room it was?

Otherwise, we've been accomplishing things and seeing friends and mostly being happy to be here.  I discovered some amazing cookies that are actually German, I think.  If you ever come across some Chocolate Happy Hippos, I highly recommend them!

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving, and I'll be sure to post soon about ours.  And keep us in your thoughts that hopefully we'll have some good apartment news to share soon.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Strange Beginning

Welcome back to our blog, round 3!    It's crazy that it's finally here, but on Saturday morning we're moving to Tokyo.    First, I want to say that although we're ready to be settled somewhere, it has been a blessing to have the last few months to spend so much time with friends and family, to be able to travel, and to really relax and get things in order before leaving.

But now, on to the stories.  John started work (orientation) last week at the DC office, which meant that we had to be here last Sunday.  (Just in time for Hurricane Sandy to hit)  We had reserved a temporary apartment for our time here, but when we arrived something had gone wrong and there was no reservation.  After a little scrambling we ended up at a Holiday Inn.  Meanwhile hurricane Sandy made her appearance.  On the plus side John didn't have work on Monday or Tuesday, but much to his frustration our hotel's power went our about 2 minutes before Monday Night Football started, and didn't come back on until lunch time Tuesday.  We were very lucky to be in DC rather than New York or New Jersey, but it was definitely not the beginning that either of us had expected.

Finally on Wednesday John started work, and we moved from the Holiday Inn in Alexandria to a hotel in DC.  So far John has found the DC office, and the firm as a whole, to be very friendly and welcoming and orientation has been painless (and even interesting at times).  Meanwhile, I was able to visit my old office from last year and today went to the US Postal Museum (who knew there was one of those?)

But, looking to the future here are a few things we're looking forward in Japan:

1.  Warmer weather (and warmer clothes).  Guess which couple accidentally packed all their winter clothes and coats/jackets in their shipping container in August?

2.  Karaoke!

3.  Our first scheduled visitors!  Our friends Christine & Tim are teaching in Hong Kong right now, and they'll be coming to visit Thanksgiving weekend.

In the future I promise more exciting posts, as well as pictures.  But please know how much we care about everyone, and that we are only an email/g-chat/facetime/skype away.