Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Imperial Palace, Children's Castle and Fire Museum

The summer fun continues before Cousin Shelbs leaves on Friday (insert sad sad face). Last Thursday we did a walking tour of the Imperial Palace grounds while Miss M was in yochien. It was HOT hot and the K Man fell asleep in the heat. I love the picture below of part of the palace with the large skyscrapers in the background. I feel like it expresses Tokyo - lots of history in a modern day large city. Yesterday we took Cousin Shelbs to the large famous intersection at Shibuya. Along the way we stopped at the Children's Castle and let the kids have a play. I was thankful for the extra help because you needed one pair of eyes on Miss M all the time. She had a ball in the huge climbing gym and the only way I could follow her was to look for the pink Minnie crocs. Today, we ventured out to the Fire Museum. It was our first time there and a great find. First of all, it is FREE! That does not happen very often in Tokyo. And, it was small and manageable. Cousin Shelbs leaves on Friday. Our house will be very quiet without her around. She has been a joy to have here and she has given me a glimpse to what teenage years will look like. If Miss M and the K Man are half as good as she is, we will be just fine. :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

More Summer Fun

We have been having loads of summer fun with cousin "Shelbs" as Miss M likes to call her. Over the weekend, Cousin Shelbs and Uncle Kan went up north to do some relief work with our church. So, the kids and I ventured to Odaiba with some friends and had some play time at the beach. The K Man is sporting some super cool dude sunglasses. So stinking cute. Then, on Tuesday night, I hired the babysitter since hubby is out of town and Shelbs and I went to Disneyland without kids for four hours. We had a blast. I loved riding something other than Small World and Dumbo. We did not even eat dinner - just bought some honey popcorn and kept going. I definitely think the hubs and I will be doing this and going to Disney Sea on a date one night so I can ride the cool rides there too. We fulfilled our Disney week with a trip to Disney Sea today. Cousin Shelbs is still at the park, but I brought the tired kiddos on home. Now, Miss M is quite partial and told us on the way she did not like Disney Sea and would rather go to Disneyland. I know, my kids are spoiled even knowing what Disney is all about. If you lived 30 minutes from the park, your kids would know what it is too. However, when we left the park tonight, Miss M said, "Mama, thank you for taking me. I had fun and want to do both Disneyland and Disney Sea for my fourth birthday." Oh my! She then informed me she wants to stay at the Disneyland hotel for her fourth birthday and the Disney Sea hotel for her fifth birthday. At least she is a girl who knows what she wants. I was a bit difficult being at the park without the hubs. We have such a good system when we go as a family and I wanted Cousin Shelbs to get out and enjoy it as much as she could. We tend to stay in the kid friendly places, obviously. At times I was a bit frustrated in the dead of heat with two kids on my own. However, we had so much fun eating dinner on our own, taking fun pictures at the end of the day in front of every Mickey statue, and well, Miss M telling me thank you on the way home made it all worth it. I know I have said this over and over - that Disney is so much fun for me - an escape really. And it is. I enjoy living here. There are huge benefits - like I describe here in the blog. But people, there are hard days living in a foreign country. Cousin Shelbs has seen it. And I need a Disney retreat once a quarter to forget about where I am and just be - enjoy my kiddos and be. It was a good day...a very good day.

Friday, July 13, 2012


On Tuesday I crossed a Japan bucket list item off by climbing Mt. Fuji-san! Myself, my niece, a friend visiting from the US, and a friend and her husband from BSF here in Tokyo made the climb, and climb we did. Now, if you research climbing Mt. Fuji, most websites will tell you it is a tourist climb and you will see people of all ages on the climb - from grandmas to young children. From everything we read, it sounded very doable. And it is doable, if you are in good shape. All of us who climbed are pretty healthy. My friend from the US cycles and works out a lot. My friend and her husband who live in Tokyo run marathons, swim and cycle. I run and climb stairs. My niece dances every day for hours at a time. And all of us agreed it was HARD! And humbling. On the way up they asked me if it was harder than child birth and I said yes, because in child birth I get drugs to help numb the pain. There was no numbing my blisters and with every step down they hurt worse and worse. But it was worth it. The weather we had was perfect. In fact, a friend of mine from Okinawa went the very next day and got caught in a typhoon type storm and had to hike the entire way down in wind and rain. At one point on the way down I had tears in my eyes. I simply just wanted to get home and see my kids and husband. It was mentally exhausting, but so worth the effort. It is like running a marathon - the last 6 miles you think to yourself, "why am I doing this?" but when you cross the finish line you cry from the accomplishment of it all, amazed your body just ran 26.2 miles. After about a month of recovery you start to think about your next one. Now, there is a Japanese proverb that says something to the effect of "only a fool hikes Mt. Fuji twice." I do not think I will do it again, unless I take two days to do it. Doing it all in one day was a bit much, but it was all we had. We made it up in 4.5 hours and down in 3 with about 30 minutes up top to look around. I think if I did get talked into doing it again, I would hike during the day, spend the night in a mountain hut up top to watch the sunrise, and hike down the next day. I do not think I would hike it during the night. It was simply too hard of a hike. Enjoy the pictures. We did not see the sunrise but we did see a beautiful sunset at the end of the climb, a reminder of God's beautiful creation once again and his handprint all over the place.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Yukata Party

On Saturday night our church had a summer yukata party. Our friend Melissa had just arrived from the US and we dragged here there, jet lagged and all. Cousin Shelby got to borrow a beautiful yukata and wear it to the party. She fit right in and looked stunning in it. The highlight for me for the party was watching Miss M dance. We sat right by the jazz band and she danced away the entire time. It was hilarious. She was looking at her reflection through the window and kept dancing and dancing. At one point she looked at me and said, "I see two Miyako's!" I think the world can only handle one, at least I know I can! Enjoy the pictures. Tomorrow we are off to hike Mt. Fuji. Should be an experience of a lifetime.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy Fourth of July

For the first time since we moved here we actually celebrated the Fourth of July. I think we came up with some new traditions. We made Fourth of July cupcakes that Miss M and cousin Shelby decorated. The K Man thoroughly enjoyed the corn on the cob after the adults ate most of it. We sang Happy Birthday to America, blew out candles on the cupcakes, and had fancy firework straws and napkins from the coo-coo house (in Little Rock). We relaxed - in fact we did not leave our apartment all day due to being so tired from Disney the day before. We did not see any fireworks, but that's ok. We celebrated, had fun, and enjoyed one another.