Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sunset at Waikiki

In Hawaii we're staying at the Hale Koa, a military hotel. I was raised an Air Force brat so being back in this kind of environment is extremely nostalgic to me. Even more than being back in the States it feels like being home. A visit to the PX and that special PX smell brought back memories, made me feel like a kid. I was just waiting for an MP to step around the corner and ask me what I was doing.

Sad note: Their are quite a few wounded men and women here. Today I saw a young man with shrapnel burns across his face. And here I was I thinking my heart couldn't be torn out any more...

In lighter news: There was a prom going on and the kids all looked amazing. My gawd (!) the cleavage. Since they don't have prom in Japan my husband asked, Are all these people getting married? It was cute. Speaking of cute. The prom's theme was Hello Kitty which just this side of surreal.

Great seeing mom and dad. We laughed so long and hard over dinner I choked on my shrimp. I miss that most of all. Not sure what our plans are for tomorrow. I personally just want to sit under a palm tree and write and read. Maybe nap a little.

Here's the sunset on the beach we watched while eating dinner. Still haven't had my mixed drink yet. But this will do instead.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Earthquake Post

I've been utterly overwhelmed and humbled by the number of people who have gotten in touch with me (or my parents) since the earthquake. Relatives, old friends, even people who read this blog but have never commented. Thank you!

We're okay. My story is amazingly lame but here goes...

First, we're in Shizuoka (Yaizu), something like 400 kilometers south of the epicenter. So unlike the temblor we had two years ago this one shook and shook and shook (damn, it was long), but nothing much fell and I could certainly stand up and walk around.

Okay, early Friday, March 11, I had some friends over. While we were talking, four or five crows suddenly dropped out of the sky, in front of my window and started making a huge ruckus (fighting or whatever, I can never tell with birds, see the Gloria post). My friend M. said it was like a scene from the Omen.

No other ominous signs the rest of the day. Although in retrospect several days before the earthquake Cha Cha did NOT want to sleep in J's room. He always does, happily, ever since he was a pup. J sleeps deep and he just loves stealing all his blankets and making a nest out of them for himself. But when we took him up he would whine and scratch at the door and we couldn't figure out what he wanted. He is still camping out downstairs on the sofa with the cats. I actually caught him once sleeping IN the litter box. Slightly worried about the little fellow's mental state. But only slightly. He's always been weird.

The ball of my foot has been hurting for a month or more (not related to earthquake...I think), so I finally decided to go to the doctor. It opened at 3:30 but I knew it would be crowded so I was going to leave at 3:00. At 2:35-ish I was gathering up my insurance card, purse, and car keys when the earthquake started. It was shaky enough to make me think about hiding out under the dining room table. And I would have except my cell rang.

It was my husband. He's on the 10th floor in Shizuoka. He said he thought he was going to be sick the rocking was so bad. I said if the epicenter isn't here (we're supposed to have our very own monster earthquake called the Tokai Earthquake some day) then someplace is in real trouble. He's a programmer and everyone is on their computers and just then someone yelled out the epicenter was way up north. I go, uh-oh. And we got cut off.

Still shaking. I crawl under the table and my by-now-seriously-freaked-out dog comes and joins me. Cats have vanished upstairs long ago. They're clever like that. After what seemed like forever it stopped. Nothing much had fallen and while the sirens were going like crazy outside warning of a tsunami I figured we're far enough inland to be safe. I did, however, call my parents and wake their butts up.

For the rest of that day we had several aftershocks. The worst part of those was the accusing look on Cha Cha's face every time the beams squeaked and the ground moved. He thought *I* was doing this. Not only that but after the first quake he had to go out and pee like every ten minutes. Trying to explain that's not a good idea did nothing to stop his weakened bladder.

One freaky thing: J and his friends were all supposed to go to Disney Land the day after the earthquake. Of course, the trip was canceled, but had they gone they'd have been stuck in the park. Since they were feeling pretty blue about not getting to go for their graduation trip, J invited two of his best friends over and we had a small yakiniku party.

The truth is we had ran out of toilet paper the day before the earthquake. So on the verge of our own natural disaster I went to buy some the next day. I considered going early because I've lived here long enough to know how people can sometimes get excited/worried and hoard. (Don't get me started on Thai Rice Debacle of '93.) But, no, that wouldn't happen, would it? By the time I got to the supermarket it was 5pm and the shelves were practically wiped clean. There was no toilet paper, rice, bread, meat, cup noodles, batteries...What I think happened is that the stores were diverting some foodstuffs and necessities to the devastated areas up north. When people came shopping and saw the shelves half full they slightly freaked.

Keeping the eye on the news. Otherwise, here in Shizuoka is life as usual.

J graduated junior high last week. He decided to go to a good private high school and will start there the first week in April. We already had an all-day orientation where I learned his homeroom is on the 7th floor and neither kids, nor moms are allowed to use elevators and the Dean of Students is a hard ass like I haven't seen in years. I didn't think they made them like this anymore. *worried* And today was a day full of tests. Yes, before he even officially starts school he has to take tests in every subject. *ouch* Let's just say...we're all a little nervous.

But back in August when I was fretting over entrance exams, I went and bought three tickets to Hawaii. Pretty much I guessed at the dates having no idea what high school he'd go to and when it would start or when the orientation would be, and I ended up being very luckily and guessing right. He has a mere week between junior high and high school and we'll be in the islands trying to soak up sun and drink as many fancy fruity drinks as we can. Oh, J says they also gave them homework today. So he'll have his feet in the sand and his nose in a book.

Stay tuned for photos though. I've got a feeling I'm going to take a picture of every fruit-filled drink I drink. I'm bringing the Mac with me to keep up with news in Japan, so I might *gasp* update every day! Might, I tell you, I've also got a lot of sleep to catch up on. ^^v