July 27, 2009

Annnnnd....We're Back


Well, actually we have been back (in NJ) since July 15th. (Isn't that a nice "welcome home" sign greeting by Mike's brother Dave, huh!? That felt good!) But with a house to move back into and re-setup, friends to reconnect with, family visiting, and work starting up again (for Mike), we have been a little slow in finishing up the Hawaii blogging and getting to this one.

Soon after arriving at home, we rattled off Costco, Whole Foods, Target, The Sports Authority, Vitamin Shoppe shopping excursion. (With the different way of shopping and living in Japan, we weren't exactly hitting these kinds of stores and loading up the mini-van!). It is terrific to be eating salads and have huge Costco-sized tubs of fruit like blueberries and strawberries again! (It is also wonderful to have the AC at levels that actually keep you cool.) Cruising around town, we discovered some nice new local stores, including the excellent Eden Gourmet and Rita's Water Ice in South Orange and a new bookstore called Words in Maplewood.

Right off the bat, we had a really nice little family gathering and backyard BBQ to celebrate Lauren's 5th birthday (!) last weekend. It was nice to see so much family and to be back in our house and yard. (Bonus perk - our house now feels HUGE and we are enjoying being out in the yard. Even though the yard is small, its all relative. In other words . . . we we are happy to have a yard to be out in! However, unpacking and re-moving back in, also made us realize that we have altogether too much STUFF and how little you actually need to live comfortably.)



Mike is back in NYC everyday, and feels like he fits in walking the streets again. (Not that feeling like he stuck out in Japan was a problem; actually, we got kind of used to that!) New York still has that amazing energy to it. And millions of rude people. So, no big change there.

Let's see. What else? The new Yankee Stadium is awesome. And NYC now has all these closed-to-traffic areas (like parts of Time Square), which is a trend in the right direction. Other noticeable changes include the Canadian take-over of the donut scene -- many Dunkin Donuts one day were replaced by Tim Hortons (?) Also, based on a new local law, which we think will really impact the way people eat, or at least cause people to think more about the way they eat, all chain restaurants in New York must display the calories of items on their menus next to the price. This does, however, make going to Yankee Stadium a bit less fun!




On the downside . . . NJ Transit (still) completely sucks. Sure, they have these nice double-decker trains, but they are still damned unreliable. Especially relative to the smooth-operating timely quiet trains in Japan. (2 decent length delays in 1 week here compared to 2 delays in a year and a half in Japan!) Mobs of mean sweaty New Yorkers crowded into Penn Station, waiting for the train to arrive, with an information board that says nothing but "Stand By" for the last half hours worth of train, well, let's just leave it at "not fun times." Also on the downside points, when that sushi craving hits, instead of this. our options now look more like this:

(Actually, the craving did hit last weekend, and we had a very nice sushi dinner at Samurai Sushi
in Maplewood. Not the same, but certainly passable. . . )

5 comments:

Alexis Jacobs said...

Sounds like you guys are adjusting well. I can't wait to read all about your adventures back home.

Cheryl said...

I'm a random reader... I'm looking for a japanese nabe cooker... I have a picture of one that we would like,i'm wondering you would send me an email so that I can send you a picture of it? I'd love to know if you've seen one like it befor and what the 'real name' is,so that i can search on the web for one. Thank you. Cheryl Landis at cheryl_landis@hotmail dot com

AmberlyThrower said...

hello~nice to meet u..............................

淑琴 said...

辛苦了!祝你愈來愈好!........................................

勇氣 said...

憤怒,是片刻的瘋狂。..................................................