Tuesday, June 16, 2015

By the GRACE of God!

With the sad cloud of deployment hanging over my head, I was in need of some serious girl time and distraction. There was one friend in particular that would take care of this and has always been there when I needed her. Usually its a movie night, getting our nails done, a trip up to Virginia Beach, or just a phone call. This time she really out did herself and came to my rescue all the way in Japan! 

Grace was finally here! 

I impatiently waited in the hotel room of the New Sanno in Tokyo on Thursday June 4 knowing any minute she would show up! Once I walked out the front door and saw my amazing, extremely tired, best friend standing there it was like a scene of a movie running towards her. Call it dramatic and slightly weird if you want, but seeing a familiar face after 5 months of living in Japan was exactly what I needed. 

After Grace took a much needed 2 hour power nap, we were off to enjoy our first evening in Tokyo. First stop on the list was Shibuya. It was the perfect place to introduce Grace to the chaos and craziness of Japan. After shopping a bit and walking around we headed to dinner at a restaurant called Hacienda. It is a Mexican restaurant on the rooftop and the food and views were amazing. 

The next morning we wasted no time. We continued our Tokyo adventures and started out our day with a delicious brunch at the Clinton St. Baking Company. From there we went to Omotesando Hills and Harajuku to do some shopping…our favorite past time! 

Selfie Stick Fun! 

After shopping we headed back to my house in Zama. But the fun didn't stop there…

Saturday we decided to drive up towards the mountains to a town called Hakone. Our mission was to find Mt. Fuji and take as many pictures as we could. The drive was beautiful and we ended up at Lake Ashi, the lake where you are SUPPOSED to see Mt. Fuji. Sadly the clouds were in full force and even though we didn't see it, we still had a great day. 

Sunday we got to experience our first Japanese Baseball game together! I had always heard they were so much fun so I figured Grace would enjoy it too! We headed to Yokohama with 8 other wives to cheer on the Baystars. Even though it was pretty hot outside, we had great seats and loved watching the Japanese fans get into the game. 

After the game, Grace and I split off from the group to continue our day in Yokohama. We took a boat taxi from the train station to an area called Red Brick Warehouse to do some more shopping since we can't seem to break that habit. It was fun to see the city from the water and gave us time to cool off and rest our feet. 

From here we took a taxi to Chinatown. It is similar to the one in New York but most of the vendors only sold japanese trinkets. We were on the hunt for Dr. Fish which is the place where you put your feet in the water and fish eat off all your dead skin. I think Grace was pleased to find out it had closed down, but I was totally bummed. From here we went to eat dinner at my favorite restaurant in Yokohama. Another great day/night checked off our list. 

This was fate…and so random
Finally the sun came out and we had good enough weather to try and go to Zushi beach. Its about an hour train ride and on the way there we stopped in a city called Kamakura. This is where the "Great Buddha" statue is and where hydrangeas are starting to bloom everywhere. 

Cleansing our hands before entering 

As luck would have it, the clouds rolled in on our way to the beach. Being the beach bums we are, we were a little upset but still made our way down to the water. The ocean has always been our happy place and I found it so cool that we went from sitting on the sand at Atlantic Beach to sitting on the sand/shells in Japan. Definetly a moment I won't forget!

Zushi Beach

Tuesday was a lazy day and Wednesday came fast. That morning we woke up early to meet some girls to walk the flight line. The flight line is 5 miles long and circles the runway on base. On most days when the sky is clear you can see Mt. Fuji on your walk. We didn't see the whole thing but we did see the very tip of it through the clouds. It wasn't what I had hoped for Graces sake, but at least she can honestly say she has seen it now! 

The tip of Mt. Fuji above clouds

After walking we took the train to Vina Walk in Ebina. We ate brunch at a place called Latte Graphic and once again the food was delicious. The rest of the afternoon was back at my house washing clothes and repacking Graces suitcase. I was in denial that she was leaving the next day and couldn't believe a week had already flown by. That night we went to base and watched the Bachlorette with a group of wives. I loved introducing Grace to all my Japan friends and showing her a piece of my military life. Girls nights are always welcomed here. 

The dreaded day finally came and it was time for Grace to go home. I took the train with her to Yokohama and from there she took the Narita Express which goes straight to the airport. Needless to say…I wasn't too happy to let her leave!

I love you so much Grace and can't tell you how much I appreciate you being out here with me! Can't wait to see you so soon when I'm back in the states this summer. 

Next stop…Australia!