While I work on making a tour of our new house, please enjoy my thoughts on driving in Japan!
It’s on the left hand side. And it’s not as hard as it initially sounds. First of all, because the steering wheel is also on opposite side, so you just orient yourself to “driver in the center,” the same as in the USA. The toughest thing for me is constantly reminding myself that my blinker switch is also on the opposite side. I cannot tell you how many times I have turned on the windshield wipers instead of my blinker. But overall, I would say that driving on the left hand side is the easiest part of driving here.
Let me tell you about the really tricky parts.
1. Roads are also places to park. Yeah, just pull as far to side as you can and park your car. Everyone else weaves around you…hopefully. The great thing is that then not only are you weaving around parked cars and buses, but your also watching for oncoming traffic weaving into your lane to dodge parked vehicles in their lane. Craziness.
2. Roads are narrower. Which makes #1 a little trickier. At least you car is also narrower.
3. Streets do not have names. Major highways and toll roads have names or numbers , but other than that, good luck. I’ll explain more about this when I explain addresses.
4. Everyone backs into parking spaces. Not quite sure why on this, but it does make getting out pretty easy. It’s just a little tricky to back in when you are used to looking over your right shoulder to reverse because if you do that you just get a nice look at the side of your car.
5. When stopping at signs or stoplights you must actually stop at the line painted on the road (you know how in America even slides forward a couple of feet). Everyone does. It’s amazing.
6. Drive slower...but not really. Speed here is measured in kilometers per hour (go metric system!). But 50 kph, which is a pretty standard speed limit here on major roads, is about 37 mph. Don’t even think about doing 80 mph down the freeway. But everyone still speeds so I always feel like a slowpoke (aren't you proud, Tiffanie!)
For example, we live at 1-9-1 Ikegami, Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture Japan (Don’t try and mailing anything to this for 2 reasons; 1. super expensive, 2. it’s not written out properly.)
Kanagawa Prefecture is like a state. Yokosuka is the city we live in, but Ikegami is the neighborhood of the city. And we live in the 1st area of Ikegami, on the 9th street, in the 1st house. Funny thing about the house numbers (and I’m assuming it’s the same with the street numbers), they are assigned according to the order of when they were built. So ours was the first house built on this street. Our neighbors might be house number 12, and the next door down might be number 4. I don’t know. But I pity the postman.
Well, we move into our house today! Hooray! We won't really have internet until Monday, so I'll post pictures then of our new place. Granted, none of our stuff has arrived yet, so it'll be pretty empty. Ben and I both think it'll be pretty funny to get our stuff since we haven't really used it in over a year (while we were living with Ben's parents it was all in boxes in the garage). It'll be like a giant Christmas!
In the meantime, please enjoy this video (recorded at the request of Grandma Lewis). We knew that once Ellie tried walking it wouldn't take her long to get the hang of it.
See, we really are in Japan. Both Ben and I had to attend a Area Orientation Briefing after we got here. Part of it was a field trip to Kamakura to see a very famous Shinto shrine built here in the late 1100's. This is the third gate leading to the shrine, which you can see in the background. It's a large building on huge grounds. But the day that Ben went it was raining, and when I went it was too hot to stroll around. So we plan to go back to Kamakura in a month or so with Ellie and take more pictures.
Speaking of Ellie...
She recently discovered a little splash park-ish area by the Navy Lodge and just loves it.
She also discovered curry.
Which she loves. Don't worry, we got her the mildest kind. It was basically gravy on rice. But don't you love that face. Lately, whenever she gets excited when she sees something she goes "Oooooh." It's precious.
We left the house Monday morning with very few setbacks. We were advised to be three hours early, but we were probably only two hours early and still sat around in the airport for over an hour. Whatever.
It was wonderful that Pearl came up to see us off as well!
We sure miss our family, but we love where we are too.
Much has happened since my last post; namely, we now live in Japan. But let's not jump ahead. Before we left, my brother Jonathan and his wife Kim came to visit. They are beyond awesome. Jonathan recently joined the National Guard in Washington (mostly to pay for medical schoolish stuff, let's be honest), and is currently in San Antonio for his training. So he secured leave and they drove up to see us the weekend before we left.
Ellie loved Jonathan and Kim. Maybe it's because they look like Ben and I. Whatever, it was so fun to see them.
We also FINALLY took a picture of Ellie with her Lewis grandparents. Can you believe we lived with them for a year and only have a handful of photos of Ellie with them? That's some serious slacking on my part.
The McKneely clan came over the Sunday before we left for dinner. We made BBQ meatballs because that is what we eat before moving. We sure love our nieces and nephews, and Ellie does too. She thinks they are the funniest kids in the world.