Saturday, April 28, 2012

When I Came Home From Japan

Steve picked the kids up early from school so they could all be there when I arrived at the airport.  Sam is holding a little cat from Takayama, and Anna received some earrings and Panda Pocky.  It was great coming home! 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Japan! April 25 - Going Home

Yes, this is the last day in Japan... I admit, I had a great time... feeling a little blue perhaps...

Goodbye beautiful view...

Goodbye corner window (I loved this part of the room!)...

Goodbye Shibuya Excel Tokyu, best location in Tokyo!...

Ok, enough of this sad stuff! I feel refreshed, let's go eat...


Got free soup for coming in between 11:00 am and noon!

Why can't they do sushi like this in the states, I love the rice but even better when it's draped over!

Yum, I'm going to miss you.

Bye Mama! Words cannot express it, but we had a GREAT TIME! Have fun extending your stay in Japan!

Yes, reality is here.

Anxious and excited to get home.

Going through all the photos of Japan and writing about the trip allowed me enjoy it all once again.  I can't wait to go back to Japan, Anna and Sam and Steve are excited to visit as well. It's a wonderful country! Thank you for reading my posts and enjoying my trip with me!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Japan! April 24 Part 7 - Meiji Jingu, Visit with Etchan

The Meiji Shrine is off the Omotesando stop and adjacent to Yoyogi Park, the large area of green we could see from our hotel room. There are large murals lining the way to the shrine, illustrating Emperor Meiji's life. On the trek back to meet up with my mom and her friend Etchan, I passed Yoyogi Stadium.
Etchan is a very good friend of my mom's, they went to school together in Japan. I stayed with Etchan during my high school visit for part of the time, she took me fly-fishing in the northern area of the country and probably helped plant the seed in my mind to eventually teach English in the more rural area of Japan after college. We had a nice visit, her sister baked a cake for us which we enjoyed a piece of before we had dinner together. What a way to end my last full day in Japan. I enjoyed every moment of it.

Japan! April 24 Part 6 - Omotesando

My last subway stop before walking back to the hotel was Omotesando. Let me just say that the all-day subway pass came in handy this day! By this time, my legs had quite a workout but I had one shop in mind in Omotesando: Kiddyland, a toy store filled with Japanese cuteness. I walked down the main street which had lots of high-end boutiques, it reminded me of Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills but more sparkly. I loved the tall glass buildings such as the Dior one that looked so firm yet delicate at the same time. Kiddyland was not on the main street but some very friendly officers showed me the way. Square feet-wise, Kiddyland is not as spacious as perhaps a Toys-R-Us here but it is multi-story and the Japanese stuffed animals and toys are more compact and... cute. If Anna and Sam came to this store, they would love it but it would be very hard for them to just walk out with one or two items.

Japan! April 24 Part 5 - A Couple More Stops on the Ginza Line

Shinobazu Pond, part of Ueno Park, was filled with growing reeds and grass, there were a few gorgeous cherry blossoms along the edge. I picked up a sandwich and cake for a quick lunch on-the-go from Doutor Coffee, and then hopped back on the subway and got off at Suehirocho Station. I've always wanted to check out Akihabara, a district of Tokyo which is known for its electronics. I was greeted by lots of colorful high rise buildings advertising their goods, and there were lots of men shopping about. Getting a quick taste of Akihabara and knowing I wasn't in the market to buy a computer or tv, I quickly went to my next stop, Akasaka Mitsuke, which still had a whole street lined with cherry blossom trees.

Japan! April 24 Part 4 - Ueno Park

I boarded the subway to my next stop, Ueno Park, a short walk from Ueno Station. Ueno Park is huge, open to the public, and has many attractions including museums, temples, statues and sculptures, and even a zoo. From the south entrance I was greeted by the bronze statue of samurai Saigo Takamori and his cute dog. Then I wandered about, and passed the Kiyomizu Kannon Temple, the National Science Museum, and statues of researcher Hideyo Noguchi and Prince Komatsu Akihito. There is a long walkway underneath a wide tunnel of trees where cherry blossoms were blooming a few weeks before. There is space to roam about and play, with entertainers here and there, I could have spent several more hours here. It's definitely a place I would love for the family to see in the future!