Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Yokosuka - The Town

Yokosuka is on Tokyo Bay and has been populated for over 1000 years. It's in typhoon alley - one hit yesterday, and today is sunny, but very windy.
About a million people live in and around the city, so the traffic is pretty heavy. Since we don't have a car, Allan and I are very familiar with the area of Yokosuka we can reach on foot. This is a retired warship called the Mikasa docked a short distance from the south gate.

Once, Yokosuka was the center of Japanese ship building, now there are Nissan and Infinity plants located nearby.

First, we noticed all the differences here - the Japanese don't point with their index finger, they use the one next to it. Yep, their middle finger! Kid wear uniforms to school, K-12. Lots of people wear surgical masks in the streets, and I understand that gets worse during allergy season. It's bad manners to blow on your food, but it's okay to slurp your soup and use a toothpick in public. There's no tipping (that's something I can get behind). And of course there's that whole driving on the wrong side of the road business.

Otherwise, it's alot like the states. Gas is more expensive, toll roads abound, restaurant food costs about the same as stateside, and teenage boys pull their pants down to their thighs. I don't know why they don't fall off.

Just outside the base's main gate is the central shopping street that Americans have named 'Blue Street'.

I think the name comes from the blue rocks in the pavement (see photo at right). Gene, who shares an office with Allan thinks it's name comes from the Jazz (or Blues) clubs located on the street.

The sidewalks here, and I guess all over Japan, have special three dimensional tiles to assist the visually impaired. Those with the straight lines run the length of the sidewalk and help direct people to the dotted tiles which let you know that there is a crosswalk or some change in the trail. You can find these on the base also.

Convenience store has a whole different meaning in Japan. You can pay your phone, electric and gas bills at the 7/11. There's no charge for the service which we'll be using, I'm sure.

There are prepared foods and regular grocery items which are about the same quality and price as you would find at a regular grocery store. Allan and I checked it out and it was pretty impressive. His favorite thing from the 7/11 is chocolate dipped banana chips. I like them too.

This is a typical restaurant window. This works well for those of us who don't read Japanese. The other good option is the sushi-go-round. You choose items from a conveyer, and pay a small amount for each plate.

Prior to coming here, we asked family and friends what they wanted from Japan. For the person who wanted a Japanese Catholic schoolgirl, (you know who you are) this last picture is for you.

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