Monday, July 22, 2013





Well I have to say that three years in Misawa certainly went by quickly! If you are just now finding this blog, I hope it helps you in your transition to your new home. If you have been with me the entire way, tried new restaurants, visited new places, I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have.

I believe that each base is what you make of it. I made this blog not only for my own memories, but to show you that there are wonderful things to discover wherever you go. I also believe the people you meet make a big difference too.

When I found out we were PCSing to Japan, I was extremely excited. I knew I was going to love it. But I didn’t know how many friends I would make working at school, working on base, and volunteering. I now claim Japan as my second home. My heart is there. My friends are there. I had many happy memories, including the birth of my daughter.

This blog is for those of you who are scared (or excited). Even though I was ecstatic to move to Japan, it did frighten me. There were a lot of unknowns. Don’t let those unknowns stop you, don’t let anxiety take over. There is too much to miss out on and so much to see and do and so many wonderful people to meet.  Push back the fear and live passionately.

For those of you wanting to make Japanese friends, find out what is going on at the Misawa International Center. Also, join the Japanese American Friendship Club. Lifetime membership is a one time fee of ¥1000 or $10. To learn more, message me or visit their FaceBook page.

Below is a video I made of my friends saying farewell to us. An American friend of mine once asked me why she has never heard Japanese people say “Sayonara.” Sayonara is not only very formal but used when you won’t see someone for a very long time. So instead, we like to say またね (matane= ma ta nay) which means see you again/later. Because there are no goodbyes in life, only see you laters.

A farewell message from our friends in Japan


*Disclaimer for the blog*

Everything on here is up to date as far as I know from June 2010 to June 2013

Nanohana Matsuri: Rape Blossom Festival


closeup of rape blossom

Each year in May, Yokohama holds their Nanohana Matsuri (translation: Rape Blossom Festival). Yokohama boasts the largest rape blossom field in Japan measuring 109 hectares (approximately 152 soccer fields). These yellow flowers are not just for aesthetics, but are a local crop. The nanohana not only is used in Japanese dishes; each hectare makes about 600 grams of rape seed oil. Nanohana is also used to make honey, ice cream, cream puffs, and doughnuts. We bought some nanohana doughnuts at the festival, they were good!

Pano 1

At the festival, you can go stroll through a nanohana maze while taking in the beauty and smell of this golden crop.


Or if you prefer an aerial view, helicopter rides are available for a fee.


Directions to Yokohama:

From the MAIN gate take a right at the second light. Take a right at the third light. Go straight across white pole road and turn left at the T. Take the NEXT RIGHT. You are now on Route 8. Follow 8 until you get to 4. merge RIGHT to get onto4. After two lights turn LEFT to get onto the Shimokita Expressway. Continue till the expressway ends at a T, turn LEFT onto 180. Cross over some railroad tracks and turn RIGHT onto 279. As you enter Yokohama keep RIGHT at the Y to stay on 279. You will see signs for the Nanohana Festival (Nanohana in Japanese: 菜の花). Follow these; the turn will be on  your right.

Drive time: approximately 90 minutes

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Karumai Tulip Festival



This beautiful park in Karumai Town (in Iwate Prefecture, located just south of Hachinohe) is very reminiscent of Holland. The 16m windmill is not functional, but looks great (it spins by motor). You can enter the windmill (after taking off your shoes) for free to get a great panoramic view of the park. (below).     

       Pano 1

This year was the first year ITT offered transportation to Karumai for the tulip festival. The garden has over 7,000 square meters of tulips and is located on 24 hectacres of land. There are 42 different types of tulips, in various colors including red, white, yellow, orange, pink and purple. 





There is a fee of ¥300 for adults and ¥150 for elementary and junior high students to go down into the park to get a closer look at the tulips. (Groups of 10 people or more get a ¥50 discount each)  Free areas of the park include the windmill and the path to this red bridge. There is also an outside shop on the corner where you can purchase tulips to plant at home.


I recommend going on this trip by car rather than taking the ITT trip. I feel it was overpriced for such a short drive. I do’t regret it though, since I had an FSS gift card, it was still free. You can get to the Karumai Tulip festival by following the directions in this map.