Sunday, November 2, 2008

You Read The Bill!!

We had our first off base adventure today. What fun we had!! It is also Bryan's 13th Birthday! The Torii at the left is at the front of the base. We wanted to take Bryan somewhere to eat for his birthday. We looked at a guide and decided on a restaurant and memorized the directions. So we went straight out the main gate and turned left. Along the sides of the street there was a lot of small businesses and small houses. The Japanese love flowers and most of the houses had lots of potted flowers outside of them. We wanted to go by a used car lot to check out the prices and types of cars that were available. This is the sign for the lot that we stopped at. This lot was recommended to us. There is a lot of paperwork that you have to do to buy and register a car in Japan. This lot actually will do all the work for you and just deliver you the car ready to go. The owner speaks 7 languages. I looked at a PINK Nissan Cube. It was soooo cute. It was a 2000 model and they were asking $2200 for it. It was in very good condition. I especially liked the electric fold-in mirrors. The roads are so narrow here that it is a neccessity. Hubby says we'll think about that one. He likes it for me because people will see the PINK and the BLONDE and get out of the way!! LOL!! It will be awhile before I am actually able to start driving. Probably about 3 weeks. I have to have a car before we move off base though.

I couldn't believe some of the signs. I took a picture of one so you all could see one. This one is fairly easy, they get much, much more complicated. We don't live in Atsugi City. NAF Atsugi is actually in Ayase City.

The next thing we came to was a Patisserie (bakery). YUM, YUM, YUM. I can't tell you how delicious everything looked. We purchased a choc. torte cake slice, a fruit cup in a teddybear ceramic holder, and a chocolate dessert all for under $10. The good thing is that the portions are small so you can have a bite of different things and share them.

When we crossed the street at the bakery, there was a Daiei on the corner. It was very large 3 story mall w/ a parking garage. This shrine was there on the corner. This is the first we saw. They are supposed to be everywhere around Japan. I'm not sure what they are called yet. Daiei is a mall. We didn't make it to the 3rd floor. Because we are between a/c and heat, it was hot in there. The second floor was like a wal-mart. There was all kinds of clothes and home goods. I saw some really nice rugs I'd like to get. Bryan and I purchased some bathroom items. It was funny trying to find want we needed in Japanese bottles. I bought some single use bubble bath packets. The first floor is a grocery store. It is very large. There was all kinds of things there. Everything looked so fresh!! They also had a nice bread bakery. Bryan and I went crazy in the candy aisle. We bought some tiny boxes that had fruit on the front. I kinda thought they would probably be gum and they were. And they were very good. I told Bryan, candy is universal. We all love it!! It was really funny paying for everything with yen. The cashiers talked and talked and I didn't understand a word! But the cash registers showed numerals so I knew how much to pay. I was only unsure once and the lady helped me. Japanese are very nice. The older men are more reserved, older ladies are all nice. The young kids stare and smile at you. The teens have attitude. Hmmm, sounds like America! All the kids stared at Bryan. With his blonde hair and hazel green eyes they are fascinated by him. I kept telling him before we came that they would do that, he believes me now. We went into the Japanese McDonalds. They have a Mega Mac. It is like the big mac except it has 4 patties!! I don't think we'll be having one of those anytime soon. You can also get a Teriyaki burger there. Other than that, they are pretty close to the same. We went to the 100 Yen store, which was cool, lots of neat items. I probably won't buy anything again until I look there first! Outside of the 100 yen store there was an ice cream vending machine. We purchased a orange ice and a strawberry ice. The orange one was more icy like sherbet and was in push-up form. The strawberry one was more like ice cream and in a cone like a nutty buddy. They were yummy. Bryan was really getting a kick out of the kids staring at him.
It was finally time to walk back to the restaurant we picked. It was called "Eight O's Farm" The menu listed "Steak Sets" and "Hamburg Sets". A set included drink, soup (like beef broth), salad, potato, string beans, and a ginger sauce. We also asked for garlic rice on the side. Since we don't speak any Japanese yet, we didn't tell them how to cook the steak. It came rare. Sherry doesn't do rare. Brian's steak had a part that was more med. rare and I ate that. Bryan asked for the kids plate which was a scrambled egg cake, 1 jumbo shrimp, 1 fried chicken, 1 hamburg slice, 4 french fries. He kinda picked at his. I let him eat my rice which was very good. The dish was good, just a little over cooked. I was pretty happy that we were able to order at all and have no problems. We had a little bit of fun before we went in trying to ask Japanese families if they took credit card. It's amazing the game of sharades you have to play. But they were so wanting to help us. So we had our first dinner out surrounded by Japanese. We paid by credit card and it was $6510 Yen for 3 people. This is about $65. I saw a lady walking a very cute dog. The boys about died laughing when I mixed up my words and said "Cat" to her. She chuckled too as I remembered it was supposed to be "inu" instead of "neko".
We truly all had a wonderful day. Bryan loved his birthday and is so excited to be here in this country around these lovely people. I am too. It was a good day and I see hope that we really will enjoy our time here.

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