Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tune In Tokyo: Intro

We are SO excited to introduce our wonderful friend, Stephanie, who will be guest posting on a regular basis here on Her Late Night Cravings.  We mentioned her recently on a post and we are just delighted to welcome her to HLNC.  She currently resides in Tokyo, Japan with her amazing husband and three beautiful children.  Her posts will be called "Tune In Tokyo" and she will cover a wide array of topics that will be sure to educate and excite.

Stephanie at home in Tokyo with her three children Charlie, Lily & Ben
OK Steph...take it away!


Sayonara America & Konnichiwa Tokyo!

It has been a very hectic and emotionally draining four months for me and my family... As you know, on March 11th (my 36th birthday) Japan was struck by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake.  This in turn created a powerful tsunami which demolished a nuclear reactor site and has been one of the most devastating disasters to affect any country.  The earthquake shook the ground for six minutes and changed the lives of so many forever.  My family and I were physically fine ~ just shaken up and scared.  It puts things into perspective quickly thinking about all of those that didn't survive or have food, water and shelter. We had each other where so many others were not as lucky.

In the days following, we evacuated back to our home base in Orlando, FL after the earthquake to let things settle down.  We were set to return within one month, however, my 5 year old son broke his femur after being home two weeks and has been in recovery since.  I guess the trauma of going through the earthquake wasn't enough!  It's character building, right?!

Here is a little bit about me:  I am a wife and mother of three young children (twin 5 year olds and a 3 year old) who lives in Orlando, FL.  In February 2010, my husband accepted a three-year international assignment in Tokyo and we officially moved here in April 2010.  Now it is time for us to return for "Year Two" of our three-year adventure.

With three children and a husband, you can imagine how much luggage we had to make the trip back, with the final count being:  Nine suitcases, three car seats, three pillow pets, and two bottles of Hidden Valley Ranch!  Since I have yet to find ranch dressing, or "dip dip" as my kids affectionately call it, in the international grocery stores, we covet "dip dip" in our house.


5am at the airport in Orlando
In Chicago, waiting in line for our flight to Tokyo
As you can see, I am very comfortable during our 12.5 hour flight
We FINALLY arrived in Tokyo!  Nine bags and three car seats...VERY American!!  I look pretty scary with no makeup and I know I am breaking all the HLNC rules!  Sorry Jayme & Mendi!
This is what jet lag looks like: all three kids watching a movie at 2am.  My three-year-old woke me up wanting me to put him in his bunny costume...have to love that quirky kid!
Being back in Tokyo is wonderful and exciting, but with that comes the emotional distance you feel with loved ones back in the States.  I have made a conscious decision this year to manage my homesickness better and make it the best year of my life filled with more of what I enjoy:  travel, sightseeing, exercising, cooking, photography, learning, reading, meeting new friends, and spending time with the good friends I have made already.  I feel energized and ready to live life to the fullest and take this opportunity we have been given to grow and learn.

Now, Tokyo is a very exciting and large city with very modern/technological advancements and history spanning thousands of years.  The greater Tokyo area has over 35 million people with the city itself having 13 million.  New York City has 8 million people, so 13 million is a lot of people!  Tokyo's subway system is one of the busiest public transportation systems in the world and it's the primary (in addition to cabs and buses) means of transportation.  Like most metropolitan areas, you can get almost anything you want within a close proximity to your apartment and the food/nightlife is unparalleled.  We live near Azabu Juban, Hiroo and Roppongi Hills where I do most of my shopping and eating out.  The Michelin Guide estimates that Tokyo has over 160,000 restaurants compared to New York City's 25,000 and Paris's 13,000.

Over the next two years, I will be making contributions to HLNC's blog with posts on many different topics that will span from cultural experiences, food/dining, health and beauty, and anything you want me to talk about!  But I'll start with a teaser of a few of my "favorites" in Tokyo so far:
  • Japanese Professional Swallows baseball games
  • Vending machines with everything from beer, coffee drinks, umbrellas to fruit and vegetables
  • Best customer service
  • Beautiful Japanese gardens and parks
  • Shopping in Azabu Juban, Ginza and Jiyugaoka
  • French fries dipped in sour cream and drinking beer at “August Beer Club” which is a local restaurant about a 5 minute walk from our apartment
  • Swimming with the kids at the “Tokyo American Club”
  • Taking the kids to the 100 Yen Shop (Dollar Store in the U.S.)
  • No tipping ~ EVER!
  • Clean cabs
I will go into more detail on some of these favorites in blogs to come!  I am so honored Jayme and Mendi have asked me to be a guest contributor to HLNC and I hope you find my adventures in Tokyo interesting enough to keep reading more.
~Stephanie

35 comments:

  1. So interesting! My Japanese-American cousins spend every summer in Japan, but it's much more rural, so I'm so excited to read about this! Really really cool idea for a post.

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  2. Sounds like an amazing adventure!

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  3. What an amazing adventure! I really enjoyed ur post, Stephanie, and looking forward to reading more:) Glad to hear that you and your family are okay! -A

    Blurbs | Blog

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  4. @ Hannah - So happy you are excited about these posts!

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  5. @ T - Thanks for stopping by! We love that we are able to share her adventures with all of our awesome readers.

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  6. @ A. - Thanks so much for the sweet comment. Stephanie is excited to share anything and everything with us. Stay tuned for more!

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  7. It's 5am here and I had to check it out! Thanks for the opportunity! Love you guys!

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  8. @ Stephanie - We love this post SO much! Thank you girl!!! We miss you!!

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  9. Wow what a great adventure! She seems to be a very nice person!!
    xx
    http://dontcallmefashionblogger.blogspot.com

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  10. Just wanted to let you know that I've awarded you something:

    http://madelinesfashion.blogspot.com/2011/07/award-one-lovely-blog.html

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  11. Stephie- great article!! xoxox

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  12. @ Francesca R - Thanks for commenting! Steph is truly one of the most awesome people we've ever known.

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  13. @ Madeline - Thanks so much!!! You are too sweet!

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  14. really enjoyed this guest post. how cool to be living in another country for 3 years, yet so scary. Stephanie is definitely a brave one to be going with her 3 kiddos! looking forward to seeing more from her!

    spinning-threads.blogspot.com

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  15. This is such a great post, I really enjoyed reading it. Stephanie is a beautiful woman and her kids are adorable!

    CLASSY & FABULOUS

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  16. Very excited to have her guest post. I've always wanted to go to Japan. Hope to learn a thing or two :)

    xxo
    http://www.iamheizl.blogspot.com/

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  17. Stephanie, your family is beautiful! I admire you for the strength you have....living so far away from home must be tough, but it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Can't wait to read more!

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  18. @ Anonymous - Thanks for stopping by to support Stephanie!

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  19. @ Claire - I know...the experience is priceless. :-) Hope you stay tuned for her next installment. :-)

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  20. @ El - So happy you enjoyed this post! Steph and her 3 kids are so sweet and we miss them so much!

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  21. @ Maribeth - We can't wait for you to get to know Stephanie even more. She is one of the strongest women we know. The experience that she and her family are having is priceless. We just hope at some point that we can get to Japan to visit them.

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  22. Love it Stephanie...so proud of you. I will be reading you posts regularly. Love you friend. ~ Christine (orlando)

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  23. Wow...this is a great idea a guest post and i love the article:)

    Happy blogging!

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  24. @ Christine - Thanks so much for stopping by! This is just her first post so stay tuned...

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  25. @ SunnyToast - Thank you so much! We are so excited to have her guest posting. Please come back as she has so much to share with us.

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  26. answer:thank you so much for your lovely comment!!;D

    http://paolinasspace.blogspot.com

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  27. Ohh how exciting!!! Can't wait to see more of this new segment :) This is making me want to visit Tokyo!
    -Linh

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  28. @ Linh - So glad you saw this post! We are so happy to introduce Steph to everyone.

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  29. Really loved this post it was such an enjoyable, easy read :)
    can't wait to see more posts like this!! x

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  30. What an awesome adventure! and so excited to learn more of her!


    <3 Marina
    Fashion.MakeUp.LifeStyle

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  31. @ Radiant MakeUp - Awesome, well please come back because she will be a recurring feature on our blog.

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  32. @ Marina - We are so excited for her posts about life in Tokyo. Thanks for stopping by!

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  33. What a cool feature!!! I look forward to more posts from here and pics of her and adorable kids!
    Shasie of Live Life in Style

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  34. @ Shasie - so glad you like this! We plan to post a second feature next week!!

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