Sunday, April 24, 2016

Kurihama Flower World

We had some time to ourselves after a morning of working for me, so off we went on a gorgeously warm day to Kurihama Flower World.  Just a quick ride two stops away from us on the JR line, a 15 minute walk, beautiful cherry blossoms, random temples and we were super close....

I love Sakura time here...it makes an otherwise normal street into something spectacular.  The blossoms are just about done and there were piles of pink petals on the ground.


We came across a huge park that was being used by adults...upon further inspection, we saw that they were playing a variation on golf with essentially badminton style balls...trying to stay in the lines, hit it in the hole (ultimate frisbee style of hole).  Very cool and we just watched in awe for a few minutes.  There were so many older people out playing and having a great time.  We definitely got a few friendly waves.  


And, here we are.  I had held off going for so long because I wanted everything to be in bloom.  I'm not sure about the rest of the park (we only saw a portion) but this was beautiful. The huge poppy and nemophila (I think) field was gorgeous.





We started hiking up the hill (too cheap for the train and the kiddo is a great walker) and got some beautiful views of where we had been...had a picnic courtesy of the food vendors in the train station, relaxed. And then....all in the hopes of spotting.....


GODZILLA!!! He returns!!

This was a must see for me....I've been so excited to see the fans Godzilla slide.  

What I didn't expect, though, was how amazing the other play area was...


Holy smokes, this place is huge.  Tons of cool climbing features, a long (slow) roller slide.  And we ran into another of Logan's friends from school.  What a small world the Yokosuka area is!




This park was awesome.  We should have taken a little more time to cover the backside of the park.  There was a foot bath (man, that would have felt good!!), more flowers...we got back down to the bottom, enjoyed a yummy ice cream and made our way back home.

Again, can I rave about the parks here?  Another free community park...incredible (moderately safe) play equipment.  Flowers, families out having fun...

We were smoked after a fun day of walking.  We definitely need to rest up for another trip north tomorrow!









Friday, April 22, 2016

Weekday randomness....

Even th Baskin Robbins is super cute...


Joe found someone in Yokosuka wearing a sweatshirt from his old school in Jersey.  Who knows how she got it...but it was very random...


Beautiful sunset from our place...


We are having computer issues in Japan, so the upcoming posts are only half complete...we have no way to move pics from the camera right now...sigh.  




Saturday, April 09, 2016

More Hanami!

After the kiddo and I headed home, Joe was doing much better, so we headed out for a little more Hanami fun at Kinugasa park, just a short bus ride away.  

Once again, we followed the crowd and a few very appropriately placed signs.  And, once again, up, up up a hill....



And we found outer selves surrounded by lovely Sakura blossoms.  Logan insisted on taking a pic if Joe and I at this small shrine.



And we spied carved creatures hiding in the first as we trekked up...




We got to the top of the hill around 5pm and it was obvious we missed most of the festivities for the day.  Lights were glowing, people still had their picnics set up, so we checked it out!






We snacked, drank a chu hai and enjoyed the springtime festivities.  The Sakura were definitely last peak here.  Amazing how the areas, separated by just a few miles, were vastly different in where the blossoms were.

That's the end of this weekend adventure...next up...Godzilla returns!











Mitsubishi Minatomirai Industrial Museum

Joe was feeling better but still under the weather for Sunday.  I had grand plans to head to Yokohama, hit up a museum, check out the huge Sakura festival for the trees around the main river...but the misty rain derailed the cherry plans.  Ah, well...there was still a museum!

I had heard great reviews of the Mistubishi Minatomirai Industrial Museum from a friend and it had been on my list of rainy day activities.  Have you noticed that we try to jam pack a ton of stuff into the weekends we have here?  We could see a lot more if we ventured out after work, but after long days, I'm content with hanging out around Yokosuka.

Anywho, here we are.  I loved the trip up here because we went on the train line that plays "I've been working on a railroad" for their "the train is leaving" song.  And, when we got off that train, we had moving sidewalks along the Minatomirai area.  Logan loved those...


Another thing to love?  The price!  Free for Logan, only ¥500 for me!

The museum was divided into home, space, undersea, transportation, physics and then energy.  All of the areas were super interactive and hands on with great English instructions.  The area shown below was in the transportation sect uni, where kids were directed to direct the transit in the most efficient way possible, or in another scenario, identify efficient energy generators and areas that use the most energy.


May the dream be with you...sounds like Star Wars to me!  Astronaut Logan!


Under the sea had all kinds of submersibles to explore and then design in your own.  Logan designed his own computer generated fish that then swam on the big screen...very cool.  Took me a bit to figure out where all the fish were coming from, but when the kids were running from the touchscreen over to the projection...it all made sense.


And that, honestly, was about the end of that day.  I was pretty spent from the day before (running to /from work and then all that hiking around) so when the kiddo wasn't super enthused about picnicking in the drizzle, I was ok.  We found ourselves a mall (thank goodness they're everywhere), set up a picnic with a few other forlorn families who didn't get to have some Hanami festivities and enjoyed ourselves...

We headed back home and checked back in on Joe....more adventures??  We will see....





Friday, April 08, 2016

Hanami Time and Kanazawa Park!


Finally, it's time for Hanami parties!  The Japanese tradition of finding some cherry blossoms, getting a picnic together and relaxing under the beautiful scenery.  There's usually food, drinking and socializing for an entire afternoon involved. I also learned that some of the more popular parks will start having spots "reserved" with picnic blankets super early in the morning...

Luckily, Tsukayama Park in Hemi was not that popular.  Joe was hit with a 48 hour flu, so after I worked on Saturday, Logan and I headed out for a walk...

The way was clearly marked with signs on the street poles and flags...we had a blast walking and looking for where we were supposed to turn next!  


It was a nice walk to the start of the hill that we needed to climb.  I'm not sure what it is, but all the nice little parks are at the top of things in our area..probably they were the least desirable housing location and it was easy to leave them undeveloped.  


I've learned with Logan on this trip that he is an awesome walker....slow and steady and he can go and go and go.  Motivation with a picnic or roller slides certainly doesn't hurt....and today, we had both on the plan.

We kept following the lanterns up and up and up...until we found the festival!  We scoped out a few things, grabbed some yakitori and then found our own little spot under a tree.  It was a ton of fun...We munched on food, Logan ran around the hills and we just relaxed.  We explored a little more in the park and found some sort of children's festival...Logan was invited to play a few games and got random snacks as a prize.  Totally fun and very nice....






After the Hanami fun, we headed up to Kanazawa Zoo to find a very special park.  More roller slides were rumored to be here...we didn't do the zoo (I've been advised to stay away from the zoos in Japan, given my general dislike of them.

This was like the epic park to end all parks...amazing roller slide, awesome climbing to get back up the hill.  We could have spent ages there.  Logan made a friend in a boy about his age and his grandfather.  Both spoke amazing English...it was a cool thing to watch Logan give his new friend a hug goodbye.







The rules of the roller slide.  No superman, no pushing, no airplanes.


We ended up the day checking back in on Joe and then going out for dinner to Sushi-Ro, the sushi go round at the mall by us.  On the way there, we enjoyed all the cherry blossoms in Verny Park.



There's still time for...more Hanami!m stay tuned!









Sunday, April 03, 2016

Asakusa Adventures


Asakusa is Tokyo in a microcosm....insanely busy, meaningful, commercial...with awesome food.  All in one spot.  The center piece of the area is the Senso-ji shrine and the Thunder Gate.  

We exited the subway and followed the herds to the Thunder Gate....lots of tourists dressed in kimonos, lots of tour groups,  just lots and lots of people.



We started down the fans shopping street in a crush of people.  The crowds decreased about halfway through...the inner street is filled with tycoon souvenirs.  The outer streets have more handcrafted goods...knives, spices, fabric, etc.  


Logan snapped some pics as we walked around.  He's been watching Lego Ninjago and thus reminded him of one of the buildings from the show...


Another Logan pic...


The entrance to the main temple area.


Old and new...


Little dude not quirpte big enough for the photo spot...


We randomly came across Sumida park, a welcome escape from the tourist mobs in Asakusa.  Totally random find, absolutely wonderful stop.





Our goal of the day, in addition to making it through Asakusa, was to go back to the sky tree and find the small roller slide park right nearby...also at the park was "Reflectscape"



Roller slide!!not long, but fun...too bad we didn't spend longer here, but someone threw his butt slide in the air, almost hitting someone.  End of the roller slide.....tears ensued.


Next stop was the imperial palace for a little more sightseeing and snacks.  Wide open spaces and Sakura in bloom were added perks.





All of our trips to Tokyo involve a beer stop.  Maybe we aren't checking out the most amazing food, but  for the amount we are eating out, I'm fine with brew pubs and fairly interesting food.  Today, DevilCraft in the Kanda section of Tokyo.  It was a little bit of a haul from the imperial palace, but Chicago style pizza was calling out to us....

Very interesting...small pizzas, not a ton of flavor, but it was interesting and I can say we've done it...the beer was really good...The family was happy and on good terms for the trip home.


Just in time for this dude to get some sleep.  The woman next to him was sweet, as most of the people have been.  She offered him a snack and was cool with his chatting.  They both slept....


The end of another exciting weekend...

I'm about a week behind right now....coming up next...Hanami!!