Our First Impression of Japan

*This is a draft that I never finished-we’ve been living in Japan for almost 3 months now.

Here is our first impression of our new adventure, originally written December 1, 2013

We’ve moved to Yokota Air Base, Japan and it is amazing, even though we arrived the day before Thanksgiving and all the offices were closed.

The 12 hour flight was manageable. The cats were in cabin with us and didn’t cry at all except for takeoff and landing when the pressure changed. Otherwise they were quiet and slept un-medicated. I was quite sure we would have to give them bendryl or something but they wouldn’t take it and still slept. I put them in the empty seat in our row and opened their kennel lids to pet them. Erik crawled into my lap under the blanket and since it was an overnight flight it went unnoticed. That made for a nice cuddly flight except for he is so heavy that he put my legs to sleep a few times.

We knew Japan was going to be awesome when we got off the plane and the luggage was waiting on us at the carousel. We had to go through immigration so we seemed to be the last to get our bags. In America you wait for 30 minutes for your luggage to get out to you, but here they were ready before we were.

We hired a chauffeur so we could come from the airport to the base with the cats. The regular shuttle doesn’t allow cats and we didn’t want to put them through additional stress. It took about 3 hours to get from Narita to Yokota with traffic and we fell asleep a few times but stayed awake long enough to see the Rainbow bridge and Tokyo Tower.

The next morning we had got a tour and had a traditional Thanksgiving lunch with some friends we knew from Little Rock Air Force Base. We went home to sleep off the jet lag shortly after.

It’s Monday now and while I’m still waking up at 3 am or so I no longer get tired at  4pm.

Friday we drove around Fussa and had our first taste of conveyor belt sushi. We had a stack of plates, a beer, and soup and it only cost $20 between us. It was just as delicious as the expensive places we would frequent in the states and was a fraction of the cost.

Saturday we went took the train into Akihabara (Electric City) and Harajuku (a trendy/cute shopping district) and had a wonderful time. Once we got out of the Akihabara station I felt like spinning around in the street like Mary Tyler Moore.

The Akihabara I saw was made up of a lot of duty free shops, anime, electronics, and adult gifts/movies. The stores there are 5-6 levels so we got quite the work out. I did not go up to the “adult” stores even though I wanted to simply because there were no other women anywhere and I didn’t want to upset any of the Japanese men.

I was waiting outside for David and Austin in front of what I now believe to be a porn store only because some of the nerdy Japanese guys stopped and stared, giggled and looked up the staircase (which had an anime girl image on the steps) so I’m going to have to be more careful. It was hot pink so I just thought it was a cutesy store that hadn’t opened up yet (the front was still closed up)

I LOVE the train. Everyone is quiet and it is very peaceful. We ate in the train station and it only cost $6- which still will continue to amaze me.

Harajuku was very cool, but I only saw one Harajuku/Lolita girl. They had adorable clothes, but I just couldn’t bring myself to spend $50 on a coat.

I used a floor toilet in the train station and I must say it was a lot easier than I expected. There were bars to hold on to and toilet paper so that was a definite plus.

We headed back to Fussa because all the restaurants were closing to prepare for dinner so we visited CoCo’s (curry) for the first time. They have English menus. It was delicious, and I don’t like curry or spicy things. I got the mild base, but it was had just enough spice to be tasty without burning my mouth.


Mario Cart IRL


Hello Kitty in Akihabara







Kappa Sushi


Underwear capsule machine (new, not used. I’ve been told those are rare)


5 thoughts on “Our First Impression of Japan

  1. Hi, Angela. Thank you for listening to my limited English patiently, the other day. I think you are authentic entertainer. I must improve my English speaking ability. You are an authentic entertainer. I hope you like the book I gave to you, “How To Japan”. This book looks at Japan and its people vividly, objectively and fairly. I like the author very much. I think it will be one of masterpiece of “Japanology”. If I leave a comment on other articles, this would be “category error”. So, I’d like to leave a comment here.

    By the way, I lied to you. I said there weren’t Japanese native animals in Hamura Zoo, but actually are. The zoo keeps some Japanese animals such as Tanuki (raccoon dog) and Nihon-Zaru (Japanese Macaque). Since Tanuk injured his (her?) leg, he is under treatment, but you can look at it there. Nihon-Zaru live in a group (about 20 to 30 macaques) there. Unfortunately, Kitsune (Japanese fox) aren’t there. The admission fee is 300 yen per adult. Hamura Zoo is a very tiny zoo, so when you get a lot of time on your hand and have nothing to do, go there. In my humble opinion, the features of the zoo are Redpand and Reindeer.

    I’d like to finish this comment with these words. Thank you for your reading this one.


    • Konnichiwa! Thank you for reading my blog and leaving your comment. I enjoy talking with you, and I understand how you must feel because when I speak Japanese I get very nervous, but you know much more English than I know Japanese.

      I have just started the “How To Japan” and I like it very much. I finished watching Alf in Japanese with English subtitles yesterday. I like Alf’s Japanese voice actor MUCH better than the English voice actor.

      I look forward to visiting Hamura zoo even more now! David and I went to Koganei Park this weekend to see the Plum Blossom trees and I want to see the trees in Hamura/Ome so we can go to the Hamura zoo, too.

      Thank you for all the information on the animals and the entry fee! I will be at the cafe this weekend, and I hope you enjoy visiting with the other Americans there.

      Mata ne!

  2. Hello, thank you for your heartwarming reply! Your encouraging message inspires me to live life more positively. You are a great communicator.

    I’m happy that you like “How to Japan” and ALF’s Japanese voice actor. The reason why I gave the book to you is that you are very curious about Japan and its people. So, in order to respond to your curiosity, I had to search for a unique book on Japan because ordinary guidebooks are readily available in the Base or somewhere else, and general information on traveling Japan is easily available through websites like YokotaTravel.com. Thus, I tried to deliver in-depth information on Japan (especially Tokyo) to you by giving the book. I wish my approach worked well.

    If you have any questions about the book, ALF’s Japanese dub, Hamura Zoo and so forth, please feel free to ask me. I’m sure you have many questions about “How to Japan” because it was originally written for Japanese readers through Japanese translation.
    I’m looking forward to talking with you at the café.

    I notice that my previously written English sentences were badly unclear. I should have written more clear-cut sentences. Particularly, the following sentences were unclear:
    “If I leave a comment on other articles, this would be “category error”. So, I’d like to leave a comment here.”
    I should have written these sentences as follows:
    “I’m not sure where I should leave my comment. So I left it here.”

    • Konbanwa, Marshall-

      Thank you very much for coming to the cafe today. I always enjoy speaking with you and your wife.

      Thank you also for telling me the correct phrase to use in my hair salon post. I appreciate it very much.

      Never worry about your sentences. I knew what you meant, and you will keep improving with practice.

      I look forward to talking to you again and to learning more about “How to Japan” while I live here.

  3. Hi, thank you for following my twitter account! The other day I may have requested a lot to you because you knew everything and many things. So, I may have hurt your feelings without noticing. I’m terribly sorry.

    By the way, Eskimo (my wife) said that you were good English teacher and gave her fresh energy. In fact, she used to be very talkative because she was able to chat with her friends for over ten hours! Unfortunately, for some reasons she’s gone depressed for about two years. But after meeting with you, she decided to get back to the “original her”. Thank you.

    I’m sorry that we couldn’t come to the café more frequently than before for family reasons and seeing a doctor. In addition, I might go to an interpreter school on Sundays. I’m very very sorry, but we root for you behind the scene. If you have any help, please feel free to ask us. I hope more and more people come to the café!

    We (Marshall & Eskimo) respect you. Thank you.

    ・40% of plum trees in Yoshino Plum Park will be cut down because of tree virus infection. So, you can’t appreciate plum blossoms fully next year. You were lucky to see the blossoms (I thought I heard you would go to the park).

    ・Walkers shortbread which I gave you the other day is available through Amazon.co.jp.

    ・Some of authentic Amazakes include alcohol. (As a rule, cheap Amazakes do not include alcohol). Sorry for transmitting wrong information to you.

    ・Only ALF Season 1 DVD sets (1&2) are very cheap (about 800 yen), but other seasons DVD sets are twice the price of Season 1. But be careful because DVD prices frequently fluctuate.

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