Thursday, June 20, 2013

She's HERE! She's HERE!!

First...this is pretty late, but our laptop died this week, which means I have to wait until everyone else is in bed so I can use the computer that's hooked to the tv.  Anywho...

MORGAN IS HERE!!!!!  :)  It was quite a tricky trip for her...a big "boooooo" to American Airlines for being the most anti-child airline out there!  From not getting an answer at the phone line to arrange underage travel, to not returning calls, to not giving the child help when she asked at the airport (with only 50 minutes to move from one concourse to another) and then finally, and my favorite....walking a few feet with the girl and then telling her to "go that direction" in DFW airport!  That's no small airport.  Geesh.  Ok, rant over.  Back to the good stuff!

She did make it, and we have our little family back together for about six weeks.  But...I have to put this in reverse for just a minute, because before we picked her up, we spent a night at the New Sanno in Tokyo.

Earthquake instructions

It's a pretty nice place, and we had a lot of fun just walking around the city checking things out.  The drive up wasn't too bad.  I think it took us about an hour and about $20 in tolls.  (I didn't keep track of tolls on the way up, but on the way back, it cost us $35!!  Yikes!  Another reason we usually take the train!)

Once we settled into our room we decided to head out and check out the surrounding area.  We found a pretty neat little park just a few blocks away.

Bikes as far as the eye could see.
 Arisugawanomiya Memorial Park is built on land that, during the Edo Period (1600's- mid 1800's), belonged to a samurai lord.  In 1896 it was given to the Arisugawanomiya line of the Imperial Family and then passed onto the next line.  This park was built to promote children's education of nature.  There are many hills and little ponds, tons of flowers, a few different kinds of maple trees, and turtles!!  Who doesn't love a park with turtles??

From here we walked toward Roppongi.  When Kris was stationed at Okinawa he spent a few nights hanging out in Roppongi.

Shichifukujin (I think)  -  The seven lucky gods

Not a lot of room between buildings here

A beer vending machine!!  Ha!  None for have to have a special Japanese ID.

That night we swam in the pool for a couple hours then had dinner at the hotel's restaurant, then watched a movie and hit the hay.  The next afternoon we stuck around until lunch and then took off for the airport.  I think we got to Haneda about an hour before Morgan's flight was supposed to get in.  It turned out to be a little late and then we had to wait for her to get through baggage and customs (and she did it all by herself!!!).  Yay!  Morgan's here!!!

Her arrival video:

The kids made a banner and decorated pictures for her.  This was at about the 24 hour mark in her travel adventures.  She did stay up until about 7 that night.  
YAY!  It's so nice to have her here!  And, we are quite proud at how well she did traveling by herself!  She's so darn grown!  :)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Best. Fireworks. Ever. (said with Jazz Hands!)

Last night we took a quick train ride from Yokosuka to Zushi for their "Beginning of Summer" fireworks at the beach.  All I can say is ...  WOW!  I have never seen a fireworks show quite so amazing!  They started shooting into the sky around 730 (we took a wrong train, so ended up being about 15 minutes later than we planned, and the base listed the show starting at 745, so we weren't even close to the beach when we got off the train).  Kris says the first 30 minutes were just test shots, but they shot off quite a few fireworks, I thought it was just a slow build up.  They lasted until 830.  We were able to see some of the fireworks from the road as we walked to the beach.  The last time the kids and I went to Zushi beach we left the station and took a left that led us to the river, which we followed right to the beach.  But, we decided to follow the crowd to the show....well, whoever was out in front didn't know which way to go and kept leading the big pack down dead end streets!  Ha!  We thought we'd be okay following the mob, but we would have been better off just going the way I knew.  Oh well!

Zushi beach is a pretty big beach.  The closest we could get was about half a block from the beach.  There were soooo many people!  I would have liked to have seen the beach just to see the massive amount of people crowded down there!  

 A few YouTube videos.

Zushi Fireworks 1
     -You can hear Garytt say, "Are those fireworks coming from Disney World?"
                                       Me, "No, they are coming from the water."
                                  Garytt, "Out of the water?"
                                       Me, "Not out of the water, there is a boat out on the water shooting them."

 Zushi Fireworks 2
 Zushi Fireworks 3
Zushi Fireworks Finale

The finale was AWESOME!  The whole sky was lit up so bright!  I've never seen a show like that before!  As soon as the show ended there was a mad dash for the train station.  It was insanely crowded walking down the streets....wall to wall people.  The trains weren't too bad.  The first one was crowded, but not so bad that we had to be smooshed in by the men in the white gloves (they terrify me!).  Somehow, Kris managed to get a seat for him and the kids.