Monday, September 18, 2017

Blue Street and Aeon Mall

A couple days after getting here we decided to venture out in town and walk around on what everyone calls Blue Street.  On first impressions the kids did not like it.  It is crowded and smells.  Kind of a mixture of people smoking and all the restaurants.  I don't think it is so bad, but it is definitly noticeable.  I could probably get used to it but at first the kids were not impressed.
We walked around and looked in the windows of a few places to eat debating if we should stop.  The kids really didn't want to.  Bob wanted to stop and eat, I would have tried it but I was leaning with the kids.  We ended up going back to the commissary and buying lunchables for the kids and sushi for Bob and I.  The kids all really loved it.  We let them buy the biggest coolest ones that we normally don't get.
The reason we went out in town was really to meet with real estate agents.  We have been busy trying to find a place to live.  It is hard!  We basically want to try to find something in biking distance that is 1600+ square feet.  One agent actually laughed and seemed genuinely shocked when we told her this.  Usually the bigger places are farther away from base, but Bob wants to ride his bike and I've heard that we will be driving back and forth to base like every day, so we want it to be close.  In Washington I think most people would consider 1600 small for 7 people, here is not the case.  One real estate agent was showing me the apartments and saying how that is a good size for one military man, or one whole Japanese family.  

The real estate business is different out here because agents only show their houses.  Meaning we have to meet with different agents to see different houses.  This map shows the area pretty well.  We would like to live in zone one or two if possible and would go out to the edge of three if it isn't too hilly or too much traffic.  Oh and we also want to find a place that is close to the train stop.  Houses that don't have a train near by are not as valuable because many people don't have cars.  The Naval base is all yellow on the right about halfway down.

On another day we went to the nearby mall.  There is literally one just outside one of the base gates.
Hello kitty is big out here.
I have no idea what this vending machine says but the girls wanted to do it.  Some stores have lots of toy vending machines.
We stopped to go to the bathroom and it was kind of funny.  So most places in town seem to have some combination of "Western toilets" like we are used to but sometimes even fancier with seat warmers and spray options or what I like to call squatters.  This was their first time seen a squatter.  Scarlett walks into the western toilet on the left shuts the door and goes to the bathroom Penelope following just behind walks into this on the right, backs up and goes "huh?"  It was funny because to her it seemed like Scarlett went right into one of these and went to the bathroom.

I want to get everyone used to using these so we don't have to make the bathroom lines longer because we will only go into the one western toilet.  I haven't tried it yet, mainly because I always am carrying Calista and that just seems too hard.
The grocery store is in the bottom floor of the mall, something I learned last time we came to Japan.
We really didn't have anything to buy and were just walking around.  All of the sudden Scarlett had to go to the bathroom sooooo bad (this must have been much later from the squatter incident).  We did not know where the bathroom was and she was wiggling all around.  Calista was hungry and crying so things got stressful quick.  Bob was looking up on his phone how to ask in Japanese where the bathroom was and we were all just wondering around debating if we should just quickly try to go back to base and looking for a bathroom at the same time.  After about five minutes of that bob said just a minute and walked down the isle to find an employee.  Next thing I know he was gone.  We turned back to find him but couldn't.  Now I was really stressed.  I seriously couldn't find him and was just looking around with five kids in a foreign country, one crying hungry baby and one about to pee her pants.  A couple of minutes of that and Bob found us.  According to him he spoke Japanese so well the employee didn't question him at all and just got up and started walking him to the bathroom.  He didn't know how to say wait or anything so he just had to follow her to the bathroom.  Then he couldn't not go in after they walked him there, so once she left he came back, found us and we took Scarlett to the bathroom.  There was even some chairs nearby, so I sat down and fed Calista and the crisis was over.
The view over the water is pretty.

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