So this update has been some time in the making...REALLY we will try to update more frequently. Since the last time we wrote, we attended the Misawa City Festival. The great thing about this festival is that it was right outside the main gate and walking distance from our house. So we all headed to the festival in the early afternoon, we had some of the local cuisine (icees, japanese fries, and of course some of the local brew). Something interesting that we learned in watching the festival parades was that the Japanese men really enjoy dressing as women to celebrate these events...to include well endowed "balloon chests" as part of their costumes. In one of the parades there was also a group dressed as sumo wrestlers...they were literally wearing only the g-string...Delaney, who STILL talks about it, may be scarred for life, but it was definitely a good laugh. This year's festival was centered around the 80th anniversary of the Little Miss Veedol flight. It was the first trans-pacific flight, and it took off from Misawa and landed in Washington state 41+ hours later (great history and definitely worth googling). The highlights of the parade were a REALLY young marching band and some of the Misawa Air Base wives, NOT Megan, that were part of the dancing parade (and of course the great beer). Below are some pics of the parade:
The next day, we took our first trip to Hachinoe (pronounced hatch-ino-hey). Most directions to everyplace in Hach reference a left or right turn at Sega World...yes an entire store that revolves around Sega, maybe we will stop and check it out next time. Our first stop was the the Toys R Us. We thought this would be a little taste of home, but of course we were mistaken and all of the toys, games, etc. were Japanese. However, we did find some replacement wrist straps for our Wii remotes, so we replaced the dirty old white ones with blue and pink ones. As our friend Chip knows, Wii wrist straps are VERY important. Next, we visited Freedom dome mall, talk about crazy, there was basically an amusement park inside of the mall, to include all kinds of games, a 'rollercoaster-like' ride and a merry go round, or as the Japanese call it, a "Merry Goraund". We bought the girls some umbrellas at the mall, and it may have been the best purchase ever since we have had a ton of rain, with a lot more on the way. The pictures below are of the Sega World, Toys R Us, the Freedomdome Mall amusement park, and the Merry Goraund.
During the week after our visit to Hachinoe, we went on a shopping trip to the local Homac...think Walmart without toys or food. We bought a few things we could not find in the BX, like an office chair and we decided to buy chopsticks for everyone in the family. There are a few pictures below of us practicing our chopstick etiquette. Megan and Jeff also took a Japanese customs and courtesies class and learned that it is not acceptable to stab your food with the chopsticks. Also, you are not supposed to put soy sauce on your Japanese rice...it is like putting ketchup on steak. The pictures below are of us practicing with chopsticks.
The next week was the last week of summer. Jeff went through his first Phase II exercise in preparation for the 35th Fighter Wing's upcoming Operational Readiness Inspection...so he got to wear his flak vest, gas mask, and chem gear all week. After the exercise, Jeff took the kids to the base pool one night. They all passed the swim test, even Laney, but the pool is indoors and doesn't really compare to the P-town YMCA...especially since none of our P-town peeps were there. On Saturday of that week we all went to a free movie screening of Mr. Poppers Penguins, which included free popcorn, soda, and candy, so the girls really enjoyed that. That Saturday night we also had our first Misawa poker party which ended up being a great time for all. Sunday we spent the day prepping for the first day of school...oh yeah...AND we bought a new couch and loveseat which made Megan VERY happy...she has been campaigning for quite sometime. Below are some pics of the girls first day of school, we will include pics of the furniture next week after it is delivered:
This weekend we have a 4-day weekend with a PACAF family day on Friday and Labor Day on Monday. We also have the Misawa AB airshow on Sunday with lots of different planes on display and both USAF and JASDF (Japanese Air Self Defense Force) demonstrations. They open the base to the local populace and expect ~150,000 locals to show up. The good thing about that is the great fund raising opportunity it provides our Comm Squadron booster club (the Comm Rockers). We sell funnel cakes, Betty Crocker cakes without frosting, and squadron t-shirts and coins. We should make enough money to fund our squadron holiday party from this one day.
Finally, we are hoping that the airshow is not postponed by the inbound Typhoon Talas. The storm is a Category 1 and is supposed to move in just west of town on Saturday night/Sunday morning. We are keeping our fingers crossed that there is little wind and rain.
That is all until next week...hope to hear from everyone soon!