Saturday, July 11, 2015

forever tourists.

Nannie Annie, Gramps, and my sister Daysa came for Zeb's baptism and we spent several days exploring more of our little corner of Japan!

First stop: Mt.Takao.  up in the mountains a few miles away from base.
This picture is SO JAPAN. stone statue and an ice cream statue.  I think you could find both of these items a stone's throw from any one spot in japan.
we rode the ski lift UP, UP, and UP!  it went forever. and there were no bars in front of us! luckily- our kids are fabulous- and nobody died.  the views were stunning and the weather was perfect.  we thought we might get rained out- but it was misty and cool with no rain.
and there were monkeys on top of the mountain!  we only saw them in the monkey park- no wild ones.
these rice paste balls drenched in thick sweet soy sauce are pretty good.  Metta tried to lick them clean!  they are pretty chewy and I can only take small bites or I get a little gaggy.  Otherwise they are tasty.
we had to hike the two nonwalking kiddos way up to the top of Takao! luckily we had five adults between whom we could swap fatty mack and cripple metta.  It was exhausting.
Zeb and Ike are so self sufficient!  Being in Japan is spoiling us all. I'm going to have to remember to watch my children more closely in America.  Here kids their ages normally run to the market by themselves and take the train home from school.  Zeb and Ike can even order food at places like mcdonalds without our help- despite the language barrier.
when we finally made it to the top- nobody wanted to hold metta anymore!  is six weeks up yet?! did
I mention she had to be recasted? I'll post about that on it's own. ugh.

the temple at the top of Takao was awesome. One of my favorites in Japan so far. there were two giant masks represented throughout the temple grounds on statues and on the buildings.  We called them birdbeak-

and longnose.

we made it to the temple just in time to see the monks do a set of prayers and chants! afterwards the they marched past- but this one stopped for metta and asked about her broken leg and blew his shell for her!  he wished her good luck and speedy healing from here on out :) we'll take it!!
we rode the cable car back down the mountain and got lunch and some of the most delicious kakigori you've ever tasted.  ichigo and meron. Strawberry and melon.
after takao- we visited the trick art museum!
The kids LOVED it.  and we all had a lot of fun, too.
It really was a fun couple of hours.  they had some of the craziest tricks.  things your eyes could not understand. It was whacky.   there were also a lot of cool giant floor/wall paintings that looked 3-d. 

these are two separate rooms- NOT a mirror.  we lucked out that zeb and ike were wearing the same shirt!
zeb in a giant kaleidoscope!
and attack of the ginormous baby!!!
While family was here- we also spent a couple of days in tokyo. and we ate a lot of AMAZINGLY delicious food.  my dad was wonderful enough to stay at the hotel a couple of nights so that we could visit some restaurants without the kidlets. We've compiled a list of places to go without kids- we just rarely get the chance!
#1 Max Brenner's chocolate cafe.
s'mores pizza, mexican hot chocolate, white chocolate strawberry shake, and a chocolate cake with a mini chocolate shake.  Don't worry.  this was for 4 of us. And it was scrumptious. albeit pricey.
 another night we hit 'burgermania'.  Being in Japan surrounded by noodles, and sushi, and octopus balls- sometimes I desperately crave American food.  My cream cheese cherry blossom burger was honestly to die for.  they had peach and mango burgers, too.  and gorgonzola and balsamic french fries. I'm going to have to return several times to try everything that looked good.
this food is from The Great Taj Mahal. There are a lot of Indian places in Japan and Kent and I have taken it upon ourselves to find the best.  I still love this place.  It's right out the base gate and the butter chicken and cheese naan is divine.
 I also found quite possibly the most delicious gyoza in ALL of Japan.  Tiger Gyoza right near the Mormon temple in Tokyo!  They were so delicious I went TWICE! once with my sister, Daysa while the boys and metta went to McDonalds-

and another time with my college friend, Kalli.  She's been traveling the world over the past 6 months and we happened to be in downtown Tokyo the same day!  It was fabulous to sit and eat and laugh! we had gyoza and 'meron' bread!
We took my family to Harajuku and Takeshita street to see the craziness that is Japan! and we ate lunch at Wolfgang Puck's express restaurant. It's super delicious and very well priced!  Metta and Ike had to squeeze into the bathroom with Kent and this was his solution :) do you see all of the buttons on ike's toilet?  toilets here really truly are like robots.  The orange haired guy on the right is harajuku at its finest.
One rainy morning while Kent took metta to her ortho appointment and my dad hung with Mack at the hotel - the rest of us checked out the Tokyo Fire Museum. I have become so accustomed to everything being in Japanese- that I don't even notice anymore that I can't understand half the things we see and do :)   and the kids don't care at all.  we sat and watched a fire safety video entirely in japanese and I don't think Zeb and Ike even noticed.
daysa and metta flying the rescue helicopter. this museum is pretty nice! especially on a rainy day.  And it was even free :)
my favorite part of the museum was the house full of dangerous situations for children. even their dummies and mannequins all do the peace sign!!!  One of my english students, Sachiko, even named her dog peace!  it's a big deal over here :)

we also checked out Yoyogi Park and Meiji shrine. these are giant decorated sake barrels.
thanks to the looong 4th of July weekend (they made it a 4.5 day weekend here!)- and his vacation days- we got to have Kent with us for a lot of fabulous days.  Zeb and Ike love him.  I do, too.
we also took a picture with Hachi at Shibuya.   Hachi is the dog who waited ten years every day for his owner at the train station.  It's an American movie now if anybody wants to watch it :)
Metta and Ike have been dying to see pandas- so we went to the Ueno Zoo!
the zoo is pretty ginormous.  and is a nice green oasis in the middle of urban tokyo!  I didn't get any hippo pictures- but he was definitely our favorite.  He pooed while we were there and metta laughed so hard.  She kept asking him to poo again!!
japanese kids are so cute.
and lastly- we checked out Ameyoko street for some shopping.  The best purchase of the day was melon on a stick.  So delicious.
shopping here isn't quite as exciting or cheap as shopping in china!  bargaining for items is highly discouraged in japan.  Luckily- that usually means the price they are asking is a fair one. and all of the products are the real deal. no knock offs.
I am exhausted from being a tourist!  that's the one downside to living in a foreign country.  I always feel pressure to do or see something exciting!!

My dad and sister went back to the States on Friday- but my mom stayed a couple of more days and then continued on to Beijing for work!  we've got a few more adventures with her that I'll post soon.