and then…there was march

Ohayou!
おはよう

February zoomed past in a flash, and so did March. I felt like it would take forever for my daddy to get here, then he did! Then my time with him zoomed by. Why does time do that? It’s not fair! Now, time is still zooming by which is fine with me. I am sure those last weeks before going home to visit will be slow, and once home it will zoom by. If only I had a time turner…to slow time and relive events over!

So, on to March. In pictures.

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Field trip to an old Japanese village 🙂 I did the cooking class with a group of students…grilled sticky rice with miso paste. So good!!

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Using his feet as a vice. He made all kinds of things. Very beautiful work.

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Selfie with some kiddos! USA, Korea and South Africa unite!

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Love taking pictures if sewer caps around Japan!

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Girls weekend trip to Osaka for Universal. It started out as a crap rainy and cold day, and even when the sun came out it was still cold 🙂 But that’s better than sweltering!

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Miss you Kristen!!

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They had HOT butterbeer!! sooo good

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PJ day!

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So I met daddy at the airport!! I kept waiting for the orange hat to come through customs and when it did…eeeeek. We both did good! We didn’t break down in the middle of the airport!

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Saturday morning we went to Denny’s for breakfast, warning dad that it wouldn’t be quite the same. Even the food that would have been “normal” wasn’t being served when we got there. So, pancakes it was. Please note in Japan, pancakes are a dessert not a, breakfast. It was such a beautiful day, one of the first days of the year, so we ended up driving down to Nagoya castle. There was of course a festival happening, so daddy got to see some samurai and traditional dancing, and of course.

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There were deer grazing where the moat used to be.

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Dinner Saturday night at Ton Ton. One of our favourite ramen places close to home. Iconic photo trying to teach dad how to eat with chopsticks. He gave it a good effort, but in the end, I asked for a fork. Picture does say it all.

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Sakura mochi-mochi is a sticky rice usually served as a dessert, like here. This is for the cherry blossom season, hence, sakura. It’s wrapped in a candied leaf and filled with a sweet red bean paste (common dessert). Pretty to look at, and not so bad to eat either.

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Selfie at the Dragon’s baseball game with my new selfie stick!

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Not bad seats for 500 yen a piece! It’s the nosebleeds…but these seats were more like club level seats in ATL. I loved the baseball games are packed with a cheering section (which were sold out). They had a band too who played stands music like at football games. It was really great! We got a mask as a gift when we entered the stadium…so of course Paul had to try.

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On the Shinkansen! Made sure daddy had the window seat. He loved watching the mountains fly by. He was so excited and I am glad we could do this! It was about a 3 hours ride to Hiroshima. When we got there…it was cold but gorgeous. View from our hotel-Hiroshima castle. Completely burned down during the war, but was rebuilt.

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This is the A-Bomb dome.
Hiroshima Peace Memorial, commonly called the Atomic Bomb Dome or Genbaku Dōmu, in Hiroshima, Japan, is part of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. It was being reconstructed when we were there but it was still impressive and meaningful. There were a lot of memorial signs explaining the history of the building, the area, and the devastation. The park is along this river which was so pretty.

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Museum-took a few pictures in the beginning, then just couldn’t. The display shows Hiroshima city center, right where we were standing. The red ball is the epicenter of the bomb, just above the city. Reports from survivors say that it looked like the sun and scientists say it just as hot as the sun. The museum was hard to go through because they had pictures, reinactments (Stationary), and samples of victims burned clothing, hair, nails, toys, shoes, school books, etc. There were a lot of children who died either immediately, within hours, or within days from the blast, heat exposure, and radiation exposure. It was especially hard seeing images of dying or hurt children. Apparently this area was attached because it was a command center for the Japanese military. Thousands of children were there working in factories for the military. There was also a room showing the effects of radiation on the population and how it still affects families today.

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After the humbling and tragedy of the museum, it was time for a beer. This is actually really good! Grapefruit beer. I also found the most amazing kitkats. Orange, lemon, lime. The best I’ve had so far!

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Next day, Tuesday, we got up and checked out of the hotel. We started our hour train ride to Miajima island to see the huge tori gate and temple. It’s a world heritage sight, and the sculpture is the symbol of the dedication, and it’s placement is very unique. I hadn’t seen that before, but you can see the tori gate through the hole. During low tide you can brave the mud and walk out to the gate. During high tide it appears as if it’s floating, hence the nickname “the floating gate.” This island is known for it’s free roaming deer…deer who will walk right up to you, say hi, and try to eat your bag, or map, or whatever paper you have on you. Hold on tight!

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We were lucky to see someone’s wedding photos being taken. The whole family was there having a portrait made. This shot is of the bride and groom, and she was gorgeous in her white kimono.

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Hiroshima was a great overnight trip. I was happy to not feel like I was being blamed for the actions there while visiting. I know there are times when American’s visit countries where we have been a part of war, violence, attacks, whatever…and the people are hostile. Either in action or in feeling. I didn’t feel anything negative. But don’t let me get you thinking that Hiroshima is all sad! There were great shops and parks and everyone was as kind as I expected. Let’s end with a funny story about those deer. SO daddy is holding the bag while I take pictures of the area (gorgeous right!?) and suddenly I hear a squeal of sorts…from dad. I look over to see him laughing as a deer had snuck around him and was currently trying to run off with our bag of gifts. Bahahahahah! Who do they work for?

Wednesday-ish?

So…Kappa sushi. Conveyor belt dollar sushi! He was a champ coming in…even though I knew he wouldn’t eat sushi. We had an educational chat though. He thought sushi meant raw fish. Here is the definition: Sushi is a Japanese food consisting of cooked vinegared rice combined with other ingredients, seafood, vegetables and sometimes tropical fruits. Not just raw fish daddy! My favourite sushi is the sushi roll with cucumber and rice only…or another one with shrimp, pepper, and welch onion. I also like the nigiri, which is not a roll, but an oval shaped rice with something laying on top. I like the tempura shrimp! Dad tried the tempura shrimp, which he enjoyed, but not as much as the shrimp we had the night before. He likes the flakier version. The menu is a touch screen and if you order food, it comes out on a bullet train. Daddy loved the mini bullet train!

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Of course I bring him somewhere he can find food to eat. Chicken and fries are on the menu here. Look at those chopstick skills daddy-o! Like a pro. Kind of. Getting there. I think he eventually started stabbing the fries lol. We went up to the school so I could show him around. He was very happy with my school and even met a couple co-workers who should have been playing, not working.

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Not sure what we did on Thursday…maybe just lounged around? I think daddy and I went downtown for a tour of Sakae (the main shopping area). We had dinner at a Mexican place that Paul and I like.

Friday we went Inuama castle, which is the oldest, not rebuilt castle in Japan. Gorgeous area. It was a nice day-breezy and warm and not very crowded. I love how many rivers and lakes are in Japan, and how most of the cities are build on, around, near them.

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Samurai outfits! I love when I see these uniforms. They are detailed and amazing. They are also short. I think this display was about 5 ft?

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Dad didn’t go in the castle as it was a shoes off and climb a bunch of tiny, steep, and narrow stairs up 4 levels before reaching the top. It was a bit slippery too in socks because the word is so worn and polished over the centuries. I love when we can go into castles, especially original castles. I especially love that I can touch the wood, and look out the windows, just like people did int he 1400s (with additions through the 1600s) when it was built. Amazing!

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Yeah, my not happy face about being at the tip top of the castle, so high above the ground, on a windy day, in slippery socks, with nothing between me and the ground save for a waist high wooden railing. I mean really people…and the kids were running around on it? It was a narrow path! And I am petrified of heights…especially open air ones.

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Final dinner 😦 Korean BBQ-grill your own meat. It’s one of my favourite restaurants. Look, now daddy is a pro at chopsticks! Just chilling over there! Remember when I told you about pancakes? These are waffles. With a cone and ice cream…breakfast right? Actually, this is a Nagoya breakfast. When you order a coffee (at regular price) you get a hard boiled egg and thick white toast with it. The ladies breakfast sometimes comes with beans or a salad. I have no pictures from our goodbye, cause that’s just wrong. And, we decided it wasn’t goodbye…it was, “See you in June.” It was very hard saying goodbye…I am not good at those. I am glad he had a great time. He got to see a Harley shop in Japan too! I didn’t starve him, he had no problems at customs or with health…it was perfect. Well, almost. Having mom there would have made it perfect, but it was as close to a perfect week with my daddy as it could be. We spent the evenings talking and playing cards. So very blessed (yes, I said it, and it’s true) to have spent this much needed time with family and showing my daddy around my home. Love you!!

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Sakura season was rather short because of the rain. We were so excited to see the flowers blooming, then could hardly enjoy them outside! Here are some shots of the flowers at school-and the many sunsets we get to enjoy from our hilltop.

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March came and went pretty fast…It’s now April, and the year is winding up quickly for the end of year! We are out of school in June 🙂 Next post, at some point, will be up to date!  See ya next time!

Sayonara!

K+P

Where did February go?

Ohayou!
おはよう
Good Morning!

I haven’t written a post since January…oops. Paul wrote the last one from our trip to Hokkaido. I suppose that counts? It was short and sweet-not my usual long-winded drivel. So perhaps you were due a break.

I think I will just organise this by Month. There has been so much going on and not a lot all at the same time. Life has been pretty calm and normal recently. A few great events have happened since our ski trip, the biggest was seeing my daddy in March!!!!! It’s been too cold still to ride my bike much, and I am almost scared to start again, like that first time. I will have to build up my endurance again and my lazy side is taking over. But, I will do it, never fear. I was on and off yoga for a while too. There were weeks I kept forgetting my clothes, others I had too much to do, or I was too tired or it was cancelled. It’s been cancelled the last 4 weeks, but I think it’s starting back soon. Fingers crossed! So, on to the good stuff!

February

I will post pictures here from skiing and our trip to Hokkaido that Paul didn’t post. I have never skied before, snow or water. I was amazed at how excited I was more than nervous or scared. I knew if I fell it wouldn’t hurt (thankfully it didn’t) and I knew that I could laugh at myself. I was worried that I wouldn’t be in shape enough though (long history of big girl problems) and that I have problems. HOWEVER, that didn’t stop me and in the end, it was SO MUCH FUN.

We flew to Hokkaido and stayed downtown for the snow festival in Sapporo. The city was nice and the sidewalks made of packed snow surrounded by snow capped mountains. We stayed the night and left early the next morning for a slow train ride on the coast (About 2 hours, maybe less) to catch a bus to our ski resort. The view from the train was amazing because it was snowy and rocky and the waves were crashing alongside the train. Driving on the bus through the curvy mountain roads in the snow was beautiful. As we creeped up the mountain (well, not really…those bus drivers are confident in their snow driving skills…) we could overlook the ocean. Just see the pictures.

We stayed at Kiroro resort which was situated in a valley of several mountains. We had many choices for skiing and I am glad we chose this one. Other areas around the mountains boast great slopes, and pretty good lodging but you had to take a bus to the ski resort each day. Our resort was ski up-so we were on the same property. That was a big deal for me. I didn’t want to spend the days traveling on a bus to and from. Our resort also had everything you needed on campus. Shops, restaurants, bars, arcades…mini town. We were outfitted on site, took ski lessons, at lunch and then just played in the snow.

Lessons were really fun, and we had a great instructor. We were told it would all be in Japanese, but our guy spoke a bit of English, so he tried to talk with us. That was nice, though we could have followed pretty easily anyway. I only fell twice, and the first time I couldn’t get up so I just laid in the snow staring at the perfectly blue sky laughing like a maniac. We were a small group and there were two older ladies and one young guy in addition to Paul and I. The two older ladies were trying to help me up to no avail. I was good and stuck ya’ll…picture this.

Imagine I am kneeling on the ground, sitting on my knees. Then I just lay down, knees still bent. Then, put 4 feet skis on each foot, angled slightly…and you have the position I had gotten myself in. The only way out was to laugh, and unhook my boots from the skis. Then, I got up. And had to try not to slide sideways down the mountain while trying to hook my boots back into the skis. The second time I fell I was able to get back up and the third, almost fall I was by myself on the slope and was trying to stop. Instead of falling, I just went straight into the bank of snow. Easy enough to get out of. Paul only did the 2 hour lesson. We went in for lunch (ramen, yummy!) and I stayed out to ski, alone, without falling, a couple more times. Mission accomplished. It was getting dark, which was cool. And I really enjoyed the ski lift…until I had to get off the ski lift from a low sitting position, while on skis, without falling. I only needed help one time. Thank you very much!

That night we spent listening to a bartender make sweet bluesy music before packing it up the next day. Can’t wait to ski again!

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Sapporo brewery-You don’t see brick buildings like these in Japan often. Love it when I do!

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Huge (2 floors high) brewing contraption. Circa early 1900s and all copper I believe.

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How to make beer in 1900

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Mulled wine and Shanghai BBQ

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Chocolate stout. So good!

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These snow sculptures/replicas are amazing. They are life size ya’ll!

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Ran into my friend Izzy!

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I think this is my first time seeing snow + ocean? It’s gorgeous! Though I bet that water is freeeeeezing

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On the bus driving to our ski resort.

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Going up! That view!

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Hi! I wish I had the rainbow goggles. Oh well, I found a green outfit (even though I had to mix and match in mens)

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No hands! Or poles. They were taken away!

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Family slope. Yup, I managed this small hill

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This is the view of the small resort shopping/dining area from our hotel window

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My instructor! Can’t remember his name, but saw him at the bar later that night! He was great!!!

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One of my favourite pictures. Taken from the bus on top of the mountain with the ocean in the back.

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1. Night ski 2. This is the bank I got “stuck” in

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Love life!!!

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All the slopes offered at our resort. Guess which slope we were on? Green? Nope. Yellow? Definitely not. Ok fine…see that tiiiiny pink line on the bottom towards the right side…that was our slope. Those other ways had ants skiing down them I swear they weren’t people. OMG

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Piled up snow outside the dining room

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The day we left…where’s the road? Glad the bus driver knew…I think.

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I think the rest of February was nice too. Our friend Angelo from Chicago visited. It was great seeing a human I knew before 🙂 We went to Yokohama for the day to meet up with him and have some beer. He came back to our house for the night before going off to Osaka on his own. Thanks for the visit Angelo!

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I FINALLY saw Mt. Fuji on the train! Yes!!! A group went to climb it in September. They gave up at 3 Am when they were rained on and freezing. I think I will just enjoy the view. From very afar.

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Let’s see, also in February was Global Citizenship day which was dreamed up and coordinate by a grade 11 student. I ended up getting involved towards the end to help with scheduling for the primary grades and for the parade of nations. I have always enjoyed these days (obviously since I planned our event at NP for 6 years!). It was amazing to see all nations at school represented with such pride. How to dress up in “traditional” American clothes? Well, when from the south…

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Student made flag. Us, in “country” clothes. Best we could do, LOL.

These kids look way cuter!!!

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100th day of school and other random photos

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Korean BBQ meats to grill. I think there is cow tongue there somewhere….so good!!!

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This view from my neighbourhood. 🙂

 

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Beer! I had a hibiscus pink beer. It was good!

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We aged ourselves here…and using the app. Like, whoa.

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This is how they felt about seeing themselves as 100. Bahahahahaha

Well, I have decided to end this post here. I will start one for March 🙂

Sayonara!
さようなら

K+P