Monday, September 5, 2011

A Long Weekend and an Air Show

Four day weekend! We had a very action backed weekend because the air show was on Sunday. Ian got Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday off so we had a little time to get around and do some exploring in the area. There were only 5 near death experiences driving in Japan the whole weekend,  so I would consider this a success. There was a lot of worry that the air show would be cancelled because we've been having some huge storms roll in off the coast but Sunday was so beautifully hot and sunny that Ian and I are sporting so nice lobster red sunburns.

I'll start in chronological order. I had a surprise ikebana class on Friday. Ian had to come and pick me up from the pet shelter because I had gone to get some exercise and walk the dogs. We had some lovely flowers this time. The teacher even liked my second arrangement enough that she didn't completely redo it. Just when I thought that I was getting worse. I put some pictures of the arrangements in the web album. I guess there is a card and if you get it stamped for all the classes you attend you can take a test and become a certified ikebana instructor. Though I don't think I would stand a chance of passing given my lack of Japanese skills. Not that I understand most of what goes on in class anyways because it's all taught in Japanese. Sigh, I need to hurry up with those language skills.

Friday afternoon, I pouted enough that Ian took me out exploring. We followed some road signs and ended up at the Misawa Aviation & Science Museum. The Museum was gonna close real soon so we stayed outside and walked around the planes at the sky park. We got to see some of the jets practicing for the air show. You could pretty much see the flight line on base from the sky park and we found out that misawa airport is really close to the flight line too.

After the sky park we tried to find the mall, which is pretty far from base. There is a toll road that is much quicker but we tried to take the long way. We got kinda lost and found a shrine that we are gonna have to go back and investigate. Eventually, we made it. The mall was crazy because you'd be walking along and all of a sudden you'd be in a grocery store, then you'd walk a little further and you'd be in a hallmark ish type store. It was like the entire down stairs was a walmart. There was also a European food store that sold really nice French and Italian foods - like jellies and coffees. There were tons of clothing stores. A movie theater, an arcade, a bowling alley. I didn't really find the fabric store though - maybe I would go with my friends again soon. I really want new clothes - everything is so pretty! A lot of the clothes have these crazy translations of English that make absolutely no sense.

Saturday we started out exploring at noon. We started at the Aviation museum and went inside. I was a little disappointed because most of the information about Misawa and Japanese Flight was all in Japanese and there weren't many English translations. Misawa is pretty famous in the history of flight because the first trans pacific flight that took off from Washington state landed here in Misawa. Misawa is also the home of Miss Veedol which is the name of the first plane to fly across the Pacific. This airshow was a little historic in that it was the last flight of Miss Veedol. There were also lots of fun science and flying related experiment booths. Ian and I had a lot of fun running around and playing with a bunch of things. There was a tornado making machine - awesome.

After the Aviation Museum we went to the Tonami Clan Memorial Tourist Village. It's a replica of the ranch that existed here in the 1860's. This area of Japan is very famous for it's ranching of cows and horses. Hirosawa Yasuto, the guy who founded this particular ranch was the quintessential senkakusha (pioneer). He came to this region as Japan was falling apart during the Meiji period. He started crossing Japanese cows and horses with European breeds. He also brought Americans over to help with the ranch and to teach English. Besides the little replica village there is a put put golf course, pony rides, go carts, and of course a petting zoo. There were reindeer and consequently ten pictures of blurry reindeer. They were super energetic because it was feeding time. Ian and I stayed to closing and played a round of miniature golf in which Ian stomped me despite a large handy cap. 

Sunday was the airshow. It was like they imported a small village on to the base. Easily a couple of hundred thousand people. And it was super sunny which means Ian and I both have wicked sun burns. I had spent the previous wednesday and thursday making cakes so that we could sell them to the Japanese people for lots of money. For the entire day a hundred yen equaled a dollar - it was awesome. The problem was that I got to the booth and we weren't really selling anything. I don't know if it was the location or what but we just weren't selling that many. So I got out there with a cake cut into chunks and a set of chopsticks and started telling people that we have "Choco Caki" chocolate cake " Remon Caki" lemon cake and I started saying "Oiishi" delicious a whole lot. It worked like a charm, I was selling a cake or two probably every 5 minutes. It was a lot of work. Shouting at people for a couple of hours in the sun. Chopsticks are hard to hold for that long. The crazy thing was that there were a lot of Japanese people coming up and taking my picture, I even had a film crew come up and film me while I was trying to get people to buy cakes. I was so embarrassed I really hope I wasn't saying anything bad. I was constantly having people come up and talk to me in Japanese and I would have to say Hanashimasen - I don't speak. But I did learn "Ikura desu ka" which is how much is it. Ian was working in his squadrons tent selling turkey legs - they made a killing and completely sold out. We were giving away cakes at the end. I think too many people made them this year. In fact I came home with a bunch of vanilla cakes so now they are in my freezer. Tea and Cake!

It's been raining since Monday and we haven't really been doing anything special. There is a new dog at the shelter - He is a doberman named Ty. I'm trying to convince Ian that we should adopt him because he would be amazing at agility. He's the sweetest boy ever. I got all the art work sent off. So I'm officially done with all that jazz. At least for a while. I'm working on a pair of socks for Ian and I'm learning an new knitting pattern. It's super pretty with cables and something else. It's hard to see because the yarn is speckled but oh well.

Here's the web album so you can see more pictures. A Little Sight Seeing and an Air Show

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