Yup, that’s me and the Mrs. in full getup. The Japanese Experiment the coolest time of my life. I was lucky enough to live in Japan for 3 years. I was able to immerse myself into a foreign culture and learn from the inside out. The people, the places, the language and the customs were something that will never be forgotten. I still remember my wife calling me while we were in Colorado and said, “I had an offer for an assignment in Japan. What do you think?” Without hesitation I said, “Take it.” I had no idea where in Japan and I didn’t really care. How often do people (regular people) get to go to foreign countries to live?
So we loaded up the car and moved to Mi-sa-wa! Japan that is, Cherry blossoms, Samurais! (Sung to the Beverly Hillbillies Theme)
Well, it wasn’t as easy as packing up the car and driving. Although we did have to drive from Colorado to Seattle. Oh the fun that was (insert sarcastic snicker). Then we got to go on the longest flight I will never want to do, 13 hours. I really can’t complain about it on my side. I felt worse for my doggies who were locked in their crates for 17 hours because our flight was delayed. Stupid airline…..
Eventually we left the ground and off we went into the future. Yup that’s right the future. We ended up losing 12 hours of our life based on the time difference. It was pretty neat to know what happens a day before it happened in the US. At least that was my lame joke with my friends and family.
Fast forward to the most uncomfortable 13 hours anyone can experience in a tin can hurdling through the air. We arrived in Tokyo, Japan! Wow, how weird it was to to just see, different. But it wasn’t all ooo’s and aah’s. We needed to get our dogs into a kennel on base, due to not having pet friendly lodging. This is where the OMGs and Holy Ishs came.
I had to take a taxi with my dogs to the kennel since we didn’t have a car nor knew anyone yet. This experience is hard to describe but here it goes. Close your eyes, well first read this then close your eyes and try to see it for yourself. You are so loopy from traveling for days, your hungry, you are in a different country, you don’t speak their language, we have no cell phones to keep in contact with each other, I don’t know where you’re going, and I know I had that I have been traveling smell working for me. I hailed a taxi and tried to describe where I needed to go. Luckily we were already on the military base and the drivers were familiar with what we needed. But it was still an adventure to try and get a taxi for my wife to follow. See, we had to keep the dogs in their hard travel crates, which took the entire backseat of the first taxi.
Now here is the Holy Ish! In Japan everything dealing with driving is the opposite of what we do in the US. They drive on the other side of the road on the other side of the car and everything is smaller (cars, roads). Culture Shock! I’m in the passenger seat (driver seat in the US) and this dude drove fast. I thought I was playing the video game, Gran Turismo. WTH! Slow down! I swear the driver was having some fun with me. He got on his radio and was talking some stuff and I swear I heard some laughing on the other end.
We all eventually made it to the kennel and dropped the boys off and took the magic carpet ride to the hotel on base. What to do first; eat, shower, pass out, explore? I really don’t remember what we did first but I do remember trying to sleep when it was early afternoon. I remember waking up thinking it was all a bad dream and not realizing where I was.
So that was the end of my first day in Japan. We had to get up early the next day to take a 12 bus ride north to Misawa, our final destination.
To be continued…………