Monday, April 29, 2013


My Sunday morning started REALLY early.  I had a VERY important phone call to make (our stupid Skype isn't accepting incoming calls for some unknown reason)!

I've known for a while now that she was getting engaged this weekend because I made her promise I'd be the 1st to know so she told her boyfriend I had to be involved.  Living overseas, I feel like we're always the last to know everything and often only find things out because of Facebook (like my BIL's engagement and grandparents major surgeries)!  Her boyfriend knew that she was expecting him to wait until I was back in the States to propose so in order to surprise her he involved me (as much as possible) in the planning.  

I'm beyond thrilled with the way he chose to propose.  Almost three years ago, I took Carissa to a Crossfit workout with me and she was instantly hooked.  Even after I left, she kept at it and it's changed her life.  Not only does she look & feel fabulous, she also met the love of her life at that gym (I totally take credit for their relationship).  They've both come so far in the past three years both in their health/fitness & their love so it was only fitting that he proposed at a Crossfit event.

Luckily for me, there were tons of people around to take photos!
(these were all stolen from her Facebook)

The best part is, someone caught it on film!

The video definitely made me cry.  This girl has been through the ringer over the past 5 years and she deserves to be happy.  I'm so happy that she found Rob and I can't wait for their big day!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

longest day ever = longest post ever {The Tokyo Yamathon}

This past Saturday was one of the longest days of my life (probably only second to the departure day).  I saw something about the Tokyo Yamathon online a few months ago and thought it sounded like a neat way to see some new areas of Tokyo.  I recruited some friends and my husband and we created a team to participate.  We all knew that it was a 40km+ walk around the Yamanote line in Tokyo, stopping at all 29 stations, to raise money for OxFam Japan but didn't know much more than that.  Here's how the day actually went.

We woke up at 0430 to catch the 2nd train of the day at 0523 to Toyko in order to arrive on time

Got our numbers attached and waited for our start time (it's not a closed course and there were 117 teams of 3-4 people so they staggered the start times).

At 0720, we departed Harajuku station wearing giant smiles!

We didn't even make it to the 2nd station before these guys needed to stop for food...and I thought I was going to be the one needing to stop for food all day!
(Shibuya @ 0745)

Then we soldiered on, stopping along the way to have a little fun

Stations 3(Ebisu@0805), 4(Meguro@0830), 5(Gotanda@0847) & 9(Hamatsucho@1040)

Group shot at station 10.

Then it was time for lunch; udon & curry, in and out in 30 minutes!  We still had 19 more stations to get to!

A little confused at Tokyo-eki (station #12 @1207)

Stations 14 (Akihabara@1245), 15 (Okachimachi@1302), & 16(Ueno@1318)

We did a little calf stretching while waiting at a red light.

And that's about where I started to really get tired!  By station #17 (Uguisudani@1334) I was pooped and my knee started to ache pretty bad.  Station #20 (Tabata @1425) was down a huge set of stairs and I stayed at the top while Dave, Rachel, & Jason ran walked down to the station and snapped a photo!

After that it was time for another break (our goal had been to break after station 10 & 20, and that's exactly what we did).  We stopped at Mc Donald's where we could recharge our bodies & my cell phone (as the designated "social media chair" of our team, my battery was also on it's last leg)!  A hour later (oops!), we set off to tackle the last 9 stations!

Group shot at station #21 (Komagome@1525).  Feeling pretty good after our hour long break.

It didn't last long, but we did a great job of faking enthusiasm for our photos.
Stations 22 (Sugamo@1539), 23(Otsuka@1558), 24(Ikebukuro@1625) & 25(Mejiro@1653)

By station #26 (Takadanobaba@1710) it was raining pretty hard and we were mostly over the whole day!

Thankfully we opted to go in a counter-clockwise direction which put us at Shinjuku (Station #28@1800) almost at the end of our journey.  Shinjuku is the station we needed to return to in order to catch a train home so while we were there we stopped and purchased confirmed seat on the romance car so we could sit our tired butt's down on the way home...then we continued on.

We had one last station to stop at before we FINALLY made it back to Harajuku @1900, putting our total time to complete the loop at 11 hours and 40 minutes!

37,590 steps later, we were finished!

We stopped for some food then took a train back to Shinjuku to catch our train home!

Before the day started, I assumed that since I had climbed Mt Fuji last summer with very little trouble, that this even would be no sweat.  I could not have been more wrong!  Every joint from my waist down ached and I have more blisters on my feet now than I've ever had combined in my entire life!  I know last summer I said I'd never climb Fuji-san again, but I would do that 10 more times before I complete the Yamathon again!  Thankfully I had GREAT company.  I don't think I could have done it with anyone else!  We finished with smiles and discovered lots of new places that we can't wait to go back and visit on a day when we're not walking 30+miles!

Monday, April 22, 2013


I missed a few weeks, but I'm back at it!  Here are 5 thins I love about Japan!

1. Some restaurants also follow the no shoes rule and provide these cubbies with locks for you to leave your shoes in.  This one happens to be my favorite number!

2. I left my wallet sitting on a bench at a train station and a kind young man returned it to me!

3. 4. & 5. are all vending machines!  

Toy trains,


and toy bugs!

Friday, April 12, 2013

30 while 30 {5 months}

Health/Fitness {2/4}
1} take a yoga class {DONE 10Jan13}
2} do 1 unassisted pull up
3} pass the Army PT test for my gender/age group
4} try something new {DONE 14Feb13, spin class}

Food {2/6}

5} eat one week strict paleo {DONE 1-7Jan13}
7}learn to cook 5 Japanese dishes from scratch {2/5 1. Nikujaga 2. Yakisoba 3. Sukiyaki}
8} master 5 go-to last minute meals {1.ratatouille}
9} try 5 new foods {1.Snakeskin fruit 2.Mangosteen 3.pistachios 4.quail 5.Chai tea}
10} meal plan every month {7/12}

Japan/Travel {5/9}
11}visit at least 3 new sites in Japan {2/3 1.Tokyo Disney 2. Tama Hills}
12} visit Tokyo Disney {DONE 23Oct12}
13} ride an elephant in Thailand
14} see the Great Wall of China {Done 19Dec}
15} put my feet in the Indian Ocean {Done in Bali}
16}volunteer somewhere outside of the US {DONE 8-12Nov12, Ishinomaki, Japan}
17}take Jason to Red River Gorge AKA my favorite place in the world
18} print, frame and display at least one photo from each of our trips {DONE 15Mar}
19} visit at least 3 new countries {2/3 Indonesia, China}

Random {5/11}
20}watch all 100 movies off the AFI {American Film Institute} top 100 list {48/119}
there are actually 2 lists, we combined them and there are 119 different movies on the lists
21} contribute to savings every month {7/12}
22}volunteer somewhere at least once a month {7/12}
23} have new photos taken of Jason and I {DONE 16Sep12}
24} send 12 personalized "just because" gifts/cards {9/12}
25} revamp my resume {DONE 11Jan13}
26} complete a year long photo project {DONE 28Feb13}
27} attend an Army sponsored marriage retreat {DONE 22-24Oct12}
28} get a college degree
29} VOTE in the Presidential election {DONE 17Oct12}
30} blog 100 times

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

10 on 10 {April}

This year is completely flying by!  I wish time would slow down but since it won't, I'm grateful for the 10 on 10.  It helps me remember to take time to enjoy my every day life.

Woke up to a throbbing hormone headache...this stuff is my miracle drug!

Driving past my favorite produce market on my way to teach.

"Teaching" English today...I just don't know what to teach some days! 
(suggestions are welcome ladies!)

Quick stop for lunch on my way home.

Putting dinner in the crock pot. Intramural volleyball started this week and I'm attempting to play (for the first time in 15 should see my poor arms!) which means we don't sit down for dinner until at least 2000, and that's if I do use the crock pot! 

Finally got someone to answer the phone and CTC and was able to schedule my history midterm.  I'm so close to being finished with school!

Mailbox JACKPOT!

Hitting up the 100 yen store for some care package goodies! 

I've never met a dog that likes to play fetch as much as poor arm is tired from throwing the ball! 

I have missed this game more than I realized...I've also lost any skills I might have had 15 years ago!

Monday, April 8, 2013


I had been doing so well blogging a minimum of 2-3 times a week and this week I completely slipped and barely even noticed!  OOPS!  I haven't even been doing anything to keep me off the fact, it's been the exact opposite.  I'm finishing up my last semester of my associates degree and this has meant a lot of time spent on the computer.  I'm taking a word processing class that is very time consuming but I have learned a ton of useful information so it's been worth it.  I spent all last week trying to fight through the work and managed to complete all of the assignments (minus the final exam) in about 10 days.  When I was finished with that, I took a much needed 3 or 4 day sabbatical from the computer. I just have to take that final, complete 4.5 more assignments for my history class and take the mid-term for that class and I'll be all finished.  I'm so close!

I took some family photos for our CZ best friends last weekend and I didn't even touch them until  this weekend (it's never taken me that long, it's a good thing they're good friends and were understanding).

I love this family and we're praying they get their first choice of duty stations for their PCS this summer so they'll be just a days drive away from us when we move to San Diego.

I missed this weeks #ilovejapan post but it'll be back next week...I hope!

Monday, April 1, 2013


Y'all, I'm seriously starting to freak out about leaving Japan.  I am NOT ready!  Here are some of the things I'm going to miss most about Japan!

1. The abundant bicycle's no wonder everyone here is so skinny, everyone rides a bicycle.  I'd be willing to be there is more bicycle parking than car parking here.

2. Customer service here is superior to anywhere else in the world that I've ever been to.  Anytime you purchase something that could possibly be a gift they'll ask you "presento?" and if you say yes, it's almost certain that they will wrap it in a way that is far better than anything I could do myself!

3. Their lunch sets.  I love getting many different little dishes.  It's so much better than a burger and fries!

4.  The signs that we cannot read.  Our best guess is that people with afro's can sit on the trains but if you're bald (ing) like my husband, you must stand.  I'd love to hear your interpretation of this sign (if you don't speak Japanese)!

5. The flowers/gardens here.  Space may be limited but people are creative and passionate about their landscaping here.  I love all the variety of flowers and seeing the different ways people fill the (normally) small space they have outside their house.