Wednesday, December 2, 2020


We went on a road trip!  We we were originally going to go last spring but 2020 happened and the base said no way are you allowed to travel and things got put on hold.  Even for the trip now we had to file and get permission.  

Our first stop was Miyajima.  We drove about 12 hours and slept in Hiroshima and woke up early the next morning to catch a ferry to the island Miyajima.  
They have a super famous floating tori gate.  Unfortunately we couldn't see it at all because it was covered in scaffolding.  I knew they were working on it, but I thought we would see be able to see it.  I had pictured in my mind one or two guys painting it, but that was not the case.  It was really disappointing.
To make up for it I bought a mini version of the tori gate at a gift shop and placed it on the sand to take a fake picture of it.  The kids thought it was a great idea.
Once we got over that disappointment we had a great time.
Miyajima is a really cute island.  They had several really nice temples and lots of shops and things for tourists to see.
I had fun taking tons of pictures but I narrowed it down to only like 20 for this post so... you might want to hunker down.

This next one was so much fun.  A man in a gift shop had this giant poster on his wall and floor.  He then showed the kids exactly how to stand and where I should take the picture to make it look like they were riding a horse.  It was fun to get to talk to the locals a little bit.  I think they are experiencing a lot less crowds than they are used to with both covid 19 and the main attraction being covered up. 

The place was swarming with deer.
There was one that scared Calista pretty bad.  She came up from behind to pet it and he jumped around and tried to nip at her.  
This was our fist time seeing deer that we so friendly.  I'm glad we came here before we went to Nara.
After exploring the main shrine a nice garden and the town a little bit we headed over to the main tourist shopping street.  Tucker loves soy sauce.
These rice paddles are a big deal here.
She was writing messages or prayers on them, like hope and strength.  
We tried some of the food they are known for.
I don't think anyone really liked the oysters.
And we finished it out with a large Japanese pagoda.  One of many we saw on our vacation.

I originally went to Miyajima for the floating tori gate alone but after getting over the initial disappointment I really enjoyed our time there.  I'm definitely glad we went even with it covered in scaffolding. 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Yokohama Tsukushino Course

The Tsukushino course in Yokohama is one of my favorite places in Japan.  The playground is just so awesome I haven't seen any that are come close to being so fun.  

First off, it is set in the woods.  Right out front is a busy road but somehow you go through the building and it feels like you are in a different area altogether.  
On top of that the play equipment is so fun.  Never in my life have I seen a freefall slide, and they have two.  It is crazy scary to push yourself over the edge onto nothing and just hope the slide will be there to catch you.

We went with friends who have a costco membership so we headed there once finished at the park.  I haven't been in about two years.  
Calista and Beatrix were loving the cart with two seats up front.  We are lucky to get one child seat at the Japanese grocery store sot his was really exciting.  I think I loved it more then they did.  There are some things I really miss about America.  Places in Japan are not designed for families with six kids.
It was fun to walk around and buy everything I miss, like the chocolate muffins.
Of course we got pizza and hot dogs at the end.  It was a great day.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Indigo Dying

Indigo dying is an old Japanese tradition.  The blue dye comes from the Japanese indigo plant called Persicaria tinctoria.  I've done it a few times now but I think this is my first time taking pictures.  I usually forget and it is a little hard anyway when your hands are covered in blue.  

This time I wasn't really sure what to dye so I just did a white cloth.  In the past I did a tote bag and also a scarf.  I wanted to do shirts for everyone in my family but they said they wouldn't wear them, so I decided not to waste the money.

I forgot to get a picture beforehand but you can picture a white rectangle.

The end result kind of reminds me of one of those ink blot tests.  I'm not even sure what I was going for.  Last time I did cool deliberate patterns.  This time I just randomly put the rubber bands on to see how things came out.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Books Geocaching and Uniqlo

I broke down and spent a good amount of money on books.  Our library here is limited, but I've also started to buy into the idea that much of the popular books today are not that great anyway.  "The Good and the Beautiful," is a homeschool company who is devoted to bringing back good literature to kids.  I purchased quite a few books that all teach good morals and values to kids.  I'm excited for them to read them, even though the kids are not that thrilled about it.  It was a little hard for me because I like getting books for free at the library, but these just weren't available to us and so I thought it was a good investment.
The kids and I went on a bike ride to our local thrift store.  And while we didn't get anything there we did stop and find a geocache the kids have been asking about.  We haven't found any here in Japan and geocaching is something we really enjoyed doing.  So we made a pit stop and found what we were looking for.

We also stopped by Uniqlo to see if they changed out any of the pictures and put up new ones, and they did.  
These jumping shots with the puffy coats on were a big pain for Leon's group.  When Calista did it they were jumping off something so it worked out.  It took the three year olds a minute to figure out to all jump off at the same time but they had a blast doing it.  

When Leon did it they were up on a roof jumping up and down on the black thing that was really meant to catch their fall.  It was squishy but not bouncy.  The kids worked hard jumping for over an hour to get the shot.  They even had to take breaks indoors because it was a million degrees outside and there was a real risk someone was going to pass out.  I like the picture they chose because Leon has his tongue sticking out.  Maybe not the best idea when jumping, but he and Bob both do that occasionally when they are concentrating.

Scarlett really wants me to buy this sweater that she is wearing, but it is about $20.  I'm used to thrift store prices so I told her maybe if it goes on sale.  I could always just buy it for her and subtract it from the money she made on the modeling job, but I feel a little bad doing that.
I also saw some pictures on Uniqlo's instagram that I hadn't seen before.  This one of Beatrix was so funny.  She was not at all interested in what was going on and just laid down ignoring everyone.  The little boy was not a very stable sitter so he kept falling on her.

For once she wasn't sucking her fingers.  During her pictures I usually squat out of the shot as close to her as I can and then pull her hand away from her face while moving out of the way as quickly as possible so they can get the shot.  Then repeat that over about 100 times until the photographer says we got the shot.

Tucker had to attempt double dutch for the first time in these pictures.  He was kind of getting the hang of it.  It is funny that they pretty much cut out what he was doing all together in the picture.

I bought some random $1 clearance costumes for the kids to play around with.