Wabi-Sabi Sole

Finding Beauty with Imperfection

Category: Zushi (Page 2 of 3)

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…

Shop Like a Local

Dave and I went into Zushi for lunch and to pick up a couple things.

We went to one of our favorite little restaurants, Blue Moon. They have a very limited lunch menu which is always served with fantastic service. Today, I opted for the Blue Moon Noodle dish. It was a combination of Pho and Green Curry. It was good but didn’t make my top 5 lunch dishes.

After lunch, we walked through a small festival being held at a temple across the street.

And then we went to the local grocery store to pick up tuna to make poke tuna rice bowls for dinner. Dinner was delicious! I could eat a rice bowl every meal. The shrimp and fresh edamame were a bonus. 

I also needed to get Japanese toilet paper. The toilet paper holders in the bathrooms are too long for American toilet paper. When the American toilet paper roll is about halfway used, it will slip out and proceed to roll across the floor. You can imagine how annoying that is when your trying to use the restroom. Japanese toilet paper is designed to fit perfectly. It is also sold in a convenient plastic carrying package.

It is very common to see the Japanese walking home from the market with their large package of toilet paper. I felt like a local walking home this afternoon carrying my TP in one hand and sushi in the other.

The final purchase we made at the grocery store was raw / fresh edamame. The produce in Japan is seasonal. When we first arrive last August, I was able to find fresh edamame everywhere. By early Septemeber, I couldn’t find it anywhere. I realized after a few months and looking everywhere, I would have to wait until it was in season again. I mentioned to Dave recently, that we should be seeing it in the stores soon because it was in season when we arrived. Today, I found my first edamame of 2017! Yay! My favorite!

I think carrying your package of toilet paper through the streets needs to be a qualifier to being able to say “I lived in Japan”. Because you truly haven’t lived in Japan until you carried your TP, sushi (with a cute ice pack because it is hot out), and edamame all the way home… When you visit, if you want the true local experience, I will help you buy and carry your TP all the way home!

Angry Birds

We have the loudest, most obnoxious crows I have ever experienced. There are often many of them in the forest around our house and they are ridiculously loud. They “caw-caw” from before sunrise until dusk. They are so loud, when I’m talking on the phone, the person in America has commented on being able to hear them! 

They greeted me as I returned home from Costco this afternoon. Ugh! They are so annoying! They were in the trees in the front of the house and in the trees around back. I felt like I had a cuckoo clock stuck in my head! 

Here they are out front. 

I walked to the back of the house to capture the squawking there as well. 

They carried on like this for about a half hour. Clearly, they enjoy raising a ruckus. 

Rolling Out the Red Carpet

We are fortunate to have another friend visiting for a few days. Bill, is here on a work trip, but we rolled out the Japanese-sized red carpet for him none the less. I just wished I would have thought of this before the Cummings Clan came to visit!

We went to dinner at one of our favorite spots in Zushi, Blue Moon. We enjoyed the “octopus balls” appetizer.

Both Dave and Bill ordered the Pho.

I ordered the fried chicken to share. But there is one thing I wouldn’t share… my Chick-fil-A sauce!! Say, what!?!

Yes, my shout out for Chick-fil-A sauce worked much better than I anticipated. Bill showed up with two bags full of sauce!

On Saturday, I received a box in the mail from my friend, Sara. She sent individual packages as well as 10 huge tubs! JJ, Delaney, and James all helped to collect the sauce. Thank you so much! I will put a special Japanese surprise in the mail to you. I promise not to include sea urchin pretzels! Haha! Only nine of the tubs are pictured, I sent one to work with Dave this morning!

I am so grateful for the love from friends. I also enjoy hearing the tails of your adventures as you attempt to gather the sauce for me. Thank you so much for going out of your way to make me smile! It means so much!

One last thing, I must share with you the importance of not feeling intimidated with using chopsticks when you visit. Follow Bill’s advice and just stick it!

I Thought You Would Get a Kick Out of This

I was asked to be the substitute teacher at an English class in Zushi. It is about a 15-minute drive from my house. It is a little bit more of a hectic drive than normal because I have to drive behind Zushi train station. In this area, there are a lot of pedestrians and bicyclists on their way to the station to catch their train. So many people combined with the narrow road sometimes makes me feel like I’m driving on a sidewalk! Also, on this route, I have to cross three different sets of train tracks. Often the traffic is blocked at these crossings making the drive take a little longer.

The class is two hours long. The structure of the class includes each person discussing an incident from the past week for ten minutes. After each person has talked, I read a story selected by the teacher. The story is loaded with a variety of idioms. I explain the idioms and then ask questions to check for their understanding of the story and idioms. One of the idioms from the story today was “to get a kick out of something.” One of my questions to each student was to tell me a time they got a kick out of something. Each shared with me an antidotal story, which were very entertaining.

The road leading up to her neighborhood was lined with beautiful Sakura. 

I thought you might get a kick out of a short video I took driving up the street. You can really hear the Hooptie engine revving as I climbed the hill! I know the video takes a little longer to load. I hope you are able to view it nonetheless. I think you will get a kick out of the Sakura tree blossom tunnel as well as me driving on the left side of the road! Please enjoy.

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