Our First Couple of Weeks… – Yokosuka, Japan

Jet lag is real. So real. There may have been a little insomnia thrown in there for me but there was definitely some jet lag.

The night we arrived in Yokosuka, we made a point to stay awake for the majority (or in my case, all) of our travels. We wanted to be able to sleep well but that didn’t happen, which was a shocker because we were so tired that we figured we were guaranteed a good night’s sleep. I woke up at 3 am, wide awake, and couldn’t go back asleep. Rob woke up at 5:30-ish, wide awake. While that’s a far more reasonable time than 3 am, we were both surprised. It caught up to us and we were both exhausted by the end of the night.

I haven’t slept especially well since arriving here and I’m not sure if it’s still a result of the jet lag and my body’s internal clock trying to figure out what I’m doing. I’ve been tired every day but I still don’t sleep much yet.

Rob had to report to work the next day, at 7:20. The cool thing was that he was able to come home from work early that day. However, when Rob came home, he informed me that he’ll be working swing shift, from 3:30 pm-12:00 am, which I’m less than thrilled about. I like it when he can come home at 5 pm and we have the entire night ahead of us and this is really throwing a wrench in that whole thing. He thought he was going to like swing shift at first but that wore off quickly. The whole swing shift thing just adds to the sleep schedule mess.

I don’t think our first week here was as exciting as everyone else hoped it would be. Rob still had to work, and since we’re living here for four months, my initial time was spent unpacking and just figuring things out, like where the grocery stores are. It was more about getting ready for these upcoming months than going out and doing the touristy things.

Rob gave me a FitBit for Christmas. It was eye opening to see just how inactive I was during my shifts at the bank, just as I knew it would be. I know I have to be responsible for my own actions as far as my lack of activity outside of work, but… I was always tired. Being in Yokosuka, in a city where people often walk, and in a situation where I don’t have a car to drive, has forced me to do a lot of walking and I embrace it. I went from about 5000 steps in a day to anywhere between 10,000 to 18,000 steps in a day, depending on what we’re up to. My legs were sore the first couple of days, and I think my muscles and heart were confused because it’s been a long time since they’ve felt this kind of activity.

I have to say that everyone here is so friendly. I’ve had nothing but good experiences with people so far, from both the locals and American in town. Rob was told that people in the Japanese culture are all about maintaining a peaceful existence, and it shows in how calm and quiet everyone is, as well as how polite and helpful they have been. We ran into some confusion at one of the train stations and a woman approached us because she could tell we were unsure of where we were going. It startled me at first, because when you’re in Seattle and someone approaches you out of nowhere, they want your money or they’re just talking crazy. Unfortunately, she couldn’t offer much help because she couldn’t understand us and vice versa but it’s still a good example of people being nice! When we were on the train, everyone was quiet and kept to themselves. People kept their kids under control.

I had my first ever experience at the Navy Exchange. Growing up in a military family, Rob did plenty of shopping there growing up. I wanted some new running shoes and we started out at the mall but I was having a difficult time finding shoes that were my size. Everyone out here must have little feet! So we went the Exchange and I had better luck.. Some stuff was well priced but some of things I looked at were cheaper on Amazon, even after tax.

We definitely want to enjoy the local cuisine, and I’m excited to be trying new foods at affordable prices, but we’ve enjoyed some good ol’ American cooking too. One of our first days here, when we were tired and hadn’t done much shopping, I made a big things of macaroni and cheese, which is great because it’s a delicious one pan meal. We ate a lot of mac n cheese for a couple days.

I’m not a big dollar store shopper but I’m far from having a complete kitchen here. However, I don’t want to completely stock a kitchen that isn’t my own either. The 100 Yen Shop is my friend right now. For things like a little cutting board and some measuring spoons, it’s been very handy to have around!

Our hotel is only a couple blocks from water, which means we are only a couple blocks from some lovely views. Everything around here is so well maintained that it’s easy to enjoy the scenery. As you can see, this is right across from the base.

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We drank our first Chu Hi’s. Those seem to be the favorite drink for Americans around here, and everyone has gone on about them endlessly. We’ve gone out once, and everybody was ordering these, which I found surprising because it’s kind’ve a girly drink for all these burly dudes to be ordering. We didn’t get ours that night, but instead, the next day at our hotel bar. They come in a variety of fruit flavors so Rob ordered orange, and I chose lime, and we both agreed that these drinks were… okay. The orange was better than the lime, they weren’t bad but we weren’t blown away by either. Maybe we just tried to wrong flavors! I’m sure we’ll try them another time or two before fully committing.

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Sometimes, even when in Japan, you just need a burger.

We went out for lunch at Tsunami Burger where Rob got a chili cheeseburger & I got a burger with mushrooms & cheese. You don’t see much cheddar cheese around here so Rob’s had a cheese sauce and it was so dang messy. I haven’t seen any swiss cheese around either, which is probably why I had a mozzarella mushroom burger instead.

If you’re really hungry, you can get a 7th Fleet Burger.

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To the right is a picture from a tiny little cafe we came across in Kamakura, and decided to take a few minutes to get a cup of coffee. The girls who worked in there spoke no English and even though Rob & I can’t speak Japanese, they were so happy and helpful! It was an interesting experience because of the unique way they take your order. You insert your Yen, make your selection and the machine disperses a ticket which you then take to your waitress, who then take it to the barista.

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This last weekend started out okay but by the end of it, I had a pretty serious head cold. It held tough for a few days and I had a cough that just wouldn’t quit. I gave it to Rob but it didn’t hit him as hard.

At this point, Rob’s been on swing for a couple of weeks and he doesn’t love it. The upside is they pay him more than days but there’s a lot to be said for coming home and having a relaxing evening ahead of you, which we don’t get a lot of. Having coffee together is nice but I’d rather have dinner together.