Tuesday, 16 August 2011


Today we went on an adventure.  We got up early and headed to the train station.  We had our three children, along with their three car seats, two strollers (one for baby and one for car seats) and two bags of stuff filled to the breaking point for the preparation of our day.  Our adventure was to collect the car we had just purchased which was located on a base approximately 1 hour by train, or 1 hour and 20 minutes by car.
While living in Japan the train system is the best way to travel.  It is faster, always on time, cheaper (due to toll roads) and all around fairly easy to use.  The one thing about the trains that can deter you from using it is the crowdedness that sometimes can occur, and the quietness that is expected but often times difficult to obtain while traveling with 3 young children.
So, we are off on our adventure.  And it begins smoothly (that's right, I said smoothly).  I was amazed at the kids and their behavior for most of the way there.  We had the usual hiccups, a shove here, a yell there, a toy or two being taken away.  We had to take a break between train changes for a quick snack of pretzels and cheese.  But all in all not a bad experience.
As we exited the train and headed out of the station the owners of our soon to be new van were kind enough to pick us up.  We headed to base to do paperwork and various hoops of jumping to be able to drive home with our van.
Again smoothly it all went, we headed to McDonalds for lunch and other than they were out of most of the things on the menu we had a fairly pleasant meal.  We headed to the autoport next.  We found our "New Driver"  magnets and applied them while filling the tank up with gas.  A "New Driver" magnet?  You might ask, is a magnet you can place on your vehicle for upto one year.  This lets the other drivers around know that you are new so stay clear.  A neat little fact to know is that if you are in an accident and you have a magnet on your car and you are still in the one year time frame, whether the accident is your fault or not they will place the blame on the more experienced driver.  They believe he should have gotten out of your way because you are a new driver.  So, we have "2" on our car!
From there we got directions for home and headed out.  My hubby behind the wheel and the directions in my hands.  It went great!  The kids even slept on the way home.  Wow what a day.  Long, but fun.
Once we made it back to base safe and sound, we headed to our Autoport for an oil change (whether needed or not) and an inspection (Don't say it.  We know we should have done this before buying the van).  We were already aware of the new tires we needed to buy, but we wanted to make sure there was nothing else.  Two hours later, we have discovered the timing belt was recommended changing 17000km ago.  You know the previous owners knew that.  Why would you not share that information?  I guess we are too honest.  I would feel compelled to share that info.  Anyhow that will increase our cost.  Overall, the van is in great shape and I think once we get the tires and timing belt changed, it will last us our tour here and possibly be able to sell it when we leave.

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