Published: June 21st 2009June 9th 2009
Sasebo was quaint, quiet and comforting. Okinawa was pretty much a non-event (as I didn't leave the ship and was only there for 6 hours). Yokosuka was the next challenge. I'd heard so much about it, from the countryside to Yokohama to Tokyo, but it still wasn't what I expected at all.
I guess I had some huge metropolitan base in mind, but Yokosuka Naval Base is teeny! I mean, it's probably about the size of North Island, if not a little smaller. There aren't very many ships there either, U.S. Navy ones anyway. Of course there's the Blue Ridge (a flagship) and a bunch of small boys, but the George Washington wasn't in and that seemed to make all the difference in the number of personnel on the base. We moored at the carrier pier and I was pleased to see Jeremy waiting for me on the pier! Yeppers, he finally was able to take a little bit of leave to come see me. I felt a little guilty, apparently he was waiting at the pier for a few hours, we were delayed a little bit in the channel coming in. Ooops!
So, I still had to work all the time, that was kind of lame. The Master and the Chief Mate were kind enough to give Jeremy a "no escort" required badge. So, what did my poor wife-deprived man do? My laundry! Yes, I said it... I asked him to; I needed some clean clothes. I'm just not going to feel guilty about it... okay, maybe I am a little. He was happy to do it though, no complaints at all. Such a good man! :)
Jeremy was extremely thoughtful, bringing gifts on the plane with him to give to me. Happy birthday, happy anniversary, I love you day... etc, etc. He buys me a really nice camera. SWEET!!! I've been dying to get more and more into photography but wanted to wait until I got a great camera. No more waiting!
Luckily Jeremy had been to Japan before and kind of knew the basics on how to get around. He visited the travel office on base and got information for us to figure out where to go. We got a BOQ room and took a nap for like 6 hours.
Did I mention I was really working a lot and pretty tired at that point? Yes, my hubby flies hours and hours to visit me and I fall asleep on him! Well, It was totally unintentional, sort of.
First mission off the base, I tell Jeremy that I really like the little alleyway restaurants. Well, we find this random spot, with like 4 tables and walk in. I try to use what Japanese I've learned (I did well by the way), but I'm just not getting it out. I can't read kanji (sorry if spelling is wrong!)!!! The lady was awesome enough to give us a menu with pictures and I order from there. Hmmmm.... oshi (delicious in Japanese, by the way). Do you remember how to get back Jeremy? I don't... Yep, I know where we are. Okay!
Finally it is Friday and I get more than a couple of hours off to explore. We need to figure out where the train station is. It sounds easy enough but when no one speaks English, it can be a bit daunting. On our mile long walk "towards" the train station, we
Yes, I'm now known as Sailormoon.
meander through a really pretty city park. I take pictures of all the amazing roses and notice a Japanese diesel sub in the background. What a small world I say. Like somehow I'm connected to every submarine in the world. What a retard I am sometimes. I can hear Kyle now... "everyone needs one in the family. What? She's retarded! She is!" That's an inside joke only a few would get.
Jeremy shows me all the comforts of home. He hugs on me and does my laundry, gets me groceries from the commissary, rubs my feet. Man, it's been too long apparently. Well, it's time to go check out the town. We go to the mall and I find some kind of crepes with ice cream. You know me if you know I have a sweet tooth. We just hold hands and try to talk like we've never been away from one another. We end up watching a couple of movies on base, Angels and Demons and Wolverine. Good movies by the way. "Your husband comes over here and you guys are watching movies? Yes! What's wrong with that?
Hakone - hot springs in the mountains
Did I mention that we couldn't get into the baths because of our tattoos?
and famous "black eggs"
Soooo, one of my goals for Japan is to go to a public bath, known as an onsen. Jeremy and I decide to go to the mountains, where there is a huge public bath spa. We take a 2 hour train ride, a 45 minute bus ride and finally arrive at the place. Uh, no one is allowed to bathe if they have ANY tattoos. Are you *@#$ing kidding me? Aaarghhh!!! Well, what else can we do here? Ahhhh, there is massage... uh, that one was a no brainer. We get a couples massage, the place had a great ambience, very Thai looking. I got an "Indian" massage and Jeremy got a "Bali" massage. Pretty much, I had a deep tissue and he had a Swedish. It was fantastic! Not worth the 5 hours of travel, but whatever. Make the most out of a situation, right?
By the way, I totally got scammed at this spa place. Not in an evil way, just commercially I guess you could say. There was this cute, little Japanese man selling dried seafood. <>. Yes, I said dried seafood. He made Jeremy and me try everything. There was octopus jerky, dried scallops and calamari. It was all pretty good, I was surprised and elated enough to buy one bag of each off the guy. Yeah, I spent like $35 on the stuff. What the hell was I thinking? Anyway, now it's on the ship... I've been eating it slowly but surely. Yeah, that was me in the hippie looking bandana. Apparently the Japanese like my style.
So, we walked most of the way back down the mountain... decided to take a look at the scenery and take a few pictures. The trees are very distinct even... still quite the novice on my new camera though, I'll be a pro soon!
A Night Out
Jeremy decided it was time to meet my friends. He'd heard so much about the crew that he wasn't quite getting the warm and fuzzy. You know men... a little jealous at times, especially when most of your friends are dudes. It's nothing new. Well, finally I was able to take him out and show him why I love Kyle and Brittany. He had a great time too, now he's a lot more comfortable. We drank Chu-hi and played darts and just hung out after dinner. There was a little festival going on, I think it was for Golden Week, though I couldn't for the life of me describe what the week is celebrating. So culturally insensitive! All I know is that they had roadside vendors everywhere, selling squid balls, fried rice, strange looking casseroles, goldfish and chocolate covered bananas (oh yes, I got one of course!). Men were running around in the street half naked, with little tight mini-skirts on. And they say American women are hoochies! :)
Kamakura - Land of shrines and temples
BIG ASS BUDDHA - is that blasphemy? Eh, I think even the Buddha would laugh.
An hour to get to Kamakura via walking to the train station and the train, I'm more excited about this stop than any other. I've heard about this giant Buddha, the 2nd largest in Japan. I had no idea that this town used to be the "center" of Japan, spiritually at least. It's covered in shrines and temples, probably about 40 of them scattered throughout. This is a defining moment in the life of my new camera. We get out there a little late,
due to me having to work on the weekend! Anyway, I'm not bitter (well, yes I am). The sun is setting just as I get to the Buddha. Wow, what a beautiful spot. All the shrubs and flowers are perfectly manicured and as the last sunlight rolls down his face like tears... I haul ass and steal his giant shoes. No... I'm just kidding. Though, it was quite tempting. Someone made these giant shoes and they're really funny, about as tall as me. I couldn't have carried them if I had wanted to.
Just guessing here, but you're supposed to wash your hands here.
Back to the Daily Grind
You know, the funny thing about being 1/2 of a dual military marriage is that we meet for the first time everytime we see one another nowadays. It's not automatic to just be able to make out and be right back into the swing of things. I can hold hands and hug to my heart's contentment, but it's almost like we go on our 3rd date again. I say third because we obviously know one another, it's just we take an hour or so to get back into our normal conversations. I've gotten into a rhythm on the ship and though I was elated to see Jeremy again, it was a little of an interruption to my schedule, almost like having two jobs while I was in Yokosuka. It was really stressful to me. So what is the lesson here? If/when I get another visit, I'm taking leave from the ship. I got stressed out having to think/worry about my hubby and my peeps on the ship. I know it sounds really stupid, guess I should learn to compartmentalize a bit better, but there it is. I just want to be able to fully enjoy myself... guess that's not a bad thing.
What do I come back to? A ship full of over 100 school kids and teachers waiting to take a tour on our ship. Yes... maybe you can understand what I was worrying about. Kids, cranes, heavy cargo pallets, having some Supply Corps Senior Officers come over for a tour from me, make sure everyone is back on the ship and our systems are back up... all these things running through my mind. I said goodbye to Jeremy and he made his way back to the airport. I'm sorry I was a terrible hostess honey,
hope we can enjoy our next visit more.
OMG!!! It's my husband!
Where did he come from?
Well, farewell Japan... it was a great first visit. I liked it well enough, just don't know that I'd want to live there for very long. I wouldn't be opposed to it, I just prefer the European countries for a possible homestead first. :) Domo arigato and sayonara!
There are more photos below