Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Friendship Festival

The past few weeks have been pretty busy here at Yokota!  This past weekend we had Friendship Festival 2010.  It is a yearly festival where we open up part of the base to the Japanese nationals.  We had a static display of about 30 planes.  The C-130's did their thing with some airdrops & the helos flew around some.  We sold tons of food & had bands playing the whole time.  Oh did I mention that it happened to be one of the hottest weekends of the year!!!!  There were about 140,000 Japanese people on base for the festival.  Kenny was the Air Boss for the show which means he worked a lot to get ready for this thing!  We really had a good time, but I was glad for it to be over so that Kenny could have a break. 

In super exciting news....I'll be in Arkansas one week from today!!!!!  I can't wait to hug & kiss on my family!  It's even more exciting because Kenny gets to join me for a week there & then we are off to Seattle for some training. 

I'm going to try to attach video for the 1st time, so we'll see how this goes.  It is some video of personnel drops that the C-130s made during the festival.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Air Force Family

Yesterday when Kenny came home from work I hugged him a little tighter, sat at the dinner table talking a little longer, sat a little closer to him on the couch & cuddled up to him a little closer as we went to sleep.  Four C-17 crew members from Elmendorf Air Force Base were killed into an routine training flight.  They were training for an air show that was to take place this weekend at their base.  I am so saddened for the families, friends & Elmemdorf community.  I can not even imagine what they are going through.  We truly are a family in the flying community.  In some way everyone knows everyone.  We have friends and family that fly on C-17s as well as other aircraft all over the Air Force.  I know Kenny's job has some inherent risks, but the reality of those risks hit me yesterday.  Our time here on this earth is not guaranteed.  Remember to tell the ones you love how much you love them.  Please join me in praying for the families of these 4 crew members as they mourn the loss of their loved ones.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


In my effort to do better about blogging, I figure I should do it even when I don't have anything fun to report.  So here goes...this past week definitely was not the best week we've had here in Japan.  I was sick with a summer cold for about 9 days & Kenny was on a trip that kept getting extended.  It just kinda sucked!  Kenny's trip was supposed to be a 7 day trip that turned into an 11 day trip.  Oh well, at least he's not deployed!  As you know, I tend to be quite social, so being sick in the house for that long with Kenny gone was brutal for me.  I was so bored & lonely, but didn't feel like doing anything.  Thankfully I'm feeling better now & my hubby is home!!!  Glad that week is behind us and we can move on!

They are shutting down the power on our side of the base on Saturday to replace a transformer that was destroyed in the flood we had about a month ago.  So what did a few of us girls over here decide we should do with a day of no power????  We're heading to IKEA!!!!  Kenny decided he'd rather stay here to catch up on work (his office is on the other side of base).  I can't imagine why he wouldn't want to go spend a day at Ikea with us....  =) 

That's all I know for now, nothing much right?  It's almost time for me to start the countdown for getting to go to Arkansas!!!  32 days, but I'm not paying much attention to that yet, ok maybe I am!  =)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

PCS Season

Well, it's that time of year here at Yokota....PCS season. It is a very bitter/sweet time around here. For those of you that don't know PCS means Permanent Change of Station. It means while we are sad to say "bye" to friends, we are happy to welcome new friends to our Yokota Family. A lot of people move during the summer in the military, so that kiddos can get the new school year started at their new base.
I've had the pleasure this week to get to show 2 of our new families around Japan a little. Eight months ago I never could have imagined that I would be comfortable enough in Japan to show new people around! I've had so much fun getting to take them around. I got to take one family on the train to Tokyo yesterday to teach them how to navigate the JR (Japan Railway) system. The 1st time Kenny & I took the train by ourselves, I thought that I was going to have a nervous breakdown!!! Now, I get around on them pretty darn good, & can even teach new people a thing or two. Today I got to take the other family to Joyful Honda for their 1st adventure eating off base in Japan. (Yes Mom, we had some gyoza!) The 1st time Kenny & I went to Joyful Honda on our own, we got lost on our way back to base! I thought for sure we were never going to make it back, but thank goodness we did.
After having the crazy experiences of Japan on our own, it's funny now that I am the one showing people around. It's fun for me to see how far I've come in such a short amount of time. Don't get me wrong, I still get a little confused at some of the bigger train stations every once in a while & driving off base is always interesting, but I know enough to get by. I'm so thankful for the people that took us under their wing when we got here, & I love that I now get the chance to give some of that back to the newcomers.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Yes, I'm still here! I'm sorry it's been so long since I've posted! I got behind when my parents visited & then just felt too far behind to catch up. This is my attempt to get going again....

We had a great time with my folks here! I'll post some pictures later. After their trip, Kenny was gone for 3 weeks, and then it was time for the 4th of July. We had a great time with our Yokota Family for the 4th. Although, I did seriously miss the lake & my family!!! I think it was the hardest holiday for me to be away from my family since we've been here. I love summer & the lake so much, it was hard to not be there with them. But, we made the best of it & had a fun cookout with our friends.

Other than that, there hasn't been much going on around here. I'll try to do a post with some pictures later, but I promise I'll do a better job of blogging. Have a great week!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Congratulations Kenny!

I love bragging on my husband, and this week I get to. On Sunday, Kenny finished his masters degree!!!!! YEAH!!!! On top of working as much as he does, he has been doing his homework on the weekends. I am so proud of him! I'm also excited because this means that our weekends can be spent doing things other than homework now. =)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Company's Coming

Last week Kenny & I had our 1st house guest in Japan. We had a lot of fun, but I was very anxious about having a guest in our house that a.) I had never met before and b.) she speaks little English. Kinda long story as to how this came about. My brother-in-law (Ben), well his Dad has a friend that is a retired Japanese colonel. He & his daughter, Mari, came to visit. Colonel Watanabe stayed with David's brother Mark & his wife Cheryl, and Mari stayed with us for a few days. We had fun, but there were some definite language barriers at times. One of the words that I use most often doesn't translate to Japanese very well....I still can't figure out why they don't say "y'all" over here! =)

This week is jump week here at Yokota. They have brought in about 70 jumpers to jump out of the C-130s for the crews to practice dropping people & for the jumpers to practice. This was the first time that I've gotten to watch Kenny in action, and to watch people jump out of the planes. It was pretty cool to see the 3 planes coming in & then watch them jump. I'll add a few pictures that I took of the drop.

The most exciting thing we are looking forward to right now is that Mom & Dad are coming to visit!!!! I can't wait to show them around & introduce them to our friends here. We're planning a busy trip for them complete with a few days in Tokyo, Kyoto & Nagano! We'll be sure to take a lot of pictures.
Here come the planes! (Kenny is one of the navigators on the 1st one)
The Beginning of the Drops (Yep, those are people!)
The 2nd Plane getting ready to drop

Coming in for a landing! Total they dropped 60 something people!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


There really isn't much new to report from Japan. We've been pretty busy lately, but mostly just with everyday life. The past couple of weeks I have been reminded how truly blessed I am by my friends here in Japan. In the short time that we have been here, I know that we have made some great friendships that will last a lifetime. God has been so faithful to us to provide these relationships. One thing Kenny & I were really needing were some more married friends that we could do stuff with, & we have 3 couples here that we love to do things with! Kenny gets along with the husbands just as much as I get along with the wives. It will be a very sad day when we all move on to our next assignments.
We have a major praise at our house right now, Kenny was cleared to fly again this week!!!! He found out yesterday & is flying tonight. =) He was taking some medicine for his stomach that had him grounded, but they have gotten a waiver that will allow him to fly while taking the medicine. Yeah!
Another spot of excitement for me right now is that my parents will be here soon!!!! I can't wait for them to come to Japan & see our life here. It will be so much fun to show them around & watch them walk around with the wide-eyed look that I know we had when we got here. I have them practicing using chopsticks at home because when you go out to eat here, there are many places that all they offer is chopsticks. I didn't want them to go hungry while they were here. I'm sure I'll have some fun stories & pictures to post after their visit.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Springtime in Japan

This is our first Spring in Japan & the weather has apparently been as odd here as it has been in the States this year. It has been unseasonably cool & we've had more rain than normal. We have had a few absolutely gorgeous days though, and on those days Kenny & I have gotten out to enjoy our home.

In case you don't know this already, the Cherry Blossoms in Washington DC were a gift from the Japanese. They are native to Japan. Our base is covered with them & they have been absolutely beautiful while they've been in bloom. Amazing!!! The flowers have started to fall off of them & when you look outside if you didn't know better you would think it is snowing! It's really cool to see. I wish you could all be here to see it.
Wouldn't you like to drive by this every time you leave your house? I got to!

Kenny took off of work on Friday & we went back to Showa Park. They have transformed the park in to a beautiful flower garden. It was so fun to just spend the day walking around looking at flowers. They also have a Japanese garden set up complete with bonsai trees.
I loved this Japanese Maple bonsai tree!!!
Beautiful Japanese Cherry Blossom
Just some of the flowers at Showa Park

Other than that, we haven't really been up to a whole lot. We are super excited that my Mom & Dad are coming to see us soon. I can't wait to introduce them to our friends & let them see the country that we will be calling home for the next few years. I'm sure there will be some entertaining stories from that trip! =)
I've added a few pictures here, but for many more check out my facebook page!

Monday, March 29, 2010

I'm Still Here!

Don't worry, I'm still here! The last month has been a kinda hectic, but great. I got to spend 3 weeks in Arkansas with my family & friends. I'm so thankful for the time I got to be with them. Kenny was with me at the beginning of the trip. We spent the few days he was there spending time with our families & enjoying Arkansas! We surprised Bek's kids for lunch the 1st day, and they were so excited to see Uncle Kenny (I was an afterthought at this point). It was so fun to see the looks on their faces!!!

Once Kenny left, I began the tour of Little Rock to hang out with family & friends. Mom & I even escaped to Branson for some shopping one night. It was so nice to actually go into stores that sold American sizes! Ha!

Some of the big highlights of the trip were that we got to host a baby shower for one of my dearest friends, Lyndsey. Baby Amelia will be joining us in less than a month! We literally had people from all over the world at the shower. Lyndsey came in from Atlanta, Laura from Dallas, Jennifer from Benlomond, Me from Japan & Kambry from London. It was so fun to see so many of my lifelong friends in one place! The next day I got to be of the dedication of my newest niece, Caroline. I'm so thankful that Rebekah was able to schedule it when I would be home! I would've been so sad to miss that. And last but certainly not least, we got to celebrate my Daddy's 60th Birthday! You would never look at my Dad & think he is 6o. I have been blessed with the best parents in the world!

The rest of my time was spent hanging out with great friends in Little Rock. I loved it!

Eventually, it was time to come home and surprisingly...I was ready! Japan is my home now with Kenny. I never thought that I would feel as comfortable & settled as I do here. God has blessed me with an amazing husband & some awesome friends here that I wouldn't trade for anything! Don't get my wrong, I have days that I get "homesick" and I always miss my family terribly, but I love my life here. I think we all know that for this Little Rock girl, that is truly an act of God. He has been so good to me.

Wow, I think I've rambled enough for one day. I'll try to post some pictures of my trip to Little Rock in the next couple of days. I'll also try to be better about keeping up with my blog. We are looking forward to spring weather here in Japan, & the blooming of the cherry blossoms. I hear they are beautiful here on base! Definitely pictures to come of that! Have an awesome week!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

One Week!

I am so totally excited that I will be on my way to Arkansas one week from today!!!!!!! I can't wait to see my family and friends. I also can't wait to have some BBQ, good pizza & Mexican food! Sounds like I have my priorities in order right? =) Originally I was going to be going to AR while Kenny was going to be on a 3 week trip, but his plans changed. He is now heading to Texas for training on Sunday. The class he is going to finishes up the day I get there, so he has taken a few extra days off & will be in LR for a few days too. I get the best of both worlds, Arkansas & my husband at the same time!

I get to be home for my Dad's 60th Birthday (Bill's getting old)! I also get to be at my sweet niece Caroline's baby dedication. I hate missing out on the big things that happen with my family, but that also makes me so much more thankful for the times I will get to be there. While I am glad to be coming home, it's kinda funny because I'm a little sad to be leaving my life here for a few weeks. I know that I will miss my "Yokota Family". God has truly blessed us here!

Speaking of people getting older....we had a big birthday at our house this past weekend. Kenny hit the big 3-0!! We celebrated by having a party at the house with some of our friends. I don't know when the last time was I laughed so much. We had about 10 girls piled around the table just talking, laughing & eating while the guys played darts & hovered over the food in the kitchen. We had an absolute blast!

Well, that's about all I know right now. Please pray for traveling safety for Kenny & I this coming week. He will be flying to TX on Sunday & I will leave for AR on Thursday (technically Saturday & Wednesday in the states). I have never been on that long of a flight in my life & I'm a little nervous about doing it by myself. Pray that I can sleep some on the plane. I usually cant, & that will make for some brutal jet lag if I don't. Have a great week! I hope to see some of you soon!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What a weekend?!?!

This past weekend was probably the best one we've had in Japan so far!!! Kenny & I took our 1st trip while living in Japan, and we went snow skiing. We drove the 3 1/2 to 4 hours to the Nagano prefecture. It was absolutely gorgeous there!!!!!!! Once we saw it we knew exactly why they hosted the 1998 winter Olympics there, amazing! We got to see the ski jumps that were used in the Olympics. I never realized how steep those things are; I'm thinking the ski jumpers are nuts! We stayed in Hakuba at a little hotel called Monkey Rider, more of a hostel than a hotel, but it was a great little place. There was a pub down the street called the Cherry Pub that was super relaxing & had great food. Most of the people in the area spoke English. It was nice to actually understand what was going on around us. =)
1998 Nagano Olympic Games Ski Jumps
Our Motel - Monkey Rider

On Saturday we took to the slopes. It was then that I realized it had been about 9 years since the last time I snow skied....not as easy as I had remember. Give me a water ski & I'm good to go, snow skis are a different ball game! But we still had a blast! This Arkansas girl had never seen that much snow in my life! The weather was perfect in Hakuba. There was at least 3 -4 feet of snow everywhere, it was great. After skiing on Saturday, we met up with some of our Yokota friends who were up there too for a relaxing dinner.

Kenny & I after a long day of skiing

We opted not to ski on Sunday since we had both survived Saturday in relatively good condition. (My 1st time to ski in 9 years & Kenny's 1st time to ski since his back surgery). We drove back to Yokota & enjoyed a lazy day. The guys were all off work on Monday for President's day, so several of us loaded up to go sledding on Mount Fuji. Unfortunately it rained on us most of the time that we were there, but we still had fun.
Hakuba, Nagano Prefecture - Japan

Overall we had a great weekend getting out & exploring this beautiful country that we live in now. While we miss home, we are enjoying the opportunity to see parts of the world we otherwise wouldn't have seen. That's not to say that I am not super excited to be heading to Arkansas for a visit in 2 weeks!!!!! =)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ready or not here we go....

This past weekend Kenny & I went on our first adventure by ourselves. We figured, go big or go we went to Tokyo! We haven't been since we moved here (other than driving through on our way from the airport). So we pulled up this awesome website called Hyperdia to find out what trains to take & took off. The Japan train system is relatively easy to navigate, the website tells you what lines to take as well as what time the trains leave & how long it will take you to get from point A to point B. We printed off our train times & took off to the Fussa station (the train station outside the Yokota gate).
Our ultimate goal was the New Sanno Hotel, which is a beautiful military owned hotel in downtown Tokyo, for dinner at the Japanese restaurant there. Tokyo is divided into "districts". We first got off the train to explore a little bit of the Shibuya district. Shibuya is known for it's shopping! Unfortunately, all of the shopping is in Japanese sizing....that translates to not fitting a 6'2" American male & 5'8" American female. =) But, I was able to find a Starbucks! The most overwhelming experience in Shibuya was being in a crosswalk with literally THOUSANDS of other people going 6 directions at was crazy!!!

Tons of buses outside the Shibuya train station

Starbucks! Luckily part of it was in English!

We left Shibuya to head to the part of town where the New Sanno is. It was nice to go to the hotel to have a little piece of America. They hotel is nothing to write home about on the exterior, but was beautiful inside. We are looking forward to staying there when my parents come to visit in May! We had reservations for dinner at the Japanese steakhouse in the hotel. It was possibly one of the best meals we've had since we have been in Japan.
Overall our first trip to Tokyo was a success! We didn't get lost once!!!! I'm sure there will be much more to come....

Kenny at dinner, they put these lovely aprons on us while we ate

Sushi appetizer that came with out dinner, the yellow thing is egg...interesting to say the least

Beautiful artwork behind our table at dinner

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Here lately...

There hasn't been a whole lot new going on here in Japan lately. Tomorrow I'm heading to Yokosuka to go shopping with some girls. Yokosuka is one of our naval bases here in Japan. It's just nice to leave Yokota every once in a while.

Next week Kenny & I are taking our first trip since we've been here. We are heading to the mountains to go skiing! I'm so excited. We are going to Nagano!!! I love the Olympics & am super excited to see where the were here in Japan.

We had our first snow a couple of days ago. I'll leave you with a couple of pictures, but before I do I have some good news....I'll be home for a visit 1 month from today!!!!!

View from our balcony (the netting is put up by the base to keep the birds out)

And I obviously didn't take this last one, but I think it's a pretty cool picture! It's a C-130 flying in front of Mt. Fuji...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What day is it?

I just noticed something...I think it's a little funny that my last post says it was on Monday, January 25 when I actually posted it (as well as this one) on Tuesday, January 26 here in Japan. Just a random thought.

Field Trip Thursday

My friend Amanda & I have started a new tradition that we like to call "Field Trip Thursday". We load up and venture out of the gates. We are trying to go somewhere new each week. Our first trip landed us at Costco. A little slice of America for us here in Japan! We laughed a lot!! First things first, we had to get a membership. It was 4200 yen for a year (about $45 USD). As we were trying to overcome the language barrier to fill out the membership form, somehow they came to the conclusion that we only needed 1 membership. I tried to get my own form, but they weren't having it. So we turn in our form, take our pictures and I now have a "Costco Wife"! Haha! Once we were members, we were ready to go shop. As we were roaming the aisles we came across a scale that quickly reminded us we were in Japan. It was the smallest human scale I have ever seen! It wasn't even big enough for my whole foot to fit on it!
This picture doesn't quite capture all of foot was hanging off the back as well as the top of the scale. After this we continued shopping. We made a great discovery...the Japanese know how to grow some strawberries!!! They may be the best strawberries I've ever had. We've even made a return trip to buy more already.
Our first trip was definitely a success! We left base, found our destination & returned all without getting lost! I'm sure there will be many more funny stories to come of our field trips! Sayonara!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Everyday life

Nothing much new to report here in Japan....I feel like we are really starting to settle in here. Kenny is busy & in more than full swing with work. He just started a new job that will be a lot of hard work, but ultimately should be very rewarding for him. He has also just started 2 of his last 3 masters classes. He's hoping to be finished by May! I'm so proud of him!
I am in the process of applying to be a substitute teacher at the DOD schools here on base. It will be a good way for me to work some, but still have the flexibility to enjoy Japan life. I have been able to get involved with the women's ministry at the base chapel. The new Bible studies just kicked off last week. I am getting to do Beth Moore's Esther study. Super excited about that!
I can't say enough how much God has blessed us with some good friends since we've been here. I don't think I would be making it if it weren't for a few of the girls here.
Oh, and get ready Arkansas....I'll be there most of March!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Ringing in the New Year!

Wow, I can't believe it's 2010! Where does the time go? We had a blast ringing in the new year with some of our new friends! We are so thankful for them. It was Kenny & I along with 3 other families. There was tons of junk food, games, music & more junk food!
We've been trying to get out & experience Japan more. This weekend our friends the Miners took us to Showa park. It is a huge park with tons of Japanese gardens, playgrounds & all sorts of other things to do. It used to be a military base, if that helps you understand how big this place is. Since it is so big, we rented bikes to ride around the park. Well, the Japanese people did not design their bicycles for my 6'2" husband...It was hilarious to see him on that thing!!! He was either hitting his knees on the handlebars, the bell or trying to peddle with his knees outside of the handlebars. At one point, we had stopped to the the Miners' girl (and us) play at one of the playgrounds. We were getting back on our bikes & there was a Japanese family pointing & laughing at Kenny trying to ride his bike. Unfortunately, I was too busy laughing & trying not to fall off of my own bike to capture this on camera. Hopefully there will be another opportunity for this!
Here is my 1st attempt at adding pictures to a post....let's see if this works
Lora, Amanda, Me & Hillary

Kenny & I with the Japanese drummers

Me, Amanda & her girls on the "rolly slide"

Kenny & I at Showa Park