Last Words

MDF is sitting in front of a samurai statue that is supposedly “lord” of Kintai or the Kintai Samurai & it is also in front of a cherry blossom tree in full bloom!


The next picture is of a group of ladies that were providing a dance show. These are not the same ladies in the kimonos–but we did enjoy their performance.


And I got to take a picture with one of them. She really liked MDF & Abigail. MDF was too shy to have her picture taken with the lady & Abigail was asleep & didn’t notice the touching the lady did on her face.


And finally we are back to me & JF & MDF on the Kintai Bridge. The were a number of photographers taking pictures on the bridge & as MDF & I were watching the kimono ladies leave JF told me to hold still my picture was being taken—by 3-4 Japanese men! One of them took this photo.


Now, once we got off the bridge, there were little shops down by the water’s edge. I have drooled over some shoes they have here that are made of wood & are sandals. Every shop had them but they were $14.00 (1400 yen) and I only had about $5 worth. Well, there was this one shop that didn’t have a price and as I was holding a pair the lady came up to me. I asked how much & she held up 2 fingers and said 2 yen. I thought I had 2 yen! I had 2 100 pieces so I got excited. Held out to make sure & she shook her head no. We tried to get it right. She called a lady over & she brought with her a 1000 bill. I said no–and showed them all the money I had. Explained that I couldn’t purchase & I’d put them back. The shop lady held the shoes–finger over mouth (shhh) & motioned for the other lady to wrap them…hands motioning to go & be quiet. I thanked her in Japanese & walked off. I got my shoes for $5.00!!! Talk about being happy–my second purchase alone.
The afternoon has been subdued. MDF, Abigail & I took a nap and then JF & I finished up on some packing. Stephanie & I watched the movie “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” and we’ve had dinner. The vacation is coming to a close. I’m dreading the flight back because it is so long but also ready to be home in one way. Then again, by us having to leave; we also have to leave Stephanie, Vasco & baby Abigail. I’ve had a bit of homesickness (for the first time in my travels that I can remember) but I’ve enjoyed our visit. I hate to leave them but it is something we must do. Hopefully they will be able to come to the States before Abigail gets to be too big for a visit on their own. But then again, now that I know the flight–I also understand why they don’t come more often. Aside from how much it costs! We won’t go into that one.
It has truly been an experience & I can now put faces with names, places they frequent & food they talk about. I’m glad we made the trip & I grew wings & flew!
The next time you hear from me I’ll be home in Wilmington & getting back to my routine of life. Actually, I’ll be packing up our home & getting ready for a move. Don’t fear we are not moving here–they don’t have big enough yards. We are moving to Burgaw. We have put our house under contract while we have been here & move April 16th.
Hope you have enjoyed our visit right along with us. It’s been nice to hear from those that have responded back.


More of Kintai Area

The first picture is of us under the Kintai Bridge at the river’s edge. Behind us is where rocks have collected & has a white water rapid effect.


The next picture JF took of me & MDF on the Kintai Bridge. We had to pay to cross it but it was a nice little walk & we were able to see things we would not have seen otherwise. You can also see what I am talking about with the white water rapid effect.


The third picture is us still on the Kintai Bridge–but each hump has steps that you climb rather than smooth wood. The bridge is famous for the arches so we wanted that as a nice backdrop.


And finally, there was a group of ladies dressed in kimonos that passed us. We tried to find them later in the park but never did.



Kintai Area

Hello! This is our last outing here in Japan. We leave for the shin train in the early tomorrow morning to start the long journey home. Thankfully it will not be another 14 hour flight–just 13 this time. Daylight savings time is wonderful!
We went back to the Kintai Bridge area today to look through the shops & catch sight of the cherry blossom trees that are in bloom. They will be beautiful on Tuesday or so of next week, so we are missing them in full bloom but we were able to see some. The morning was a bit overcast but dry with a hint of a chill. Plus, we were right on the Nishi River.
We found a great spot to view the Kintai Bridge & the river & took the first two pictures. MDF has really taken to her Uncle Vasco (Unce Basco as she calls him) and I’m afraid will be lost when we get on the shin in the morning. This morning before we ever got dressed to go to breakfast, she had him reading “Mouse on the Moon” to her. They play together & do really fun things together. She’s sure gonna miss him & I think he’ll miss her a little too. It will be awful quiet around the house when he comes home & in the middle of the night–(she has woken the house up a few times between 11-1 screaming for no reason!–bad dream). So the third picture is of the two of them playing run down the hill. She liked to run down to the bushes & beyond that is the river…so he positioned himself to “catch” her & let me feel safe about her running down. She would run into his arms & he’d “throw” her in the air. Tons of giggles & laughter.

Just two

Posing at the bridge

MDF and Vasco playing

Japan Travel

Day in the Mountains

Hello all, well we had an experience yesterday. It was another gorgeous day & we took advantage of it. We planned on driving up the mountain & then hiking view 3 Falls. Well, first off the road going up the mountain was a two lane road that should have been one way! It was narrow…that is the first picture. The higher we went up the narrower it seemed to get. Thankfully we did not meet but 2 trucks in the road & that was at times we could pull off. Though, one was on the side of the mountain, but the road had been widened in turns & sharp curves. We were suppose to “turn right by the cabin”–we never found “the cabin”. So, we kept going up the mountain until we started heading down the other side. Stephanie turned the van around in the widest section of the road we could find. We laughingly joked that we would get cross ways the road & get stuck..but she made it. Hit the back end of the van against the side of the mountain–but we got turned around. No damage to the van & the kids were fine. So we make our way back down the mountain we had just climbed & I took pictures.
Once down the mountain, we decided to go to Kintai & eat our picnic lunch there. But first we would hike up to Iwakuni Castle. It is not a good sign when the first slope you come too is the steepest part of the hike. Because that one slope is a good bit of the first few minutes. We reached the top with no problem though. The picture of Stephanie, MDF & myself is at the cable car hut (yes you can opt to take a cable car up & down to the Castle…we thought the hike would be nice.) Around that clock is diamonds built in the walkway with various places & the distance in kilometers.

Clock, halfway up the mountain

The next picture is of Iwakuni Castle. I was sitting on a bench looking up at it. It provided a great view of the city, as you can tell in the following picture. Stephanie was able to get us in front of the Castle.

Iwakuni Castle

View from the mountains.

Iwakuni Castle again

By the time we hiked down, we were all ready for our picnic lunch. We were able to find a cute little hut to eat at.

Picnic at the bottom of the mountain.

When we came back to the apartment all of us girls took naps. We have some soreness in our hips & JF’s knees are a little sore but other than that we are doing fine & thinking of walking along the sea wall later today.
We are going to a Spring Bazaar this afternoon (Friday) and for dinner we are going to Stephanie’s favorite restaurant-Gnesh. It’s an Indian restaurant, so it will be interesting. I’ll let you know how we liked it

Japan Travel

Miyajima Continued…

Here is the rest of the pictures from Miyajima.
The first is of a shrine to some god. There is a link I will also include at the bottom if anyone is interested in learning more about Miyajima. We did not go through the shrine for a couple of reasons–first it cost $3 & second we don’t believe in other gods, hence, there is no point in dabbling in it.


The next picture is of what we think is a newlywed couple having their traditional wedding pictures done. At first people were taking pictures of the woman alone–and I thought (the 3 of us thought) she was a professional model on a shoot. Then we saw the man–assumed they were professional models. Until this picture–and we realized that would be like a wedding kimono. She had just taken off her head dress or round hat & I got this picture with no one else in the picture–very hard. I found this very interesting.


The third picture is of a working shrine. We saw people actually burning incense & praying to gods & using the shrine. The large bowl type front & center is the incense. Then you had various “stations” to pray & burn more incense at.


This concludes the pictures of Miyajima. Here is the link to learn more.

Japan Travel


Today, Wednesday, we took a trip to the Island of Miyajima. We drove up & rode the ferry over. It was a ton of walking –but I think it has been my favorite so far. There were little shops (it is more of a tourist place) and I was able to talk to the shop owners & buy a “handkerchief” (which I plan on using as the center of a quilt for our bed) and a small saki porcelain cup–which will be added to our shot glass collection. The shop owners were most helpful with my purchase of the handkerchief. And I paid for it!! I am so proud of myself because up until now JF or Stephanie had been doing the buying. They were both busy with the girls & I was free to look & browse & for once on this trip had money in my pocket! I was careful of how I spent the money–we used the last $6.50 on ice cream cones! J
About Miyajima. It is an island a little north of Iwakuni & is between here & Hiroshima. There are wild deer that eat out of your hand & are completely friendly–a tad aggressive though. They flock to whoever has food or may have food. MDF liked them from a distance–until one started being rather pushy for the food in her hand & followed her around. Then she got scared. However, she did enjoy running around with them (no food in her hands).


The first picture is of our boat loading dock & another boat that looks like the one we took over. The large blue & white boat with a M in red is the ferry boat.


The next picture is: JF showing MDF how to feed the deer. Very tame…later I discovered I could be a deer hunter. We were trying to eat a picnic lunch & the pesky animals kept trying to eat lunch with us…only we had to provide their food too! I soon got tired of them & no longer found it cute. In the next picture you can see how MDF reacted to the deer when it got too close.


JF was able to take some really nice shots of her playing around. As you can see with her taking a short breather.


The following picture is of the Tori gate. When the tide is low you can walk out & stand under the gate.


Japan Travel

Chicken Shack

Hello! We went to a place yesterday that is in the mountains & is known as the Chicken Shack. There is a restaurant that you can eat at & shops that you can walk through. The shops sell anything from food to knick-knacks. The weather was nice–a little drizzly but was fine for what we did.


The first picture is of houses that we passed on the way. I am shocked at how close the homes are around here! And not only that they have 3 & 4 generations living in one house because owning a home is so expensive. Can you imagine?! Not only are the homes close to each other (some roofs over lap others!) they are right on the street as well! Literally, there is the road & then a house in some places. Others there is a small patch of curbing (if you can call it a curb) and there is the yard. They plant gardens down the way a bit & it is more of a community type garden. Everyone pitches in together & reaps together. Some have their own plots.


The next picture is of a typical Japanese restaurant–pillows for chairs & a small table. This is looking into the Chicken Shack restaurant–MDF & I were curious. All around the area they had wood burning & tea pots going. I don’t know if you could drink from the pots–but I do know the smell brought back memories of hog killing days my family used to do! I thought I would be too young to remember but I asked Stephanie & sure enough it does. Not only that I was also looking for the cracklin’ pot! J Yea good memories.


The next picture is of MDF & me in front of some very pretty flowers & Japanese figurines. The flowers by my knees are cut & floating in water. It was a very nice area. The following is of the 3 of us directly across from where MDF & I were just standing. Final picture–snack time for MDF. The Chicken Shack is the building behind me.



Japan Travel


We went took the local train into Hiroshima today. JF will have get the pictures to me so I will be able to share them with you. We really enjoyed the trip. MDF did good & Abigail slept the whole time. It was a full day of walking & more walking. We walked through the Peace Park & through the museum about the A-bomb, and did some window shopping in a covered mall (not like our malls though; more of an plaza type with dome ceilings & streets all around. Very interesting. We ate lunch at a place called “The Garlic House”…I ate Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce (it also had tons of garlic in it & eggplant cut up), JF had spaghetti & bologna–same as mine pretty much. Some type of soup & salad came with it…and I also had buttered garlic bread that was sweet & delicious!!! I will admit I’m trying new foods & doing the best I can with it..but I’m ready for some good American food–cheeseburgers, steaks, fries, junk food…but some good ole fried chicken would be nice too. Something I know & that I’m used to. But I keep trying foods.
Tomorrow, Easter Sunday, we are planning on going to chapel here on Base. Later in the day, they are having a brunch meal & Peter Cottontail is stopping in for a visit. We may try to go & see Peter Cottontail…today we were in a store & there was a Winnie the Pooh–knowing that MDF likes Pooh I thought she would like to see him. I was wrong. She was fine until Pooh touched her head & then that was the end. She cried if he waved at her…I wonder how she’ll do with Pooh later on.
While window shopping we went to an electronic store that has multiple floors. On one floor they have massage chairs. They are around $2000–but man they feel good. I sat in one that did my legs, back & shoulders. I was about to go to sleep. There were others that massaged your feet, arms, and legs, back & shoulders. They have various massage chairs. It would have been nice to have been able to get one of those shipped home–especially for when I get pregnant again. That would relieve JF of a lot of rubbing. J
I suppose I will go for now. It is getting time for MDF’s bed time (as well as mine) and I’ll try to send pictures & e-mail more tomorrow.

Japan Travel

Konchiwa! Good Day

Well, the morning started off at 2:30 a.m. with MDF waking the adults up in the house with “Down” –she was awake & ready to get out of the play pen.  We attempted to keep her in the room with us & as quiet as possible.  We ended up in the living room with cereal snack & the door to the hallway shut.  We stayed up for a while & then thought about giving her benadryl to help her sleep; we were able to make it back to the bedroom & watch some TV & finally ended up putting her in the play pen awake & just let her cry it out.  It didn’t last that long. However, we were up for almost an hour & half to 2 hours.  We were all able to go back to sleep & I ended up awake around 7 a.m.  MDF got up with me & we started breakfast.

Side note:  Up until now MDF has preferred JF.  She really didn’t want to have that much to do with me–which hurt my feelings but today is better & she likes me again.  I suppose it is just a stage & will pass. Then again it may get worse before better & I will cry many more times.

So, MDF & I were up & ate breakfast with Vasco.  Then again with JF & again with Stephanie (that was just MDF & Steph).  The morning was uneventful.  We did go out to the playground & play for a short time.  MDF started off on the fat, metal slide & ended up on the curved, tall, covered slide.  Alone!! she is growing.  She really enjoyed that.  Came in because it was starting to sprinkle & was time for lunch.

After lunch & naptime, around 3 p.m. we headed off base & to the Hundred Dollar Yen Store.  (Our Dollar Store)  It is 3 stories & full of this & that.  I know we have dollar stores in every town & plenty of them but this is very nice.  You can buy dishes there (and I’m talking nice dishes), you can get just about every shape & size of plastic “Tupperware” container you can imagine, organizing baskets, toys, stationary, CDs, but it also has some cheap plastic things–plastic tiara, etc.  We spent big money there–$14.70!! Big spenders I tell you!  J  We really enjoy the Japanese CDs that are instrumental so we bought another one of those & we got MDF some foam Alphabet letters for tub time, among other things.  After the Yen Store, we walked quickly through what is called Iwakuni Grand.  From what Stephanie said, it is like a department store with a grocery store on the bottom floor.  We walked in, went up to the 6th floor, walked around & stopped in the elevator & looked from there to see what was on each floor.  By this time we were tired, Abigail was doing good but had a dirty diaper, & MDF was getting a little restless.

Back at the apartment, Stephanie was nursing Abigail & MDF (bless her heart) climbed up on me; pulled at my shirt & clearly asked to nurse.  I calmly explained to her that she is a big girl & she eats big girl food.  I took a breath & she asked again.  I repeated the above & added “Momma has no more milk”  she climbed down.  She did this 2 or 3 times.  She has really taken to Abigail. She says her name, likes to watch her, likes to be in the same room with her, talks to her some, etc.  I think she’s gonna miss her when we head home.  It is very sweet to watch.  And MDF is told to be gentle & she is.  She, so far, has only touched Abigail’s feet & hands.  But she likes to be around her & close.  Not a problem though.

Tomorrow we are heading to story time at the library (yes, I find these things out & keep to our schedule. For those of you who do not know my “weekly schedule” every Thursday that we can we go to story time at our library. )  We are doing that from 10-10:45 after that I think we are going back in town & meeting Vasco for lunch at a Chinese restaurant.  Go figure we’re in Japan & eating Chinese food.  But hey, we love it & aren’t complaining.  Friday night, we are meeting with some of Stephanie & Vasco’s friends (this couple is the one that took Stephanie to the hospital when she had Abigail–they also have family in country for a visit) and are going out to eat at “The Fish Bowl”. Don’t really know what to expect other than you order food individually rather than by plates.  I’ll keep you posted on that.

Well, I suppose I will go for now.  I do hope to hear from some of you soon.  Hope all is going well with everyone.

Japan Travel


Hello all from Japan! Our trip over was pleasant. I did get air sick—on the plane from Raleigh to Detroit & surprisingly enough it was when we landed!! I think it was a mixture of nerves & motion sickness. We almost missed our flight leaving Detroit. We thought we had more time than we did & so we took our time walking from gate A8 to A56 & grabbed some food & was making our way back to gate A56 when we heard “Last Call for Flight 69 to Osaka, Japan”—needless to say we picked up our pace & made it! J That flight was long. I do not recommend such a long flight the first time flying…or for a leisure trip. MDF did great. She made some friends in the seat behind/across from us. A husband & wife with friends were flying from RDU to Taiwan. She sat with them for a while and they both took to her. The wife & I chatted back & forth off & on. There was another man behind us that she played with—laughed at, found eyes, nose, etc with. They all commented on how well she did & how social she is. I did not get sick on that landing—thankfully. So, we made our way through customs & immigration & all that. Exchanged some cash into yen & found the right railway office we needed. From there it gets a lot more fun.

First I would like to say I love the fact they have public transportation like this available. It would be so convenient in the States. I know NY & major cities have subways & buses & all…but more places should have something too. So, we catch the shin (train) from the airport & go to Shin-Osaka. We were prepared for a short break & so when they announced the next stop we were already getting our luggage ready to head out. It stopped longer then we thought but we also had to find our next train. This was to Hiroshima. This ride was a little longer then the last shin ride so I was able to get a little nap. MDF again made friends with some people around us–& yes, she sat with the lady in front of us & chatted away while playing with her cell phone. We got off at Hiroshima & needed to find our next train platform. This proved to be a little nerve racking only because we found the area we needed to go to but it was up 3 flights of concrete stairs & there was no elevator around. Again, the Lord provided by sending 3 ladies that picked up the bottom or MDF’s stroller & helped me carry it up the stairs. I then was able to park her & meet JF to help him with the luggage. We made the connection!! The ride to Hiroshima was an hour & 20 minutes. I once again got sick–but was able to catch another nap. Once in Hiroshima, I had to find a phone for me to call my sister to let her know where we were & that we are on schedule. We were on our last stop—Iwakuni was next. Just another 20 minutes before our journey is finished. I talked to a conductor to make sure we were at the right platform & when the next shin came. He helped me out & we waited for the right shin. 20minutes later we were in Iwakuni & had started making a 3 step process to get the luggage down yet another flight of stairs. Vasco came to help just in time! It is around 10:30 p.m. here. We have traveled over 24 hours & a day. Talk about jet lag!

Today has been slightly uneventful. Abigail is a precious little girl! I changed her diaper earlier & found she has much shorter legs then MDF had at a month old! I almost didn’t know what to do. She just pulled them up & we were fine. MDF likes to touch Abigail’s feet & be near her. Stephanie drove us around the base & showed us where everything was. MDF & I took a nap this afternoon & we’re trying to get on some sort of schedule for the next few days. MDF has done very well today—she has adapted to a lot in the past few days & she’s done great! I’m very proud of her.

JF has been wonderful. The whole trip he was the one to take care of & be with MDF. I was just too dizzy/nauseous to do much. I can’t say how nice it is to have him be such a hands-on father. What a caring husband I have to take care of our daughter & still have energy/heart to worry about how I’m feeling too.

He took some pictures of Mt. Fuji when we passed it on the flight in—we’ll have to send that sometime tomorrow. I’ll send more later.