Saturday, July 05, 2008

Beginning of the end...

Well, it's happening. Starting to say goodbye to people. Said goodbye to Janie and family last Friday.

After we hung out on Thursday, I wished we had spent more time together. She was lonely, too, and an outsider-mom like me. Oh, well, there's always the internet.

Also said goodbye to Hamza's family, at a farewell Turkish feast last week. As there were no men present, Sevda was sans headscarf. First time I ever saw her hair. She's the one in red. The other one is Shirin, with whom I finally have something to talk about, now that she's pregnant (congrats!).

It was also the first occasion I ever had to buy one of those ridiculously-priced boxes of mikan. $30 tangerines. I was kind of hoping she would bust out with them at the feast, but I never saw them again after I handed them over. I hope they were good. They left for Turkey for the summer soon after.

On Saturday, I did the kid hand-off in Shibuya to Jeff, who had just flown in from the States. M got to say goodbye to his teacher, one of the good ones and who is probably too good for HJIS, Cynthia Thomas.

We were off to Miss Norie's sayonara extravaganza of dinner, karaoke, and dancing 'til dawn.

I made some new friends that night, like Wye-Khe and Walter; kinda wish I had met them sooner. Coulda used some more male friends in Japan. Oh, well.

What followed were 2 days of M & I hanging around the house, due to various indispositions and D being off at Yokosuka base day camp (which he resisted). Not too exciting. D begged off camp the next day, insisting that he really just wanted to hang out with his brother, and we walked to Mitsuike Koen for a lazy day in the sun.

M made some friends on the playground, where kids speak the international language of Yu-Gi-Oh! D and I laid on the grass, enjoying nature and talking about this-n-that.

Next day was an official DRS Outing (Jeff's company) at Fuji-Q Highlands with Wilson's and Frank's families. That was the third trip for the kids and me. Jeff braved the scary-ass roller coaster that you couldn't pay me to ride (the name means "it's all good," more or less, but it definitely isn't, if you ask me):

Eejanaika, 249 feet tall, 78.3 mph. Opened in 2006, it is only the second "4th Dimension roller coaster" ever built (the first being at Six Flags Magic Mountain in California). As a "4th dimension" roller coaster its seats can rotate 360 degrees forward or backward in a controlled spin, thus allowing Eejanaika to invert 14 different times, even though the actual track inverts only three times. It surpasses the first built "4th dimension" roller coaster, X², in both height and speed.

He said the build-up was totally justified. We also did Great Zaboon, the wettest water-ride ever (you buy ponchos to wear on it),

and Jeff and I finally got to do the Haunted Hospital.

It was pretty effective. The setting reminded me of Condemned: Criminal Origins, the xbox game that I won't play because the atmosphere is too creepy. You get a small flashlight and no clear idea of which way to go (we actually did a loop twice by accident). Then they take your flashlights away. There were plenty of live actors around, and they didn't just pop up randomly to scare us, they also followed us around, sometimes two at a time, and occasionally chased us shrieking down the dimly-lit halls. One of them kept appearing beneath my skirt with a flashlight. This was called "a perk of the job."More like perv. Lots of missed opportunities to be truly scary (the sometimes-shoddy models bugged me a bit), but good fun all in all.

Yesterday was, of course, the Fourth of July. We took Cynthia and her visiting family to the Navy base with us for the festivities. Plenty of the usual carnival games and contests , plus "The World's Largest (Military) Yakitori" (which was apparently hard to flip but came out quite tasty),

and performances by Eagles (not too bad), Fleetwood Mac (eh), and Madonna (pretty sad) tribute bands. Ironically, the bands were mostly Canadian. "Madonna" was backed by, we believe, strippers, and her fake Gautier-Blonde Ambition Tour gold cone-boobs kept pointing in odd directions. None of the energy of the original.

Good for a giggle anyway. And of course, there were fireworks.

Cynthia, her sister Liz, and I went out for karaoke after, at Liz's request. I think that after this past week and next week's Kichijoji-sayonara, I might just be karaoke'd-out for a while. Which is good, because, really, can you get decent karaoke in the US? I don't think so.

Also spotted an umbrella vending machine at Tsurumi station. Can't believe it was the first time we had ever seen one.

Oh, on a side note, Kevin is finally getting out of the hospital! He will be on home isolation, but at least he'll get to eat more food and not get hassled for humming while brushing his teeth. And he won't be surrounded by hacking, wheezing Japanese men with whom he can't communicate. And Helen won't have to make the trek out to the clinic every night after work. I'm sure they are both pretty happy about it.

Tomorrow we get to go to the Muay Thai championships! I'm pretty excited. Next week is my week "off." Both kids are going to camp on the base. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with my time yet, but I have a couple ideas. I am also open to suggestions.


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