The Briefing Room:
Waaaaayyy back in 2008, my husband came home with news that we would be transferring duty stations from Jacksonville, Florida to Atsugi, Japan. It was official, there was no turning back. The Navy had signed the papers and we needed to report no later than December 26th. To say that I felt overwhelmed is an understatement. I had a house to store and pack, I had family to attend to, I had a teaching career that I had to make decisions about. But, my biggest concern were the three kiddos that I had to prepare for a completely different lifestyle. My family and I were going to be representing our own country somewhere else and the last thing I wanted was an international incident on my hands! My husband and I decided we needed to ensure that we were teaching our kids the skills that they needed to be successful at this next duty station and we made the concious decision to parent through experience. This experience based approach is what first opened my eyes to what my kids really needed. They needed to have a global outlook. They need to approach new experiences. So, we had a big Thanksgiving to say goodbye to our nearest and dearest then headed out for the adventure of a lifetime. It was this duty station with these kids at this time in their lives that defined global literacy for me. It made me understand how important it was to create productive, resiliant humans. It started me on the TGC Journey.
The Technical Manual:
The e-mails and letters that I wrote home to my family and friends became the basis for starting my blog. They were the notes that had responses like “You should publish this!” and “You should write a book!” So, I feel it’s only reasonable that I share those early writings and blurry pictures- warts and all!!!!!
The Daily Passdowns:
Sat 12/29/07 3:07 AM
Greetings from the Far East!
We have now been here in Atsugi for about 24 hours. So far, it has been very misty and overcast but a moderate 55 degrees. We have settled in to the Navy Lodge and started to adjust to the time change. We were very surprised to see that most everythinghad been closed down for the holiday weekend so we won’t be able to get our check-in started until then. As for the outside of the gate, it is very industriallooking and not as clean as I expected. We drove from Yokota AFB south to NAF Atsugi. The area we drove was very populated and urban. It will be very interesting to see what other areas look like. On base, we have discovered a ton of things to do. From our hotel, we can easily walk to any of the NEX services including commissary, exchange, movies, and about a dozen places to eat. Chris checked into work and does not have to be there until Tuesday. We did book a reservation for the 5th to see the Snow Monkeys! I will try to send pictures soon!
Mon 12/31/07 9:49pm
I just got a few pictures and wanted to send along our journey from JAX to Japan. for those of you that are not educators, the paper doll’s name is Flat Steven. It was made by one of my students at Ridgeview and is based on the book called Flat Stanley. Flat Steven has shown up in a lot of pictures! So here they are in no particulat order: 1) We hung out at the Jacksonville USO while our papers were being processed, it was worth it. We did not have to deal with customs on the other end. 2) We literally took off a few minutes early before snow closed the airport. Here it is from the gate ramp. We were one of the last planes out. 3) We finally made it to Yokota AFB! 4) A Japanese vending machine with “American Coffee” and 5) The kids in front of the base chapel. The whole thing was lined with cedar and was decorated for Christmas, just stunning! A few notes about what we’ve seen… unfortunately not much. Apparently, the Pentagon’s rush to get us here coincided with the biggest national holiday of the year so not much is open. We have, however, walked most of the base and have rented a bike for errands. We do not have permission to buy a car until we get our Japanese driver’s license. We go to that class nest week along with a class that will let us know what places are good to go off base. Once we get that far, we’ll be able to see a lot! Also, the kids start school on Monday! Hooray!!!!! Alex
Fri 12/28/07 3:20 PM
Hello or Moshi Moshi from Japan!
We finally made it through our 4 day long journey! on Dec 26th, we left out of Jacksonville and crossed clear across the country to Seatle. There, we settled in for a sleepless night (get it? We were sleepless in Seatle!) There we met up with about 200 of our closest Marine friends who were straight our of Boot Camp. Well, the trip was definitely not for us! The movies were Blades of Glory, gomer Pyle, and Spiderman; the boys were happy but I got stuck watching HSMII with Meg. Japan is not at all what I thought it would look like. It looks very European and industrial. I was so surprised at the litter. However, I was told that they worry more about the inside than the outside. I HAVE found where the 5 story 100 Yen store is. I can’t wait for that! So, today, i will start documenting with pictures and we’ll be in touch.
Alex and gang
Tue 1/08/08 3:22 AM
Our new address is PSC 47X Box 6XX, FPO AP 96XXX
Fri 1/04/08 2:24 AM
Here are a few pics from the week. We have been walking around a lot. In no particular order, Mount Fuji in the background, at the front gate, our new car, in the Daiei- a Japanese super store. The store is where you find everything from a supermarket to an arcade
Thu 1/10/08 6:34 AM
Well, Chris has been taking his ICR (Intercultural Relations) Class and today was his field trip day. Basically, the Sensei (teacher) showed you the basics of the train system and you had to go somewhere and get back. You pass this part if you show up at class the next day. Here’s the big problem: it’s all color coded and that’s great- unless your colorblind! Anyway, I was able to put the kids in school and go with Chris just to be on the safe side! The trains are nice but challenging to navigate until you have been on them for a while, but we made it back in time to get the kids from class. We visited the Big Buddha in Kamikura. It is in a seaside town and very quaint. In no particular order: In the train station, first look at the Pacific, Buddha, fresh beans sold in bulk, a fresh veggie stand in Hase.
Until next time!
Sun 1/13/08 6:55 AM
Today we took a train trip to a town called Odowara. It is SW of here and on the coast of Sagamino Bay. This is part of the Kanto Plane and a very built up city. However, in the heart of the “downtown” area is a stunning park with a castle that was built in 1252. This is the Shogun stuff that’s so famous here. Enclosed are pics of the kids taking their first train ride, Odowara shopping district, Japanese public toilet (see if YOU can figure it out!), and the castle grounds. As you can tell, it was a drizzling, misty day and it never cleared up completely. Hello Kitty was dressed in a full kimono and Col. Sanders was in fine form. The last part of our trip included our first meal out and a temperamental street monkey!
Alex, Chris and Kids!
Sun 1/20/08 3:36 AM
Today we ventured off base with Chris behind the wheel. Our goal was to make it to our new house and back. We white-knuckled it around some pretty crazy turns but within 10 minutes we were there. It was the first time the kids had seen the house and they were a little shocked. You see, Japanese homes are about the inside not the outside. There are no yards and you usually have to park away from your house. We park across the street. So, please remember that when you look at the picture, the storm shutters are on and the day was VERY overcast. After our house, we took the kids to the park across the street. (Check out the warning sign about playing on the rocks!) We are looking forward to seeing everything in the spring and in full bloom. Last, we went to the supermarket, which in Japan is not just about food. Modern supermarkets usually have food on the bottom and other things like a drugstore, 100 yen store, dry cleaners and clothes even eyeglasses upstairs. The thing that intrigued us the most, however was the sushi-go-round. This place reminds me of like a Friendly’s (remember them?) but with conveyor belts that let sushi travel to every table. It was great! when you look at the pictures be sure to note the conveyors in the background. When you are done, you press a button and they count up your plates and hand you a bill. The kids have off for the federal holiday tomorrow so we might venture to the american movies!