Number one question we have gotten:
“So?! How’s Japan??”
Well, firstly, moving is just as stressful as they say. Military moves are never easy, and anybody who has talked to me about it knows that ours certainly wasn’t a cake walk. However, despite the difficulty it took to get here, Japan has surpassed all expectations I could have had. Andrew and I got here a little over a month ago and every time I walk outside I love it here just a little bit more. Everything here is within walking/biking distance, which has been pretty nice (except for grocery shopping on a bike, not as fun hahah Hayley you should get a laugh out of this).
Living off-base is very different from living on-base. I feel like that sentence needs to be followed by a “duh”. For one, I realize that I should probably retract my statement a few posts ago, I am definitely not the oldest person here. In fact, I am the youngest person I have met here (except Andrew). Everyone we have met here so far is really nice. Not just the locals, but also our neighbors are pretty cool (insert Sara and Brandon, our super awesome upstairs neighbors and friends). While there isn’t much to do on base there are a few places that I really enjoy here.
I think out of all of them though, my favorite place to go on base is the sea wall. It is so peaceful and the view is spectacular. It’s the only place here (on base) that you can run/walk/jog/bike with headphones in. So when I am trying to catch my breath from the five steps I took towards exercising, I simply lose it again to the view. If I have to workout, I guess it couldn’t get any better than having a view.
While there are things to do on base, being off base is far more fun. We have left the base one time (so far) for a bus tour around the city. It was really cool. One thing that I noticed about being off base was just how clean it is. There are people everywhere and yet the sidewalks and trails are so clean! Don’t get me wrong, the base is clean too, it’s just I would expect a base to be spotless.
When we went out on our little outing, we saw (from the bus) shopping centres, car dealerships, and (in my opinion) really cute shops. We went to downtown Iwakuni, we got to eat at local pastry shops and see the bus and train station. It was probably explained two or three times, but I still have no idea how to ride the bus around here.. and I am almost positive that if I get on the bus trying to go the Kintai, I’d end up going back to base or some other place I don’t want to go.
Besides not understanding how to get around via bus, seeing downtown was very cool. Andrew and I went walking down the streets and saw Japan’s “Yellow Brick Road”. We ate Japanese donuts and even though we couldn’t read exactly what they were, they tasted like American donuts (maybe a little better). We also ate at another little shop named Anderson’s (I think), where you walk in grab a tray and tongs, then proceed to put different food items on the tray (no plates just pick it up and place it on the tray). I think this place was my favorite!
After our short adventure in downtown Iwakuni, we got back onto the bus and headed for the Kintai Bridge. It’s ¥300 (yen) to cross the bridge (which is about $3.00). Japan is just as beautiful as they say. Even though it is my first time to see the Kintai, I doubt it will grow old. After Andrew and I walked across the bridge we went into souvenir shops and got ice cream at a stand that sells over 100 different flavours. So naturally, we got chocolate with sprinkles. When we get a car, we plan to go back and hike up the mountain to the Iwakuni Castle.
We have many more adventures to come, but so far Japan has surpassed every expectation that I have had. I can’t wait to meet more people and see more places.
More stories, how-to’s, and adventures to come!
xoxo, The Lintag’s