Dear Friends and Family,
We have not done this in a few years, so we decided to catch you up on our life since moving to Japan in 2013 …we’re still here. We have experienced typhoons, earthquakes, Japanese food (which is NOTHING like American Japanese food), the Korean black market, the biggest city in the world, busiest train station in the world and been in and seen some of the craziest festivals you could ever imagine! We have conquered Mount Fuji, been skiing, seen Japanese baseball (Mashiro Tanaka) and been closer than felt comfortable to North Korea. Been to Tokyo Disney, Disney Sea, the Hirosaki Castle during the cherry blossom festival, been to the Sea of Japan and the very Northern tip of mainland Japan. We have seen the great Panda’s, been to the largest temple in Tokyo, rode the bullet train to Tokyo, took selfies in the middle of Shibuya crossing (the busiest intersection in the world), ate Japanese cuisine at the famous Ninja Restaurant in downtown Tokyo and been to the top of Tokyo Sky Tree and Tokyo Tower.
Kiley is 12 ½ years old, doesn’t seem possible we almost have a teenager. She started out practicing with a Japanese gymnastics team when we first arrived and after about seven months made the team. Each year she competes in four gymnastics meets in Hachinohe and Hirosaki, two cities in our prefecture. In the spring of 2015 she qualified for the All Japan Gymnastics meet and competed at level 6 in Tokyo … she placed 38th overall and last year she placed 6th over all in Aomori prefecture (Northern Japan). We were very proud of her to say the least. Kiley trained with the #1 junior male gymnast in Japan who went to Austria and won the world championships. We will see him in the Olympics in 2020. There are a few new American families that participate in gymnastics, so carpooling has been a HUGE relief! Kiley is also doing ballet on base. Her last ballet recital is in March and she’ll be doing a regular ballet dance and a dance on Pointe’. She is also doing well in school. She just won her class spelling Bee and will compete against the 6th grade in a few weeks. If she wins she will get the opportunity to compete in Tokyo this spring.
Brendan will be 10 years old in June, how time flies. He started playing on a Japanese ice hockey team about 2 ½ years ago and hasn’t slowed down since. Last year he moved up to the B team and started playing in tournaments in Hachinohe and Misawa. In November his team got the opportunity to train with some of the best players in Hokkaido, the island north of us, in Tomakomai City. Brendan and Korry took the overnight ferry to Hokkaido, Brendan’s first boat trip out to sea. He had a great time and learned so much. In his last tournament, Brendan’s team beat the best team in Hachinohe but unfortunately lost in the finals 2 to 0. It looked like they spent all their energy the day before. Brendan also plays outdoor soccer during the spring, baseball during the summer and just started playing indoor soccer this January. He is the youngest on the outdoor soccer team, but hopefully that will push him a little harder to keep up. He is also doing great in school. He also won the class spelling bee and will compete against the 3rd grade in a few weeks.
Bailey is turning 7 in April and is always busy doing something. Bailey ran in his first race when he was 4 against 5 -7 year olds, he ran 2 miles and got second place. He was the first to the top of Mount Fuji when he was 5, he never wants to be second at anything he does. He watched on the sidelines while Brendan played hockey and would skate every once in a while, but couldn’t officially start until he turned 5. So, as soon as he turned 5 he was out there with the big boys! He has now been playing for a little over a year and a half. He is the most competitive kid I have ever seen! I Love it. ;o) He also plays outdoor soccer in the spring and baseball during the summer. He is very bummed he isn’t old enough to play indoor soccer with Brendan, but I am sure he will find other things to keep himself busy. Bailey is doing great in first grade. He loves his teacher and has lots of friends (mostly girls). So in a nutshell our kids are busy! ;o)
Brittany started a photography business when we arrived and is still shooting family photos, but took a step back and started concentrating on school. She went back to finish her Elementary Education degree and is taking between 12-16 hours a semester, it has kept her very busy. She is also substituting at the kid’s school to gain experience and some extra money, which is always nice.
Korry worked as the Chief of Public Affairs in Misawa for the first 2 years and then was asked to be the Wing Commander’s Executive Officer last March. He has been doing that for nearly a year now and has really enjoyed both jobs but is ready for the next adventure. He made Major in January and will pin on later this year.
Which leads us to our next big announcement!!! WE ARE FINALLY MOVING!!! We are beyond ecstatic to be moving back to the United States and to be back closer to our families. We will be moving in June to Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, Illinois just outside of St. Louis. We will be making the rounds to visit family and friends, we will let you know where we will be stopping and if you would like to meet us at any of our stops you are more than welcome to let us know and we can try to plan something. OR when we get settled into our next house come and visit, we’ll plan some fun activities! It’s been a long 3 years and 4 months since we have been home so we can’t wait! Please keep us in your prayers and hope to see you soon!
Korry, Brittany, Kiley, Brendan & Bailey