Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks

As I'm writing this, it's already our second Thanksgiving in Japan.  We are all relaxing today, and meeting our friend from Bremerton for dinner tonight at The O' Club.  I am happy  to lounge around in my purple robe, sip coffee, read and feel absolutely no guilt about not preparing a meal today at home.
Celebrating Thanksgiving with Larry.

I am grateful for things big and small.  Even when things seem bleak, or frustrating, I try to look at the bright side.  Here are just some of the things I am grateful for:

  • I'm thankful for my family near and far.  Being across the world away from family has been hard at times.  I have been homesick for California and realize its been 15 years since I was home for the Holidays.  Also, being a spouse and parent isn't always "a bowl of cherries", but I wouldn't change a thing!
  • I used to love going to see my grandparents in the desert for Thanksgiving.  Good company, my gramps cringing as we all ate turkey (he didn't like it), my grandma's coleslaw, and our tradition of going to the movies in the afternoon.  
  • Thankful for the people I met in AOB, The Navy Lodge and after the earthquake.  Many have become my closest and dearest friends in Japan.
  • I'm particularly grateful for my job, my co-workers and my awesome volunteers.  I have a team that works well together, knows how to have fun, gets a lot accomplished, and are just plain dedicated.  I never knew going into management could be such an enriching experience.  
  • I'm happy to have re-discovered exercise.  I like how it makes me feel, the camaraderie I get at the gym, and being challenged has been so rewarding.... even with all the ice packs, Ibuprofen, massages, and crazy stretching I've found myself doing lately. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hiking Trails Around Yokosuka

I feel like I need to apologize for my lack of blogging.  I used to try to blog every week, but time is passing by very quickly this year!!  We are still enjoying our adventure, but this fall has been crazy with work, school and other activities we are doing.

That being said, Yokosuka has some great hiking places.  These hikes are relatively short, but offer some interesting scenery and also a chance to get some exercise.

Mt. Takatori

You can take the Keikyu local line and get off at Keikyutaura (listed as such on Hyperdia) station to access the trail.  Once out of the train station, you turn left, then head up to the first road you see.  You'll turn left at the road, go under the Keikyu railway, and wind through a neighborhood.  Once you walk for a bit you'll see a little intersection where you can turn left, or go straight.  Stay straight until you see some steep stairs at the end of the street.    Once you climb the massive stairs, you'll be on the trail.

There are a variety of things to see on the trail such as rock climbers, a stone Buddha, an observation area, and if you're lucky, a temple.  There is such beautiful scenery and you can finish the climb that ends near Higashi-Zushi JR Station in about 2 hours.  The trail is pretty well marked, and there are bathrooms and vending machines by the rock climbing area.  The base does regular climbing tours to this area for a fee.

The steep stairs.
One of the many areas to climb.
If you take the correct trail, you will end up here.
Kannonzaki Park

Another great place my friend took me to this past month was Kannonzaki Park.  It only takes 15 minutes from main base to get there and I was sorry that I hadn't been here sooner.  We went on a weekday where we were able to park in the parking lot for free.  You have to pay for parking on the weekend.

There was a ton to explore in this park and it is a great place to take kids.  They have a variety of play structures and roller slides.  They also have some lookout areas, a suspension bridge, and some open spaces.  We went on a beautifully sunny day.  It would be a perfect place to picnic and relax.

Cutter on the huge roller slide.

Other Places worth checking out  

  • The Plum Grove in Taura.  So beautiful during the spring when all the plum trees are blossoming.  Once to the top of the plum grove, you can continue your hike across the highway overpass and through a forest to my old neighborhood Minatogaoka.  This is a great loop what we've done many times.
  • There is a wonderful park above Anjinzuka station.  You can hike up there to view the cherry blossoms in season.  So very pretty.  Its also bike-friendly. 
  • Kurihama's Hana no Kuni.  I believe I've written about Flower World before but its still one of my favorite places to go.  Good exercise, the Godzilla slide, a foot bath, and glorious scenery to see.  They also plant seasonal flowers that you can pick.