Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Mt Takatori Hike

We went with a group of people to church and did the Mt. Takatori Hike.  I've done this hike once before with the kids but it was pretty good I didn't mind doing it again.  It seemed to be a pretty good length for us.  Not too long that we can't make it, but long enough that we got a little tired.  Especially going up all the stairs.

Everywhere I turn in Japan seems to have a nice view.
Check out Mt. Fugi.

A nice view and a giant Buddah. 
On our way back we headed up the observation tower.  It had a really great 360 degree view.

It sure has been cold here in Japan but we aren't letting that stop us from getting outside.  I'm not used to all this sunshine in the winter.  I'm used to a cold and wet winter.  Here it is cold and very very dry.  


New Years is a huge holiday here in Japan.  I don't know everything that the celebrate on this day but I do know it is a really big shopping day.  Almost like black Friday.  Some stores were closed for the holiday but most were open and busy.  They had special Fukubukuro or Lucky bags for sale.

Fukubukuro are mystery bags or boxes for sale.  They reminded me of grab bags except these are not last year's left over items.  They are supposed to have good things in them and you can expect to get about twice as many items as you normally would for the price.
We went to the mall to check everything out.  The ranged form about $5 to hundreds.  I settled on a $10 bag from a sock store.  I love the socks here and I thought I'd be pretty safe that way.  The clothing stores usually had size labels on their bags.  So most people buy from stores they like and hope for the best.  I came away with 15 sock type items and was really happy with it.  Several of them here tall over the knee socks, some tights, some footies.  I think it was a great deal.

We saw this little set up and thought we would give it a try.
We paid $5 and had pretty much no idea what was going on.  She directed Tucker to pull out a paper, the paper decided which size bag we got.  We got the small one.  And came away with assorted Peanuts character items.  It was ok.

We thought these shoes were hilarious.

Some stores had deals where you can get as much as you can fit into a bag.  Everyone was really going for filling their bags.
It seemed to be totally fine to have things stacked outside of your bag as well.
Then we saw a long line and thought maybe we should get in it?  As we were milling around we were givin a ticket ushered by employees into the line.  We weren't sure what to do so we tried asking what was going on.  The employee tried looking up English on his phone to explain it to us.  We weren't very clear but we decided to stay in line and give it a try.
After at least half an hour we got to the front of the line where we had to pay.  I tried to pay 1,000 yen (about $10) but the lady kept holding up four, she even showd me on her calculator 5,000.  So I had to pay about $50 and I still didn't know what was going on.  Then we got to pick out a skewer type stick with a flag on the end.  The kids brought it to the next employee who opened it.  They then counted out the equivalent of a $50 gift card, to the mall, and gave it to us.  

From what I gathered we were unlucky.  If we were lucky our flag would have said something winning us a $600 gift card.  

So we didn't loose out that much.  It was a fun Japan shopping adventure.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A Real Hair Cut...Sort Of

Scarlett's hair was getting pretty long and tangly.  She never liked combing her hair and it was always such a mess.  I posed the idea of cutting her hair to her even though I wasn't 100% sure and she loved the idea.  I thought I would miss her long hair and all the fun braids I like to do.  But I finally decided that it looks pretty messy most of the time so we would go for it. 

We had plenty of time on New Years Eve to cut it.

Don't mind the messy bathroom.  Why don't we have any drawers or cabinets?

I did not do the greatest job, but it turned out ok.  I'm sure it is uneven but you can't really tell.

Scarlett loves it.  Cutting it was definitly the right choice.  Now it looks fairly decent most of the time and she doesn't have to worry so much about tangles.  And it will be easier for everyone to tell her and Penelope apart.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Underwater Bridge

We have been having computer issues so I haven't been able to post for a while!  I have so much to catch up on. 

On our way to the Christmas Winter Illumination we went on an underwater bridge!  We had no idea what we were getting into, it was so crazy.  Google maps does not warn you about things like that.  All we knew is that we were following the directions then we got to a crazy expensive toll (over $30), and because of a wrong turn we already payed $26 dollars in tolls, then we were on a bridge then suddenly it dipped down into a super long tunnel and back out again.  We got to do the whole thing in reverse the way home including tolls (minus $13 for the wrong turn we originally took).  It was an expensive drive.  But fun new experience.  I didn't even know these types of bridge/tunnels existed.

This on is called the Tokyo Bay Aqua-line.  I looked up some info on wikipedia here.  It has an overall length of 14 km, including a 4.4 km bridge and a 9.6 tunnel.  It is the fourth-longest underwater tunnel in the world.  We didn't stop but I'm pretty sure we passed a restaurant at the end of the bridge part.

It made me a little nervous when I first realized that we were driving underwater.  I just hoped the tunnel walls didn't crumble in on us.  The underwater part is almost 6 miles long, so we were in it for a while.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Tokyo German Christmas Village

After an early Christmas dinner we hopped in the car and headed to the Tokyo German Christmas Village.  It was recomended online for being a great Christmas illumination.  Here in Japan people don't decorate their houses with lights for Christmas.  Instead they places all around town will do big light displays.  We got there about 30 minutes before dark which was perfect because we were able to get a parking spot.  It was crowded but not unbearably so.
They had music that the lights flashed to and these dancing balloon bears.  I have no idea what they were about but the kids thought they might be a good halloween costume for next year.
It was cold.

Next to the bikes it said "Human Power Generation."  When the kids peddled huge bubbles came out.  These bubbles were white and held really well.  When they popped a mist sort of came out.

The there were a few shops and restaurants in the village area.  We got a couple things from the bakery.
The Japanese people are very polite and organized so instead of people randomly taking pictures they nicely formed lines and it seemed to be the custom for the person behind you in line to take your picture.  We got in line for this next picture and waited for us to get to the front for about 20 minutes.  It was a decent sized line.  The funny part was that no one got in  line behind us.  A few people looked like they were going to but they never did.  We think no one wanted to take our picture.  When we got to the front there was no one there for us.  We had to find someone.  I noticed after we left a line had once again formed.

This little house was so cute.  I went in it and there was a tiny model skating rink.

After walking through the whole thing for about an hour we saw people were walking up the hill across the street.  I figured they were getting a view of it from above so we followed suit.
I was amazed at how great it looked from afar.  So many of the pictures I didn't realize were picture when I was right next to them.  It was pretty cool.

I miss looking at lights on houses but I have to say this kind of blew any zoo lights I've been to out of the water.