Japan Here We Come!

Japan Here We Come!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Skiing in Nagano


We had a super fun trip up to Nagano over President's Day weekend. When it snows here in Japan (which isn't often) things tend to shut down. So Thursday night when we looked at the weather report, we decided we needed to leave early Friday morning instead of Friday night as originally planned. The kids and I would drive up and Tom would take the train up after he saw clinic. We made it up there, snowing almost the whole way and toll roads shutting down behind us. We were glad the trains continued working so Tom could get up there about 9:00 at night. We went with two other families and the two other men were kind enough to drive on the very snowy roads to get Tom from the train station.

And it never stopped snowing!!! We had great powder. The sun peeped out a little bit on Sunday, the day we didn't ski, and made Monday a little crusty.

The view from our hotel room.

Our favorite part was the Onsen, no swimming suits allowed, but we tried to be as Japanese as possible and we all really enjoyed it. Even the developing girls. This is Hazel with her friend, Sarah.
Our car after three days of snow.

With snow chains on...Tom just drove out of the pile.

The drive home is normally four hours, because of additonal snow around Tokyo, it took us 9 hours. Honestly, we were just glad we made it home. We have heard it took some people 14 hours and some just ended up getting a hotel-not cheap here in Japan. Super glad we went and hope to do it again next year.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Huis Ten Bosch

Here is a preview of beautiful Huis Ten Bosh, but before we go there,
I want to share with you some of the signs we enjoyed on our trip.

This was at a park. We think it means "Don't let your wolves bark too loudly." Whats your guess?

And of course, to make sure there is no confusion...how to use a toilet.

So Huis Ten Bosh is a Japanese amusement park with a Dutch flair. The tulips were in bloom while we were there and we loved the windmill and even the authentic drawbridge.


Huis Ten Bosch had only one ride (and it was odd) but they had many "experiences." Like trick art, hall of mirrors. and different spook alleys that were very gory, but not that scary...well not all of them.


There was an awesome maze, three stories high, and a ropes course that we all got to do.


We loved Huis Ten Bosh, the kids especially loved being able to be active and run and play. The last few pictures were just having fun at a Claire's.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Miyajima Island and First day in Sasebo

 Our friends in Iwakuni told us about this little Chinese place where you can get some pretty good chicken on a stick, so we decided to check it out. The pictures don't do it justice, but kind of tucked into a hillside you come across all these lights and banners. There are all these outside tables and pathways next to a river. This was our first experience with a Kotatsu, the Japanese table with a heater underneath and a blanket that covers the table. You sit "criss cross applesauce" with the blanket over legs. We were very stiff when we got up (not Japanese enough). Sam however spent most of the dinner time under the blanket.
Miyajima Island

From the top of this beautiful island.

You take a ferry across to the island. They have lots of Oyster farms and this is one of the boats pulling a load full of oysters. Yum! says Tom and Tom alone.

Miyajima is known for it's Tori gate in the water as well as it's many deer. 

Hazel, posing, constantly.
Some Japanese wanted a picture with the blonde Americans at the Tori gate.

 They also had a red pavillion temple....
...and the world's largest rice spatula!

We rode a cable car, well 2 actually, to the top,

where we were able to hike to......
 the Eternal Flame of love and...

a really nice viewing spot.

That night we drove to Sasebo where you can eat Sasebo burgers.

and ride on a boat to see the 99 islands which means many islands in Japan, there are actually 230 in this area. We rode on the Pearl Queen, which I had to include because of Sam's awesome face in this picture:

 Lion Island

Submarine or Mexican hat island.