No curve was too sharp for them and their bicycle. No puddle was deep enough to stop them. -- Friends by Helme Hein

10 August, 2008

earthquakes, $100 watermelons and heated, singing toilet seats--welcome to Japan!

The all-in-one!  Warm your tush on cold nights, use a little spray or play a little song to mask the sound of your tinkle tinkle!
Cube watermelons--the small one is a steal at $84 and the large one is worth the luxury for a mere $105. 
Grapes for $73
A temple in Setagaya near Yoga Station.

It was an event-less arrival into Narita airport.  We waited around 3 hours for others to show up, then went directly through Tokyo into Setagaya for dinner at an Italian restaurant.  We checked into Tokyu Stay Hotel, which is to be our home until we get settled into apartments.  The first few days have just been checking out apartments.  Mr. Tanimora, our school rep, took us around along with a real estate agent.  Jesse has fallen for the first apartment we saw (and the most expensive, naturally), but James has yet to find a place.  We weren't accepted for our first choice apartments because the former residents from Canada destroyed the more foreigners allowed.  

We also were in our first Japanese earthquake.  The building shook strongly enough to think it was from the trains below the earth, but we shook too long for it to be just a train.

Japan is so far everything we expected it to be, and more.  Setagaya, our neighborhood, is full of everything you need, but is still remarkable peaceful.  Every piece of land is packed to its fullest--grocery stores, houses, train stations, temples, gigantic skyscrapers, and not even lacking character and charm.  The food is awesome.  Affordable, fresh and tasty sushi and many more things that we don't know what they are, but taste good.  We are still a little too shy to go into a restaurant because we can't read the menu at all.  Language lessons are high on the to-do list.  Local beer is expensive: $15 for a six pack.  Better develop a taste for sake soon.  

Today I went to Shinjuku, Shibuya and Harajuku, the big shopping areas in Central Tokyo that are like Times Square on steroids.  The train stations are packed with huge food courts that have the most beautiful food--rows of french pastries, cakes, marinated fish, noodles, sushi, and even $100 watermelons.  There was even a square watermelon that must have been grown in some sort of container.  I'll post some pictures soon.

05 August, 2008

sweet, sweet summer

It's only August and summer is already over for us.  I'm writing this from the airport while I wait to go to Seattle, then on to Tokyo.  It's a 10 hour flight that gets us there tomorrow.  It's our first flight over the Pacific and our first time in Asia.  We'll add more to this blog and change it around, but for now, here are a few pictures of our summer that was oh so short. 
Oregon is probably the best place on earth.
James in Portland
Shawn met the band Rehab on the streets of Bend
Grandma Ginny and I went to the Yamhill County Fair & Rodeo in McMinnville
Cousin Opal goofing around in McMinnville
the automatic strawberry machine we found in the middle of nowhere on our Holland bike trip
reaching the North Sea near Leiden after 2 weeks of biking and camping
eating heavenly ribs on the Jersey Shore with good friends
niece Avery and Mr. Potato Head in Levittown, New York
hiking with the girls along the North Umpqua River