Category Archives: Japan

Ueno Park and Tokyo Imperial Palace (March 28, 2015 Recap)

Hey guys, today we went to Ueno Park to see the cherry blossoms! There were two colors, white and pink on many different species of trees.

 

It was very interesting because tons of people kind of claimed sections of the grass with tarps to hang out at, also called Hanami. This is an annual tradition that was started to welcome in the new year’s harvest.   We also saw a lot of different people, even some guys dressed as anime girls! After leaving the park, we went to Ameyoko Market, where we saw one of the cosplay weirdos again.   

We found a restaurant where we sat down and had a hard time ordering because the menu was in Japanese! This shouldn’t be surprising since we are in Japan, but thankfully when they saw our confused faces, they brought out a picture menu, which I was extremely grateful for. 

After eating, we said goodbye to our grandparents since they are leaving today, and went to find our Tokyo Free Walking Tour.

The tour took us through the Tokyo Imperial Palace, where we learned all about the history of the place.

  

After the tour we decided to go home to relax for a while, and then go to dinner at a place called Brozers’. They have AMAZING burgers and awesome desserts. When we got home from the one minute walk, we got ready for bed and went to sleep

See you guys later!

Mount Fuji (March 26, 2015 Recap)

Dear World,

WE WENT TO MOUNT FUJI!๐Ÿ—ป๐ŸŒธ๐Ÿ—ป๐ŸŒธ๐Ÿ—ป๐ŸŒธ๐Ÿ—ป๐ŸŒธ๐Ÿ—ป๐ŸŒธ๐Ÿ—ป๐ŸŒธ๐Ÿ—ป

We (my family) met my grandparents at their hotel in Ginza where a bus picked us up along with a couple other groups. We all rode for about 15 minutes until we reached the station place (I think). There, we waited in line for a couple minutes and then the workers gave us these stickers (which u think were basically our tickets).

After we got our stickers/tickets we hopped on a different bus and rode for about an hour and a half until we got to a spot where we could take super pretty pictures of Mount Fuji. 

   Then, we continued on for about half an hour until we got to the 4th Station where you could take some pictures of the Japanese Southern Alps and Mount Fuji from below:

   

The road conditions were bad so we couldn’t go any higher, but we got ice cream as a consolation prize.

We continued on the bus for about half an hour, until reached a hotel where we ate lunch! It was a Japanese style lunch with a bento box, some miso soup, and a bowl of rice.๐Ÿš

The lunch was surprisingly good! No, it was great!๐Ÿ˜„After we ate our meal, we rode the bus for about thirty more minutes until we got to Lake Ashi. The lake was very pretty, but what I think the two coolest things were: the ferry that looked like a pirate boat

and the swan boats! They were super cool! They were paddle boats shaped like swans.

After we rode around the lake once, we hopped on a ski lift thingy. Actually, I have no idea what it was. It was the shape and size of a bus, had no seats, and no wheels. But, it was riding on wires like a ski lift.

Anyway, we rode it up these mountains things (I have no idea which mountains), and when we got to the top, oh it was prettiest thing ever! You could see the Japanese alps, you could see Tokyo, and you could see a golf course (not sure which one though!)

 

After we came back down the mountain in the ski lift thingy, we shopped around for some mochi and found some vanilla mochi with red bean filling.๐Ÿ˜› When we were done eating our mochi, Ma’ama (my grandma), Mom, and Papa went down to the bakery (that was next to the mochi place) and while they were there Dad, Trey (my brother), and I went looking for something to do. We were walking around the shops when we saw a little girl sitting on a robotic panda thing and we realized she was driving it! So when she was done, Trey and I hopped on the panda, put some yen in, and started driving around! It was so, so fun!

After all if the family met back up, we climbed back on the bus and rode for about twenty more minutes until it dropped us off at the train station. Can you guess what type of train we rode to get back to Ginza? The bullet train!๐Ÿš„ After we rode the bullet train back to Ginza, we walked a few blocks until we got back to our apartment, got ready for bed, and called it a night!๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ’ค 

โœŒโญ•โ›Žโž• (aka peace out)

~Kamaile

P.S. I don’t know if I said this in any of my other posts, but most of the locals here wear masks๐Ÿ˜ท. Not because they’re sick or anything, just because… because? I guess it’s just germs or something but I have no idea!๐Ÿ˜†

Tokyo Bike Tour (March 25, 2015 Recap)

Trying something a little different for this post. Rather than all of us individually posting on the same thing, we’ll capture our experiences in a single post. Comment and let us know what you think. 

Kamaile

One word friends…Biking.๐Ÿšต๐Ÿšด

Today, we went on the Tokyo Discovery Bike Tour!

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Our family met the guide, Mr. Akira, in a sort of garage place (that wasn’t connected to a house), where he kept the bikes. Mom, Dad, and Trey all got big(ger) green bikes, and I got a smaller blue bike. ๐ŸšฒWe started off in a neighborhood called Akihabara, and then biked for 1.9km till we got to Ryogoku – Bashi bridge.

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It was super pretty there with such clear water and a beautiful skyline.๐ŸŒ‡

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After we stopped at the bridge for a water break, we continued on for 2.5km until we got to Ryogoku Kokugikan. Ryogoku Kokugikan is a venue for contests in Japan’s national sport, sumo. Three of the six official sumo tournaments that take place nationwide each year are held here, in January, May, and September.๐Ÿ“…๐Ÿ“†

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Then, after we looked around the museum part of the stadium, we rode 5.8km to the Tokyo sky tree! It was built in 2012 and is 634meters high-the tallest free standing tower in the world!๐ŸŒ ๐ŸŒŽ ๐ŸŒ

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Next, we continued on for 6.5km till we reached Sumida park. A great spot to go see cherry blossoms!๐ŸŒธ There are about 1,000 cherry trees there. But, it isn’t really a great time to see them now though, not very many blossoms, but Mr. Akira said most of the trees will be in bloom if we come back in the next 5-7 days.๐ŸŒธ (which, I hope we do!)

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After we took a water break, we kept on riding and did a couple of more stops, but, I can’t remember what the names were (they weren’t very interesting to me๐Ÿ˜)! ๐Ÿ˜

Well, that’s most important stuff (to me) that we did yesterday friends!๐Ÿ˜›

โœŒโญ•โ›Žโž• (aka peace out)

~Kamaile

Trey

Hey guys, today we got to go on a bike tour! First we had to find the place, where our guide gave us the rundown of our route.

We went to the sumo stadium, the sky tree, and tons of parks! After we got back we met some relatives who were visiting Japan with us. By that time I was falling asleep so after a while we went back to the apartment and fell asleep. See you guys later!

Laura

I think you get the idea that we all loved the bike ride. Hands down, the coolest way to see a city! To get to the bike ride, we had our first chance to ride the subway. Yes, it was a bit stressful trying to decide exactly which ticket we wanted to get, and yes, the waves of people passing us in the all black business uniform made me feel like I was in a science fiction movie, but we made it on to the right train and off at the right station on the first try.  Hooray!

I really enjoyed our time biking and the numerous stops we made. As we rode, we passed the Fine Arts University and Tokyo University, both of which were holding commencement ceremonies with men in nice suits and women in traditional Hamaka dress. 

After a short rest back at our room, we headed out to meet April and Lowry, Paul’s mom and step dad. We wandered around Ginza together and explored the many food vendors, meats to sushi to mochi and fancy chocolates, on the bottom two floors of a department store before deciding to eat at a cafe on an upper floor instead. (There were no places to sit or stand to eat all of the food being sold on the lower floors.) 

We finished the night at a coffee and dessert place called Choco Cro where we indulged in some yummy treats! Hopefully you got to see Kamaile’s video of her devouring her dessert. 

Overall we are loving this country. It is overwhelming to navigate to crowds sometimes, but we have a pretty good system of Paul leading the way and me bringing up the rear with the kids in the middle. It is a big adjustment to getting used to walking on the left side of the sidewalk, passing on the right, and looking for cars approaching from the other side. 

Looking forward to seeing more of the country in another way tomorrow: Mt. Fuji and Lake Ashi by bus and bullet train.

Paul

First things first, let me just say that my quads and butt are sore! The all-day ride was amazing, but 20-kilometers and a couple hills made for an achy morning today.

We found out about Akira and his company through Trip Advisor and decided to give it a shot with the hope that we’d be able to get a taste for the city that neither tour buses nor trains could provide. Thankfully, our hopes were not only met, but FAR exceeded. 

We were very fortunate to have Akira as our guide. He was knowledgeable and provided not only the “typical” facts, but also shared other interesting tidbits along the way. Akira was patient as we slowly became comfortable with weaving through often extremely congested car and foot traffic with our bikes. As cyclists, I would consider us remedial, at best, yet we managed to feel relatively safe in short order. Akira was also very flexible in giving us choices along the way. The pace of the trip was just right for our family. 

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Some thoughts/observations:

  1. I was surprised by the many quiet, even peaceful, neighborhoods throughout Tokyo that totally shattered my pre-conceived fantasy of a dystopian, Bladerunner-like metropolis.
  2. The Japanese are on a different level when making order out of chaos. The sidewalks have different lanes designated for bikes, regular (fast-walking) pedestrians, and family (slow-walking) pedestrians. Stay in your lane or get rolled, Sucka!
  3. It’s difficult for casual riders like us to imagine biking around like we did on this tour in other world cities like Honolulu, New York, or Rome. By and large, courtesy still rules the day here in Tokyo. Even if your vehicle happens to outweigh my bike by a couple thousand pounds, I’m remain confident that you’re looking out for me. Perhaps I’m just naive.
  4. The kids handled the ride like champs. I rarely had to worry about Trey. He has proven to be quite capable of taking care of himself in many situations. Meanwhile, Kamaile surprised me, yet again, as the youngest/smallest in our group with her determination and grit. She never complained and was far from quitting when tackling a nasty hill just seconds after taking her one and only spill of the entire day (darn those sneaky curbs!). It was also another confirmation for us that the kids are at the right age for traveling.
  5. It seems like everyone wears some sort of uniform. The business people collectively form a sea of black, which is only broken up by the ever-present surgical masks. The students wear their school-mandated uniforms. Even the construction workers wear something more formal than the hard had and orange vest I’m accustomed to seeing back in the U.S.
  6. After the tour, we went back to trains and walking like “normal” folks. Immediately, we ALL lamented not being on bikes anymore despite our aches and pains. Just weird.

Finally, on a day that featured a series of amazing moments, one of the best was when we stopped in Yanaka (Taito-ku) to visit an “old world” market. We picked up bento boxes and decided to eat in a little neighborhood park were some school-children were playing a netless form of badminton. The children initially shot a few curious glances our way–I’m guessing because we’re foreigners and had 2 kids with us–but they quickly decided that we were harmless enough for them not to mind. Trey hung out near the kids for a few minutes and even chased down a couple wayward shuttlecocks, but never actually tried to engage. We didn’t quite stay long enough for him to take that next step, but it was easy to imagine him being able to figure out a way to connect with people from a completely different culture even without the benefit of a common language. We’ll get there soon enough…

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Kamaile’s First Post

Oh my,

HELLO WORLD!๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ”Š

(3-24-15) I’ve never been a country where the people speak a different language and it was kind of interesting (and sort of boring) listening to the announcements on the plane in both English and Japanese.

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Speaking of the plane, the ride was sooooo looooong!๐Ÿ˜ณโœˆ It took ten and a half hours! At least we got some good entertainment, though, I thought I was gonna be bored to death! But, nope!๐Ÿ˜Š We got to fly on one of those planes where there are mini T.V.s on the back of the seats๐Ÿ’บ๐Ÿ“บAnd even better, there were free movies, music, and games on it! Even though we had games and movies to do I still wanted to nap๐Ÿ˜ดso I could get over jet lag (Tokyo is sixteen hours ahead of Seattle!), which was awesome because the flight attendants gave us blankets, pillows, eye shades๐Ÿ˜Ž, and ear plugs….๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜ด

Tomorrow, I’ll write more about what I did today, because I did a lot more fun stuff! I’m also going on a biking tour around Tokyo ๐Ÿšฒ and hope to write a good post about it so you guys can read about it! ๐Ÿ“–

โœŒโญ•โ›Žโž• (aka PEACE OUT)

~Kamaile

We Have Arrived!

Hey guys, guess where we are? JAPAN! After an extremely long flight of ten hours, we landed and our party got separated in half! We didn’t expect their to be two exiting tunnels, and half the party went one way, and the other the other way.

After we meet up again, most of us had to go to the bathroom, but when we went in, the toilets were super weird.

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So, which end is the front?

After going through customs and arrivals, we bought our train tickets. After we got on the train, I somehow fell asleep and missed over half the ride, which I  am grateful for.

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Colorful advertising on the train

It was a five minute walk to the apartment, which is cool!

Anyways, see you guys later!

Planning for Japan

Trey’s First Blog Post!

Hey guys, did you know we were going to Japan soon? We started planning a few days ago, but we just now have started naming the places we want to go.

One place that I definitely don’t want to go is the public baths. Seriously, who would want to get in a hot tub with other people while naked? That is just weird!

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We also found out about the Legoland Discovery Center, and I am really excited about it.

And I definitely can’t wait for the food like rice and sushi!

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See you guys later!