Monday, November 20, 2017

Field Trip

We went on a field trip with junior high students.  These kids traveled a couple hours to come do this activity with Americans.  They were originally going to go to a different country but for some reason that didn't work out and they got to see us instead.  We were going to ride the ferry over to Monkey Island with them but because of the weather that didn't happen either.  They learn english in school so this was their big chance to get to speak with native english speakers.  It was pretty fun.  We all got name tags.



The first thing we did was ride the bus with them to a local park.  They were so excited to sit next to the kids. I think Penelope was overwhelmed.  She told me after the first ride that they kept looking at her and talking and laughing and she didn't like it because she didn't know what they were saying.  I told her that they just thought she was really cute and she seemed better about it the second ride.  She said they asked to take her picture and she told them yes.
Once we got to the park we broke into groups.  The students were already in groups so the Americans just got assigned to a group.  There was only one other family there with kids and the students seemed to love the kids.  When we got called to a group they were cheering and super excited that we got to be with them.  It was kind of crazy how happy they were that we were in their group.

The first activity was to make hamburgers.  In Japan they have to go to a special park to have a grill and so most of these kids had never done it before.  We were supposed to work together to grill and eat hamburgers.  Instead it was raining and pouring so hard no one could get anything cooked.
The students were so nice and diligent with holding their umbrellas over us.  We ended up leaving the park without eating and driving to a building.
At the building we played games for what felt like forever while someone somewhere cooked the hamburgers.  I think we ate at 2:30. 

We played a game like hot potato and if the music stopped while they had the ball they had to answer a question in English.  Some of them were so nervous to talk to us in English.  A couple were much more willing to speak to us and the more shy ones would usually just defer to them.  Of course the only person in our family who the music ever stopped on was Penelope and it happened twice.
At the end the students had a little presentation for us where they each shared where they think we should visit in Japan.  We had fun and want to do more of these type of activities.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Watch What I'm Wearing

As a nursing mamma finding dresses that work can be next to impossible.  But eShakti did it again!  This flowy black dress makes feeding my baby a breeze.  When Calista is hungry she is not patient nor happy and I need to be able to feed her in whatever I'm wearing.  This dress makes that possible which means I have a Happy baby.  And we all know that happy baby = happy mamma. 

It is true wrap dress, which I love because the cut is flattering and forgiving at the same time.   What makes eShakti so great is you can customize the dress almost any way you want.  I especially love that you can change the length and sleeve type of the dresses.  Because of my religious beliefs I always need to wear something that covers my shoulders.  The majority of dresses these days seem to be sleeveless or even strapless.  But with their customizable option I can pick any dress I like, sleeves or not, and just add them.  It is amazing!  Total game changer.  I felt confident and comfortable wearing this stylish dress that was perfect for my needs.




Friday, November 17, 2017

Imperial Palace and Tokyo Station

Grandma and Grandpa Woestman ventured out on their own for a couple of days and went down to Kyoto.  Someday we will go visit down there but the bullet train just cost too much for us right now.  The bullet train dropped them off in Tokyo and they had a couple hours to spend there before their flight so we met them. 

We decided to go to the Imperial Palace.  Japan will get a new Emperor at the end of next year and we are excited that we get to be here for that.  The current Emperor has asked to retire before he dies and was given permission.  This has never happened before in Japan's history.

Before we could go in they checked our bags.  Then we had to go through two gates.  Tucker thought it would be easy for ninja climb over them.  He also came up with all sorts of reasons why there was this small door in the big door.




We weren't able to get anywhere close to the palace so we just walked around the gardens.  One day I want to tour the palace but that involves a reservation and a babysitter.
The grounds were beautiful.




It was about a 20 minute walk back to the station.  The buildings sure were tall.

Leon even found a car just his size.


There were tons of restaurants inside the station and I'm sure lots were delicious, unfortunately they all had long lines so we just picked a pizza place.  We waited what felt like forever and didn't get to sit together.  My pizza was just ok.  
The station was decked out for Christmas.
We said goodbye to Grandma and Grandpa after this and the kids already expressed to me how much they miss them.  It was good to see them again and so nice to have visitors.
The station also had lots of Character shops.  Many of them were Japanese ones we've never heard of.  I think this mushroom guy was off of a show.  There was a line to take a picture with him and we were surprised that even adults were doing it.  Bob brought up the good point of what person is in this costume.  A very short adult?  Or a child who was good at posing/ hugging/ and playing with the kids?
The Pokemon store.
Ultraman is big here in Japan.
I saw this vending machine for cat hats and had to take a picture. 
Of course they have a Hello Kitty shop.


Throughout the station they had these flattened Christmas trees against the walls.  They only stick out a couple inches but I thought they looked pretty good.
The kids lucked out when we got to the lego store.  It was their monthly build day and they each got to build and keep a dog for free.
I saw potato chips drizzled with chocolate next to a dish of ice cream and just thought, "Yes, where has this been all my life?"  I scooped up my ice cream with the warm chips without hesitation.  It was pretty savory and sweet.

I have no idea what this guy/egg thing was about but it was supper creepy.
Next we went to this KITTE building accross the street.  A website said it was a good tourist spot but I'd disagree.  It was just like a fancy mall.  There was one super weird thing though.
We walked in and saw this display up in the middle.  It looked like they were giving away free samples of milk.  The kids all wanted one so we waited in the short line and got milk.  A japanese man next to us was talking to us so that was cool.  Once they got their milk we went to leave but we weren't allowed we were giving a card and ushered to the next part of the line and told to wait.  Then a person came over and collected the cards they literally just handed us.  We were like ????? What is going on?  Then the person went into a demonstration on how to take apart the milk container and recycle it.  I couldn't understand anything.  They then stamped our cards and handed them back.  We were next ushered into a longer line.  At this point I am really regretting letting the kids get a sample of milk.  

We waited for several minutes in the next line and when we got to the front they had this little wheel to spin.  Most people spun it and then they handed them money where the person walked a few steps over to the vending machine to put the money in and get a small eraser shaped like a milk carton.  Bob and Penelope were the lucky winners and in addition to their money they got baggies.  Not even the fancy zip lock kind either.  It was so strange.  Bob wanted to keep the money and not put it in the machine but there was a person there watching.

There were two more lines after this but Bob was determined not to enter them.  We tried to quick sneak away and the guy gave bob a hard time.  The next part of the line they tried to make us enter involved us paying a dollar and getting our picture taken with a winter themed  background.  We were able to escape and I think after that was a place to get your picture taken with a giant carton of milk.  

The whole things was so bizarre and not at all what we expected.
We thought about finding things to do until dinner but everyone was so tired we hoped on the train and headed back.
After we got back to Yokosuka we stopped on the walk back to base and found a place to eat. We chose it soley because we got to sit on the floor and eat.
We will not eat there again.  It had suggestive looking anime all over the walls, I felt it was too late to walk out by the time we noticed so we just made the kids all sit with their backs to it.  Then Calista started crying while we were looking at the menu and one of the employees took her from me.  She just kind of grabbed her before I knew what was going on.  She was trying to be nice and help us.  But I felt really uncomfortable as she walked around the restaurant with her.  I was able to get her back but she motioned that she wanted to hold her again after she gave us our food.  I politely declined.  After we ate she managed to take her again, from Bob this time, while we were putting our shoes on.  This time the lady took her right out the front door!  I could see her through the glass but it was nerve racking.  She clearly wasn't trying to steal her or anything but I didn't like it either way.  Bob quickly got his shoes on and went outside and held Calista while I helped everyone else put their shoes on.

It was one adventure too many for the day.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Ramen

Lots of the Ramen restaurants in Japan have a different way of ordering.  You first walk up to the machine, put your money in, then buy your ramen.  The machine spits out tickets and then you hand them to your waiter.  It is pretty convenient once you get the hang of it.
This was my third time eating Japanese Ramen and I am starting to like it.  Either that or I just got a better one then ever before.  Their ramen tastes different than the Top Ramen I'm used to in the states.  I always tell the kids they need to eat something seven times before they can decide they don't like something.
Grandpa Woestman had a birthday while visiting us in Japan.  The kids all got him gifts.




Calista didn't, she was just a mess and Bob took her picture so I'm sharing it.