Yep, we’re alive

Skipping the apologies and platitudes… moving on…

It was very interesting, as I walked to the office before 8 this morning, to see all the people sweeping at the curb and sidewalk.  A construction worker, complete with hard hat, was sweeping fallen leaves from the curb next to the construction site.  An old lady was sweeping the sidewalk in front of her apartment – that was probably a lot of cigarette butts unfortunately.  Generally, though, people were just trying to make things look nicer.  It’s unusual.

Susan bought a bike today, complete with child seat on the back.  We’ll get some photos soon.  They rode it home from the store – a little wonky at first, but by the time they got to the apartment, they were all smiles.  I’ll likely get one soon myself… I’m looking for a slightly faster / easier way to the office or to other places like friends’ houses.  The hills around here, though, will certainly kick our butts for a while.  It will be interesting to see if it’s worth shipping the bikes home when the time comes.

We had a pretty sizable earthquake on Sunday… you likely saw it on the news.  Lots of people asked if we were okay.  It was a very slow rhythm and lasted a really long time.  This was the first one that was big enough to have the building mention it.  They stopped the elevators and announced over the speaker system that they’d be checking out the structure.  Susan was in the shower when it started and she just thought she was a bit dizzy, which I could relate to.  She eventually figured out it was a quake.  Olivia asked if we should get under a table.  All in all, we just looked at one another and walked around the apartment a bit.  It wasn’t frightening and we haven’t really discussed after 15 minutes had passed.

Oh – I think most of you guys know by now, but my job role has changed.  I came here in the same role as when I left the US – “Solutions Engineer” – but an opportunity came up, as they are wont to do, for me to take on a leadership role.  From a few weeks ago I’ve begun a transition into managing the IT Operations team here in Japan, providing the current manager an opportunity to work on some big stuff back home in the states.  It’s not an easy process, taking over for a guy that’s worked very hard for 3+ years to build the team and environment – I’ve got some big shoes to fill, but it’s all part of the adventure.  So far it’s feeling pretty good.  Some days are harder than others, but I’ve got a lot of support, especially from the guy I’m trading out with.  By the way, this change doesn’t necessarily mean we’re changing our timeline… the goal is to transition to someone local before too long.  I’m only transitioning to transition again in the relatively near future.

We’ve visited with Juan and Rie a few times over the last few weeks.  Olivia adores Rie – she’s her friend.  This weekend my Aunt Rebecca comes to town.  She’ll be with us Friday – Sunday, then off to see the country for nearly two weeks, to return at the end of the month for a little rest before flying back home.  It’s a pretty big trip, but I’m glad we’ll be able to provide her with a ‘home base’ while she’s over here.  This will be my second opportunity to do ‘the thing’ with someone fresh.  Christine should be the third – she’ll have tickets soon and we expect to see her in October.  We’ll likely go on a ‘family vacation’ once she’s here, visiting some part of the country that isn’t Tokyo for part of the time she’s here.  The rest of the time she’ll get to experience an excited Olivia bouncing on the blow-up bed in our living room at 5am when the sun rises!  I keep hoping some other folks will get the opportunity to visit, too…

We’ll be back in the states around Thanksgiving… we don’t have the details put together just yet, only that we’ll be there around that time.  We’ll spend Christmas back in Tokyo as a family.

It’s getting late… I should sleep.  My days are pretty long and it’s been really hot here, so that drains you too.  Oh yeah – and having the office thermostat set to 82 doesn’t do much for you either…

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