Posted by: leospurr | April 29, 2009

Light at the End of the Tunnel

I love everything about trains!

I love everything about trains!

I’m not happy about it, but I can smell the end of our time in Japan.  I turned in the first draft of my thesis this week – a huge mental load off of my mind, but it is only making me realize how close to the end we are.  If you’re interested, my paper is entitled, “Multi-National Information Sharing During Disaster Relief Operations”.  It’s actually a very narrow topic, but it became more and more interesting to me, and I’m hoping to kind of stay somewhat involved in this topic.  There’s a lot of improvement to be made in this arena.  Who knows? Perhaps it will translate into a new career after the Marine Corps!

Cosplay gals ready for fun!

Cosplay gals ready for fun!

Although, I’ve been busy with my research, we’ve still managed to get in a few extracurricular activities.  The Tokyo weather has been fabulous.  There is a Japanese saying, 三寒四温 san kan shi on, which directly translates to “3 cold 4 hot” and refers to the transitioning between winter to spring.  And dang it all, if it isn’t spot on!  This pattern has been ongoing for a few weeks, and I think we’re on the verge of straight warm/hot weather.  Two weekends ago, we got together with some friends for a trip to Yoyogi Park – home of the Meiji Shrine which I blogged about when we first arrived in Japan.  Missing were the bands and Elvis impersonators, guess they start a bit later in the season.  But ever present were the cosplay folks, dressed in their Sunday best.   What I love most about this park, is that everyone is so THEMSELVES!  There are people randomly dancing, groups singing or playing sports, cheerleaders practicing, actors rehearsing , bums sleeping – without restraint, without shy gestures.  It’s just a fun place to let loose, enjoy the weather, and take in the sights around you, or participate in your own form of whatever pleases you!  David found the air intake to the local trainline, and came to me with a dirty happy face.  Chris figured out how to play baseball with a few sticks.  My friends and I soaked up some much needed sun picnic’d Japanese style – with a lot of sake.  

april-2009-tokyo-013

Beer and tunes, that's all I need

Also, just so you know, I have two of the luckiest children on this earth.  No, not because they are blessed with me as their mother, but because we frequently WIN stuff when we enter raffles.  Now, we haven’t ever won a house, car, or a ton of money, but we’ll usually win SOMETHING at a function raffle – gift baskets, car washes, massages, sweaters, etc.   Last weekend was no exception – this time we won the GRAND prize – a one night’s stay at the Westin Hotel Tokyo – breakfast included!  But prior to winning the Grand prize, the boys won us (ok, won me) three cool bags filled with goodies (I’m sending one to my mom for Mother’s Day), and several chocolate cake mixes :-)!  I swear, before I had these boys, I NEVER won anything. 

One final shout out – today was 昭和の日 showa no hi, a national holiday celebrating the birthday of the former Emperor who reigned 1926-1989.  What better way to celebrate than to drag the boys to Edo Tokyo museum?  (A commercial break for your Japanese history lesson, the Edo period ran from 1603-1868, followed by the Meiji era 1869-1912, then the Taisho period 1912-1926.)  Put this on your list of museums when you visit Tokyo http://www.edo-tokyo-museum.or.jp/english/information/index.html  The boys especially loved the many dioramas depicting Japanese life back in the old days!  Although this is the “Edo” museum, it actually depicts Japanese life through the end of WWII (which occurred during the Showa period).  I am particularly fascinated with the Meiji period of Japanese history.  This was the time when Japan’s leaders chose to combine Western advances with traditional Eastern values.  The museum does a great job of showing the huge influence of Western architecture, clothing, and high society.  Sadly most of the Western influenced architecture of the early 19th century was destroyed during the devastating earthquake of 1923.  So as not to turn this into a boring history lesson, suffice to say we enjoyed our day, and the boys are at this moment completely involved with the current period of legos and nintendo.

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Responses

  1. So… no pics of you in Yoyogi park because you were doing cosplay too and didn’t want evidence right? haha – or is that you little bo peep? 😀 j/k!

  2. I like it when you say that you’ve blogged on facebook. I hate missing one of your adventures. As far as luck goes; I submit that it is your energy as a team. None of you are as strong alone as you are together. One of my parent preachings to my boys as well. Have to talk to you about my latest hairbrained idea for a book. It would have a title something like:
    “Lead You Mother”.
    I’m sorry that Tokoyo is losing you, but those of us here haven’t been the same without you guys!

  3. I’m actually interested in your paper “Multi-National Information Sharing During Disaster Relief Operations”. It’s is related to Maritime Operation Centers and our involvement. Can you email me the table of contents? BTW, when do you guys depart Japan?

    • Not directly related to MOCs, but I’ll send you a copy for sure. I should be in DC by mid-July. I’ll e-mail you soon! Best to the girls…


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