Thursday, April 22, 2021

Cherry Blossoms

We really enjoyed cherry blossom season this year.  While we saw many cherry trees, we did spend one morning going to a park in Yokosuka known for their blossoms.
It had been a while since some of the kids have ridden on the train.

These next pictures are from our neighborhood park.  We go here a couple times a week, so it was a nice surprise when we walked up one day and saw the trees were in bloom.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Leon 8 Photography

We took a minute to take a few pictures of Leon in is suit just before her turned eight.  He wasn't happy at all about me having him put on a suit and take pictures instead of playing with his siblings like he wanted to.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Leon's Baptism

We are so happy and proud of Leon for choosing to be baptized.  With three older siblings he was looking forward to this day for a long time.
We have Covid restrictions in place we were limited to ten people including ourselves.  Along with the eight of us the bishop and primary president maxed out our attendance.  It was honestly very different feeling not to have the support of family and ward members present.  Everything felt super low key.  Tucker and Penelope did a great job giving talks, and I was excited to be an official witness for the first time.    

We invited family to join over zoom, and I think most people showed up on there.  I don't think they could hear very well, but it was nice to know that they were there to watch and support Leon.  Living in Japan even without Covid we wouldn't have had much family come, but through zoom even more people were able to watch.
Leon was a little nervous, but not too much.  He is a really easy going child.  We don't have a font in our church building so we use the Chapel of Hope, which is the non-denominational base church building.  It is the same place Scarlett and Penelope were baptized at.
  Once we finished we headed home and ate CTR cookies.  
For me it was the easiest baptism to plan and carry out.  I am really happy for Leon.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Plum Grove

It is plum blossom season!  Usually about a month before cherry blossoms come the plum blossoms.  They are pretty similar and many people don't know the difference.  One easy way to tell is that plum blossoms grow directly off the main branch and cherry blossoms do not.

I love how the Japanese culture celebrates the different flower seasons.  It so so fun and a great excuse to get outside.  This particular day was crazy windy.  I almost couldn't finish my jog the water was coming so far over the seawall I was getting wet.  The kids really wanted to go though and I'm so glad we did.  Once we got there and parked the wind wasn't a problem at all.  

There were so many of the trees it really is a plum grove.  We went during a peak time and although I wouldn't say it was crowded at all there were more people there than usual.  We even made a new friend.  There was a little Japanese girl who wanted to play with our kids.  We talked to the mom a bit and she even walked back to her car with us.  

Friday, March 5, 2021

Matsumoto Castle

On the way home from seeing the snow monkeys in Nagano we stoped at Matsumoto Castle also known as Crow Castle because of it's black exterior.  It was beautiful.
We've seen many castles living in Japan and there are so many that I'm OK not seeing them all.  Matsumoto is one of the five oldest castles in Japan so it was worth the short detour.  
The castle was closing up when we arrived.  And even it if wasn't I'm not sure we had the energy to go tour inside.  Penelope and I hoped out of the car and walked around taking pictures while everyone else took a rest in the car.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Snow Monkeys

The Nagano snow monkeys are the only monkeys in the world that enjoy bathing in outdoor onsens.  Lounging and playing in the water is not typical monkey behavior.  The town Nagano has many outdoor onsens.  The local monkeys observed people in the natural hotsprings and have since been copying.  In fact there is a regular outdoor onsen right next to the one the snow monkeys use.  I saw the building but didn't know what it was.  Bob said he saw two guys walking to the water naked outside near the building.  
In the wintertime people travel to Nagano to see the monkeys in the snow and onsen.  I was excited to see them.  Photographers have traveled to Japan just to take pictures of these monkeys.

The only problem for me was that when I came the monkeys seemed content to just walk around the water and occasionally lean over and take a drink.  I stood in the same exact spot and waited about an hour for a monkey to get into the water.
Everyone else was bored of the monkeys and wanted to go home.  I thought it was pretty cool how there were hundreds of monkeys just walking around us totally ignoring us.
I really wanted to see a monkey swimming.  It was a little frustrating because we waited a long time to come and drove a long way.
Leon's snowman got knocked over as he was building it by two monkeys having a turf war.

I finally gave up and came to the conclusion that the monkeys were just not going to swim at all that day.  I left my spot and went to go find the kids when I happened to look back and see a monkey in the water!  I was surprised and ran over to take my pictures.

It was a pretty fun day for everyone.  I was happy to see the monkeys and take their pictures and the kids really liked playing in the snow.