I had my tour around Misawa today and it was short, but still cool since it was my first time to see things around town.
We started off going to a Buddhist temple which did not look all that different than the ones I visited in Thailand/Cambodia/Malaysia. Some of the traditions were a little different though. In the back of the temple there were shrines that people bought for their families and they can cost around $7,000!
Outside of the temple was a Japanese cemetery. They cremate all the bodies and the entire family uses the same memorial. These apparently can get up into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Next we went to a reconstructed Samurai house and got to learn a little bit about the history of Misawa. I can understand why no one lives in traditional houses anymore because it was FREEZING in there. They took us to a local museum and the international center for some culture lessons and then off to one of the local malls. I definitely see some Japanese Disney coloring books in Addisons future! The 100 yen shops they have here are like US dollar stores and are pretty awesome - I should be able to get lots of stuff for my place in there!
Here is a picture of one of the streets right off base! You can see how well they do with the roads around here. Apparently they run out of money for street clearing pretty quick and then just let it ride! Good thing I got a 4WD vehicle!
Also, I signed a lease and purchased a car today. I'll get both of them Wedensday and will post some pics next week. The funny thing about buying a car here is that since they had to inspect it for my 2 year JCI (Japanese Compulsory Insurance) I won't get it for a week, so the owner of the place gave me an old beat-up Toyota to drive around until then! Just handed me the keys!
Tomorrow I get to tour Hachinohe and go to a larger mall and to a Japanese fish market. I'll post some pics on here and some more on Facebook too!