Wednesday, September 30, 2009

One of my favorite Joys

The Market!
Just off base is a little market with kind Japanese women running it. Just stepping inside lifts my spirit and soothes my soul. They usually have great prices on their produce too. For example, those giant green onions were 100Yen, the tomatoes 300Yen. The tomatoes at the commissary would have been three times that much probably, Plus its local and really fresh not to mention uniform dark red through out the whole tomato. They have some of the best little yellow cherry tomatoes too. You can't tell the scale but those green pears are about as big as my foot and the the onions as long as my arm! I also saw a Nashi or asian pear there today for 400Yen. It was beautiful and I barely was able to put it down and walk away. They are one of the greatest things to eat.

This feeling is only surpased by the trip to the Apple Lady. My friend calls it the Apple Market and since she was here first, I guess she is right. Anyway it is right by the train station and church. This lady is so nice and always throws in something for free, like a basket of plums or the like. There I buy a crate of about 80 apples for 1000Yen, where as they are at least a dollar at the commissary

Side note: I have never ever had as good an apple as I've had in Japan. They are so crisp, flavorful and juicy delicious.

One last market is the 9 day market. A true farmers market. It is at a plaza in the city on ever day of the month with a 9 in it: 9/19/29. Here you can get anything from fruit to veggies to honey to seeds to flowers to fish to garage sell items. There is one vendor there that is totally high pressure sales. Whenever I buy something she/they will pretend cry until I buy more. Kinda funny and it works.

Well, that is why I'm feeling bloggy today! despite being exhausted.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Darn Kids

Today I was feeling happy, despite a generally hard/bad day, I guess it was just really sunny out. Anyway, I took Gabe Jogging in the bike trailer converted to jogger stroller and stopped at the BX to buy the boys some toys. Gabe was excited about his transformer and equally excited about giving Max and Sam theirs, well I think he was partial to Max.

So we got back and Gabe rushed to take them theirs. I gave M and S their new transformers and they were so excited jumping up and down cheering and chanting: DAD YOU ARE SO AWESOME. I LOVE YOU. I CAN' T BELIEVE HOW COOL YOU ARE!!!!!!!!!!!! THANK YO SO MUCH!

well, that wasn't exactly what happened.

Gabe did rush to give them the toys and I did give them to them. After which Sam promptly took his and went back to watching his friend play the DS. Max at least forced out a meager Thanks Daddy after I stared him down.

Luckily I had prepared myself by trying to erase my expectations, at least the majority of them.

Anyway, they do like them and I was feeling like they could use a random gift from their yenny pinching father.

-I also understand that sometimes the true excitement doesn't show all the time when you get a present. I have been accused of this many a time by my family, dissapointing them by my reaction, despite feeling happy on the inside.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Lake Towada-The Perfect Memorial Day Weekend

Last weekend was great. We found a great all you can eat Japanese restaurant on Th night (I gorged myself). Had a beach bash Friday night (yes Friday was a PACAF family day!)(Don't you want to join the AF and have a PACAF family day)(Don't you want to know what PACAF is?)(Guess). Saturday was a perfect day of kayaking at Lake Towada. (A volcanic lake about 1.5-2 hour scenic drive from us)We had previously found this perfect little park with a great lawn, playground, picnic area, small beach perfect for the kids and launching of kayaks. We had about 10 families up there playing. I didn't know "Three Flys Up" could be so much fun and painful as an adult, although the women would argue about us being adults. Then there was one final festival up at the Lake and I went to get some pics of the Nebuta floats lite up at night and the Akita lanterns, which I didn't see. Em was festivaled out so I went with some of the other friends and she headed home with other friends. Then Monday we watched the BYU-OU game and we didn't even know the result yet!! (We have to watch it on Monday since BYU plays on Sunday in Japan. So we have to have a college football "Fast" until Monday. Its almost as hard as a real fast!) That was followed by a fun round of Frisbee Golf with my buddy Wes and a few of our kids. Max actually played all 9 holes with us.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


ENDEX=End of Exercise

Never has an acronym brought such feelings of jubilant glee/happiness/cease of swearing/genuine relief. The past three days have been horrible. The base was doing an "exercise." This was to simulate attacks on the base and since North Korea are our naughty neighbors in this neck of the world the attacks were assumed "dirty" until proven otherwise. This is practice for the graded exercise by the Air Force.

What does this mean? It means I was not a dentist these past few days rather I was in charge of the Triage Team. We started out in MOPP2. This entails wearing over boots/pants/coat/very heavy helmet/even heavier protective vest and carrying the gas mask and gloves. Doesn't sound too bad, and it wasn't at first. The first alarm came and we had to go into MOPP 4. This added the gloves and the gas mask and ducking for cover. (Thank you Elementary School Earthquake drills for the preperation!) Still, not horrible. It lasted about 30 minutes and by that time I was in the middle of a panic attack and feeling very claustrophobic. But I survived. My friend, who "played" in the last exercise, said the longest they were ever kept in MOPP4 was about a half hour or so.

Then a few hours later we hear the next alarm and go back into MOPP4. Only this time the nausea hits me at about 90 minutes! We were in it for about two hours, shattering the last record! It was absolutely miserable.

Can't imagine it?

Let me illustrate the progression: It starts with an uncomfortable cement floor, lying down, trying to fall asleep but worrying about not being able to breath while asleep in a respirator, then about 4o minutes the gas mask feels like it is constricting your head and tearing into your ear, at times the nose itches but can't be scratched, the helmets weight begins to increase combining with the constriction to give the MOPP headache, the leaded vest weighs down on the shoulders increasing the headache, sweat soaks into everything, then Triage team is activated to go triage casualties and you stand up and get hit by nausea (yes these are all symptoms of heat exhaustion). Then you drink some water from the gas mask tube attachment and it takes like rotten plastic... You get the idea. This happened 3 or 4 times each day. Today, day 3, everyone cringed every time there was an overhead page, fearing the dreaded words, Alarm Blue MOPP4!

I survived the attacks and the exercises and did well as the Triage Team Chief. And am a much better person for enduring it. Yeah Whatever! I'm glad to be done and hope to never play this game again. I'm glad I'm not in Korea where they do this much more often. Their was much rejoicing when Endex was called.