Sunday, January 2, 2011

Visiting home for the holiday

Set phasers to kill.
I kind of cheated by time stamping this entry for January but I want this post in proper chronological order for record keeping.(
It’s been a long couple of years since I’ve been able to save up enough time and money to fly back home to see family and friends. I’ve had a nephew grow up and another niece born since my last time I visited home. I regret not being around for those special life events but living across the Pacific complicates things a lot for frequent visits. Anyhow, I figured I should share some of my thoughts about how things went during my short 10 days in town.
I arrived on an unusually rainy day in LA. It happened to be one of the rainiest years on record for southern California, especially my home town of San Diego. So when I saw Fashion Valley flooded out even more than usual I knew this was going to be a very unique visit. I am kind of glad I missed all the madness. San Diego rain driving is hell from what I remember, I bet it was amplified many times over by how hard it rained over the past month before I got there.
Japan needs In N Out badly!Anyhow, back to the main story. I arrived a day earlier than my wife so I got picked up by my very helpful mom. It was nice to see a familiar face greet me at the terminal even though I got to see her nearly 5 months earlier during the wedding. It still felt like we hadn’t met for a long time. It must have been because I was in my home country again. The first thing we ended up doing was finding a fast food restaurant for me to eat my first “American” meal in a long time.
Like the dork I am, I wrote quite an extensive checklist of things I wanted to eat, drink, and do over my very short time back home. Eating at Taco Bell/Del Taco happened to be one of those things. Fast food Americanized Mexican food is one of my sinful delights. I like authentic too, but for some reason nothing satisfies me more than a chicken soft taco…. I forgot to take a shot of the yummy Del Taco Big Fat Chicken Taco so a shot of the Yummy Double Double at In N Out I had the next day will have to serve as a place holder for good old American fast food.
DVC00012As the days passed by I managed to eat nearly every thing I craved on my checklist save, “Chinese food”, and a delivery pizza from the “new” Dominos Pizza. I think I managed to gain a few more pounds over the week because of my list. There were few times outside of Christmas day and eve where I had home made meals. I focused mostly on restaurants as a lot of the stuff I like is either expensive or impossible to find in the part of Japan where I live.
Legendary.I have one last thing to mention about food before I change topics as I can see this becoming just an entry about food if I don’t focus fast… I must say my most craved and most enjoyed food eaten during the whole time I was in town was my good friend Kherri’s home made macaroni, mashed potatoes, and store bought honey baked ham.  Holy crap, what I’d give to have that stuff made for me at least once every few months. It truly is a treat. I am glad he was around to make such a fine dinner for us during the after Christmas party.
So now that the whole food business is behind us, let’s move onto what Yuko and I did during our short time together in southern California. We already were strapped for time after spending Christmas Eve and Day with my side of the family so we were left with about 3 full days to do what we wanted.
That's my nephew!On Christmas and Christmas Day I got to see my loving family and Yuko got to meet everybody as my wife for the first time. We shared pictures and stories over our traditional buffet style dinner and lunches. I was very happy to see my little sister’s 2 year old son and her new born baby. I wish I could see my nephew and niece more so I don’t seem like a stranger to them the next time we meet. We gave my nephew a Japanese police car toy and some clothes from my niece. I think they liked their presents. Smile
DSCF0298Thankfully Yuko got most of her big shopping out of the way a few days before Christmas eve so we were able to drive up to Disneyland. We spent a whole day at Disneyland and it was a blast! The weather managed to behave itself while we were there and we managed to ride most of the rides we wanted at least once. We spent a lot of money there eating lunch and dinner at the park. We even splurged a bit and got a table at that restaurant inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. I took a ton of pictures but I’ll only be putting up a small handful here. As Yuko sensitive about having her pictures up on my blog, the pictures will be all scenery shots. Sorry. I have to figure out how to make private entries just for friends and family before I can put up stuff like that I guess. Maybe I’ll set up a private photo book sometime.
Glad my camera can handle night shots somewhat well.
The second free day was spent shopping with all the gift cards and extra money we had set aside for all those good sales after Christmas. Yuko didn’t even manage to spend all the money she wanted to because she ran out of room in her luggage and I got a lot of clothes that fit my tall, broad shouldered body. That same night we went over to my long good friend Matt’s house for the “traditional” after Christmas dinner.
Damn I put on some real weight. :(It was awesome to see most of my friends from Coronado and San Diego there. We enjoyed eating Kherri’s legendary cuisine, and exchanged a lot of gifts there. What would have made it a perfect night would have been if we had more time to actually lounge about and drink more. Not much drinking was to be had this year but at least we met up. I hope we can all meet again. It’s one of my biggest reasons for visiting for the holiday.
2 Scotts sharing the same time and space... Incredible.
The legendary food maker.
Super-Sonic host.
Our third free day was spent in Balboa Park with my good friend Lorenzo. He met us for lunch at the Prado and a long walk about the park. He took a ton of pictures of us there but I still have yet to see one. I’m not sure what happened there. I wish I remembered my own camera that day. I’m not sure what I was thinking on that day. Any how it was another fine, sunny day in San Diego and it felt really nice to visit old stomping grounds. Thanks Lorenzo for hanging out with us on that day.
Thank you Google Images. I think Enzo took a shot like this one too...
Our last day was spent doing a little last minute shopping finished off by dinner at my college friend, Enoch’s house. It was nice to see him and his wife after a couple of years of not seeing them. We were treated to a nice dinner of Takoyaki along with a lot of talking about married life.
Enoch's catIt was a good time. I got to do most of the things I wanted and Yuko got to do what she had planned to do. Considering the short amount of time we had, we managed to get a lot of stuff done. I am really grateful for my mother lending her car to me over that 10 day period. It was a real life saver.
I’m not sure we’ll be able to fly out next year for Christmas but the next time we fly out again I am sure we’ll plan for at least 2 weeks so we really make sure we don’t feel so rushed. I want to eat at the Island Deli and go to a sports club restaurant with friends to have some good food and drinks next time. I really look forward to it!