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.

Japan Travel

Flying to Osaka, Japan

Going to Japan, we flew on a 747. It is the biggest plane in the Northwest Fleet, holding over 400 passengers. Our seats were in the rear-most section of the plane, and we could see the back of the wing out our window.

The 747’s wing

Twelve or so hours is a long flight. MDF slept some, but we spent a lot of time walking up and down the two isles. She made some friends on this flight. There were two ladies that knew each other, one in front of us and one behind, who were from Raleigh, NC, and were going to Taiwan. MDF took a fancy to the lady behind us, after smiling and waving for a while, she wanted the lady to pick her up and then went to sit with the lady for a long time. For a while she didn’t want to come back to us. Which was fine, we were happy to have a break.

MDF sleeping over Canada.

This flight was more bumpy than the last. We ran into turbulence a number of times. It may have been because of how far north we went. The plane’s path took us over Canada and Alaska, out over the North Pacific, and then back down across far eastern Russian and over North Japan. We mostly only saw clouds, but one time the cloud cover thinned out and all I could see below was something that looked like a frozen wasteland… possibly mountains, but I couldn’t tell for sure.

Our meals were served backward, we started out with chicken or beef for dinner at 3:00 PM (EST), then had ham sandwiches for lunch around midnight, and then breakfast was served at close to 2:00 in the morning (though by that time we were told local time for Japan was 4:00 PM).

As we crossed Japan, heading south, we passed Mount Fuji. I took some good pictures from the window. At first we thought the lower mountain ranges were what the Captain was talking about, but when we saw Fuji, we realized our mistake: it towered over the other mountains.

Mt Fuji
Mt. Fuji

Our approach to Kensai airport took us over the bay. We circled a number of times, getting lower and lower, and closer to the water. One one the last turns I was almost sure that the wing tip was going to brush the waves, until I saw a cargo ship and realized we were still pretty high up.

Japan Travel

At the Detroit Airport

Once we were in Detroit, we had to switch to another flight. After being delayed at lost and found (we forgot one of MDF’s books on the plane), we headed down the terminal to the next gate. We decided to walk since CDF was still woozy.

We stopped at some phones so CDF could make a call. MDF found a play picnic table and play-house. There was also a kids computer that she tried, but it wasn’t working.

Calling home.

We passed our gate, thinking we had plenty of time to get something to eat. But on the way back realized they were doing the last boarding call. So we barely made it on to our flight. But we did make it, and ended sitting all the way at the back of the plane.

Japan Travel

Flight to Detroit

We got to Raleigh at 7 AM, Sunday morning. It was a good thing we left at 4:30, there was lots of fog on I-40, and we went between 50 and 60 mph for most of the way, at least until I-95. We stopped briefly at Bojangles to get sausage biscuits, etc., and ate on the way.

We had no problem checking in. Once our luggage was checked, we said good-bye, and headed up to the second floor to find our gate. Of course, Gate A5 was all the way at the end. Still, we were early and could take our time getting there.

While we were waiting (and pointing out the planes and tractors for MDF) a man walked up and curled up in a ball near the wall, apparently having a lot of back pain. Eventually we overheard that he was having problems with kidney stones. He had been in the hospital twice, and had finally gotten well enough to play a round of golf the day before. But on the day they were leaving, his kidney stones came back with a vengeance.

The flight to Detroit was on an A319, one of the medium-sized jets in the Northwestern fleet. We boarded on the first call, and used all the extra time figuring out how to get MDF’s car seat secured. Finally we were settled and had time to get nervous about the flight. It was somewhat unsettling when, after we had taxied out to the runway, the captain said there had been a delay at Detroit and we would be waiting until 10:30 to take off.

Finally we took off. Of course, it was not as bad as we had been worried it would be, and actually CDF discovered she did best during the take off, it was the turning and ascending that started making her motion-sick. MDF on the other hand, after saying “whee” for a while, fell asleep.

MDF asleep on the way to Detroit.

During the flight, we were served complementary granola bars and sodas. A group of three men across the isle from us ordered Bloody Marys to drink while they played cards. They even had time for a second round.

The landing was rougher than the take off, but one of the other passengers commented that it was one of the smoother landing she had experienced. Not that CDF’s stomach agreed.

Japan Travel

In Japan

We have arrived. We landed in Japan at 2 am in the morning (4 pm local Japan time). The flight wasn’t bad, just long (more on that later). It took us another few hours to navigate immigration and customs, and then we took the Shinkansen to Iwakuni and arrived at about 10:30 pm.

Japan Travel

Three Days to Go

We’re getting excited. The prospect of getting up at 4:00 in the morning is not exciting, but I’m looking forward to going anyway.

We went by Wilmington’s airport this past weekend to let MDF look at the airplanes landing and hopefully get her accustomed to the noise, and just introduce her to the airport before we go to Raleigh. Then also, she likes airplanes and has been talking about the airport for at least a month or two. We only got to see one plane land (and it wasn’t very loud either) and then when the sun went behind the trees it started getting cold and we had to leave before we could see another land.

Japan Travel

The Week Before

We have a week to go until we leave for Japan. Among other things, I’m getting this journal ready for me to write in while we’re gone. I had thought about using the main web site to post entries, but then decided it would be easier to use this blog set up on my other server.

So this will be the main focus for pictures and journal entries while we’re gone.