I don't post a ton of pictures on Facebook. Instagram is typically my go to, but not everybody has Instagram, so here's some shots for the Grandmas that might've been missed.
This boy has officially caught up to me. He is changing a lot, all at once and it's fascinating to watch.
Shaving? All I could picture when I reached in to snag a picture was the fake shaving kit I got him for Christmas one year when he was just a little guy. This is why I take (a ton of) pictures.
It was incredible. I don't know how much sense this train makes given the fact that they've been working on it for 40+ years. By the time they get it safe enough and affordable enough for the common man to use, their population is going to be so low it may not be worth it. That's just my opinion. After watching the propaganda-ish video on how perfect this train is, all I could think about was the Titanic.
Since we were in the area(we weren't, I took the long, long, long way home), we popped over to see Mount Fuji. I gotta say, it's just not as stunning without the snow. It's still shockingly massive and an amazing sight to behold, but I like him with some sparkle up top.
We got to dress up and go to the CAP Change of Command ceremony as Simon's CAP Commander is moving in just a few weeks. Simon was awarded the Unit Cadet NCO of the Year. Considering he's only been part of this unit for five months, I'd say he's doing alright. :D
CAP squadron commanders may nominate one cadet NCO each year for the award by submitting a nomination to the VFW detailing the cadet's accomplishments and certifying that the cadet NCO is in good standing academically, progressing satisfactorily in the CAP cadet program, demonstrated outstanding achievement in community service and the cadet program (aerospace and leadership). The cadet must also be of high moral character, demonstrate a high level of professionalism in appearance and action and patriotism (commander or member of color guard, drill team, etc.), actively promote Americanism, demonstrate growth potential (assumes higher levels of responsibility). A Cadet may only receive this award once.
The Yokota Squadron was awarded a Unit Citation Award which was only given to three other squadrons worldwide.
The Civil Air Patrol Unit Citation Award is presented for "exceptionally meritorious service or exceptionally outstanding achievement." This service and achievement must be clearly above that which is performed by other similar units. Members are awarded the Unit Citation Award ribbon if they were members of the unit during the time period for which the citation is awarded. Units can be awarded this citation as a result of extended meritorious service over the course of at least one year, or in recognition of outstanding achievements in a single specific act or notable accomplishment that is separate and distinct from the normal mission or regular function of the unit. The periods of an outstanding achievement are normally characterized by definite beginning and ending dates. Units that have been given the Unit Citation Award are entitled to attach a streamer to the colors displayed at the unit's headquarters.
We(I) eat out a lot here. A lot. If anyone comes to visit, the first place I will take you is the Tea House. If I had girls, I'd visit weekly. It's the most beautiful setting. This picture is from the balcony of the tea house. It's stunning.
We found burgers. It may not seem picture worthy to you, but when you haven't had a burger in going on six months, it's worth snapping a quick shot.
The little girl in pink led us to Curry. Jude was not excited about it until he gave it one bite. His eyes got big and he said, "I'm coming back here! This is dewicious."
A large part of the last few weeks was spent decorating for VBS. My friend had a big, BIG vision for the chapel and I'll be durned if she didn't pull it off. We enlisted the help of our kiddos along the way. Simon worked like a grown man and loved every second of it.
The alligator that I have a little too much pride in. Somebody tossed out a pool mat and I snatched it off the side of the road. It made for a perfect alligator once I cut out the snout and gave him some pingpong ball eyes.
VBS volunteers. It took a ton of people to pull this thing off, but I think we all had a blast serving. I made some new friends. The boys learned how to lead and how to serve. The littles made a bazillion crafts and learned songs about Jesus.
In the midst of VBS chaos last week, I bailed and went Mari Karting. Best thing I've done here yet, hands down.
Only in Tokyo is is perfectly normal to see someone go karting through the streets dressed as Mario. I'm not sure how it's legal or how long it'll stay legal, so I'm glad I got to go.
Sean and I went on an early dinner date to Kichijoji. It was supposed to be an easy train ride, but the trains were all delayed and there was no direct route because of a suicide. I can't imagine anything ever being so bad that jumping in front of a train is the only solution. Unfortunately, it happens a lot here. While I was looking up why the train was so delayed(10 minutes--it's a big deal here where the trains are rarely delayed) I stumbled across some disturbing news stories regarding suicides on the train lines here. Sad, sad stuff.
Anyway, Kichijoji. It was a super low-key, fun place to go. I will take new arrivals here, for sure. Visitors, come on!
I got a super cute dress here and I recommend this shop highly to all locals. If you're feeling chubby, go here. If all of your clothes are too hot, go here. Loose, flowy dresses, shirts, and skirts in the greatest prints! They're made from alpaca wool, but are lighter than linen. The shop keeper will make you feel so good about yourself you'll want to buy her clothing. The mannequins look a little frumpy, but...take my word for it, she has cute clothes.
Felix went off to camp at the same place I went to Retreat earlier this year. I hope he has the same experience of making amazing friends. This is his first time away from home for this long without at least a brother there with him.
And this guy!
That's been our last few weeks. Looking back over all of it, I'm so thankful for our time here. Every day is an adventure!