We were so excited when we learned that Costco was now in Yokohama, Japan, just up the road from Yokosuka. We couldn't wait to hit the international Costco.
"If you can't say anything nice, then sit next to me. I am sure we will be best friends!"
My Blog List
- Costco in Japan
- Wal-Mart? Where?
- No! There Is Really Only 1 Rule...
- Maternity Care in Yokosuka, Japan
- The Healthcare Debate
- 3 Must Have Items for Japan
- Ulta Beauty Online Shopping
- Baby Chopstick Training
- It Is People Like You that Ruin It For Everyone
- The Love of My Life!
- Either Sit & Piss or Get Off the Pot!
- Finding a Home in Yokosuka, Japan
- My Dog's First Days in Yokosuka, Japan
- ▼ June (13)
My hubby keeps telling me that I have too many rules that I try to live by. I suppose that is because I seem driven by this odd code of ethics that makes me do some...ok...a lot of things that may be most people walking down the street wouldn't care to think about.
However, there is only one rule that I live by: "DO THE RIGHT THING!" If you do the right thing then you have covered all your bases. No one can come back on you, you wouldn't have failed, you can't be called lazy, & you sure as heck can't get in trouble later on down the road. Plus it is just good for your chi & your karma.
Sure, there are days that I forget or fall short & pretty much don't care. They are called "My Time!" However, for the most part, I leave a place cleaner than I found it, help the elderly, refold the shirt I was just looking at the store, & even wipe up excess water around the public sink I use.
It is hard to do the right thing, because let's be frank, doing the right things sometimes sucks & isn't what you want to do at all! And the right thing for me might not be the right thing for you, but I am positive that the right thing will save you tons of time, heartache, & trouble! Promise!
Like picking up your dirty underwear off the floor & putting it in the hamper will keep you from getting yet another of the same old lectures from your spouse. It is the right thing to do; it shows your spouse appreciation & respect. DUH!!!
Labels: It's My LIfe
I had my first official OB appointment today with the doctor. I was a bit hesitant at first because I have heard a number of stories from those who aren't as pro-active as me & those who are. Some have been good while others have been horrible.
I wanted to clear up any hesitations that you might also be having about delivering your baby in Yokosuka, Japan. Maybe I just had a really great OB today, but I find some ease in my future care. I have had every questioned answered & then some. Let me try to break some of your hesitations or myths you have heard:
I Get NO Say In My Care: FALSE! Actually, I was told today that NOTHING is mandatory. You have the right to refuse any care or procedure. However, the OB also has the right to walk away from your care & hand your case to another physician if they feel that they are risking themselves professional or morally. That's fair, right? I thought so! So I now back into the scale to avoid having to see what my weight is as a compromise between what I want & what they need. And you are allowed to question any & everything. Just be sure when you question that you keep your ears, mind, & heart open to what they are telling you. You might miss something that is "logical" & "medically necessary".
There is NO Intermittent Monitoring Available: FALSE! There is & it is available. It just depends on you, baby & where you are in the process when you check in. If you check in & there is no distress to either you or baby, you are actually encouraged to walk about & only get intermittent monitoring. Internal Monitoring is only performed when there is a medical necessity but it is not routine.
I Will Be Forced to Get An Episiotony: FALSE! No doctors here perform them as routine labor & delivery care. The ONLY time that an episiotomy is performed is if it is medically necessary to get a baby in distress out quickly in order to save the child's life. This practice supports many current (as in the last century) studies supporting that a "tear" is easier on the body & will heal faster than a "cut" through the entire muscle. Also, vacuums & forceps are not used either. There is only a few doctors who use one or the other, but some may have been trained but have never had to use either.
I Will Be Forced to Deliver On My Back: FALSE! The beds here are designed to adjust to allow you to deliver in any number of positions from all fours, to a sitting position. This is great news to support those who have done their reading & has arrived at the same conclusion in regards to the laws of gravity. They also have birthing balls, birthing poles/rods, mirrors, etc.
I Cannot Have A Written Birth Plan: FALSE! Actually, they again encourage you to write out your birth plan since you will be attended to whichever OB is on call when you enter that delivery room. All that they ask is that you first write it up weeks before your due date & go over it with your OB to make sure that what you are asking is allowed by the hospital or can be performed by all OB's. This helps prevent from any misunderstandings or misconceptions during your delivery by all parties involved.
They Will "Sneak" in Pitocin No Matter What: FALSE! Pitocin is tricky, but they will first consult you with the option & why it is being recommended for use. And as I mentioned before, you still reserve the right to say, "No!".
I Cannot Have A Water Birth: TRUE! There is no facility supplies here to have a water birth. Absolutely no tubs available. So this is true. However, there are showers, they just aren't in the labor & delivery room. Plus, once your water has broke, they don't want you in the water due to possible infection. Some OB's in the States may not have this concern, however, here the water is a little questionable at times.
If I Refuse Pain Medication I Then Have NO Other Options: FALSE! There are many options available besides the spinal block or epidural. They even offer hot/cold back therapies, breathing, meditation, narcotics, some nerve numbing shot, etc. You are allowed your own music even, but you have to supply the music & if it is an iPod, the ability to play that iPod as well.
There Are No Pictures or Videos: FALSE/TRUE! You are allowed to take photos & video. However, it is against hospital policy to video record any procedure & a vaginal birth is still considered a "procedure". Some OB's might allow you to video part of the birth from the mother's point of view but not from the doctor's point of view. You will also need to make sure all equipment is cord free in case their is an emergency that arises. They don't want to be worried about equipment in the midst of worrying about lives. In a corner you can plug something in to charge but you can't be using the cord to keep power to the equipment when you are using it.
I hope that this helps anyone like me who was really leery & hesitant of delivering their child in Japan. This is our first & I was very set on a home birth with a midwife. However, this is not an option here in Japan due to many issues including how the Japanese respond to 911 (119) calls for Americans.
So here is my problem with the entire debate: NO ONE has asked those who actually fall under the "government" health care that is use now.
I get the true Federal Government Health care Plan. IT SUCKS! As a military spouse (not active duty) I get what the government already has in action for taking care of my health care needs. Active Duty service members get completely different care, including pushing me out of the way so that they can be seen. It is called Tricare, for those of you who don't know.
For those of you who do know & have romantic ideologies that we get this wonderful care for free, you are sadly mistaken. Nothing is ever free & nothing comes "free" without risks. My family unit not only has to make many sacrifices like moving all the time, often times to places you don't want to be, to being separated over & over again missing every important event & holiday in our lives.
How this system works (though I hear that the Air Force is the exception to this rule) is that you don't get to see the same physician twice (unless they are a the only specialist). You may be assigned the Primary Care Physician (PCP) that you choose but then when you call to make an appointment when you need one, & he/she may be booked for months! So you end up seeing who is available, which may also be the one doctor you clash with.
Secondly, when you call to make that appointment for "sick call" because the flu snuck up on you, the untrained, regular Joe on the other end of the phone gets to make the decision if your condition is serious enough to get an appointment same day or if you need to call again tomorrow, & the next day,..until there is a free appointment.
You need to see a specialist, like the orthopedic, right? Your PCP gave you the OK to go see the one in the clinic. You call to make an appointment but none are available until 2 months from now. What? Why? Because your base/post also is a training facility & the active duty get the first appointments. Then conveniently when those appointments are finally free in 2 months, the orthopedic is taking his 2 weeks vacation! You then have to wait 2.5 months in pain, with no solution or answers, gradually getting worse day by day. What job let's you take 2.5 months off until you can get an appointment?
Forget trying to find an "alternative" route to your health care unless you want to pay completely out of pocket by seeing the physicians in town like Chiropractors. Only active duty get any coverage for this practice but only after they have a referral from their PCP & usually only if the on base/post facility has one contracted with them.
Dental? Not free. We still have to use United Concordia at a low rate. But they don't cover anything. You want anything outside basic care, you pay for that out of pocket too.
vision? Right! They will give you an eye & contact exam, but they don't cover those trendy new glasses or any contacts. You still pay for those completely out of pocket.
And let's not forget the numerous times that "they" loose your records! Though many are starting to switch over to electronic records system (which I support) but your older records aren't in the system & will get lost...at least 3 times in a year.
I don't get to choose my care or my physician. I don't get to be seen when I "need" to be seen but only when there is availability. I don't get completely "free" care, but have to pay a lot out of pocket still to get the better care, especially since I have glasses & contacts. I also don't get "personalized" care. Since I never seen the same doctor twice, I never get to build a rapport with the physician, which means each appointment I have to start all over from scratch! It gets old repeating yourself & your medical history.
I have to say the Laboratory of most all facilities have been awesome. You get orders in the system for whatever lab work you need. You go see them. They take the labs. You leave & they send the results back through the system. However, I have had labs lost for months before. 2 months to be exact!
By being pushed through a "system" often times things are over looked & misdiagnosed. I can't count the number of times I have been brushed off for long periods of time, suffering, before they finally take it seriously...usually because I am yelling at that point! I had a girlfriend who was misdiagnosed her entire pregnancy as having the flu for months when in reality it was preclamcia which resulted in an emergency delivery because she was on the verge of a stroke when they finally decided it wasn't the flu. I have another friend who had been trying to get care for 2 months but nothing was available for her & her "symptoms" didn't seem severe enough for same day appointment to find out that she had Stage III cancer!
If you think for a second that completely free & full coverage government health care is a solution, please, come take my care for a year & see how you feel then? When you need an emergency surgery & show up 30 minutes before your appointment time but don't get taken into surgery until 8 hours later, let me know how you feel?
So you are moving to Japan! Welcome! However, let me be the first to prepare you for the reality of just getting here:
YOU WILL BE WALKING & USING PUBLIC TRANSIT for a while. Some make it in & out to driving in 2 weeks, while others find all kinds of various complications that will but you on your feet a little longer. (i.e. an international driver's license is not acceptable here in Japan. You will need a Japanese Driver's License before you can drive.)
Whether you are moving here or just visiting there is a lot of walking still involved once you get your car or, no matter, if your friends have a car. Parking is scarce here & often a distance away from the actual place you want to be, so using the public transportation is very common, very acceptable, & very affordable.
Thus there are a few things you will want to bring with you on the plane so when you land you are set & ready to go:
- A really, REALLY, great pair of walking shoes. You might think you will make it in flip-flops (which some younger people can) but take my word when I say a great pair of closed toe walking shoes will be a blessing about day 3! You will work you way back into a pair of flip-flops in due time.
- A sling bag or backpack no matter your gender (plus you will look like a local). NOT A PURSE! Ladies, listen closely: with all the hiking about & shopping, the last thing you want is trying to keep a purse up on the already sore shoulder. It took me about a week & I converted to a "bag" over a purse. Make sure it is something that you can disburse the weight more evenly across your body.
I personally feel in love with the $41 Coleman sling bag I got at the Dai mall outside the main gate. It even has a place a beverage to keep it cold/hot!
- One Trip Grip Handles! Yes, there are a number of variations. Yes, these were a compulsive buy at the Bed, Bath, & Beyond before we left the states. Yes, they are life savers! They are so sturdy & strong! Other variations have broken or bent.
We have been able to get many heavy bags on one handle. It really helps save your fingers & arms, & prevents you from having your bags falling all over the bus, train, or taxi! You can load, crap & go! People stop to ask us where we got them all the time. We haven't seen them here, so be sure to stop & get a pair before you take flight!
Shopping in Japan for American products isn't impossible, but it is tricky. You usually have to really study those products on the Japanese shelves to distinguish if the product is even close to what you buy in the States. they packaging is really different made for easy recycling. Then you add the limited English words on the packages...you will often have to buy & try & repeat until you find what you are looking for.
Yes, there is the Commissary & the Exchange, but often times they don't carry the products you have grown to love in the States & the few of them they do, often end up sold out quickly...especially if all the fleet is in dock!
So many of us foreigners end up shopping online. I am one of those many Americans who still shop online for many of my favorite, recently found, beauty & personal products until I find a replacement on the Japanese shelves (which takes time with trial & error).
Ulta Beauty is one of those online sources I would recommend again & again. Some of you might be lucky enough be living or have lived next to one of these stores. It is full of all kinds of products from the Wal-mart store shelves to the Salon shelves. There is nothing you can't find here!
Ulta was the only online source that I found that could ship my L'Oreal EverPure Shampoo & Conditioner (& 4 of each!) to an APO/FPO address. Even DrugStore.com couldn't ship these shampoos & conditioners to me!
The added bounus is that it took less than a week to get it in the mail via priority mail. And they were even smart enough to tape the caps shut on the tubes as an extra step to help prevent leakage!
If you are need your beauty supplies that you can't find in your overseas duty station or not close to an Ultra store, try Ulta.com!
Labels: Overseas Online Shopping
Today we were out shopping Japan. We first hit the 100 yen store, which is equivalent to our dollar stores in the States but everything you buy is only 100 yen each! So once I loaded up on silly & cute gifts for the girls in my family, we headed on over to the "real" stores.
We were in the Dai Mall just outside the Dai gate browsing the various "department" stores. In one on the 4th floor we ran into a small baby & pregnancy section. Here we found these: Combi Chopstick Training Set.
There are many Combi items you can get here that you don't see on the shelves in the US. (However, I believe you can get these in the States now.)
At first I thought this was the silliest thing I had ever seen. It was obvious to me that it would be easier to teach the child to use a spoon & fork, then later on when their motor skills were up to par you would start this chopstick training. However, since they usually only use chopsticks (which comes in a pack of 20-100 for 100 yen!), I suppose their culture would just start out with the chopsticks.
These are awesome! I want some! This so would have helped me learn as an adult when I first got here back in 2003! They were about $10, & our child will so have a pair. Don't be surprised if this is my signature "Japanese" baby gift to you in the future!
We finally found a home! Hurray! On the way to view our soon-to-be new home our realtor was telling us about this house that he has coming open also, newer, but there is a lot of construction for renovations going on & thought we wouldn't be able to view it.
The conversation moved to the point in which most Americans when they get to foreign countries to live, just can't act right. They usually refuse to clean the house better than they got it, none-the-less, as well as they got it & just give up their security deposit instead as if it were a fair trade. They usually abuse the culture & its softer spots & their hired help as if they are superior to any other human being on the planet. (We have witnessed it more than once & in more than one country.) And most pet owners usually don't keep their pets in line or clean up well after them. We have seen such a house our first viewing here. I was expressing how disgusted I was & how I was shocked that Japanese still rent to Americans if that is what they do.
Our realtor chimes in with this story off this last American family that he just moved out of the house undergoing renovations. The renovations were being done because their dog ATE through the walls. Yes, I said ate. As in chewed & clawed right through the walls & doors. And not just one wall, but almost all of them!
I shook my head in disgust & my mouth dropped in shock. You could clearly read my facial expressions. "It is because of people like that that ruin it for people like us." We take care of our dog like a child, including discipline, even harsh if needed.
Later that night, as serendipity would have it, our taxi driver home told us that if we ever heard a story from our realtor about a dog chewing through the walls, that was her dog! (No, I'm not lying). She goes on to tell us that the dog has severe seperation anxiety, they never crated him, & it was $18,000 in damages. She was almost bragging, like she was famous now. After her security deposits & her (our) realtor talking to the landlord, it only cost her $500 to walk away & move onto base!
OMG! Are you crapping me? I held my tongue because I knew B would loose his mind. But if I run into her again, she will hear my opinion on the matter further than you have to train labradors because they require it to function. And why should she be allowed to live on base? Is base housing a way to avoid all responsibilty? Oh this pisses me off!!
Seriously, I wanted to jump over the seat, wrap my arm around her neck & just chew her a new one. It is because of people like her that people like us get screwed out of the enjoyments in life. Thank God our realtor understood this & showed us this brand new, just built & got the keys home & talked the landlord into letting us have our pet. Our realtor is my hero this week!
Ok Ladies! So as you know, I occasionally get into reviewing new products that I try. This might not be new, but it was new to me.
For years I had tried various razors, creams, & gels in lost hopes to get those wonderful shinny hairless legs. Since I was a little girl, I have been plagued with big pores, black hair, & dry skin. So even my shaved legs looked like ...well, not shaved.
I eventually gave up to using a disposable razor without the aloe or various other strips. Because with the strips I never felt like I got that close shave. I have used oils even to try to get the "shine". Then within the day, it was like I never shaved at all, goosebumps or not.
So here I am 21 years later & decided to try a new razor. I had read that this was the razor to get for those super model shiny legs. I didn't want to spend the money because I assumed it had to be expensive with all the freaking refills. Then my hubby was buying the Titatium one for himself to try, so I broke down & thought, "If he can waste money & 'try" then so can I!"
OMG! I have been wasting all these years! I love this razor! It has been dropped a number of times, made it through more than a few full shaves, & never dulled once or gave me razor burn! Also, it cuts close! And the strips don't get all gunky like those others. Even my hubby beats his on the side of the sink a million times every morning & isn't using as many blades as his was with his Gillet. (P.S. By the way...he loves his too!)
After just about 3 weeks of using this razor, not only does this razor give me a great shave, but it has also given me softer legs, smaller pores, & my hair doesn't seem to grow back as fast...& I'm pregnant! (Hair grows like grass that gets rain every day in the spring when you are pregnant but with this razor I am not feeling all bushy & in need of a weed-wacker.)
This is another one of my many great product recommendations! I don't even have to use a cream or gel. As long as I exfoliate well before, I can use my cream-oil body wash & get the best shave ever!
P.S. Did I mentioned that these refill blades are actually cheaper than some of the other razors on the market & that because the don't seem to dull easily you will use less of them...making it money well spent on a budget? Totally worth it!
Labels: Product Reviews
Seriously! I have a lot of pet peeves I have discovered as I get older. However, how bloody hard is it to sit you bum on the freaking toilet & piss? So it takes you an extra five seconds to get the toilet cover or some extra toilet paper to line the seat, is it really that hard?
I don't like sitting in your piss anymore than you like sitting in someone else's. If you don't want to line the seat, & still refuse to sit on it...WIPE IT OFF WHEN YOU ARE DONE!
THEN FLUSH!! Bloody hell people! Use your foot if you have too, or some more toilet paper, but flush the freaking toilet.
And ladies...that time of month...no one else needs to know. WIPE THE SEAT!
So sit down & piss like a civilized person or go use a bush. Quit ruining my toilet needs with your stupidity & white trash laziness. No wonder other cultures think we are a nasty group of people.
Labels: My Pet Peeves
We have been here one week & on the maddening house hunting process really hard. Jumping from one car to the next to go see yet another crappy older home that not even the owners want to live in anymore & have moved to a new home around the corner.
We saw one home that was a potential possibility with a great location up in a neighborhood close to a train station, between Yokosuka & Yokohama; 15 minutes back to Yokosuka-chuo station outside base & 10 minutes up to the Costco. Wonderful yard, garage, wide stair case, etc. However, the owners moved for the same reason we don't want to move in...the kitchen & bath are so dated & ugly that you just can't take it for 3 years!!!
In Japan you aren't allowed to make changes to a home like new paint or hardware without the oweners permission. This usually results into you insulting them, you buying them for any changes whether you DIY or not, and wanting you to change it back even if it was an upgrade before you move out or they get more money out of you by complaining to base.
We would really be willing to buy our own home & DIY all our own changes, however, when you ask about buying they all suddenly have no ability to understand what you are saying. Apparently in Japan, the way things work, they show you all the oldest, crappiest places that they have had on their lists the longest first, dragging you all over the place, then trying to pressure you into that hole knowing they are holding better properties for their own native prestigous individuals.
I get that a good portion of Americans, especially those stationed overseas for some odd reason, are usually not very clean, leave a place nastier than they moved in, & then complain the entire time that they are there. However, we are not those individuals. We are not abusive of the property or the owners. We know that there are new places out there with newer appliances & nuetral color schemes & that will take a tiny little dog that is housebroken! WHERE ARE THEY? WHY CAN'T WE SEE THEM? I NEED A HOME NOW!
To add to the mess, we now have one week, in which we are already commited to the mandatory introduction process all day every day, to find a home here in this crazy long process.
OMG! We knew that our dog, Molly, would have to go to a kennel when we got here. And after paying around $1,000.00 to get her here we knew it would be hard on us all to part our separate ways. But we didn't know....
The kennel on base is not a kennel but a small, very cramped, confined hole in the wall on the very outskirts of base in which the owner speaks absolutely no English or has any rules for her kennel & has absolutely no affiliation with the Military Vet (who do not board pets at all)! What we didn't know is that you supply everything in the kennel from a pad to sleep on to the water & food bowls, all food & any other specialties (like a litter box & litter for your cat). You will also be the only one taking your dog out for a walk to use the restroom. Oh, and did I mention that it is very hot in the kennel & that they never turn the lights out, not even at night so the animals understand it is time to sleep!
Inside this kennel are very few indoor/outdoor runs in which a human being can barely stand up in & turn around themselves. These are reserved for the morons who only bring their big dogs, so your little friend is then shoved into a little metal cage with no way to relieve themselves. They put a potty pad/sheet down, but dogs won't eliminate where they eat & sleep. DUH!
So my little Molly sits there in her hot metal cage, panting all day, unable to distinguish night from day, unable to potty until we come her her once a day, refusing to eat & drink any more than she has to to sustain life. She has lost a pound in on week...with no excerise!
Did I also mention that your pet stays there through quarantine if you don't end up living on base? Yes! So those pets that didn't make the cut at quarantine due to illness, not enough rabies vaccine in their system, or didn't get it all done in a timely manner & have to wait it out are living in the same cramped quarters next door to your perfectly healthy pet!
Did I also mention that there is no seperation of cats from dogs other than the wall of the metal cages? Yes, thus my Molly who is allergic to cats (though she loves them!) & has chronic yeast in fections in her ears (due to heat & moisture) is sitting there getting weaker as each day goes by.
I know that PETA & SPCA would lose their ever living minds if they saw this or were aware of this. The freakin' strays & left behind homeless pets have it slightly better. Not by much, but slightly better.
I paid hundreds of dollars, like a responsible pet owner, & my pet gets the worst treatment of her life in which I have no control over? Does this make rational, reasonable, logical, sense to anyone? A non-responsible pet owner would not have even brought their pet once they ran into their first importation obstcle. It would have been too much money & too big a hassel.
The only protection that these pets have is that on your way off this base (transfereing/ PCS'ing to another base) you have to stop by the Vet to get a check off "OK" saying you don't have a pet or that your bill is paid in full. This is to try to make you take your pet back with you....which is WAY easier & cheaper than bringing one over.
I get that there are those usual bad apples that ruin it for everyone, but this is just not acceptable. If the military can regulate the size of family you are allowed to bring with you to Japan, then they can regulate just like hotels, the size of pet you are allowed to bring: Under 25 lbs. & 1 pet per household. OK! Check! That makes sense to me! Doesn't it make sense to you? That way the kennel runs are then available to most all people's pets (until we can raise enough awareness & funds to make changes to the facility).
Completely on a new mission here. Our little unborn boy is going to be born in to a crazy land of saving pets...which was never ever a thought of who I would be one day. But if the Captian of the base's wife won't even say anything, then someone has too! It might as well be a pissed out loud southern lady! LOL!