November 29, 2013

A yellow Black Friday

Since Thanksgiving is not a Japanese holiday, today was a different Black Friday for me. Rather than hitting the mall, we ventured into Tokyo to Icho Namiki, or "Gingko Avenue", to see the gingko trees at their peak fall colors. 146 gingko trees line the street of this particular area and the leaves are the most beautiful, vibrant, yellow this time of year.

It looked like a yellow "winter wonderland". They don't clean up the leaves until they are all down. (Gingko nuts, however, are quite stinky! We have a tree in our backyard and they smell like you stepped in dog do-do!)

The trees are also pruned into a point. It looks like a bunch of Christmas trees!

Tommy is always a comedian!

Also, a lovely day to walk a dog....or a ferret!

 This little dog was gathering quite a crowd of photographers, funny! I must admit, he was a very patient model!

I just had to get a picture of this cute little guy. He was throwing quite a fit! Toddler's all speak the same language, don't they?!

Japan in the fall is amazing! Beautiful weather and scenery.

We stopped at the Kit Kat store in Tokyo station on the way home. Japan has some very unique Kit Kat flavors and they are quite popular. Here are; wasabi, rum-raisin, azuki (red bean paste) sandwich, Shinshu Apple, hot Japanese chili. There were many more!

This was the train on the ride home- PACKED!!

November 22, 2013

Nippara Limestone Caverns and amazing fall foliage!

 This week, we went to Nippara Limestone Caverns in Nippara, about 1 hour from where we live.The girls were very excited for this cave exploring adventure!  The fall foliage was at its peak this week, making for very beautiful scenery. This is a small shrine near the entrance to the cave.

The cave was cold inside (50 degrees) and had LOTS of stairs, both up, and down. The passages were very narrow at times!

There was a very large cavern in the middle of the cave.

Here is the whole gang.

The scenery outside the cave was my favorite!

When I thought of Japan, I only pictured the city. I had no idea there was so much "country" here!

The fall season is very long, the leaves don't usually peak until late November. The weather has also been spectacular, sunny and mid 60's.

Of course we needed an ice cream break!

Japan is such a beautiful country!

November 11, 2013

Happo-en Park, and LOTS of brides!

It was a low-key adventure today, but SO enjoyable! We went to a tiny park, called Happo-en Park, it was just like an oasis in the middle of Tokyo. So peaceful and beautiful!

The koi were unbelievable!

We loved this little hut overlooking the pond.

There was also a traditional tea house in the park. This lady was preparing tea, we watched her through the window.

As we were walking around, we started to see brides everywhere! I don't blame them, what a lovely place for a photo shoot. I always love seeing brides!

This couple was my personal favorite!

Ella, Eva and Audrey.

The park was so peaceful, I could have sat here all day long!

Our train "selfie" on the way home. Merri, Audrey, Ella, Eva and myself.

November 2, 2013

A thatched roof village

Today's adventure was a trip to a thatched roof village near Mt. Fuji. We were so disappointed that Fuji was not visible, due to clouds, but the scenery was still beautiful. We rented a bus through the base tours and travel group, which covered gas, tolls, and came complete with a driver! We went in on the bus with about 5 other moms/kids (almost 30 of us in all)! What a great way to travel!

The village.

Each building in the village houses different types of local crafts or food items. Our first stop was to the kimono/ninja dressing shop. For only 500Y ($5) you can dress in traditional Japanese clothing and wander the village dressed up. Sign us up!

There were LOTS of us to dress!

While the moms were getting dressed, the children were drawing quite a response outside! I guess they have experienced the paparazzi! Here are the kids.....

And here is the mob!!! Too funny!

Sidney and Audrey, our groups youngest. Adorable!!

The kimono dresser was a cute little old lady. She loved dressing the children, the moms, not so much! On my turn, she kept shaking her head in dismay and saying "too large", meaning ME, not the kimono! Haha! She was tugging, yanking and pulling as well. I found it humorous. These sleeves should have been down past my wrists! I guess I am taller than your average Japanese lady.

The obi (the big sash) were tied so beautifully.

The little girls felt so beautiful!

We spent the remainder of our time walking around the grounds. The thatched roofs were actually quite fascinating. This is a picture from underneath.

This is a traditional Japanese kitchen, basically,  a big cooking pit in the middle of the floor.

This shop had a make-your-own-pottery area.

The mountains were so pretty. It reminded me of home.

The fall leaves were just starting to change color, so pretty!

Everyone tried Mt. Fuji bread on the way home. Just regular bread, covered in chocolate, in a cute shape- of course! Another great adventure!