Monday, June 28, 2010

A trip to Sea Paradise

Just one stop away from our neighborhood train station is Kanazawa-Hakkei station. We met some friends from the base there this past weekend and took a short ride to 'Sea Paradise'.

It's a SeaWorld sort of place, with lots of large tanks full of the kind of things Allan just loves to observe. A young MLC (master labor contractor - or Japanese national), Hiroko and her sister were in the party. Each had a son, so we had two children with us.

Another member of the group was Ryan Hevener, a young sailor who works with Allan's group. He and Allan are in the May 30th, Allan Rides Again issue, sitting on the bronze bear.

The tanks were filled with an array of sea creatures which fascinated all of us. These fish are feeding on the plants here.

There was a show with gray dolphins, beluga whales (below) seals and walrus. Of course they all were very acrobatic and theatrical creatures.

Below a dolphin is flying high, wacking a ball with his tail fin. Of course he got a nice reward for his efforts, as well as accolades from the crowd.

After a few hours of shows and big and small creatures in tanks, it was time for lunch. This is my favorite part of any outing, and today we went to an Italian restaurant. It was in fact, the Japanese version of an Italian restaurant.

Dessert was an assortment of fruit and marshmallows which could be held under a chocolate fountain. Hiroko's son Hugo was indulged by his mother and got great pleasure from the chocolate covered treats.

Allan and I had our share, but our faces were clean, so... that would be an incredibly boring photo.

And lastly, this is our friend and Allan's Japanese teacher, Hiromi. She speaks English well, and says she learns more by watching American tv shows.
Here we have few English channels, with an abundance of NCIS, CSI Miami, CSI NY, Cold Case and MI5, (a British cop show) so I thought her exposure to everyday English must be limited. She responded by saying she knows what 'pedophile' means. She sometimes gets it mixed up with 'pedestrian'. Hey, how well do you speak Japanese?
I'm going to Hong Kong Thursday, so I'll be letting you know how I liked it very soon. Stay tuned.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Navy retirement ceremony

Lt. Elena Roldan retired this week. That's her in front of the flags. This was the first retirement ceremony for Allan and me. Commander Paul Brochu, Director of Public Health was the MC.

The colors (flags) were presented and a former commander of Elena's came from Guam to take part in the ceremony and speak about her career. While Cmdr. Brochu recited a prose composition entitled 'Old Glory', there was the passing of the flag.
The folded flag was passed down a line of eight naval personnel. Each recipient saluted the flag, then extended arms. The flag was transferred by flipping it over so that the pointed end was away from the recipient's body.

The person who relinquished the flag then saluted it, and the person now holding it did an 'about face' and the whole thing started again until it reached Elena's two daughters. They accepted the flag and presented it to their mother. The ceremony ended when Lt. Roldan requested permission to go ashore for the last time.

Things around Yokosuka (again, it's YoKoSka) have settled in and become somewhat routine for us. We've been here nine months already.

Seeing someone sleeping on the train is pretty common, but this little girl looks like a fourth grader. Usually kids will go one or two stops, but this girl went quite a distance. I was afraid she would miss her stop. But she got off one stop before me.

Last weekend, we played golf with two friends at Atsugi Naval Base, which oddly is not on the ocean. The planes from aircraft carriers are 'parked' there when the ships are in port.

Saturday night was a surprise 50th birthday party for a friend, whose husband gave her a trip to Israel.

This weekend was golf again and a shopping trip to Kawasaki. Yeah - the motorcycle city. Allan left for a dive trip early Saturday that didn't happen since the seas were lousy. We decided shopping and lunch would occupy us for a few hours.

We chose Kawasaki for it's California Pizza Kitchen. We really were ready for some American restaurant food. But don't eat at Denny's in Japan - it's not anything you'll recognize.
Here's a challenge for you. Find a city somewhere in the world without a McDonald's - betcha can't.


And you can't find a city in Japan that doesn't have a Pachinko & Slot. Gambling is a national pastime. Vegas is the favorite destination for Japanese tourists in the states.

When the sun is shining, I think this contraption is called a parasol. Alot of women carry them here. So feminine.

I'll be meeting Jean in Hong Kong in about two weeks. Then she'll make a trip to China and come to Japan for six days. Poor Allan has a training session and can't be off that week. Awww!