Wabi-Sabi Sole

Finding Beauty with Imperfection

Category: Zushi (Page 1 of 2)

Motivation – Sole Adventures

One of my favorite quotes about running is:

I find this even more true when I’m running solo. I much prefer to know my running partner is going to be on the corner waiting for me and so, I best get to stepping.

The past couple days, the temperatures haven’t been too unbearable. However, the wind has been miserable. It makes taking that step out the door really tough. This morning as I listened to the wind blowing outside the kitchen sliding door, I was truly longing for one of my running partners to be waiting. Hmmm. I decided to make a new game with a favorite mountain of mine. I decided to meet my friend on Zushi Beach. Mt. Fuji-San!

The waves show how windy it was today. On a normal day, there are hardly any waves! It was so windy and chilly, we both were covered. Mt. Fuji-San with a snow cap and me with my running hat, breathable running turtleneck and hoodie. I’m like the pink ninja running through the streets of Zushi!

My new running friend trick worked. I endured the the cold and wind and completed my five mile loop.

My reward was a huge plate of pancakes! Amanda and I went to Happy Pancake for breakfast. It’s hard to believe it’s been over a year since Dina and I first went eat at Happy Pancake. Why have I not been back until now!?! This time, I opted for an omelet and the whole wheat pancakes vice the traditional “happy pancakes”. The salad was a nice healthy touch.

Amanda had the whole wheat pancakes and eggs as well. We both agreed, the traditional ones are better. Now we know what to order next time!

To all my running partners, I hope you felt a little warmth in your heart today. I thought about my favorite runs with each of you as I stepped it out. Run Happy!

Zushi Seven Lucky Gods 2018

Katie and I arranged to complete the Zushi Seven Lucky Gods pilgrimage with another spouse. Julee, our tour guide for the day, offers to guide groups of spouses on the tour each year. She was even so kind as to drive us to each of the Temples. The Zushi Seven Lucky Gods pilgrimage is special because it is only offered from January 1st – 10th. Off we go!

Since it’s been a while since I’ve posted about the Seven Lucky Gods, let me give you a quick recap of their significance. The Shichifuku-jin are the Seven Gods of good luck. Each God represents good fortune in a specific area of life. Together the six Gods and one Goddess bring good luck, long life, and prosperity. The Zushi pilgrimage is only available for the first 10 days of the year. Other pilgrimages are available year round.

Our pilgrimage started the Toshoji Temple. Here we collected our branch to hold all of our Gods and the first God, Fukurokuju. Fukurokuju is the God of longevity.

The little figures are so adorable. They are very similar to the ones I collected last year. Since 2018 is the year of the dog, I added a small gold puppy charm to the end of the branch.

The second stop was at the Enmeiji Temple. This temple is dedicated to Benzaiten. Benzaiten is the only Goddess of the Seven. She is the God of art, music, and cleverness. We were able to enter the Temple. It was absolutely beautiful.

The third stop on our tour was at the Sotaiji Temple. Here we collected the God of wealth, Daikokuten. Please notice the bag of coins and mallet he carries. Both are signs of good fortune.

At the Temple we were given four keys to a long life. Our guide, Julee, translated it for us. 1. Don’t tell lies. 2. Stay calm. 3. Be kind. 4. Don’t get angry. Seems like sound advice to me!

While we were stopped, I had Katie take a picture of me in front of the temple. It seemed like a lucky spot. Plus, I wanted to share a picture of one of my cute skirts we had made in Thailand. Dave actually picked out the fabric for this one.

The fourth Temple was Chounji. Here we collected my favorite God, Hotei. Hotei is the God of Happiness.

The fifth Temple was Gyokuzoin. At the Gyokuzoin Temple, Ebisu is honored. Ebisu is the protective God of the Sea, farming, and development. The long rope is actually tied to the God’s hand inside the Temple. On busy days of the pilgrimage, it isn’t possible to go inside the Temple. By holding the rope, you are able to touch the God.

Here I am, holding hands with Ebisu.

However, it wasn’t too busy today. So, we went inside. All of the rope in the ceiling eventually winds around to a bell. From the bell a small string is looped around the God.

We also enjoyed a cup of tea at the Temple and collected Ebisu for our branch. Check out my adorable gloves! Thanks, Audry, for making the year of the puppy even better!

The sixth Stop was at the Senkoin Temple. Here we collected Bishamonten, the God of success. I took a peek inside the Temple. It was beautiful, also.

Our final stop was at the Koshoji Temple. Koshoji Temple is dedicated to Jurojin, the God of Health.

We were able to finish before the rain sprinkles started. I really enjoy the Seven Lucky Gods pilgrimages. Although, we won’t be able to complete this one when you visit, we can pick one of the others to complete if you are interested. They are a great way to see more of the “off the beaten path” of Japan. Plus, a little extra luck is always good.

Friday Morning Folly 

Dave and I discovered a couple months ago that our PASMO Card (train card) could be used to pay for purchases at certain stores. The most important places it can be used is at the numerous convenience stores. Like Family Mart. This is a picture of the Family Mart I probably frequent the most. It is in Zushi and about a block from the train station. This is where our Friday Morning Folly occurred.  

Let me back up a second and set the stage. Today is an American Federal Holiday observing Veteran’s Day. Dave needed to go into work because his Japanese employees were working a normal day. However, he didn’t have to be in so early. Instead of a 3:50am reveille, we could snooze until 5:15am with the goal to be running by 6:00am. Easy day. 

We grabbed our ID cards and PASMO Card (one required and the other just in case) and headed out for our run at 6:02am. We ran down to Zushi Beach hoping to catch a view of Mt. Fuji. Unfortunately, the morning was not clear enough. 

We doubled back and decided to stop at the Family Mart to grab food for lunch. Then we would just take the train home. Here’s where it’s important to remember the PASMO Card can be used at convenience stores. We grabbed our goodies and I whipped out my Passmo to pay. I was a total champion at this point. 

Side note: the cheeseburger is for me! It’s one of my lunchtime favorites. If you want, they will even heat it for you. 

I tapped my PASMO Card for the ¥1252 purchase. 

And then I saw my balance ¥88. Oh, shizzle. It cost ¥130 to train home. Dang it! Well, looks like I’m running home. Dave asked if I had any coins on me. Nope. Take the bag. I’ll see you at the gate. 

It was exactly a mile from station to main gate running the most direct route possible. I was hoping to beat the train. I didn’t. Dave was waiting for me at the main gate. The Japanese security guard asked why my husband was already here. Ha! Because I didn’t have enough money on my train card. He laughed, too! 

Want to know what’s even funnier? On my run home, as I passed the park, I found ¥100 piece on the road! Nicely beat up from being run over repeatedly. If only I found it a mile earlier! 

I’m usually pretty good about having my train card charged. I apparently forgot about my two trips to Tokyo this week! Nonetheless, a valuable lesson was learned without dire consequences. Happy Friday! Kanpie! 

Hello Autumn 

The storm cleared out last night and sunrise greeted us with an amazing view of Mt. Fuji. It looks like the little bit of snow cap on Mt. Fuji already melted. I have no doubt it will return very soon! 

The rest of my day was filled with errands. When I finally made it back home, the crisp temperature and leftover breezes from the storm made me want to bake up some fall treats! I made the always delicious pumpkin cinnamon rolls. 

Along with tasty, these rolls deserve the prize of messy! 

I had a little helper as I baked. This little guy came to my screen door and chatted with me. I decided to name him Groucho. Because, eyebrows! 

Just so we are clear, I did not feed him. Nor did I coax him to my house. And I am NOT adopting him. I just thought it was cute he followed me home. He left as quietly as he came, once he realized I wasn’t going to give him snacks. 

I will bake the beautiful pumpkin rolls in the morning and send them into work with Dave. Happy Halloween to SRF. All treats – no tricks! 

Typhoon Saola

This weekend’s weather was brought to us by Typhoon Saola. 

The base only set TCCOR Stormwatch. Mainly meaning a lot of rain and tropical storm winds. 

The storm is not as strong as Typhoon Lan nor did is get as close to Japan. 

None the less, we received plenty of rain. 

I know I said it already, but one more time, we received so much rain. We are safe and sound. I’m looking forward to a new weather pattern. This is the third rainy weekend in a row! 

Beautiful Day

Today was beautiful. It warranted a get out and go attitude. I decided to venture over to Enoshima Island. I’ve been a couple times, both with Dave and Dina. It provides a spectacular vantage point for viewing Mt. Fuji (on a clear day). I knew today would be a great day for a trip to Enoshima because I snapped this picture earlier in the morning from Zushi Beach while enjoying a U.S. phone conversation with my girl, Jules. Enoshima Island is the island slightly off center and in front of Mt. Fuji. 

One part of the island I haven’t had the opportunity to explore are the rocks and sea cave. It is some what of a trek out to the island. It requires three trains and a good bit of walking. Here was my route. 

As I walked across the bridge to the island, I was giddy seeing Mt. Fuji with a snow cap. Signs of cooler weather! 

I decided to walk the stairs on the island vice taking the pay escalators. I figured the steps would do my rainy day lazy legs a favor! I was huffing and puffing by the time I reached the top. But, that view! 

Before descending down the other side to the sea cave, I decided to stop for a quick visit at the Sea Candle. I love the gardens and the Sea Candle and I knew the view would be amazing. I purchased my ¥500 ticket from the machine like a boss and entered the garden. I was greeted by thousands of unlit luminaries. 

I saw the flier with relevant information and have already made plans to return next week in the evening to see them illuminated! I think it will be so enchanting. 

As I approached the Sea Candle entrance, an advertisement for the caves caught my attention. I looked it over and then proceeded to the ticket taker at the entrance. He nicely informed me the sea caves were closed. Oh? Hai! Because typhoon caused damage. Oh! Arigatōgozaimas! I was so thankful he told me before I walked down the other side of the mountain! He also told me he wasn’t sure when it would reopen. 

The views of Mt. Fuji from the Sea Candle were as beautiful as I hoped! 

I walked around and enjoyed the 360 degree view of Shonan Beach. The bridge pictured is the one I walked over to access the island. 

As I was returning to the elevator to go back down, I observed a man taking the stairs. I decided to follow and ignore the sign written in Japanese. Again with the great views! 

The spiral staircase took me down to the Terrace level. As I came to the end of the staircase, I realized my error. Don’t tell anyone, but I don’t think I was supposed to use the stairs. 

Oops – a – daisy! Let’s just keep this between us, shall we? But, just so we are clear, I paid for an entry ticket to the garden and Sea Candle! 

One last view from the Terrace. 

And from the bridge as I walked back to the train station. 

On my way back home, I stopped and did a little shopping. Both in the Shonan Beach area and then in Kamakura. It was just such a beautiful day! 

Typhoon Lan

Typhoon Lan blew through the area on Sunday afternoon into early Monday morning. 

The base shut down during the storm and only essential personnel were required and permitted to enter. Dave went into work Sunday afternoon in preparation for the storm. The base schools were also closed. I was so excited schools were closed because I was supposed to substitute on Monday! Yay, my first ever Typhoon Day! 

By the time the storm was close to us, it had dropped to a Category 2 storm. 

The news reports said our area received 6-9  inches of rain! So much rain!

Here is a picture of the soccer fields on base. Normally, that huge pond is the soccer and baseball field. 

Throughout the storm, emergency alerts would come in on our phones. The Google Translate translations were pretty funny. Haha! 

Our cinder block home was perfectly safe. Just a lot of leaves and debris. 

Dave came home early Monday and we went out for lunch and a walk around. It was wonderful to see blue skies! I feel like it’s rained so much recently. We had lunch in Kamakura at Rooftops. It was a beautiful afternoon. 

After lunch, we walked down to Zushi Beach. Guess who we saw- Mt. Fuji! 


The Beach was busy with surfers catching the storm waves. 

Check this thing out – it didn’t make it through the storm. 

We were very fortunate with this storm. We never lost power and didn’t have any damage. I hope the rest of Japan didn’t experience too much damage! 

Matane Monday

Monday was our final day together in Japan. Nina, Noah, and I went for a jog on the treadmills because it was still raining! The kids really wanted to run with me and the treadmill was the best option. They did a great job and we worked up an appetite for ramen! We decided to visit Fukuman, the ramen restaurant near our house. The table available was Japanese style. It was another fun cultural experience. We took off our shoes and sat on the tatami mat. 

After much hesitation and coaxing, Noah finally agreed to try ramen. It wasn’t a surprise to anyone that he liked it!! 

Nina and I were both happy with our ramen choices! 

After lunch, we loaded up the Hooptie and headed towards Yokohama on the train. One final train ride to Yokohama- together. I’m going to miss this fun loving crew! 

While we waited at the station for the Narita Express to arrive, we finally found a food vendi! Layla had been searching all week! 

One last selfie! Coffee time! 

Layla and the kids loaded up on the Narita Express. I talked them through where to go and what might present a problem. They made it just fine! I knew they could do it! 

They were checked in and ready to head home! Safe travels! 

I had a wonderful time while Layla, Nina, and Noah were visiting. It was fun to share Japan with them. I enjoyed taking them to several of my favorite places and discovering new favorites. Although I did play the role of official tour guide for Julia’s Tour, their “I’m a tourist attitude” was refreshing for me. They greeted each day with a positive attitude and excited about the adventure awaiting them. They truly embraced their journey. I’m going to take their attitudes as a reminder to find joy in my journey. Thank you, friends. Thank you for visiting, for the hugs, and for the week of happy memories we created. 

Ja Matane – I’ll see you! 

Fuku Sei Ramen

I must confess to something a little embarrassing. We have been in Japan for almost 15 months now and last night was the first time we ate at the closest ramen restaurant to our house. I know! We pass the restaurant each time we go for a run or drive out the gate. We always talk about eating there. Finally, we did! 

We took about a 15 minute walk from our house to the restaurant. The restaurant did not disappoint. We enjoyed an American sized Japanese beer to quench our thirst after the warm walk. 

The added bonus was an English speaking staff and English menu.

The ramen and gyoza were delicious. There were a plethora of choices for ramen. Even a vegetarian option which can be very difficult to find in Japan. Plus adding extra noodles was an option. For only ¥210! I ordered a salt based ramen with chicken. It also came with bean sprouts, seaweed, and corn. Because our waiter spoke excellent English, I could ask him for no corn. Ahhh, yes! The result was a beautiful and delicious bowl of ramen. 

I’m always hesitant with gyoza. Sometimes they give me a bit of indigestion. Sorry for the TMI, but these only required two Tums compared with others requiring four… 

It was the perfect outing for a casual Sunday night. We will definitely return. Sooner than later. 

As my Japanese students have taught me to say when you want to change the subject, “thank you for sharing, ok, subject change.” I’m writing this as I sit on the Narita Express. I’m heading to the airport to meet my friend, Layla, and her two adorable kids. They are coming from Memphis and staying for the week! I can’t wait to share and explore Japan with them! I have so much planned for their visit. We are starting off strong and heading to Tokyo DisneySea tomorrow. It’s like the “Epcot” of Tokyo Disney with a “sea” theme. Stay tuned for kawaii Disney Halloween 👻 🎃 ! 

Smile Because It Happened

One of my favorite quotes is by Dr. Seuss. “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” I find this quote to be very comforting when I’m faced with the many changes brought about living life as a Navy spouse. One thing always consistent with Navy life is moving. Each move brings new adventures in new locations and new friends with whom to share them. Unfortunately, too often, paths crisscross for only short periods of time. Dina and her kids left Japan for vacation today. She will return and move while I am away next month. Last night we enjoyed one last delicious dinner at Sushiro. Our favorite!

True to typical form, we made friends who were more than willing to have their picture taken with the two tall and cute Americans.

Happiness is friends and a big slice of tuna.

The night wouldn’t be complete without a stop or two at combini for chu hai.

The best picture and memory of the night was Dave giving Eme a shoulder ride up the hill on the walk home!

I will miss you, my friend. Thank you for all the laughs, adventures, and morning runs to the beach. A quick throwback picture to our first run to Zushi beach last October.

It’s not sayōnara, it’s only jā matane – see you later…

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