Sunday, November 17, 2013

Reunion

Good morning! I just finished facetiming with a bunch of friends at church. It was sooo nice to see them after a couple weeks.
On the day before yesterday, we went to a reunion. It was the reunion of four exchange students that went to the U.S. about 26 years ago. It was fun. There were two guys and two girls that went. We went to one of the guys' house. He has a kid who's about 2. He's spoiled. I'll bet he touched every fruit on the tart and didn't even get yelled at.






On the way back, we saw this vending machine. It has a touch screen and you can buy drinks with the card you pay train fare with.




Saturday, November 16, 2013

Hokkaido Landscapes










Hokkaido

As I sit right now in our living room, Obaachan (my grandmother) is on the other side of the table writing one of her songs. On the 7th-10th we made a trip to Hokkaido. We rode the train until Haneda Airport and flew to Hakodate where we met the rest of the group (we were on a tour). For the majority of the trip we rode in a bus. Ben got really annoyed by the tour lady. She talked for 3 hours straight without stopping. It was only a little bothersome because we couldn't understand most of what she said. I just slept through it all. We stopped at a lot of places including Hakodate and Sapporo. This is going to be a really long post. I was going to make it into two parts, but I decided not to. :)


This is an ice cream menu in the airport. At the bottom there is a gray ice cream. It's black sesame seed flavor.


One of my favorite books. :)

When we got to Hakodate, we got on our bus and drove to this tower.


We got back on the bus and drove to an observatory on top of a mountain. The roads there are so narrow that I was really nervous. It was raining and we were going up a narrow road with a bunch of "Caution, slippery when wet" signs on the side of a mountain in a bus. Not sure if it was worth it but the view was pretty.


The next morning we went to a fish market.


Here they are selling live squid in individual bags.They were moving around in their little sacks. It was sort of funny.



Then we took a walk around a nice neighborhood. This is some kind of church.


We stopped a kombu museum next. Kombu is a kelp very popular here and it's harvested a lot in Hokkaido. Later, after we went through the museum, we got some kombu flavored ice cream. It really didn't taste that bad. You could definitely tell it was kombu flavored though.

I just wanted to show you guys the squid ink flavor on the bottom right. Mom got it and she said it didn't taste like anything. Hmm.

We went to a delicious cake store. Japanese desserts are very different from American desserts. Compared to Japanese cake, cake in the US is very sweet. The frosting is sweeter and the cake itself is sweeter. If you have never had a Japanese dessert and only lots of sugar, Japanese deserts are... it's really hard to describe... almost bitter and maybe a little tasteless. But I think they're good, although I still think they could add a bit more sugar. Strawberry shortcake is very popular in Japan. This is a chocolate banana something or other. :)

This is what a Japanese post office looks like.

We had a really nice hotel that night. It was lakefront. The next morning we took a little walk before breakfast.


We left there and drove up a mountain. That day we had to change routes because it snowed and the first way was too dangerous. We got to see snow though, and Ben was very happy.




We then drove to this place where you can get fresh spring water.



This is the cutest little road block I have ever seen!

We went to a sushi restaurant. It was the kind where the sushi goes around in circles and you pick what you want. I had to order everything because I don't like wasabi. This is what they put on those orders. Isn't it cute?

This is a guy who pulls people around in a cart. Ben and I were saying how funny it would be if you were riding and he was running and you said, "Faster! Go faster!" I wonder what he would do.

We took a short train ride just so we could get off at this particular station called Zenibako (I think). There's a saying that if you put the ticket into your wallet, you get lots of money. Not that I believe all that stuff but  the train ride was cool. Because it gets so cold in Hokkaido, the doors on the train don't open unless you press a button.



For some reason, the Sapporo clock tower is significant. I don't know why. Find out yourself.

At every hotel you stop at they give you these outfits you can wear around the hotel...

On the last day, we went to a place called Northern Horse Park. We watched the Happy Pony Show with Meme-chan the Shetland pony.


Now that all the pictures are over with, I have a little story to tell. The first time we all got on the tour bus, we sat across the aisle from two Taiwanese ladies. They knew Japanese because they both went to college in Japan and one of them married a Japanese man. They were really nice. When Ben spilled soda on himself they gave him a wet wipe. Anyway, the very first day at the tower, there was a stand where they were selling ice cream. When the ladies came back on the bus, they both had ice cream, so I nicknamed them "the ice cream ladies". I didn't know how accurate that was going to be. They had ice cream every single day at least once, a lot of times more. They must really like ice cream.

Now I have to go get ready to go to a friend of my aunt's house. I'm looking forward to it. He makes good sushi. :D           Leigha