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Trip Report I've climbed the mountain, I've crossed the river, and I'm almost there!

bee

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
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Day 9, cont.


















After we finished exploring the shrine, we walked back to the car to begin the journey home.




(I honestly don't remember what this was...)

And here is one of the scariest, most embarrassing moments of the trip...

We got in the car and S put their address in Google Maps for navigation guidance. As J was about to make a turn, S said something like, "Are you sure we should go this way?" and J assured her that it was the right way.

Well.

We found ourselves, in the car, back on the pedestrian shopping street where we had gotten our mochi earlier. The people walking around us just stared at this car full of white foreigners driving down a street we weren't supposed to be on. The good news was, the end of the street connected to a street that we were actually allowed to drive on and we would be able to get out of there.

But.

There was a pole at the end of the street to prevent people from entering it that way. And it prevented us from getting out.

For a few seconds (that felt like hours) we had no idea what to do. Luckily, S had a clear enough head to hop out of the car to help J do a three point turn and get us out of there the way we came in. Once we were driving the other way, a Japanese man gave us THE DIRTIEST LOOK and made a gesture to indicate the number 6, meaning that cars weren't supposed to be on this road for six more minutes. S apologized by rolling down the window and somehow we got out of there without getting in major trouble.

Now, of course, we are all able to laugh about it, but in the moment we were MORTIFIED.

Finally, though, we got back on the right path toward Sasebo.







Up next: Christmas dinner, and a KITTY!!!!
 

bee

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 9, cont.

After driving for a bit longer we arrived in Sasebo and went straight to a ramen place that S's vegetarian friend had recommended. Earlier J asked if we would be okay ordering pizza (I think Domino's) for Christmas dinner that evening, but I had to pull the NJ Pizza Snob card and ask if there was anything else they recommended. So, we went to the ramen place, which is just outside of the base so they're used to Americans eating there and the wait staff speak English.





M and I both ordered the veggie ramen with an egg added.



It was good. It wasn't my favorite meal or favorite ramen of the trip, but it was hot and filling so no complaints!

We passed a light display on the way to the base...





Uh...Santa?



Soon we arrived on base and their building. They have a 3-bedroom apartment and it's just the two of them, so there was plenty of space for all of us. Which was really nice after staying in the efficient and lovely, but SMALL, hostel room.


This was in the guest room where we stayed.

And who greeted us soon after we arrived?


BELLA!!! Bella is S's cat from way back before she moved to Japan or even met J. I think she is around 10 or 11 years old and M and I have known her for almost as long as S has had her. It was a huge pain for S to get her into Japan but she did it!



We enjoyed some more Kitkats for dessert...



...and as we were getting ready for bed we were visited by a very confused kitty!


Why are you in MY room on MY bed???

Day 9 Stats
Distance: 2.9 miles
Steps: 7028
Flights: 2


Up next: Day 10! A chill (aka boring for you, readers) day!
 
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Spash007

Well-Known Member
Day 9, cont.


















After we finished exploring the shrine, we walked back to the car to begin the journey home.




(I honestly don't remember what this was...)

And here is one of the scariest, most embarrassing moments of the trip...

We got in the car and S put their address in Google Maps for navigation guidance. As J was about to make a turn, S said something like, "Are you sure we should go this way?" and J assured her that it was the right way.

Well.

We found ourselves, in the car, back on the pedestrian shopping street where we had gotten our mochi earlier. The people walking around us just stared at this car full of white foreigners driving down a street we weren't supposed to be on. The good news was, the end of the street connected to a street that we were actually allowed to drive on and we would be able to get out of there.

But.

There was a pole at the end of the street to prevent people from entering it that way. And it prevented us from getting out.

For a few seconds (that felt like hours) we had no idea what to do. Luckily, S had a clear enough head to hop out of the car to help J do a three point turn and get us out of there the way we came in. Once we were driving the other way, a Japanese man gave us THE DIRTIEST LOOK and made a gesture to indicate the number 6, meaning that cars weren't supposed to be on this road for six more minutes. S apologized by rolling down the window and somehow we got out of there without getting in major trouble.

Now, of course, we are all able to laugh about it, but in the moment we were MORTIFIED.

Finally, though, we got back on the right path toward Sasebo.







Up next: Christmas dinner, and a KITTY!!!!
Oh my, you had me in stitches picturing a car of tourists going down the marketplace street. At the same time I had such a knot in my stomach imagining being in that circumstance! It reminds me of when my parents were visiting me in DC, and my dad drove the wrong way down a one way street, not once, but twice. In the middle of downtown DC. With my fairly new girlfriend in the car (luckily that worked out and we married haha).
 

bee

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Good assumption regarding litter in Tokyo

Max
I knew it wasn't the Japanese who were making a mess!!

I love that this TR is full of Kitties =D
Keep reading; there will be more! I have to take photos of kitties I see anywhere, at home or otherwise!

Oh my, you had me in stitches picturing a car of tourists going down the marketplace street. At the same time I had such a knot in my stomach imagining being in that circumstance! It reminds me of when my parents were visiting me in DC, and my dad drove the wrong way down a one way street, not once, but twice. In the middle of downtown DC. With my fairly new girlfriend in the car (luckily that worked out and we married haha).
Oh noooo! Glad things worked out with your girlfriend! In the moment it was SOOO embarrassing but we were able to laugh at it soon!
 

bee

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 10: Wednesday, December 26

We slept soooo well the night before and enjoying sleeping in a bit on our first low-key day. We had some breakfast at the apartment and then S presented me with my birthday gift:


HOW CUTE IS MICKEY IN HIS TRADITIONAL JAPANESE ATTIRE???

J had to work today, so the three gals just chilled and caught up on life.


Ciao Bella!





M played with Bella with some of her toys.




I think we were watching EmmyMadeinJapan on YouTube. She does lots of cool food-related videos!

The view from their dining area:





S asked where we wanted to go for lunch and I requested the Chili's on base. On a shorter trip I would have tried to stick with only trying local/authentic foods, but since we were here for a bit I had no problem having some American comfort food! Chili's is a decent place for vegetarians as they have a black bean burger and usually have some kind of veggie Tex Mex item as well.



Well, as is turns out, THIS Chili's was out of both black bean burgers AND could not make the chicken enchiladas with cheese instead of chicken! 🤦

At least they couldn't mess up the bottomless chips and salsa!



I ended up getting a side salad, a side of rice, and a side of beans. It was still good even if it wasn't what I wanted.



I think M got an altered version of the quesadillas.

Overall it was a bit disappointing since they didn't have the ONE reliable vegetarian item (the black bean burger), but the food was still decent and it did satisfy my craving for some American food!

Up next: We go shopping on base, and an embarrassing moment for S the Mormon!
 
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bee

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 10, cont.

Next we went to a store on base that's sort of like a large convenience store or small grocery store. There is a full grocery store on base as well but we didn't go there on this day. Our goal at today's store was to get coffee and wine for me and M to enjoy. I don't remember if I mentioned this, but S and J are Mormons, and most Mormons abstain from coffee and alcohol as well as other potentially addictive substances. They obviously don't judge others who do partake, so they had no problem with me and M drinking coffee and wine at their place.

At the store, only military and their dependents can make purchases and they must show their ID. So S was kind enough to make the purchase of wine and coffee and she was able to use my credit card at the register. It just so happened that one of S's friends from church was there at the same time and saw her buying coffee and wine! Now obviously there was a reasonable explanation and nobody was actually judging anyone else, but it was slightly embarrassing in the moment! :hilarious:


These were also available for purchase in the store, lol

Outside, S chatted with her church friend and M and I visited the vending machine.



M's purchase:




And mine:



It sounds weird, and I actually got it thinking I wouldn't like it but wanted to try something unique, but I actually really liked it and got another one on a different day. It didn't really taste overtly of coffee, but the coffee added a kind of caramel-y flavor to the Coke flavor.

Next we stopped in the NEX store because S needed something.



Outside:



And then we drove back to their place.





Japan gets reeeeeeally humid in the summer (worse than Florida!) and their apartment has several dehumidifiers.



I don't remember what we had for dinner. I think we just had something simple and homemade, which was nice!

M and I also enjoyed some Kyoto mochi!







It was yummy!

That's all I have from this day. I know we did laundry and not much else. After all the mountains we needed a rest day!

Day 10 Stats
Distance: 1.1miles
Steps: 2650
Flights: 2


Up next: Day 11! Japanese Starbucks, souvenir shopping, and sushi-go-round!
 
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DisSplash

Well-Known Member
That is too bad about your Chili's experience - what are the odds of them being out of both tried and true vegetarian options at the same time? :oops: But it still must have been so weird to see all the standard Chili decor and table tiles in the middle of Japan ... you must have felt like you were back home for just a second!
 

bee

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
OMG--he is adorable!!
😍

That is too bad about your Chili's experience - what are the odds of them being out of both tried and true vegetarian options at the same time? :oops: But it still must have been so weird to see all the standard Chili decor and table tiles in the middle of Japan ... you must have felt like you were back home for just a second!
It was pretty weird to see!
 

bee

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
So... because of your TR.. I started looking up 7-11 you tube videos where people are showing/eating food from there... and a place called Lawsons

eta: and now I want to try all the ramen!
Oops, I missed your post. Yes, we visited a Lawson as well and Japan sure knows how to do convenience stores!

😢

Wow! Thanks for sharing this marvelous report! Great to see so much from Japan!! Really loved to read and watch.... can't wait for more!!
Thanks for reading! Glad to see you around!
 

bee

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 11: Thursday, December 27

We slept in again and had some legit coffee ( 😄 ) thanks to S. J was working again, so the three ladies had the apartment to ourselves. Or rather, the FOUR ladies!





We watched the holiday special of Nailed It on Netflix.














She sticky her leggy

We had lunch at home and then left for some shopping. On the way out I stopped at the vending machine in the first floor of the building for:




The heart clock! S had another name for it that I won't type here!

We parked at a public park and then made the short walk to the Sasebo Ginza.








Sasebo and Albuquerque are sister cities and this bridge is named for Albuquerque.




Merry Christmas!

Up next: Japanese Starbucks and Japanese Dollar Store!
 

bee

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 11, cont.

Background: While we were in Kyoto I kept seeing Starbucks ads for a seasonal pistachio Frappuccino that was made to look like a Christmas tree. It looked really good and I wanted to try one, but didn't have the chance in Kyoto. So I figured I would get to try one in Sasebo. However, in Japan, when Christmas is over, Christmas is over! In fact on Christmas Day we saw someone already taking down their store's decorations even though it was only the afternoon and there were still several hours left of Christmas!

That meant that Starbucks no longer had the Christmas tree Frap, but they did have something else intriguing:





I ordered the Goma Goma Frappuccino, which was the New Years drink. Since Sasebo is a small town most people don't speak much English unless they live/work very close to the Naval base. The cashier had a laminated menu for me to point at, and then she would point at the same thing I pointed at to make sure she had my order right. And here it is:


It was yummy! There was no coffee in it, and the flavors were mostly sweet and nutty with a little saltiness. I don't actually know what was in it besides sesame, but that's okay!

Next we stopped in a little store that had lots of stationery and such.





At this store we got some souvenirs for M's mom:



Next we visited a 100 yen store, AKA a Japanese dollar store (since 100 yen is a little less than one dollar).




These were nice quality dishes, not just cheap plastic ones like you might expect!






(I think I mentioned before but my younger brother was obsessed with Thomas as a kid and still likes it for the nostalgia, so I took lots of pics for him!)



We made LOTS of purchases for both ourselves and gifts for friends and family at home. After we checked out there was a little area for wrapping your purchases:



Up next: More Ginza, and back at home with Bella!
 

bee

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 11, cont.

We continued through the ginza...







We stopped in McDonald's to check it out but didn't get anything.






We love Illy coffee! Didn't get anything, though.


Vege Life, we would later learn, is an all-vegan restaurant chain in Japan. Too bad we didn't know about it while in Sasebo and didn't get the chance to try it here. 😢

We walked back across the bridge to where we parked.


















😿

Speaking of cats...




Hey! We need to fold that stuff!

Up next: Sushi-go-round, and the ticket disaster!
 

amjt660

Well-Known Member
The one thing about Mickey D’s in Japan ( that you and m would not have witnesssd)

The sandwiches actually look like the pictures
Neat, pristine, orderly
When you order in North America the food is a sloppy mess compared to the advertising shots

Max
 

bee

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 11, cont.

On this day we had some Disney Dramma. You may remember from my PTR that I had a difficult time purchasing tickets for Tokyo Disneyland because of my American credit card. I ended up purchasing one day tickets from a third party seller with the intention of upgrading M's and my tickets to 3-day passports once we got to TDR. The seller sent a confirmation and said that I would get the actual links to the printable tickets at a later date.

Well, on December 27, LESS THAN A WEEK before we were to arrive at TDR, I got an email that the seller could not obtain the tickets as vouchers and instead I would have to pick up a physical ticket from a train station AFTER PARK OPENING TIME ON THE DAY I WAS SUPPOSED TO VISIT THE PARK!!! :mad::mad::mad:

So, we all scrambled to find another way to get tickets. S has a Navy friend who is stationed near Tokyo and has some Disney connections so she gave her a call...to no avail. We checked every third party site and then S decided to try buying tickets directly from Disney again. She kept getting the same result I had when I had tried to buy them before we even left for Japan. She and J tried every credit card they have. FINALLY, one card worked and the purchase went through! BUT, the Disney site was very specific that we needed to print the tickets on A4 paper, which is just slightly different from your standard American office paper, and S and J didn't have any. :arghh:

You may be asking why we didn't want to just purchase our park tickets the day of. TDR gets so crowded that they sometimes sell out of day-of admission and we did NOT want to take that risk.

We had to take a break from worrying because it was time to go to dinner at Sushiro, a sushi-go-round place nearby.



Here's how it works: various sushi is placed on the conveyor belt that goes around the restaurant. When you see something you want, you grab it! There is also a touch screen to order something if you don't see it coming around. Once you order it will be sent out with a special sign indicating it's someone's order and not just up for grabs. At the end of the meal you are charged by the plates on the table.




Avocado


Corn and mayo. Sounds weird but was actually quite tasty


Edamame


Eggs


Pumpkin tempura


Strawberry cheesecake


Chocolate lava cake

We ended up having multiples of many items, including the avocado and pumpkin tempura. By the end we were STUFFED!



After Sushiro we went to a little mall to pick up some A4 paper from an office supply store.









We found the paper and M also found a souvenir for her dad:



Back at the apartment, M and I enjoyed one of the wines we'd purchased.


S and J don't have wine glasses so we used these Coke glasses. :hilarious:

And finally, after much difficulty, we had:


DISNEY TICKETS!!!!

Day 11 Stats
Distance: 3 miles
Steps: 6970
Flights: 2


Up next: Day 12. We get religious?
 
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