We’re here! The fourteen hour flight was long but eventful. The only problem was checking in our dog, Ruby. Both Mark and I called United weeks ago to confirm her reservation, and both of us were assured that she was on the flight. However, at check-in said reservation vanished. After two hours of waiting the gate agent finally sorted out her booking and sent us all on our way. We arrived at the airport three hours ahead of departure, expecting plenty of time for eating lunch and buying trashy magazines. Instead we hustled for the gate and managed to buy lunch to eat on the plane and scramble aboard. But I still found time to buy the latest US Weekly. Because Priorities.
Upon arriving at Narita we were greeted by Mark’s co-worker and sponsor, Felicia. A sponsor is a military tradition; he or she makes necessary reservations and passes along advice on settling in. Felicia arranged for a mini-bus to transport the four of us, our mountain of luggage, Ruby, and Ruby’s over-sized crate (giant ears, that Ruby). We settled in for the two hour drive to the naval base in Yokosuka.
After dropping Ruby off at the kennel on base, we headed to our home for the next few weeks: the fabulous Navy Gateway Inn! It’s basically a suite-style hotel room with a mini-kitchen, bedroom, and living room. For one or two people it’s plenty of space. For a family of four, not so much. On the flight over I watched an episode of Tiny House Nation, where a family of four in Minnesota built a 207 square foot house as their new permanent home. (Minnesota! Their winter coats and boots alone take up way more than 207 square feet.) On the flight I was incredulous; after 48 hours in this room my attitude is better described as murderous. We have way more than 207 square feet to share, and I am (poorly) drawing on my reserves of patience on an hourly basis.
What we have seen and done so far: visited Ruby at the kennel every day; checked out the Akihabara neighborhood of Tokyo, famous for its manga and anime stores; eaten at ramen and conveyor belt/sushi-go-round restaurants; ridden the train, a lot; splashed in the pool at the inn; checked out a potential house to rent for the next few years; and shopped at a 100 yen store. What’s to come: visiting the kids’ school, checking out a water park, and seeing the giant/famous Buddha in Kamakura.