US Navy Open House

I've never seen Yokosuka THIS lively before...

There were thousands of people lining up to get into the US Navy Base the past Sunday. Yup, the Navy guys open the base for the public twice a year. It was supposed to be a Hanami event (Sakura viewing) too, but the weather in Yokosuka has been to cold for any flowers to bloom.

On my way to Mikasa Park, cloudy weather in the afternoon.

IĀ got up late that day – 12pm.. all because I didn’t sleep till 7am. Anyway, I got out my door before 1pm and began my 10 minutes walk to the Mikasa Park, where the Navy Base was situated.

After 8 mins walk from my dorm, I was shocked to see people lining up just to WALK toward the entrance of the Mikasa Park.

Oh my, I had never seen such a long line up in my life… it’s several blocks away from the park and people were in a single file to enter the park. I had an urge to turn back and go home, or head to Yokohama for a shopping spree or something. “But the Navy opens up twice a year, it means if I miss this, I won’t see it again…” I decided to go in, check it out and leave if it’s no fun.

Been lining up after this small family.. look at how cute his little bag was... BTW, this was only the entrance of the park, the Navy base was 5 mins walk away (with no line up).

The Mikasa battleship (it's now a museum, with 500 yen entrance fee).

The Mikasa Battleship was the first thing I saw after entering the Park… and I was stupid enough to pay 500 yen to go inside, on the (probably) busiest day of the year. Partly because I thought it belonged to the US Navy……… which obviously made no sense now (looking back)… it had a fricken’ Japan flag on it!

The sky began to clear up... on the deck of Mikasa battleship.

When I first got into the park, there weren't a huge line up..

But once I got onto the battleship museum.... swarms of people formed.... At the time I still didn't know what the line was for though.

I later realized it's for going into the Base!!!

However, I still took my time inside the museum, as I paid 500 yen for it. I watched a movie there, about the war with Russia… The Japanese commander of the Mikasa Battleship was a lucky dude, surviving so many battles and lived until the age of 86.

The view from inside the base....

I joined the massive lineup soon after… and got into the base after 3o mins. The reason why it took so long was because every person’s personal belongings were checked before entering.

A tent for selling food, such as jumbo dogs, turkey legs, etc.

However, successfully entering the base didn’t make things any better. Because lineups were still everywhere! For food, for washroom…I hadn’t eaten since waking up, and was hungry. But I decided to wait a little bit longer, hoping the lines would become shorter eventually.

Jumbo hot dogs!

Gigantic turkey legs!! I was drooling.

Kids and their parents lining up to some sort of "build-a-bear" workshop.

People lining up to pee, or taking a dump after enjoying some American food.

The base was like a mini American town, with residences, high school, McDonald’s, Food Court, Fire Department, Bowling Place, Theatre…

Some friendly soldiers chatting up a kid. Many areas were blocked.It was more like a carnival than an Open House.. I initially thought there would be some sort of tour on Navy ships.

Another long line up in front of MacDonald's... So sad. And the bare branches of the Sakura trees made me even sadder.

Cute lil girl pretending to take a shot of her father, who was shooting a photo of her.

Navy officers in uniform became major photogenic attractions..

As well as this poor dog, having to play catch for so many times..

The public enjoying bowling at the Base.

Another attraction: American foodcourt... populated with familiar names like Subway, A&W, Manchu Wok, Cinnabon, etc. Again, no chance to fill my empty stomach due to ridiculous lineups.

A highschool!

Movie theatre. People, again, were lining up to watch a movie or two.

A girl wanted to hug this friendly cow mascot, and her dad dragged her away.

Male Choir with mostly seniors. They sang really well, and I sat there for 20 mins to enjoy their performance... Because I was tired and there's nothing better to do.

Yet another lineup to buy American *expensive* junk food.

I later bought something (non-food) and was surprised the changes were in US dollar.

Um.. the Navy guys showcasing their firetruck?

Gee, almost thought its another line up... just officers standing there to block off a road.

Since I had nothing better to do.. and I saw many people carrying boxes of large pizzas… My craving for food (pizza specifically) finally became stronger than my fear for line ups.

A cute girl and her older sis. Their mom was in front of me, lining up for pizzas.

Wrestling.. not really, her good sister was struggling to put on the jacket for her.

After 40 mins of lining up, it was close to 4:15pm. And suddenly the pizza lady came and told us they were sold out! $#!$ WTF, should’ve notified us sooner.. that way I would’ve lined up for a jumbo dog instead. But of course, it’s Japan, so nobody complained…

Looking at the Navy shipped parked afar, I regretted coming here.. should've gone to Yokohama to have All you can eat Pizza instead of wasting my time lining up for nothing.

One door closes, another opens. Just when I felt hopeless, pissed, angry, hungry... I saw Japanese food stalls right outside the Mikasa Park!! To be honest, I prefer these than pizza/hot dogs!!

I ordered Chicken Skin Gyoza (stuffed dumping wrapped with chicken skin). It's super greasy and fattening, but who cares?

Time for some Hiroshima Yaki...

Basically, pan fried ramen in yaki sauce with corn, lettuce, bacon and egg.

A pair of lovebirds feeding Hiroshima Yaki into each other's mouth lol

The Base was pretty bland, it’s just like any other small American town… except you could see officers in uniforms. But the Japanese people were indeed very intrigued by the place, the food… pretty much everything there.

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Bank Account

Today was the day to pick up my Gaijin card (foreigner’s ID), after waiting for more than 2 weeks.

Without the card, it’s impossible to get cell phone, bank account… and I went through leaps just to get my internet set up last week.

Empty bus... what do you expect? Nobody would leave this early!

So I left office at around 2pm, since the bank closed at 4pm… I had to set up an account immediately after getting my Gaijin card. I just don’t get why the bank has to close this early!? And they don’t open on weekends!! This got me really confused, I thought this was Japan, not Canada…..

Took a picture of the company building.

This dull looking building is one of the company’s laboratories. It’s huge, but I’ve only set my feet on 4 places: my office, restaurant, cafeteria and the lady’s washroom. I will perhaps go to the badminton court next week though.

After getting off the Yokosuka Chuo station, I began walking to the City Hall…

What the hell is Happy Science

Saw this building standing amongst apartments… “Happy Science”, I was wondering if it’s a museum or a branch of Scientology? XD

Saw some cute elementary kids.

Only first year elementary school students would wear yellow caps. They are really Kawaii, I mean the caps lol. Kids from other grades wear caps of other (blue?) colors. Seeing cliques of them walking home from school made me wonder where their parents/grandparents were? They seem very independent. Hong Kong kids their age either get picked up by school bus or maid or grandparents. I hadn’t commuted to school on my own until I was in Grade 7!

Soon I realized I was walking the total opposite direction from the City Hall…… I should have taken out my GPS sooner.

A tiny garden by the post office/bank.

Picking up the card was smooth sailing… Since I thought I had all the time in the world as it was just barely 3pm, I took a walk around a small park.

Kids at the playground.... geez, their moms shouldn't bring them out, it's freezing outside.

It's a small bank inside the city's post office.

There weren’t many people… I didn’t wait long before a guy approached me, who provided me an application form. I was asked if I wanted a cash card or credit card. Since there’s no fee for the credit card, the answer was pretty obvious. I have to pay my internet bills anyway, don’t wanna use my Canadian one since it charges 2% extra for exchange rate. Just when I’m about to be done with the forms, he asked me to fill in my phone number. But I have NO PHONE, I just got my Gaijin card… like 15 mins ago! He said he was sorry about I could only get a cash card today. I told him I could run to Yokosuka Chuo to get a cell contract, and returned to proceed with credit card. He glanced at the clock and said Sumimasen. Grrrr, damn, it’s 3:40pm and they were closing soon. But I didn’t want to return for a second time during office hour. So, I gave in… As they were getting my application ready, I had an idea. I used the office number instead and told them I would change it after getting a cell phone. 10 minutes later, I walked out of the bank with my new passbook. The card will arrive approx 3 weeks later, as a background check is to be done.

I had to walk back to my dorm since I deposited all my $ on me to the account. After grabbing some cash, I walked to Yokosuka Chuo again… this time to set up a pre-paid cell phone. I went to Softbank first, they told me their prepaid phones are sold out ORZ…. I went to AU next. And after lining up for half an hour… they told me they only sold sim cards and I had to buy a prepaid cell phone first! Unfortunately, they weren’t selling any! It drove me crazy and I almost gave up on getting a cell… I mean, it’s not like I need to call. All I need is the internet anyway.

I couldn’t go home empty handed, could I? And the night was still young, so I went grocery shopping (again) at 3 different supermarkets… Bought some pumpkin and fruits.

Saw another AU store on my way home, so I decided to try my luck again. Geez, no one in that branch could speak English. So I used my limited Japanese to communicate with the girl… she couldn’t understand a thing, even when i was writing her Kanji! We both gave up and decided to dial for a English translator. Anyway, they didn’t sell it either so I wasted like 30 mins on this. I’m glad I’m in Yokosuka, where some Japanese can speak English. I don’t know how I would survive elsewhere… ><”

— Now, after some research… I still can’t decide on a pre-paid phone or a contract plan…

A. Pre-paid

  • Need to purchase a prepaid phone (~5000yen)
  • Need to put in 1000yen/month, otherwise, number gets cancelled
  • Every 6 seconds cost 10 yen…. so 1000 yen=10 mins.

B. 2 year Contract

  • 980yen/month, 25 “free” minutes
  • Free phone
  • Cancellation fee of 9760 yen

* No matter which route I opt for, I plan to sell my phone after…

—————

Dinner tonight: Beef, pumpkin, carrot, onion, egg in Miso soup...

I have been snacking alot these days. I finished off 4 packs of those snack noodles last night.

Jap class tmr at Yokohama, gotta do some review now. Ciao!