Saturday, April 27, 2013

Kurihama Flower World (Kurihama Hana no Kuni)

I did it!!  I ventured off base AND on the train BY MYSELF!!!  Woo hoo!  :)  Friday, the kids and I decided to take a look at Kurihama Flower World.  I kept most of the park a secret from the kids, just in case I got lost or couldn't find the park.  So, we set out at 1040 and walked to Yokosuka Chuo Station.  It took me just a second to figure out which platform to stand on, but when the trains started coming they didn't have the cities I expected on them.  So, I had to dig for my train map to make sure I was headed in the right direction.  We could have made it on the 1108 train, but because I double checked the map we had to wait for the 1118.  Just a few stops down the line, about ten minutes on the train, we got off at Keikyu Kurihama.  I pulled out the directions I scribbled on a small piece of paper out of my back pocket and started looking for the East Exit.  After a quick restroom stop we found our exit and headed out into Kurihama.  Right off the bat, my directions didn't make sense, but I headed in the direction I thought was the right way from what I remembered from the map the night before.  We crossed the street and headed along the road I hoped was the right way.  Just when I realized I forgot to count red lights to make sure I turned at the right one, we saw a light post with pretty flowers painted on it.  Then, a big sign, all in Kanji, with a flower on it.  I decided to give it a whirl. If it wasn't the right way we could turn around and look on a different road.

We walked down this road for 15 minutes or so...stopping to look at the pretty azaleas on the way.

I should have started this post explaining that I have no idea what kinds of flowers we looked at....I am horrible with remembering the names of flowers anyway (it took me ten minutes to search the internet for the name azalea, and I had three of those bushes in my front yard in Mississippi!).  So, please forgive me for my lack of flower knowledge...and, if you know what they are, please fill me in! I'll number the pictures so you can reference them. :)

We arrived at the entrance to Flower World at just about noon.  We sat at the entrance and had our lunch while we walked around and checked out some of the flowers.

1.  This was in the entrance garden display


3.  Is this a poppy?  Kurihama is known for it's HUGE poppy display in the spring, and since I saw this flower in many different colors, I'm guessing it is the poppy.
After lunch, we headed up the flower paths.  The flower park was pretty empty, so we were able to walk around and take lots of pictures and check out the little bugs crawling around.  It was a nice, relaxed journey.  I'm not sure my kids will think the flowers are so cool the next time we go....

Mackenzie actually initiated this hug....she doesn't offer to hug her stinky brother often!

4.  Are those blue flowers also poppies?


Dare to be different!

This is a view of the park from the back to the front.  We climbed a staircase at the back of the park for this view.
Now, I let the secret out of the bag.  The big kid-attraction at this just the right time.  At the mid-point of the staircase they were both complaining about how much their legs hurt and they were ready to go home.

I said, "What do you think we will find if we go to the left?"  Garytt said, "A MONSTER!!!!!!!!  Hurry, let's goooo!"

Godzilla slide.  Enter into his belly....
...slide down his tail.

After the kids went down the slide a few times they decided it was probably much more fun to run around on the playground, which opened up a whole new kind of terror for me... in the world am I supposed to keep track of my kids in that maze, with all those people??!!  We walk up the steps and I put the kids next to each other and say, "you HAVE to stay together!  Mackenzie, keep an eye on your little brother.  Garytt, make sure you stay near your big sister.  I can't keep my eyes on both of you if you are in different sections of the playground.  I don't want you to get lost.  PLEASE stick together!"  "OK" they both say and start up the rope ladder.

The Boy started up first with Mackenzie just behind him (bottom left of pic).
Within minutes Mackenzie got ahead of Garytt.  When she got to the top she forgot all about her brother and started exploring the tower.  I kept moving my eyes from where Garytt was on the ladder to where I thought Mackenzie would exit the tower.  Once Garytt got to the top he started exploring.  I never saw Mackenzie come out of the tower, and then Garytt went in.  Once he was in, I lost sight of both kids.  Terror started to settle in the world was I going to find the kids!!!  I'd probably break a leg trying to get up that ladder....OMG!  So, I paced on the platform watching for the kids, finally, they appeared at the top of the hill. 

Once I got them back to me I had to make a decision....let them play, or go with my fear and tell them it's time to leave.  I sided with sanity....I told them where I would be sitting and to come check in with me every once in awhile so they would know when it was time to leave.  Garytt ran to the closest climbing contraption and Mackenzie headed back to the towers. 

Within minutes I noticed a crowd around Garytt.  The boys around him were pointing to his shirt (Star Wars) and they were all nodding and making hand gestures.  Then, Garytt and his entourage took off across the platform.  They played for over an hour.  Mackenzie would come back and tell me she found some friends and then run off again.  Garytt brought his friends over to say hi, the boys all said hi and waved.  Then, they took off across the yard, the boys stopped, turned back around to me and sweet!  So, I bowed back and they were off running again.

I wanted to make sure we got back to the train before all the school groups started making their way to the station, so we headed back toward the entrance.  I got several groans about the walk, but once I reminded them that there was an ice cream store back at the entrance they were ready to go!

Garytt had sweet potato

Vanilla for Mackenzie
We were back on the train and walking into the house by 1500.  Garytt is already begging to go back.  I have a feeling this will be a frequently visited park.  It was a cheap excursion....only 190 Yen each way on the train and the park was free.  The ice cream was the most expensive part...300 Yen per cone.  And, the biggest revelations of the day....I can find my way around without assistance and I can let go of my kids' hands every once in awhile so they can experience the world in their way!  :)