Sunday, September 13, 2015

Day 1- our journey to the Izu Peninsula

The base had a 4 day weekend with Labor Day and we decided to take a roadtrip down the Izu Peninsula to see Japan's best mainland beaches!  The trip was wonderful,  I've never been much of a beach lover- but it's possible that I simply needed to go the right beach! I loved Shimoda!!

 We got up pretty early and left base around 6am to get in a full day of fun! Driving in Japan when the traffic isn't crazy is a great experience :) and we had no traffic the entire way!  There is so much to see- and the landscape is so new to us that even the drive itself is an adventure.  Oh- and the fabulous rest stops!  Usually I'm all about getting from point A to point B. No peeing or stopping unless we need gas. But in Japan- cars have much smaller engines and we can drive for DAYS without needing to stop. And we actually WANT to pull off at all of the rest stops!!  they have the best bakeries, the best ice cream, the best food, and ROBOTS?!?
really- rest stops are unbelievable. 

A little more than half way through our drive- we hit the corkscrew bridge.  Engineers in Japan are pretty darn cool.
 and then we made a stop at the 7 waterfalls (kawaza nanadaru) hike! You hike 2km through the most densely packed jungle to find 7 different waterfalls! they are gorgeous and it's a perfect hike for kiddos.

 each waterfall has a little statue of one of the 7 gods of good fortune.
 several of them also have small shrines where you leave wishes, etc.  
Mack is at the CRAZIEST age right now!! He is INSANE.  He was DYING to get out of his pack the entire hike. and if we'd let him out- he would have surely crawled right over a waterfall.  He's about to reach out and grab my camera lens in this pic.  see that sly look on his face??

 Here's one of the small God statues.  the kids touched them all.  I'm sure it brought us good luck for years to come.
 Japan has to be one of the most geological diverse and rich countries on Earth!  check out these amazing curved columnar joints!  I love science.

we climbed A LOT of stairs and got pretty wet from the waterfalls.
 We worked up quite the appetite and finished just in time for lunch!
and then- we found this. Mountainous vegetable Ramen. 
I've been trying a solid year to like ramen and have been rather unsuccessful.  My 1st concern is the temperature.  Nearly boiling hot liquid and food is not my idea of a refreshing meal when I'm hot and sticky and parched.  
and then there's this:

what's even in there?!  truly- I know what almost all of it is.  Lots of bamboo, mushrooms, and greens.  The swirly pink thing is fish cake.  But the lifesaver looking thing? no idea. and that white soft flappy thing at the top. I can't even guess. ramen is not my thing.

the japanese are FABULOUS at drinks.  I never knew there could be so many flavors and types and temperatures of drinks in a vending machine!  this one that metta is drinking is a mango gelatin drink.  You have to firmly shake it ten times before opening it to break up the stuff inside. It's a full can of a gelatinous fizzy blob with hardish beads of mango.  It was very strange.  we tried grape, too.

after lunch we set off for the east izu coast!!  Our family is too big to stay in almost any Japanese Hotel.  They are super strict about #s of people per room and so we'd have to get two rooms and spend at least $300 a night to stay anywhere.  Luckily Japan LOVES,  And so do we.  I found an amazing beach house just a few minutes walk from KisamaiOhama beach- one of the very best in Japan.  I also got Abhi- the owner- to rent it to us for a lot cheaper than usual because we were booking last minute and he wanted to fill it :)

the house had five bedrooms and a was nestled right up in the coastal mountains!  Abhi had boogie boards, surf boards, floaties, umbrellas, and even bikes for us to use!

he lived next door and brought us fresh vegetables from his garden every morning! he also brought over his pet cat everyday for metta and mack to pet.

at night and early morning- the mountains were alive with animal and insect sounds!  it was really cool.  we slept on thick comfortable futons and made breakfast in the kitchen!

the kids loved riding the bikes!
 the view from the deck was all rice fields, vegetables, and thick jungle!
 that's the house in the back middle.

once we unloaded the car- we quickly threw on our suits, grabbed beach gear, and were off for the waves!!

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