So this has been far and away the hottest week since we arrived in Japan. We've lived in some hot places throughout our various moves during our time in the Air Force. We lived in Virginia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Alabama and the hottest of all...San Antonio, TX. The key difference between those places and Japan is that we had air conditioning in all of our homes at those locations, and we have no air conditioning in our house at Misawa AB. So, to beat the heat we often go to the one place on base that does have A/C...the movie theater. This week we took the girls to see 'Thor'...the movie was o.k., but it was a good way to stay cool for a couple hours.
Then on Friday we got an unplanned surprise for the family; we got to spend a couple more hours at the air conditioned theater checking out an 'American Idol' tour that came to base. We got free tickets to a pretty good show, there were 8 singers from the last few Idol seasons, none from the top 12 of any season, but all of them were at least from the top 24. We got to see John Wayne Schulz, Janell Wheeler, Jimmie Allen, Jovany Baretto, Chelsea Sorrell, Colin Benward, Rachel Zevita and Ta-Tynisa Wilson. After their show, they all stuck around to sign autographs and talk to the kids. The pictures below are of the girls and the 'Idols' during the autograph session.
Then on Saturday morning after the concert, we got a phone call bright and early at 7 a.m. Riley and Callan were recalled and ordered to report for duty for Operation Code. They got to experience a deployment processing line and spent a day "playing war" at Camp Defender. After their recall they showed up to process through the line and got pretend id cards, orders, shots, powers of attorney, Camel Baks (which they got to keep), fake injuries, first aid training, and then they were off on their deployment. After 5 hours of being off at war, all the parents welcomed them home with signs, flowers, and cake. They seemed to have a good time, and they were definitely tired out from their busy day. The pictures below are of the girls during the deployment processing.
Finally, on Sunday we took a trip to Lake Towada and took a hike through the Oirase River Gorge. Lake Towada (十和田湖 Towada-ko ) is the largest crater lake on Honshū island. It is located on the border between Aomori and Akita prefectures, it lies 400 meters (1,800 ft) above sea level and is 327.0m (1,073 ft) depth, and is drained by the Oirase river. With a surface area of 61.1 km², Towada is Japan's 12th largest lake, its bright blue color is due to its great depth. The lake is roughly circular, with two peninsulas extending from its southern shore approximately one-third into the center of the lake. Our hike took us about 3 km out (and back for a total of 6km) from the lake down through the gorge created by the Oirase river. There is a trail that parallels the river, and there are several sets of waterfalls along the trail. The only downside was that there is also a road that parallels the river. A VERY narrow and busy road that we drove all the way up to start our hike...an extremely nerve wracking 9km. Overall it was a great day for the Phillips-5, the kiddos were definitely troopers...especially on the return portion of they hike when they were tired out. The pictures below are from our day on the trail.
The final picture of the week is from the information center/rest area at the base of the gorge. All of the toilets at this particular rest area were like the one pictured below...no place to sit down, just squat and go. The girls have affectionately named these the "squatty potties." They say that the Japanese must have strong legs because using these is not an easy task.
That is all from the Phillips-5 until next week or the next update.