The Simpson Journey

Four Simpsons on a journey through life and locations

Month: April 2016 (page 1 of 2)

Plans are moving along


When Caleb was in Japan a couple weeks ago he was able to scout out neighborhoods a bit, look at apartments, tour schools and even attend church! I am so happy that he is able to take on the “scouting job” in addition to all the other things he has on his plate.  We are happy to inform you that we have officially secured an apartment and a school for the kids!  SUCH a relief!

building exterior living room balcony

The apartment is a ~2100 sq ft with 4 bedrooms, 2 balconies, lots of sunlight, open floor plan, a parking, and 6 min walk from a major train station!  It is undergoing some remodeling and updates now.  You can find the apartment listing here: 

It is in  an area of Tokyo called Roppongi!

Roppongi  is Tokyo’s best-known nightlife district for young Japanese and foreigners, Roppongi has more bars and nightclubs than any other district outside Shinjuku, as well as a multitude of restaurants serving international cuisine. The action continues until dawn. Nearby Nishi Azabu, once a residential neighborhood (many foreigners live here), offers a quieter and saner dining alternative to frenetic Roppongi. Between Roppongi and Nishi Azabu is the eye-popping, 11-hectare (27-acre) Roppongi Hills, Tokyo’s largest urban development with 230 shops and restaurants, a first-class hotel, a garden, apartments, offices, a cinema complex, a playground, and Tokyo’s highest art museum, on the 53rd floor of Mori Tower. Astonishingly, Roppongi Hills was upstaged in 2007 by the 10-hectare (25-acre) Tokyo Midtown, which boasts Tokyo’s tallest building, a Ritz-Carlton, a medical center, 130 fashion boutiques and restaurants, apartments, offices, a garden, and the Suntory Museum of Art. Nearby is The National Art Center, Tokyo, focusing on changing exhibitions of modern and contemporary art.”  Read more:

It may be a bit different than our suburban farm life, but we are excited.  This is a great international neighborhood with lots to offer and good schools!  Who wants to come and visit us!?!?!?!

After applying to 4 schools, completing applications, requesting confidential letters of recommendation, kids taking entrance exams and Caleb touring 2 of the schools  we felt warmly welcomed, impressed with the facilities and  quality of education at Tokyo International School. Here is the school website if you want to check it out:

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Thanks for reading!  We love our readers!



Japan EP Marketing Team


Here is me with the Japan EP Marketing Team.  I’ll be working closely with these guys going forward, eventually they might report to me but not for now.  Good group of guys and glad they all speak decent English.  🙂



MN Plans


I know a number of you are probably curious about what we are doing with all our MN considerations.  Here are the current plans in brief.  We will do a separate post on Japan plans.

  • Timing – We will be moving in late June (June 21st is the current target)
  • Houses
    • We are renting our home. Current price is $2,250 for the entire thing so spread the word!
      • Will leave the riding mower, snow blower, weed wacker, and wheel barrow for the tenants
      • We will drain the hot tub and prohibit its use by tenants
      • Projects – we have a bunch left to do and would love help (Jenny’s going to post more on this later)
    • We will continue to rent our old property on Norton St.
  • Work – Jenny is quitting daycare and not working in Japan (she already quit!)
    • We are selling all the daycare stuff. If she does daycare when we come back we will acquire the materials to support it
  • Vehicles
    • Selling my 2004 Audi TT turbo (let me know if you want to buy it!)
    • Storing the Odyssey (that we JUST paid off) at Jenny’s parents (THANKS!)
    • Selling the Bayliner boat  ;-(
  • Pets – since Tokyo is rabies-free and has very little space for dogs…
    • We are giving Shadow to Jenny’s parents to keep him in the family. This will be a tough one for us but a Tokyo apartment is no place for a 75 lb golden-doodle that love people. I know he will LOVE saying hi to all the visitors at the Saathoff’s
    • We are bringing our cat, Sawyer, with us. The company will pay for his transport but not all the immunizations or testing. He will not be able to come until 3-4 months after we move and will be staying with a foster family (Thanks Luke and Sara!)
  • Furniture
    • We will be shipping a good portion of our furniture to Japan.  It will arrive 3-6 weeks after us so we will rent temporary furniture when there or do without
    • We will be selling or donating a good chunk
    • The company will pack and store the rest here
  • Other belongings
    • We will be shipping some, selling some, and storing some. We have gone through room-by-room and done the initial triage.
  • Small group – we are transitioning our small group to new leaders and they will continue to meet and pray for us.  🙂
  • Alcohol – we will be drinking all of it before we move since they won’t ship it (and we’ll for sure need a couple drinks before all this is said and done)

Food-related things


So in general, it’s true that Japanese stuff is smaller. Smaller portions,IMG_1118 smaller people, smaller clothes sized, smaller packaging. So here are some images and memories from my latest trip of food-related things that were interesting. First off, their M&M’s are not flat.  They have tiny packages of them that are closed opposite directions from each other. The M&M’s were still yummy but it was a funny package.

One of the first nights on this last trip we walked down the street to a traditional Japanese restaurant. It had an on-demand grill and food arranged around it that we would request cooked for us. I think we had chicken, pork, asparagus, beer (of course), and some of the group got some grilled fish. Since it was the cherry blossom bloom, we had some seasonal beer with pink cherry labels. It was nice hanging out with the group and the food was quite good. I especially liked the asparagus, which is comical considering how much I abhorred it during my childhood.

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So the coffee in my room was also something that I had never seen before. They have little packs of single-brew coffee and an electric kettle that boils water in a hurry to use for coffee or tea. One thing I love about Japan alreay is that they love their coffee STRONG! Seriously, we’ll have to water this stuff down double if Jenny’s parents come visit (which we will gladly do of course!).  😉


Overall the food was fine on the trip although my gut took a little while to agree with me. There was not much fruit with the meals and portions were really small, which is why I lost 3 pounds in 2 weeks while I was there.  Often I had a bunch of flavors that I had not acclimated to yet so I didn’t always finish my food and eventually started craving the normal foods from home. I’ve already had a “normal” salad, PBJ, and cereal.


Roppongi – our future stomping grounds


On Sunday 4/10, I spent some time in Roppongi. Lifehouse international church is located there and Jenny was hoping that I could check it out since I was here over a weekend. So I planned my day around that objective. Since I had extra time in the morning, I decided to try and figure out the subway and train system on my own. Continue reading


Let the packing begin


This week has been a flurry of activity.  Finishing up daycare trying to sort through all of our belongings and selling some of daycare equipment to a friend.   It is bittersweet to say goodbye to my daycare kids and the daycare equipment.  I am trying to embrace the chaos of this season and realize my home will not look clutter free, clean and organized right now but that is fine.
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I am thankful for many things:  flower delivery from my husband 6,000 miles away, gifts from sweet daycare families, sweet neighbors delivering a meal, sushi dinner with a dear friend and things moving along with our new home and school search (post to come soon) And guess what !!! Caleb made it home safe and sound. So proud of the work he is doing over there for his job and to prepare foe our family to move!   We still love each other A LOT after 12 days apart! It may be true “absence makes the heart grow fonder!”

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Some Tokyo Scenery


Since I got the flickr account all linked up, I thought I would share some of the scenic pictures from my trip. It’s so nice to be back home!

First of all, it was the most popular time in the entire year to be in Japan. The cherry blossoms were at their peak and they were beautiful! So many large blooming trees and roads and streams lined with them. Continue reading


Shinkansen – The Bullet Train


It’s interesting that I’m on the bullet train again today as I write this but I first rode one last Friday.  We took the train about 1.5 hours to Toyohashi to talk with a key doctor there about Rhythmia. We were a little spoiled I think since we rode I the “Green Car”, which is like their First Class with reserved seats, etc.


 It’s a very smooth ride and very interesting as the landscape is constantly changing and these trains fly.  Continue reading


Great coworkers in Japan


I wish that I had more time to write up posts for this blog! The past week and a half have been a flurry of Japan work, managing my previous MN work remotely (it hasn’t been transitioned yet), and doing relocation work during any spare moment. I have a backlog of things that I want to post.  However, a friend asked for pictures that were not just of workouts or trains so I wanted to post some pics of my great support here.
Continue reading


Everyday Details


We are in a new phase.  Caleb is working in Tokyo!!!!  With this trip he is gone almost 2 weeks.   His travel is important in the coming months as he begins to get traction in his new role as a Director at BSC Tokyo.  We will spend more time apart during this time before we move than any other time in our marriage.  I am not worried or fearful because I know this is all part of the process.  I have faith in God to sustain us and trust and faith in my husband and our commitment to each other.

I have started this blog post multiple times and then have stopped.  It seems mundane to track these everyday details.  It doesn’t seem very exciting to make a list of the things I’ve  done and am going through  right now but this is the part of the journey I am on right now and I should document my days.

This week I began sorting through the daycare toys. I am going to sell some items and give lots away.   I am so happy that my friend Tara is starting an in home daycare! She is going to do great and I am so happy that some of my supplies and equipment will help a friend get her business rolling.

I also began looking at toys through a lens of “do I want to save this toy for my GRANDchildren to play with”  Holy Cow!  That seems so far away but I should make sure I don’t get rid of things that fit into this category!

We are in the process of applying to 4 international schools.  Each school has their own application, questions, and documents required.  I am trying to keep them all straight and make sure I follow all the guidelines.  Most schools need an application fee of ~$150- $300 per child.  I have also had to request confidential letters of recommendation from teachers  and a request for teachers to proxy an entrance exam.  YIKES! I hope the kids don’t feel the pressure I do! I haven’t shared a ton with them as I do not want to overwhelm them!

Today(Sunday) I worked for 5 hours, sorting and cleaning in the water room and apartment.  Baby steps.

Also on the list of new (or newish) things… I visited a chiropractor this week.  I have been dealing with a slight discomfort in my lower back for a couple weeks.  I know that I tweaked something while working out a while ago.  When it started impacting my daily life I knew I should do something.  Definitely a frustrating turn of events since I have been enjoying my Crossfit 4-5 times a week lately.  I am trying to listen to my body and only do lifts and movements that feel okay.  Good news is that the chiropractor believes that my issue should be solved with a total of 3 visits.

Well that’s all for now.  Thanks for reading!


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