I forgot to post these pictures from the Shimoda ropeway. There are so many ropeways in japan! It's probably because there's no easier way to access the steep bumpy terrain! we love it because the views are astounding.
once at the top there was a mini hike- and more spectacular views!
Kent and I threw rocks through the middle section of the venn diagram and now are guaranteed to have our love last forever. It's a good thing we moved to Japan to make sure we live longer, have better luck, and have guaranteed eternal love!!! we've gained a lot living here :)
I just love this picture. mack totally looks like these statues!!
Our first stop on the drive was "Izoo on the Izu" Both words are pronounced the very same way. And are written in English!? it still always baffles me that the English language is used so much in business and advertising here.
The zoo was the coolest. but check out Zeb's face! when we first arrived- he walked up to the zoo and saw the posters behind my head. Can you see them? They have pictures of cool animals like elephants, giraffes, penguins, lions, etc. All with giant Xs through them. Izoo has only amphibians, reptiles, insects, and the occasional other random creature. He was super upset. very disappointed.
luckily the zoo did anything but disappoint. It was a hands on zoo!! and honestly- I prefer reptiles and amphibians to mammals anyway. Check out the awesome real live chameleon that metta and I found in a little tree!
we got to place bets on racing turtles! the japanese sure know how to get excited about stuff. kent's turtle won and he got a fabulous turtle eraser. The Japanese LOVE erasers.
the boys warmed up after the chameleon and were willing to hold some of the creatures.
this tortoise tried to eat mack's stroller! he got a hold of the wheel in his mouth and we couldn't get him off! mack tried to jump from the stroller the entire time- so we let him out to roam and the two became instant friends. and isn't mack absolutely adorable?! he turns ONE next month?! what????!!!
Metta tried to talk to them all. I told her they probably spoke Japanese.
the grounds of the zoo were pretty astounding! kent even found a wild aloe plant growing and applied aloe to my one small patch of sunburn. Out of all six of us- on a beach vacation- I was the only person to get a sunburn (and it was very small). I was pretty proud of my sunscreen skills.
For lunch we all ate GATOR! gator nuggets, gator curry rice!, and gator kebabs. It's all they serve at the zoo cafe! we didn't tell the kids until after they'd eaten in! everybody liked it just fine.
Further down the coastline- we found Jogasaki. There are all sorts of amazing rock formations, a big lighthouse, suspension bridge, and the deepest blue water I've ever seen! It looked like food coloring had been poured into the ocean.
we are lucky to not have any kids afraid of heights or climbing! or is that an unlucky thing??? It makes it easier for us to cross bridges and have adventures :)
I wish you could tell just how blue the water was. It was a little eerie.
the warning signs.
Just as we hit the top of the Izu peninsula- we cut up into the mountains to head back toward base and stumbled upon one of my new favorite EVER temples in Japan. It is literally on a steep mountainside- far above the Pacific ocean.
as we pulled off the road to check it out- we realized nobody else was there. I got out to take some pictures and an older japanese gentleman approached us. He must have been a groundskeeper or worker of some sort. Somehow he communicated to us that he would let us all in and show us the place! He also got an umbrella for each one of our family members. Even though there was barely a sprinkle!
the Japanese are such hospitable and respectful hosts. They'll do anything to make sure you are happy and comfortable. even ramble on about something in japanese when it's obvious we have NO IDEA what is being said :)
the magnitude of this statue is unbelievable. How they constructed it or placed it on this mountainside- I will never understand!
I'm on the hunt for a fabulous happy fat man statue for our house. everybody needs a happy fat man in their house.
the repetition and vast numbers of the statues at these temples and shrines is mesmerizing to me!
metta's crazy smile. she's so great. and such a trooper with that leg of hers. We could tell she was exhausted- but she complained the least of all our children.
we spent an hour or so exploring the grounds and then got in our car to head home. Just a few minutes into the last leg of our drive- the rains set in. One of the many typhoons that has been bombarding japan started wailing on us. I've never seen so much rain. But our trip to Izu was amazing. I really really want to go back - and that's saying a lot since we have such a loooooong bucket list of things to do here!