Wabi-Sabi Sole

Finding Beauty with Imperfection

Category: Navy

Full Dance Card

We enjoyed a fun weekend with two traditional Navy events. Friday night we hosted Dave’s Wetting Down and Saturday we attended the 242nd Navy Ball. 

The Wetting Down tradition is when a newly promoted officer hosts a party for friends, family, and coworkers. The officer is expected to spend the pay raise on the festivities. Dave elected to have his Wetting Down at the Officer’s Club. 


There were plenty of appetizers and more importantly, an open bar. 


To help make the event a little more festive, I made “kawaii” centerpieces for the tables. All of the decorations I was able to purchase at the Daiso (100¥ Store). Well, except for the American chocolates and candy corn. I bought those on base. I was thrilled to hear our guests loved the “edible arrangements”.  


We wish you could have been here to celebrate with us. I know you are all proud of Dave – just like me! Promoting to the rank of Captain is a pretty big deal. We truly enjoyed ourselves and the celebration! 


Saturday night we attended the 242nd Navy Ball. The Navy Ball is held every year in October to celebrate the Navy’s Birthday. 

At each Navy Ball it is a tradition for the youngest and oldest sailor to cut the cake. Dave didn’t quite make the oldest sailor mark, he was 4 years too young. Theoretically, at our last Navy Ball before he retires (in five years), Dave should be the oldest sailor. I can’t wait! 


One tradition that is unique to a Navy Ball held in Japan, is Sake being distributed as you approached the cake! 


These cute little wood boxes on the tables are Sake cups. They were our Navy Ball party favors. 

After dinner and the official toast, the Navy Band started to play and the gymnasium lights dimmed. This signaled it was time to dance. And we did. A lot! So much fun. I’m already looking forward to next year! 

Full Dance Card

We enjoyed a fun weekend with two traditional Navy events. Friday night we hosted Dave’s Wetting Down and Saturday we attended the 242nd Navy Ball. 

The Wetting Down tradition is when a newly promoted officer hosts a party for friends, family, and coworkers. The officer is expected to spend the pay raise on the festivities. Dave elected to have his Wetting Down at the Officer’s Club. 


There were plenty of appetizers and more importantly, an open bar. 


To help make the event a little more festive, I made “kawaii” centerpieces for the tables. All of the decorations I was able to purchase at the Daiso (100¥ Store). Well, except for the American chocolates and candy corn. I bought those on base. I was thrilled to hear our guests loved the “edible arrangements”.  


We wish you could have been here to celebrate with us. I know you are all proud of Dave – just like me! Promoting to the rank of Captain is a pretty big deal. We truly enjoyed ourselves and the celebration! 


Saturday night we attended the 242nd Navy Ball. The Navy Ball is held every year in October to celebrate the Navy’s Birthday. 

At each Navy Ball it is a tradition for the youngest and oldest sailor to cut the cake. Dave didn’t quite make the oldest sailor mark, he was 4 years too young. Theoretically, at our last Navy Ball before he retires (in five years), Dave should be the oldest sailor. I can’t wait! 


One tradition that is unique to a Navy Ball held in Japan, is Sake being distributed as you approached the cake! 


These cute little wood boxes on the tables are Sake cups. They were our Navy Ball party favors. 

After dinner and the official toast, the Navy Band started to play and the gymnasium lights dimmed. This signaled it was time to dance. And we did. A lot! So much fun. I’m already looking forward to next year! 

Captain Dwyer

August 1st, 2017, Dave was officially promoted to the rank of Captain. He enlisted in the Navy 33 years ago and today received his 13th promotion. I am so proud of all his hard work, dedication, and commitment throughout his career. The promotion ceremony was held at 9:00am at SRF-JRMC on the Naval Base. 

His boss, Captain Farman, read the oath of office. 

 

After accepting the oath, Dave was ready to have his collar devices switched. Goodbye oak leaves, hello eagles!! 


The end result was a fine looking O-6! 


After the ceremony, Dave took a few minutes to give thanks to his family, mentors, and shipmates. I know he missed being able to have everyone who has given him support and guidance attend the ceremony. You were definitely in our hearts. 


Dave also passed down his old collar devices to a couple officers stationed at SRF. 


The promotion ceremony was well attended by friends, coworkers, and shipmates. 


As with all official Navy ceremonies, it wasn’t complete without a cake! The cake was made by a CS1 who works in the Galley on base. He heard about the need for a cake for Captain Dwyer’s promotion and quickly accepted the job. 

After the ceremony the celebration continued. The lead secretary in Dave’s office and several other of the Japanese ladies presented Dave with flowers! 


The ceremony was a perfect tribute to a dedicated sailor who has reached the pinnacle rank of his career. The only thing missing was all of you – our family and friends. But no worries, you didn’t completely miss it. I had someone use my phone to video the ceremony. The next time we see you, we can enjoy a beer and watch the 20 minute video of Dave becoming Captain Dwyer. 

Dave, I’m so very proud of you. You truly are an inspiration. Congratulations! I love you! 

Six Months

I can’t believe it. February 1st marks our 6th month of living in Japan. I can’t tell if it feels like I’ve lived here for 6 days, 6 months, or 6 years. We have experienced many highs and lows, the good and bad, the beautiful and ugly. We have climbed and I have fallen. Haha 

I’m sure your thinking we must have enjoyed a huge celebration. Maybe? A “milestone” anyways. I bought new shoes. For the Hooptie. That’s right. New tires for our sweet ride. 


My girl appreciates a nice pair of shoes. $316 for tires and labor. Girlfriend only cost us $300. Pretty funny. Check out these sweet pieces of rubber. Nice tread. 


On a serious note, we miss you all. Everyday. 

We have enjoyed the opportunities we have had over the past six months and realize they come with sacrifices. Being away is obviously the biggest. 

You are always in our thoughts and heart. We love hearing from you and cherish your messages and phone calls. 

We love you all. To six months! Kanpie! 

Fish Heads

I went out for a little bit of urban exploring today. Dave and I have been running the same route for our long runs for a while now. To add miles, we will add an extra loop here or there. There is one area where the road goes through a tunnel and is closed to pedestrians. At this location, we simply turn around. We have wondered where the side trail might lead. I decided to take the train into Zushi and then walk over to the area to investigate.

First I made a stop at Zushi Beach. It was a beautiful day.


The first path I checked out led me to a beautiful area. Surfers and paddle boarders use this passage as an access to the area around the point of Zushi Beach.


As always, stairs!


The other path led me to the fancy neighborhood near Ōsaki Park. It was a steep uphill climb. There were a few special treats at the top. The first, Mt. Fuji.


The second, blooming shamrocks.


The third, cherry blossoms starting to bloom!


There were only a few trees in this grove. None the less, I felt the first signs of spring fever! Honestly, this has been a delightful winter. Mostly sunny skies and very mild temperatures. However, I’m very excited to experience the beauty of the spring blooms. I had to make myself stop taking pictures of the blossoms. They were so beautiful and the light was perfect.


One last picture of Mt. Fuji before I tell you about the fish heads.


So, fish heads. After my urban hike, I was ready for a snack. I needed to head to main base via the train to pick up the car after having the oil changed. I stopped at Family Mart. Family Mart is my favorite convenient store chain here in Japan. I grabbed a bottle of water, an onigiri and a bag of Japanese crackers. While walking from the train station to the service station on base, I was snacking on crackers.


Well, I thought they were all crackers. Turns out, they included dried fish.


After I pulled it out of the bag, I had an instant “WTF” moment. Then I remembered, I’m in Japan. They eat fish in everything. Even crackers.

I saved the rest to eat until I got home and could dump out the bag. As you can see, the fish were advertised. I guess I should look closer next time I try a new Japanese snack. In the small dish are all the fish and fish heads included in my snack!


I did try one. They weren’t too bad. They were very crunchy with a salty, sweet fishy taste. The aftertaste kept me from eating another!

Japanese Hair Cut

Several of my friends & blog followers have asked me about having my hair cut & highlighted. I’m not sure you have noticed from my pictures, the color and texture of my hair is very different from the Japanese. Those factors combined with the language barrier, I have been too scared to venture out in town for my cut and highlights. Fortunately, I have access to “little America” aka Yokosuka Naval Base and the Navy Exchange (NEX) Salon is fully staffed with hair stylists and nail technicians. This was my second time having my hair treated at the NEX Salon. The stylist I see for my appointments is Ari (pronounced “Airy”). She is Japanese and speaks very good English. Or at least she speaks very good English about what I want done to my hair. Other than that, we don’t speak.
If you remember back a little over a year ago, I had a wild hair (literally) and thought going red was a good idea. It wasn’t. All the processing really damaged my hair. Not only to go red but, to go back blonde. The ends were a frizzy mess last spring and prompted me to cut my hair. Over the summer, I had even more cut to shape it and help it look healthy again. I can tell it has grown and needed specific shaping at this appointment. I was a little stressed with the thought of trying to communicate this to Ari. It actually went rather well.
I asked for her to cut a little less than an inch off the back and only trim the top layers. I want to make the layers “longer.” “Hai” – “Yes” She continued to say. I also asked for her to weave my highlights a little thicker because it was “too blonde” last time. “Hai”
She was very methodical as she foiled my hair. Once the color was on, she diligently checked the time and the processing speed of the color. I had her complete attention. She didn’t try to “squeeze” in another client. Once my hair was finished processing, she shampooed and massaged my head while the shampoo was in my hair. It felt AMAZING. As I often do when I have my hair shampooed, I thought of my late Aunt Jan. I remember when I was young and she would wash and style my hair. She always said how much she loved to have her hair washed. She would have LOVED to have Ari wash her hair!!
Returning to the chair, Ari asked me if it was ok if she gave me a massage. Is it ok? YES, PLEASE! She massaged my shoulders, neck, head, and temples. Again, absolutely amazing. The part that makes me laugh – she said “thank you” when she finished. Seriously? Thank you!
She trimmed as per my request and then asked if she could straighten my hair. Of course. It is so much easier when you are not familiar with curls.
The whole evolution took about 2.5 hours – partial highlights, shampoo, cut and blowout – for only $105. Seriously. Cheap. Let’s not forget the two massages! I tipped her very nicely!
Oh! And as Holiday special, if you spend over $60 at the salon in December, you receive a FREE straightener ($50 value).  

I laughed and said, “is this a hint the Japanese don’t appreciate my curls?” Haha. Seriously straight and hopefully on the road to healthy.

Home is Where the Navy Sends You

Great news! We received the keys to our house today!! As discussed previously, we will be living in a three bedroom town home in Ikego Hills. It is a Navy housing community about 23 minutes away from base. Dave and I drove out there today. Yes, I typed that correctly. I drove us out to Ikego. It wasn’t bad, especially with a second pair of eyes and navigational assistance.

Tomorrow we will receive our unaccompanied baggage. Remember the stuff we sent at the end of May? There was a reason to send it because our household goods are still 2-3 weeks from arriving. I’m also really glad I took these pictures 3+ months ago. I have totally forgotten what I packed!!


I’m chuckling at this picture.  It has a vacuum.  You will realize why it is so funny when you see the pictures of the house with tile floors everywhere!  The main thing, tonight is our last night in the lodge. Yay! Tomorrow night we will sleep on “Dolly,” our air mattress. Regardless, we will be in our own space. Speaking of our own space, if you remember our house in Great Lakes and think about the complete opposite… That will be our new living arrangements.

Here are a few pictures…

First, the den. 

The doors in the picture above look out to our backyard… I was going to take a panorama shot.  Then I realized – not necessary…


On to the kitchen & laundry *room*.


Downstairs half bath. 


Going upstairs. 


The spare bedrooms and bath. 


Master bedroom, closet, and bathroom. 


Did you notice a reoccurring theme?  Like WHITE!  Yeah, it’s ridiculously white.  Dave is insistent that once we have our belongings and I do a little “bird” magic it will really feel like home.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed he is right.  None the less, for those of you who visit, you’re obviously coming to see us.  Not the house.  As an added bonus when you visit, you will have your own bath & bedroom or two!

Simultaneously, to add a little spice to the moving in & driving around fun, we are currently under a tropical storm watch. Tropical Storm Chanthu is approaching the island. It’s blowing warm rain sideways.


At the time I am posting, the wind is howling through the windows.  In a weirdly calming way, I feel like I am back in Great Lakes right off of Lake Michigan.  It makes me want to snuggle in and sleep.  I feel a great night of sleep ahead of me listening to the wind howl.  Good Night!

PS.  We also received our PO Box today.  I will email/message you our new address.

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