Wow, it’s the new year already. How in the world?
What have we been up to since I last posted? Well, a lot. Hence the not posting.
Since last time I wrote, we’ve started a new school year (2nd grade and PK), started new sports (transitioned from Karate to Bowling for A and Gymnastics for the littles), made it through a few months of a deployment, and had a couple grand adventures in the way of port calls (Japan with all of us, and Guam as a belated 10th anniversary solo trip while the kids stayed home)!
What’s that, you say? A trip to Japan with all of us? You mean that you had help on the flight, right? Well, no. And it really went amazingly well. So much I’d do it again in a heart beat. With a last minute notice of date AND location change for the port call, we packed up one suitcase with 7 days clothing each, a backpack of goodies for the plane for each kid, and me with a carryon and a giant purse and went to the military air terminal to catch a Space-Available (Space-A) flight. When I say “Space-A,” I mean exactly that. The military has flights around the world daily for mission readiness – either sailors/soldiers being transported, or supplies being delivered. If that plane has some extra room left over then they graciously allow families to take the seats (if there are any… sometimes it’s just a jump seat along the side with space on the floor to lay if you’re so inclined).
Many travelers are more experienced (or better prepared) than I and came equipped with sleeping bags, air mattresses.. you name it. For us? I had an airplane quality blanket and pillow on the ground and that was about it. But, hey, it was better than sleeping sitting up in a jumpseat, right?
So we arrived in Okinawa, Japan, and then had to make our way up to Tokyo. This involved a bit of chaos (again, with Space-A, they don’t hold planes if yours is delayed, and sometimes even if there were originally seats available they have to take them for mission reasons), but we made it on a short commercial hop up to Tokyo, and then began the real grand adventure. While I’ve taken a semester of Japanese at the college level, and I felt I was pretty good at being able to ask where I was/where I needed to go/etc, it’s a whole different world when the signs are written in kanji not kana. And, while the public transportation was amazing, we started to realize the difficulties of travelling as a party of 5 when you needed something like a Taxi. Good thing they aren’t as strict on their seatbelt laws.
So, in the end, we made it to Yokosuka, we got checked into our hotel, and the next day we found our submariner! Life was pretty good. The subways/trains got easier every time (by the end I was actually recognizing some of the kanji!) and even the kids were pretty adept at “Sumimasen” (excuse me) and “Arigatou Gozaimasu” (thank you).
“Hai, Karera wa mitsugo desu.” (Yes, they are triplets). Have you ever taken triplets to Japan? Let’s just say – Japanese tourists think they’re amazing as it is when we’re in the US. Go overseas? And you end up with a group of people wanting to take turns with you during the industrial fair.
Lots of queuing. They got pretty good at it!
Best part to the kids? Finding the My Little Pony cafe in Tokyo. Yes, it was a real thing. Apparently pop-up cafes are all the rage in Japan, and the month of November it happened to be a My Little Pony cafe. We lucked out that it was pretty close to the military hotel we dropped our bags at, too.
As for the kids? They had a blast. The trip may have been a tiring one, but we wouldn’t trade it for anything. Till next time, Japan!