Monday, June 25, 2012

Local Pampering

We all need a little pampering.  Months ago, I was searching out a good massage therapist, and a place (off base) to get a pedicure.  I've found a few local places that have given me professional, friendly service.  Here are some suggestions that I think are worth checking out:

A friend and I got pedicures on a snowy day!


I've been really happy with Sakura Beauty Salon.  They are located outside main base, and making an appointment is easy.  The owner is an Amerika-jin, and the nail technicians do a thorough job.  If you're looking for a deluxe pedicure, the chance to watch a movie, and drink a complimentary beverage, then this is the place for you.  They are not that cheap, but the service I've received at Sakura, was far better than I had at the NEX.  Here is their website for additional information:


Purdy Gym on main base has a variety of massage therapists.  I asked friends about who they use, and many gave rave reviews about Mayumi.  So far, I've had 2 different types of massages from her: Thai Oil Massage, and Aromatherapy Massage.  To schedule a massage, you go to the main desk at Purdy and pay for the type of massage you want.  For a complete listing of massages and their cost, click on the following link:


There are many options for getting your hair done in Yokosuka.  I know people who go to the NEX, go to in-home salons, to Tokyo, etc.  I originally started going to someone in The Honch who I liked and who was cheap, but have since changed to a friend's hairdresser named Takumi at Kenje Hair Designs in Mikasa Mall.  He gave me a great cut, and loves short hair.  This is good since it will be getting really hot here, and I need to stay cool.  The salon hours are from 10:00-6:00pm (they may take after-hour appointments) daily.  Their number is: 046-820-6021.  Look for their coupons.  A stylist is usually in the mall, or on Blue Street handing out coupons.  What a great way to try someone new, plus save some money while you're at it!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer Changes and Plans


After a busy spring with work, school, out-of-town visitors, and other activities, I am welcoming some of the quiet in this first week of summer.  While this is one of my favorite times of the year, living on a military installation means that it is also a time for change.  Our neighborhood has become a bit of a ghost town and our house has become less Grand Central Station.  Once school is out on base, many families and teachers return Stateside for part, or all of the summer.

This is also PCS, or moving season for many Navy families.  Everyday I see moving trucks and read about friends who are packing out soon.  I work at the base thrift store where I am constantly receiving donations from people on-their-way-out.  For the past month I have been in denial.  I don't want people to go onto their next duty station.  Sometimes I even kick myself for not forming certain friendships sooner.  While some of the circumstances are beyond my control, the one thing I am grateful for is the people I have met here.  I know just like anywhere else I've lived, that I am committed to staying in touch with people I care about.  The convenience of Facebook and email makes staying in contact easier and softens the blow to those of us left behind.

My neighbor writes a very fun and witty blog about her family's experience in Japan.  Although she will be moving soon, here's the link if you want to check it out:

Summer Plans

We are planning on having a typical summer with a lot of sunshine, beach time, going to the outdoor pool, socializing, BBQ's and relaxing.  My oldest will be working, my middle son going away to 4 sleep-away camps, and my youngest will be dog-sitting, cat-sitting and performing trampoline patrol for our neighbors.  Justin is at Boy Scout camp this week, will be doing Aikido as much as he can, and be busy working.  I have a month-long break in the summer from my job, so I will be catching up with friends, hoping to get onto a Space A flight (alone) to Guam, plan to conquer climbing Mt. Fuji on an overnight tour, and dance in my Yukata during Bon matter how hot it will be.  I am the most excited about our 10 day family vacation to Thailand and Cambodia.  I've always wanted to go to Thailand, and am especially glad to have my brother joining us.  I can't wait to see the sights, eat some delicious food, expose the kids to new cultures, ride a Tuk Tuk and be doing all this with my family.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Disney Sea (Tōkyō Dizunīshī)

On Memorial Day we went to Disney Sea up in Tokyo.  It is a theme park near Tokyo Disney where the kids and I went last June.  You can get there by train, but this time we decided to drive.  It only took 1 hour to get there, and was by far cheaper to drive (even with all the toll fees), than for all of us to take the train. Parking was convenient and only a short distance from the main entrance.

Just inside the park.  It was hot and crowded.

We were hoping that by going on a Monday it would be less crowded.  Unfortunately, it was still quite busy.  It wasn't until after the fact that I found out that The City of Yokohama had a holiday on Memorial Day.  We still had a good time even though we had to wait in some really long lines.  I was just grateful that the weather was nice a majority of the day, and that it wasn't humid.
Great European theme.  You can see Tower of Terror to the right.

I liked the ambiance of Disney Sea.  I have heard many people rave about it, and say how fun it is. It reminded me a little of Universal Studios, Knott's Berry Farm, and Las Vegas combined into one.  It had nice walking areas, some shopping, a lot of food vendors, yummy popcorn (Milk Tea, Strawberry, etc) a welcoming breeze from the water and a variety of rides for the thrill-seekers and non-thrill-seekers.   

The photo from the Indiana Jones ride.  Too funny!
We decided against the Fast Pass because the return times were late in the day.  The shortest wait we had was about 20 minutes, while the longest wait was 1 1/2 hours.  At least in the longest line, I ran into 2 different sets of friends from Yokosuka.  Some of our favorite rides from the day were:  Tower of Terror,  Indiana Jones, and Journey to the Center of the Earth.  We were sorry we didn't get a chance to ride on the upside down roller coaster because it was closed.  We'll have to try to catch that ride the next time we go.

Something I learned about going to Disney in or around June, is that you should bring both an umbrella and/or a poncho.  The lovely day we were having quickly turned stormy and we found ourselves in a downpour.  Luckily, we were close to Mermaids Lagoon where we were able to seek refuge....and buy new ponchos (at 500 yen a piece) and an umbrella. 

New poncho and umbrella.
After a fun-filled day, we watched an amazing Disney water show.  It was perhaps the highlight of the day.  A lot of music, dancing, lights and fireworks.  It was really impressive.  Overall, we had a really great day.

Water show and fireworks!

Friday, June 1, 2012


Hello Kitty is an icon in Japan and around the globe.   Founded in the early 1970's by the Japanese company San Rio, she made her way to The United States back in the mid-1970's.  As a child growing up in the 1970's I remember admiring many of the Hello Kitty things in the mall.  There were cute erasers, pencils, stickers, purses.....I wanted it all.

Since all of my children are boys, I hadn't given Hello Kitty much thought until I moved to Japan.  She is everywhere, and you simply cannot ignore her!  Not that I mind, because she is so "kawaii" (cute in Japanese)!  I don't currently own anything that has Hello Kitty on it, but do enjoy buying memorabilia for people living Stateside.  Not only are the products targeted towards young girls, but many adult women love her as well.   For adults, you can find an abundance of Hello Kitty products such as: clothing, jewelry, trinkets, dishes, bedding, cooking utensils, and purses to name a few.

Hello Kitty fans can also go to theme parks and hotels with HK decor, and see her face emblazoned on airplanes, cars, motorcycles, and buses.  It is nice to see this character on so many things.  Hello Kitty is innocent and sweet and makes me smile.  Again, just another reason for me to love being in Japan. 

Hello Kitty Airplane

Hello Kitty Hotel