Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hachigamine Park

This weekend it was crazy windy and cold in Iwakuni. Where is spring?! We decided to explore a park at the top of a mountain nearby. Hachigamine Park has everything you can think of: camping, tennis, baseball, flower garden, extensive obstacle course, playground, and roller slide.
Yes, a roller slide. A very fun roller slide!

Take the cable car to the top.

Down the mountain...

Lots of bunnies everwhere

Shannon, you made it to Japan!

Oh, no!
Oh, he's okay!

Scary windy at the top

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


So I talk about our little K-car. For some scale, here's Dustin posing so nicely for me.

Climbing the mountain, we maxed out at 20 kph. Louis, I believe you would have flown past us on your bike going uphill!

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Here's a test. What is this woman doing? (Besides laughing at me because she is posing for this picture.)

She's checking the smoke detectors! The stick releases smoke. Much better than precariously standing on a stool to push the test button and then have your ear two feet from the device.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Wine Festival

Every month the base comes out with a magazine filled with articles and upcoming events. I scour the pages looking for events the bank can volunteer for or fun things to add to our adventure list. All year I have seen ads for the 2012 Iwakuni Wine Festival.

Now Dustin and I don't know wines. We know what we like and don't like, but would never be articulate enough to be classified as winos. When we finally decided we wanted to go, the event was sold out.

Many customers said it was the event of the year. So I began looking for someone that would sell me their tickets. And I looked. I posted multiple times throughout the day on the base classifieds. I asked customers. I was referred by someone who thought that someone in their shop was selling theirs, but they'd have to check with the husband. No luck. On the day before the festival, a very bad person posted two tickets for $100 a piece on our classifieds page. That's a $70 profit per ticket! Their response to naysayers who blasted the price - "simple supply and demand."

But, alas, I still did not have tickets.

Until one hour before the big event. A coworker texted me saying she had found two tickets for me. TWO WHOLE TICKETS! Wine Festival here we come. Walking, of course.

The pictures make it look very bright, but the ballroom was pretty dark. Chefs had prepared some of the best food I've ever had. No turkey roll ups or veggie plates here! Fresh sushi, cheeses, and a chef preparing meat to order.

Dressed as samurai, the base commander popped a keg of warm sake with a hammer. We tried wines from all over the world. We visited the "For Sale" area to make sure we tried the super expensive ones.

Ice Bar

We had real champagne from Champagne, France and sampled $200 wines from Argentina, Bulgaria, Italy, Germany, and Portugal.

Not a bad way to spend a Saturday evening!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

One Year

Today is the one year anniversary to the earthquake in Fukushima prefecture. At 2:46 PM Iwakuni sounded a tone and the city held a moment of silence.

A few days ago I received this video in an email.


Unfortunately due to some budget conflicts we are unable to use the boat to service Kure any longer. I'm still very nervous about driving out in town very far - and this trip would be 2 hours one way.

A coworker's husband works at Kure so I followed him so I wouldn't get lost. I also was able to schedule it so Dustin could ride along as my navigator/ toll pass ticketer. The trip was uneventful, but I just had to include one photo. We bought snacks for the ride home and were delighted by our receipt - and no, not my free penny.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Karato Fish Market

Another must see in Shimonoseki is the Karato Fish Market.

Early in the morning the whole building has flopping fish all over the concrete. Then they are sold and vendors set up temporary shops on the same floor.

Snails? No, but they are on sale!

Freshest sushi in Japan!
We walked around looking at all the different fish. They look a little different without heads and not behind glass.

Outside we found a huge torii guarding the Akama Shrine.

Torii gates down the stairs
Surprisingly, the Karato Fish Market did not smell much like fish. In fact, the aquarium smelled fishier than raw fish in the market!