Sisterhood of the Traveling Books (Episode 7)

Does  The Keys for Love come with the kimono?

Does The Keys for Love come with the kimono?

Those traditional shoes look really uncomfortable, but flip flops go with summer reading, and Wendi Sotis's novella is perfect for a day on the beach.

Those traditional shoes look really uncomfortable, but flip flops go with summer reading, and Wendi Sotis’s novella is perfect for a day on the beach.

For our last big trip away from my daughter’s house on the Marine base in Iwakuni, we went to the Fuji Grand, a seven-story mall downtown.

I don’t know why the Japanese want to be like Americans, but it was amusing to hear the popular music from two or three summers ago playing through the shops.

Some of the misspellings were humorous, too, but I loved them for trying. Their English was much better than my Japanese, though I can say “hello,” “goodbye,” “thank you,” “yes,” and “toilet.” Everyone knows what “toilet” means, fortunately.

I don't think they use contractions in Japan.

I don’t think they use contractions in Japan.

The girls bought a few items of clothing, and I bought some gifts. Later, I’ll show you what I purchased for Gayle. It’s a hoot.

Ronald McDonald has invaded Japan, though they didn't have a full menu. There was NO iced tea.

Ronald McDonald has invaded Japan, though they didn’t have a full menu. There was NO iced tea.


The top floor of the mall was all restaurants, though I wouldn’t call McDonald’s a restaurant. Mel posed by their sign as a joke, but we wanted authentic Japanese food.

I ordered tempura (shrimp and vegetables), but I’m not sure what Mandy and Melly ordered. Whatever it was, it came without a spoon or a fork. Melly was able to get us baby forks (really!), but they had to drink the soup from the bowl. I was glad I ordered mine over rice.

That awkward moment when you realize there are no spoons or forks - and yes, that is a cherry slurpie.

That awkward moment when you realize there are no spoons or forks – and yes, that is a cherry slurpie.


Yes, Mel is using a baby fork. Note to self: Always pack plastic forks in your purse.

Yes, Mel is using a baby fork. Note to self: Always pack plastic forks in your purse.

The Fuji Grand

The Fuji Grand

No one locks their bikes up in Japan. I suppose they don’t steal from each other. However, it was interesting that EVERYONE locks their bikes up on the base. I thought that was sad a sad commentary on our culture. I’ve also noticed that everything is compact here, and everything is recycled. A patch of yard is used for a garden. Nothing is wasted. It seems to me that buildings and cars are designed to be practical, not comfortable or necessarily beautiful.

I also took a few (hundred) pictures of my new granddaughter, Charlie, who is my first and only grandchild. I’ll share some of those with you in my next post. My daughter Melly and I will fly back to the States tomorrow night, losing eleven hours in the process of the twenty-eight hour journey. I’m so glad that I came, though traveling isn’t easy for me. These are some of the best memories of my life. One of these days, I’ll sit in my rocking chair, look at my pictures, and remember my big adventure.

4 thoughts on “Sisterhood of the Traveling Books (Episode 7)

  1. Wendi Sotis

    Yay, The Keys for Love made it to Japan! Thanks, Robin🙂 Lovin’ these posts! (though I have to admit to having a lot of trouble reading on the red background, hint, hint😉 )

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    1. Robin Helm Post author

      The Keys for Love is a great traveling companion, Wendi. I think it’s a wonderful short read to take on a trip. In fact, I may reread it on the plane headed home.😉

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  2. Robin Helm Post author

    Great news! Your prezzie is still in one piece!

    We had a great time, but we’re glad to be home. Mel would be happier if United hadn’t left her luggage in Washington, D.C.

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Why yes, we DO want a piece of your mind. ;-)

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