The Simpson Journey

Four Simpsons on a journey through life and locations

Month: July 2016

Yoyogi Park

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So I was home this weekend and decided we should get out and find a new place to visit. We ended up going to Yoyogi Park and it was AWESOME. Jenny thought she went there a few days prior but she actually went to the park right next door.  We’ve got a bunch of pictures on this adventure so mostly I’m just going to narrate them but I found a bunch of MY PEOPLE.IMG_1342

So here we are on our way out of the park but it shows the large entrance area. It was crazy how many people were there glued to their phones.  It must be because Pokemon GO just launched in Japan this weekend. However, Tokyo people are much more addicted to their phones than anywhere else we have been.

There was lots of walking pathways that were wooded and peaceful. It was nice to get away from the busy city and enjoy nature right in the middle of Tokyo for a bit. The cicadas were super loud as it was a warm day but I kinda liked it.

IMG_0874We saw lots of groups filming random videos. I gather that this is a popular thing to do at the park. Our first pit stop was the dog park as Anna is hopelessly in love with all dogs. This was her highlight and it was fun to watch the cute dogs running around. They had a separate area for little dogs and for big dogs.

After the dog park, we wandered further into the big open area and there were people doing cool things all over! Of course there were people doing art and playing music or just catching some sun with friends but the first thing that grabbed our attention was GIANT BUBBLES! There were a couple guys there that had the equipment and bubble solution and they would let others give it a go. These bubble wands were at the next level, made from light-weight plastic chain so that every look and every link of the chain made bubbles. It was awesome and I loved it. I’m already planning my bubble wand…

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So while the bubble fun was going on, I spotted some guys playing ultimate-style catch. Even guarding each other a little during the throws to practice throwing around the mark. I stood just a little ways off and tried to catch their eye but they were not interested. I crept a little closer and it was pretty obvious I was interested but still no invite. I nearly chickened out (yes, it is so uncomfortable and takes way too much courage to just say “can I play?” to total strangers in a strange place. Especially when you don’t speak the language) but I figured I didn’t have much to lose and I was desperate for some Ultimate so I caught one of their eyes and motioned that I would like to throw in their circle. I could tell they were super surprised but nodded affirmation and proceeded to throw me the disc. They were doubly as surprised when this 30-something white guy threw a (nearly) perfect flick to the next guy in the circle. So I had fun playing catch with them and one of the guys tried to mark me during my throws and kept asking for advice on how to defend my throws better. He spoke some English but mostly it was sign language. That was my highlight. When I decided to get back to the family before they left without me, I used my phone to have them find their facebook group so I could try and find out when they played ultimate. Hopefully something comes of that but at least I got to play catch!

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So after the Ultimate and bubbles, we found an awesome guy that made paper airplanes with rubber band launchers for kids. They were amazing and went super high and far.  I hope the video works because it was super impressive.  We got like 3 stuck in trees but I used Zeke’s shoe to get all but one down. And the shoe came down too. You can tell by the picture that I studied his technique closely so I have another trick in my bag now for the future.  🙂

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Ok, it’s getting super late and Jenny just told me that we need to get to bed if we are going to CrossFit at 6:15 AM tomorrow.  So i’m just going to publish and figure that having some update out there is worth it!

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Christmas in July- Our furniture is here!

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We got our rental furniture yesterday and got about 15 packages of things we had ordered on Amazon! Including Caleb’s new fish tank!!!!
IMG_0741IMG_0747What a happy day!  We were given the option to ship our furniture from MN via freight shipment (which would take 2 months or more to arrive)or rent furniture for our time in Japan.  We decided we would rather go with rental furniture to make sure we got things that fit well in the space.  When we arrived in Japan the company had provided us with temporary furniture. It enabled us to live in our apartment without needing to live in temporary housing while we waited for other things to finalize.

On July 1 we went to the warehouse of Tokyo Lease so look at the used furniture selection. The warehouse was 2 stories and stocked full of furniture.  Couches were turned on end, , coffee and end tables stacked.  It was amazing.  Most items had a laminated tag to show you what the item looked like when put together. Tezuka- san is a very sweet woman from Tokyo Lease that  had been our main contact regarding the temporary furniture, providing estimates, and making sure everyone from  relocation company, our contacts at Boston Scientific, and global workforce mobility were all on the same page.  She met us at the retail shop, where they sell and lease new furniture, and drove us 20 minutes to the warehouse.  Because we were able to choose from the used furniture collection we were able to furnish our entire apartment, and add items like a blender, rice cooker, patio furDSCN2372sniture, area rugs and book cases and stay within our allowed budget! We are so excited to have our new (to us) things!!!! I am ready to make this place feel like our HOME! 

I took some pictures of our place for you to see.  Yes, we are still unpacking, we have clutter and dirty dishes!  🙂  I hid some of the stuff from the photos I admit it!  We live here! 

Here is our apartment BEFORE (with temp furniture) Click for slideshow!

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Here is our apartment AFTER (with our new furniture)

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Shopping in Tokyo

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Hello All I am so sorry it has been so long since I have updated the blog.

We have been here just 3 weeks and are beginning to feel a bit  more comfortable.  Many people have asked “Are you finding food? ” “What do you miss?” and “What are you eating?  I figured I would write a little about our experiences shopping so far.

Grocery Shopping:  We live in an international friendly neighborhood.   We have an “International Market” within 15 minutes walking.  There are 2 grocery stores/ markets, a convince store and a discount chain store store all within 5 minutes walking.  There are lots of opportunities yet we find most if all prices are higher than we have experienced which makes us especially happy for the company providing us with a (COLA) Cost Of Living Adjustment . Here is a  (not so)Fun fact: a package of bacon is ~$12

The Discount chain store near us is called Don Quijote it is unlike any store I have ever been in before.  In our neighborhood the store is 6 floors.  It has 2 fish tanks near the entrance and has a HUGE variety of goods including: spectacles for the aged, high brand items, luggage,  snacks including 3-4 flavors of kit kats (so far we have seen raspberry, green tea, dark chocolate and , original) , luggage, toys, food, bedding, liquor, cosmetics.

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To add more variety to the store there is actually a roller coaster located on top of the store!  We can see the coaster from the balcony at our apartment! Only in Tokyo!!!!!

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can you find  the “Half Pipe” we see from our balcony?

Fun Fact #2: In 2005, Don Quijote began building a “half-pipe” roller coaster on the roof of its eight story Roppongi store. Roppongi is a heavily populated area in the core of Tokyo, and many residents and businesses were upset with the idea of having a roller coaster in their neighborhood because of the spectacle, noise and crowds it will likely create. The project was completed in 2006 but due to increasing pressure from concerned groups in the area it has never been operated. As of 2016, the structure still exists. Don Quijote has not announced what future plans they have for it. [8]

 

 

 

We are IMG_0562all happy to find English printed on a package.  Here are our kids at our first trip, on our first night at “Family Mart”  I am SO thankful for kids who are excited for our adventure!

We all miss some things.  I think the kids miss their traditional American Breakfast the most.  Even cereal is expensive here! Prior to moving they were very lucky to have hot breakfast  made by their parents 80% of the mornings in their life.   Pancakes, bacon, scrambled eggs, waffles, breakfast burritos and occasionally cereal with milk.  They had it good!    Here Caleb and I often skip breakfast but offer the kids some of the good familiar foods:  Yogurt, eggs, toast, fruit.  A traditional Japanese breakfast may include Miso soup, baked fish, rice, eggs.  We may never adapt 100% and diet varies wisely but we are trying to figure out what works for our family in this stage. 

We finally found pancake mix and Zeke was happy to help out to make breakfast that day.  Although it isn’t like the Aldi “just add water pancake mix” and the Aunt Jemima Lite syrup we used  to buy.  Pancakes are still a treat.  

IMG_0584We are also trying to learn how to use the ingredients of traditional Japanese dishes.  We have increased the amount of rice, vegetables, ramen noodles while decreasing the amount of meat we traditionally cooked with.  Lucky for us the past 3 years we have began to eat a much cleaner diet in which we tried to consume less processed foods. This makes cooking in a foreign country a lot easier.  Produce, grains and meat look much the same here as they did in the US.

Here is a dish I created with chicken, ramen noodles, bean sprouts. swiss chard, and soy sauce!  It tasted great and we are all getting better at using chop sticks!  

We do see some intIMG_0585resting ingredients at super markets, like bumpy cucumber vegetables, small pineapples, packages of green squishy jelly stuff, octopus, fish heads and those famous green tea flavored kit kat bars.  One of my first outings with the kids on our own was to find ice cream.  We found a Baskin Robins in the building under Tokyo Tower!!!!! With my shopping challenges and adventures I made it my goal to try to figure out to make chocolate chip cookies.  I was successful (mostly)  I found all the ingredients or ones that worked. I need to find a different chocolate chip for next time and adjust the amount of flour I used but overall it was a success!  We all enjoyed the taste of home! 

 

 

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