Japan is funny
It's actually one of those step cabinets ("very popular with Americans"), but we decided it looked better un-stepped here. Finally, I could get all those liquor bottles off the kitchen counter!
A place for our DVDs, etc. Note the other cool purchase, the leopard footstool. The man who sold it to me showed me the "secret" compartment under the lid, where I could "hide a million dollars." We decided to put the remotes in there instead.
We followed up our shopping spree with a visit to the base's Taco Bell and bowling alley. I like the bowling alley on base; they have bumpers. For the kids And their aim-deficient mom. Yes, I admit it: I suck at bowling and I like bumpers.
Sunday, we went to the other nearby base, Negishi (it was the site of an old racetrack, see above). Why would we want to spend another day in Little America? you might ask. Simple reason:
The difference in the cost of going to see Pirates of the Caribbean: World's End on the base and Spiderman 3 at World Porters in Yokohama the other week was about $50. No kidding. The theater, though small, had totally decent sound. The movie was awesome, too. Keira Knightley looked so awesome as The Pirate King (don't ask, go see it) that she almost rivaled Captain Jack Sparrow in terms of fun-to-look-at. But not quite. This is Johnny Depp we're talking about.
We followed this by a trip to the pool, in which I didn't swim because I forgot my suit, and M almost but didn't take his swim test. The changing room had this great machine I didn't get to use that extracts water from your bathing suit. That might've been more fun that actually swimming.
Despite our previous experience with it, we decided to have dinner at the All Hands Mess. Worst. Dinner. Ever. It reminded me of all those M*A*S*H episodes in which the cook tried to get creative with powdered eggs and Spam. I had the soggiest tempura in the world. Jeff's bad steak was accompanied by 'mushrooms sauteed in garlic' that tasted like the can they came in. M didn't finish his dry chicken soft taco. D gobbled up his tiny personal cheese pizza, probably because he likes food that doesn't taste like anything. Or maybe he wanted to finish quickly so he could put his goofy teeth back in.
After dinner, we went to the six-lane Bowling Center, where Jeff and I had a rousing game of table tennis (I'm just learning, but already improving) and the family failed to come close to beating the Family Score established yesterday. We sucked. But I love watching the kids' techniques. D hurls the ball from him with such force that when it drops, I can almost see the hole in the floor.
From the parking lot, we noticed a building feature that belied the usually-strict Navy safety regulations:
Watch that first step, it's a lulu!
Monday, Memorial Day, was a holiday for Jeff, but not for the kids, so we had one of those rare just-the-two-of-us days. We did some shopping in and around Yokohama Station. In Yodobashi Camera, a technology megaplex, I learned that the season is now Early Summer. This will be followed by The Rainy Season, and then the Ridiculously Hot and Sticky Season.
We also had an experience of extreme Japanese politeness: Jeff, when paying for DVD cases with cash, accidentally let a one yen (penny) fall into the tray. Rather than just give it back, the clerk added it to the paid amount and gave it back as change.
Vowing to not have as crappy a lunch as the previous dinner, Jeff used his food-dar and steered us to the Oriental Cafe, a reggae-themed place with outside seating. The menu was entirely in Japanese, with no pictures! but with our limited skills with kana, we managed to order pasta and risotto. I am happy to say that both were delicious.
Being near Tokyu Hands, we thought it would be fun to try and track down a girl of our acquaintance called Yamato. We did not find her (even though we tried asking a clerk if she was working, despite the fact that we knew neither her last name or what floor she worked on), but we did find some fine examples of Japanese technological ingenuity, such as The Banana Guard:
The Beer Smoother, which improves the pour from can to glass:
and the T-qualiser, a T-shirt with built in graphic equalizer that responds to the sounds around you. How fun would that be at a dance club?
We also discovered that Tokyu Hands is now carrying antique furniture. I guess it's consignment from another shop. We found a gorgeous Nouveau piece that wasn't too much and is perfect for the bedroom. Bonus well spent. Our house feels much warmer and homier with the new additions and less blank whiteness.
Next, Jeff took me to 2 places he'd been dying to show me. First was a coffee shop that would make any Seattleite jittery with delight: Cafe Tonya. Everything to do with coffee you can think of, they have.
I don't know why the beans are that color; perhaps they are as-yet unroasted? We didn't buy any coffee to take home, as it was prohibitively pricey, but we got a cup to go (which is hard to find outside of Star*ucks), which was only 100 yen!
Next was a shop that sold antique swords, knives, and their fittings. They were sadly unavailable for us, as they cost thousands of dollars and cannot be taken out of the country when we go back to the US, but they were nice to drool over. And maybe we'll splurge on our way out and start a collection of antique tsubas, which are really cool and would look neat displayed.
I just liked this sign:
It was a great extended weekend with lots of family-time. Tonight, I shall balance out all that family-ness at the Blue Corn. I haven't been out on a while.
As a bonus, here is the "3-a-day" song from the dairy section of the Fuji supermarket where I shop. I hear this several times a week, and find myself humming it at odd moments.
Maybe next time, if you're lucky, I'll post the "Sakana" song from the fish section. That one gets in your head like you wouldn't believe.