Saturday, December 27, 2008

Meeting the Neighbors, A Visit to Machida and NeverLand 2

All of Japan is gearing up for the New Year's Celebration. Everywhere you look is New Year's decorations. I saw lots of street vendors selling homemade New Years decor. Lots of Japanese people take vacation for New Years. Our Realty Agent is going to South Korea. He was very excited about his vacation.

We woke up this morning, did some chores, then headed off to Machida. I had a map from Fleet and Family Support Center. They keep maps for a good variety of destinations. They are in the foyer of the center, so you can go by there anytime and pick up a map. Most destinations have Train directions or Driving directions. It was about a 25-30 minute drive due to traffic. When we were getting closer to Machida, it turned into a more "downtown" environment. The buildings were taller and mostly businesses or apt. towers. We saw rental cars, hotels, dept. stores and car dealerships. The map was fairly good, it did get us there. There was a few landmarks that had changed. Our goal was to go to the FIVE floor 100 Yen store. It is called Daiso. However, it wasn't clearly marked. It took us quite some time to find it. In the meantime, we found lots of other stores that we did want to check out.

There was a really nice little coffee/international gourmet foods/snacks shop. We found several interesting items in there. I saw several stores I need to go back and check out. Once we located and went into the Daiso, we were like kids in a candy store. Wow! Did they have STUFF. All of the items are not 100 YEN anymore. Most are. I found a wonderful new igloo type fleece, cushy bed for Dolly. She will love it. There isn't any heat on in the middle of the night because we have kerosene heaters. We turn them off before we get in bed. We all have electric blankets, but not poor Dolly. She freezes even though she's wearing a sweater and has two fleece blankets on the bottom of her cage. This igloo bed can go in her cage and she can curl up in it. It even has a detached pillow in the bottom that I can wash easily.

There is a craft section, plastic section, household goods galore, wooden items section, toy section, cell phone accessory assortments, health and beauty items, clothing items, garden items. Think Dollar Tree on STERIODS. I have to go back. You'd have to spend 4 hours in there to look at everything.

After we left Machida with a whole big bag of stuff for under $30.00, we headed back to the house. Midori Tsugana, a volunteer for Fleet and Family, came to our house today. She helped me with a few questions I had about the trash separation here at the house. She also helped me with translating some signs in the neighborhood that I had no idea what they said. You know, it 's a good thing to know what the big red X means on signs. And one of them was directions to the hospital, so that was good to know.

Then, Midori took Brian and I to 3 neighbor's homes to introduce us. There are 6 houses all the same, owned by the man that lives next to us. They are like townhouses, but aren't connected. We went to the Owners house first. It is Mr. and Mrs. Onuki. They are about 60 years old, I think. They were very nice. They have a medium sized dog that was very cute. They enjoyed meeting us. They are very quiet people and said they don't know most of the people on our block. I hope that I get to talk to them again. I think I will take them some Lasagne when I get the energy to make it.

The next house we went to is the 6th house. It is Mr. and Mrs. Cantrell. Mr. Cantrell is retired military. His wife is Japanese. They were also very nice. They have 3 children and 6 grandchildren. His 2 sons are here in Japan and the daughter is in the states. I look forward to talking to them again, too!

The third house is across the alley and to the left 3 houses. I wanted to meet them because I knew that they had a dog. We met Mrs. Kato. Her and her husband live there and upstairs is their son and his wife and grandchildren. She was also extremely nice. She seemed very glad to meet us.

Here in Japan, they do the opposite of the states. Instead of your neighbors coming to welcome you to the neighborhood, You go to your new neighbors and introduce yourself and assure them that you will be a good neighbor. It is also customary to give them a bagged gift. I had brought Virginia Peanuts and Gourmet Hot Cocoa. I hope they liked it! Also, I gave the Owners a plastic container of my Christmas Cookies. Midori was very helpful and I also gave her a container of cookies. I was very thankful to have her help!!

We decided to pile in the car and Boyden came along with us to Neverland 2 to finish the evening. It is an arcade/entertainment kind of place. On the first floor they have a whole section of the crane/claw type games where you put in a 100 yen coin and try to grab a stuffed toy and bring it to the hole to win it. Although here in Japan, they put everything you can imagine in those machines. There was Ice Cream, pillows, stuffed animals, anime characters, hello kitty items, snacks of all kinds, warming slippers, etc.... Yeah, we didn't win anything. But, we didn't try to hard.

They also had the ice cream vending machines and we all had an ice cream. On the 2nd floor, they had all video games. But, again, in Japan it is taken to the extreme. There were video games for duel collectors cards that were interactive. There were dance-dance Revolution extreme games, and guitar hero and rock band. I just couldn't tell you all of them. We aren't this far advanced at our arcades in the states. Maybe that's a good thing?

Back down to the first floor, there is an over 18 section that has all the gambling type games. They had those massively addictive quarter eating ones where the quarters fall of the shelf as you feed them in. They had regular slot and card games. There was a huge one that I thought was really funny. It was bigger than a pool table with a green field. In the center it was a horse race in miniature. The little plastic horses where actually running around the track. Their little legs were moving and everything. It was hilarious. Yep, the screens were all in Japanese, so no betting the horses for us.

After we spent a sufficient amount of money on the car racing video games, we decided to call it a night. Brian had won a whole lot of tokens so I signed up for a member card and we have 642 points. You can turn the points in for prizes. They are only good for 2 months. The prizes actually weren't that great. So, I'm not sure why anyone would want to go there. It was okay for once, I'm sure we'll go back some rainy day when the boys are bored and want to play video games.

1 comment:

Patty said...

Wow, what a great site. Thank you for all the information and pictures. We are headed to Atsugi this summer and your site has been a God send.

Best Regards,