Sunday, August 7, 2011

An update 3-weeks in the making!

So this update is long overdue, but it has been a very busy three weeks.  We finally sat down today and downloaded some pictures and took some time to let anyone who was interested know what is going on in the Phillips-5 Japanese Adventure.

So...lets go back to Friday July 22nd, this was the end of Jeff's 2nd full week on the job and we finished off the week with the 35th Fighter Wing Combat Dining Out.  This type of event was new to both of us, but everyone said to show up dressed appropriately (i.e., combat attire) and to show up armed.  So we made our way to the 100 Yen store (Japanese equivalent to the Dollar Store) and added some "Super Soaker's and water balloons to our arsenal.  The event ended up being a lot of fun and we were both plenty soaked for the cold walk least we were close enough to walk.  The pictures below are of us prior to leaving for the event, Megan and some of the other wives, and one of the Grog Bowl.  For those that don't know...the Grog Bowl is where violaters of the rules of the mess have to go to drink.  It is usually filled with several bottles of liquor.

The next day Jeff left for Hawaii for the PACAF Commander's Course.  He took off Saturday at 9:55 a.m., had an airport transfer and a 7 hour layover in Tokyo, and still landed in Hawaii at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday (almost 2 hrs before he took off)...the joys of crossing the International Dateline.  During that week, the girls attended Vacation Bible School on the base which gave Megan a nice little break each day.  During all that "free time" she finished unpacking and we were finally at the point of hanging up pictures.  Jeff's week in Hawaii was fairly uneventful, he flew back on Saturday, but had to spend the night in Tokyo and ended up arriving home on Monday morning.  The picture below is of the flight board in the Tokyo Narita airport.

During the following week, Jeff had a lot of catching up to do which resulted in a couple of late nights of work to get through 500+ emails.  The highlight of the week was the release of the Staff Sergeant promotion list.  The 35th Communications Squadron had 20 Senior Airman selected for promotion, the second highest number of promotees for the entire base.  Riley and Callan stayed busy attending a paintball camp Monday - Thursday...Riley actually called it quits after the first day, but Callan stuck it out.  Even though she came home with lots of bruises, she thoroughly enjoyed the week.  On Friday, Jeff attended the Senior NCO induction ceremony...a mess dress event where 6 people from the 35th Comm Squadron entered the Senior NCO corps.  The pictures below are of the girls heading into paintball combat. 

The weekend ensued with Riley and Callan heading off to a cultural exchange camp.  About 25 kids from Misawa Air Base went to Aomori and spent 2 nights in a local elementary school with Japanese and Korean kids.  Over the course of the weekend they had a snack exchange to experience popular snacks from other countries, they went to a beach, visited an Onsen (Japanese bath house or as Callan would say, "a big hot tub where everyone is naked"), and finally they marched in a 3 mile long parade as part of the Nebuta Festival.  Throughout the course of the weekend, Callan and her blond hair were quite the object of affection.  According to one of the chaperones, other kids were petting her most of the weekend, sometimes up to six people simultaneously.  As much as Callan loves attention, even she said it was a little much after a while.

The Nebuta Festival takes place from August 2nd to 7th every year in the city of Aomori, which is located at the northern tip of Japan's main island, Honshu. It used to be part of the Tanabata Festival, which was traditionally held on the seventh day of the seventh month on the old Japanese calendar.  The Festival features a parade of huge lanterns in the shape of samurai warriors. The lanterns are made with wooden or bamboo frames and covered with brightly colored paper-mâché. Most of the warriors depicted are historically famous generals or are characters from well-known kabuki plays.  Jeff, Megan, and Delaney drove up for the parade, but unfortunately picked the one spot on the parade route that the girls did not pass by.  However, we did get to visit them before and after at the school where they were staying.  We all spent Sunday recovering from our late night at the festival and getting ready for the week ahead.  The following pictures are of the girls at their cultural exchange camp, some of the parade, and Jeff with the largest traffic cone we have ever seen.

That is all from the Phillips-5 until next week or the next update.

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