Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Houses and Cars, OH MY!

Okay, I am a little behind on this blog. I promise to get caught up soon. Brian is wasting away in orientation this week. I thought I would have a calm, relaxing week. WRONG!! I found out yesterday that our house will be ready to move in on Monday, Dec. 8th. Tomorrow I go to finish the paperwork on the lease and our personal property items. Our wonderful landlord did have a gas line run for us so we can have an American Oven!! I never realized I would be putting so much importance on an oven. CAPS needed!! AMERICAN OVEN!! We also scored an extra parking spot that the Navy is paying for!! WOO-HOO!! I will add much more later about the house as we move in and get settled.

I have had a continuing car saga going on that has been fairly stressful. We purchased a Nissan Cube, 2001 model last Wednesday. There is a TON of paperwork that has to be done when you buy a car in Japan. You have to do the paperwork for the government just like in the states. Their DMV is called a LTO. That stands for Local Tax Office. We opted to purchase our car from the monopoly LOT down the street called Wellcham. The reason I call it a monopoly lot is because he makes it easier to buy a car from him than any other dealer around. Therefore, most of the families buy their cars from him. The difference is getting the car in one day as opposed to one week and a lot of hassle from another lot. He takes some advantage of his captive audience due to this. He also is very arrogant. It will be the ONLY car we buy from him. You can purchase cars from other military who are leaving and have it transferred to you. This isn't too difficult. There just wasn't any good choices for us at this time. We are trying to do this to find Michael a car.

After you buy the car, and get it inspected on base, and talk to the Japanese LTO person on base who doesn't make any sense, and go back and forth 4 times between the dealer and the base, AND your active duty spouse gets his license AND you get your permanent address, you are finished with the paperwork. So we should be done with all of the car stuff by the end of December. My aggravation in all of this is that NO ONE has this information printed so that you can understand the procedures. I tend to put in a complaint about that today!! We actually had to go FOUR different places to get all the information we needed to just start the process and buy a car. Ridiculous! I think I have a handle on it now and it is a relief!! I will take a pic of the car and upload it later!!

SHERRY DRIVING IN JAPAN ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD, ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE CAR IS VERY AMUSING. I STILL HAVEN'T FIGURED OUT WHICH ONE IS MY WINDSHIELD WIPERS AND WHICH IS MY TURN SIGNAL!!! BRIAN CONSTANTLY TRIES TO GET IN THE DRIVERS SIDE WITHOUT HIS LICENSE!! Oh, and I know what it is like to get a ticket from a Japanese Policeman. I found this out on our way to Zama last Friday. I still am confused and am not sure what I did wrong to get the ticket. I have asked several people and they don't know either!! It's something about the railroad tracks, blowing my horn, and the number 6. The best guess is that because the caution light started as I was crossing the tracks, I should have stopped, blown my horn, and waited 6 seconds to go. All I know is that if that ever happens again, I'm just going to STOP! Anyway, the ticket was for 120,000 YEN and no points to my license. The cop said, "You pay before 6th day at bank or post office. You pay, DO NOT go to JUDGE! " Oh, and he said he was sorry about 100 times. I PAY ALREADY AT POST OFFICE YESTERDAY!! I have no need to go see a judge!!! The Yen to Dollar rate is 93 Yen to 1.00. So it was about $130 for the ticket. Yikes. Brian and Michael were both with me and they were just as confused as me. ??? Anyway, I chalk it up to being new and they were so nice, it's just water under the bridge. At least now I know not to be scared of them.

We went to another Bazaar at Zama and I wasn't impressed with the tables this time. They had beautiful big furniture for very reasonable prices but the smaller things were not as nice. Zama does have a very nice Asia Tree store that has a lot of nicer authentic items to purchase. She was having a 20% off sale and I purchased a beautiful little box for myself that has a turtle latch to match my curio cabinet with the turtle handles. I promise I will take pictures of these when we get moved in to the house.

The boys and I explored a store close to the base called VINA HOME. It is like a home Depot and a Bed, Bath and Beyond in one store. Very interesting. I priced some curtains and things, but they are all very expensive off base. Some things that we may need like clothesline and dog items we can get for reasonable prices there. It is funny to find the items that we normally buy in Japanese packaging. It takes awhile, but you can find them.

Brian, Bryan and I went to see Laura and Boyden's off base home on Sunday. It was beautiful and VERY Japanese. I am so jealous!! They have the shojii screens on all the windows and each room has the sliding doors. It does have a closed in feel as the doorways are short and some of the ceilings are low. But the charm of the place definitly wins you over. She has more storage than we had in our house in Virginia and that is very unusual for a Japanese home. They are lucky enough to be 1/2 a block from the train station and 1/2 a block from Oak City Mall. We walked over to the mall and it was really neat!! They have two building to choose from that each have their own food court!! There was a really nice little store that sold Hello Kitty items. I will definitly have to do some more exploring there!! Luckily, we are only 1 train stop away from this area. I think that the boys will really enjoy going over there to explore.

We went to the O Club for Thanksgiving to have dinner with Laura, Boyden and their son, Gabe. It was yummy and they had all the trimmings!! We ate too much and then went bowling and laughed a lot. It still wasn't like being at home. Mom, I missed your Turkey and Pumpkin Pie! Well, that's all for now. I just have one post left to catch up about our trip to Kamakura. Thursday is when Brian's orientation class goes on a trip, and I will post about that too!!


HereInAtsugi said...

I find your blog very informative. I came across your blog on a google search for navy family + atsugi. It's good to read another person's perspective other than the NAF Atsugi website information. I didn't know it was that tedious getting a car in Japan, much less housing.

I'm currently preparing myself to relocate to NAF Atsugi,even though that'll be in Summer 2009. I'll be keeping up to date with your blog, as I find them very helpful.

MySailor'sGirl said...

Thank you! If you are coming to Atsugi, please join the Atsugi Navy Families bulletin board at http://atsuginavyfamilies.proboards56.com/. We'll be glad to have you!!