August 25, 2013

Kawagoe, "old town" Tokyo

We visited a beautiful area of Tokyo today called, Kawagoe. It is also known as "old town", or "Little Edo". This area was not destroyed in the war, so it still has a lot of original architecture.

One of the highlights was a stroll down Kashiya Yokocho, or "Penny Candy Lane". This was a street full of original Japanese candy and sweets vendors.

We watched some Japanese kids making their own suckers and the girls wanted to try. The man put what looked like salt water taffy on a straw, he then instructed the girls to blow into the straw.

They blew the candy up like a balloon.

Then, the man held it up to a fan to harden. It was just like hard candy when it was finished.  
We loved this man, he was very friendly and spoke "just enough" English.

 The finished product.

Then we came across a temple and cemetery.

Everything is always well-kept and beautiful!

The cemetery.

This was the main street, with lots of fun shops.

I loved the chopstick store! Hundreds to choose from.

This is not a bakery, rather, some very cute chopstick holders!

The girls liked the Hello Kitty store!

The back of this candy store had a very traditional Japanese tatami room. It had tatami mat flooring, a Japanese style table, and sliding doors. I loved it!

The Toki no kane (Time Bell Tower) has been rung to announce the time since the early Edo period. The bell still rings four times daily.

There is also a traditional kimono shop where you can rent a kimono to wear for the day. There are professional dressers to help you into the kimono properly. I am doing this next time!


August 21, 2013

Designer dogs!?!

Ella and Eva love to look in this fancy pet store when we go to the mall (yes, another mall trip)! The big front windows show the dogs for sale. I like how it is arranged more like a front room, rather than individual cages. Kids are lined up to watch the dogs play!

There are HUNDREDS of clothing choices, I have never seen anything like it! (Come to think of it, even our local "Home Depot" type store has a very large pet clothing section.)

 Here is the bling section.....

The nautical section......

And, yes, even doggie kimono's!

The best part is this fitting station, complete with a mirror for your dog to admire their new outfit! (Also, clean-up materials, in case of an accident!)

This is the dog salon for pampering and grooming.

The best part is, you can even buy a fancy gourmet meal for your dog! Don't forget the drink!

Or maybe a special treat?

The back of the store has a fenced in dog run for doggie play dates. Who could ask for anything more?!

August 10, 2013

Fussa Tanabata Festival

We attended our first Japanese festival last night, the Fussa Tanabata Festival, held in our town. The Japanese have hundreds of festivals every year, usually celebrating some different spiritual event. The tanabata festival means "festival of the stars". The streets were closed to cars, and there were decorations hanging from just about everything.

There were lots of these little fish ponds for kids. They would catch them in a net and take them home in a little plastic bag of water. We couldn't decide if they were pets or dinner!

Lots of characters walking around.


And, of course, dancing girls.

Many of the Japanese were wearing traditional kimono and yukata, I LOVED this!

SO many food stalls, it was a great way to sample different foods. My personal favorite was this cucumber on a stick, with some sort of wasabi paste smeared on it.

We loved the chocolate covered bananas, too!

No tables around, you just sort of sat where you could.

At dusk all of the lanterns started to light up. Very pretty!

On our walk back home, we passed this lovely outdoor patio with a very American sounding  jazz band playing. They were fabulous, I could have sat there all night!

We always see this house on our way to the train station. I love it!

 The only drawback to the evening was the humid heat! Matt's shirt and shorts should give you some idea of how sticky the air was. It looked like he stood in a shower with his clothes on, poor Matt!

August 6, 2013

Awesome mall food?!

I had the best mall food I have ever eaten today at the food court of Aeon Mall, (and I have spent some time in malls)! I am not even sure if the dish has a name, but it was basically raw meat on a sizzling, hot platter. The meat had some sort of seasoned butter on top, that melted.

You then cook the meat to your liking.

When your meat is done, you set it on top of the rice and vegetables to stop the cooking. Add soy or sweet sauce and enjoy! It was fantastic!

The girls chose pancakes from the Hawaiian Pancake Factory.

Every restaurant used real dishes that you returned to the window when you finished.

They even had a hand washing station, with a low sink for little ones. I would have especially loved this when I had toddlers!

Some of the store names just don't quite translate! Huh?!

The favorite of the girls today was this mall play area. It did cost some money, but they thought it was worth it! There was a large ball pit under a jungle gym.

 A climbing wall.

Lots of bouncy things.

Rolling balls to climb in.

And lots more! We will be back soon!