Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sakura at Kencho-ji 2016

This will be my last sakura report for 2016, since the petals are making their way off the branches and to the ground.  Last Wednesday the weather was beautiful!  The skies were blue, the wind was warm.  So, the kids and I decided to ditch school and make our way to Kamakura.  Since Boy had his first baseball practice that afternoon, we couldn't spend all day there, so we made it a half day trip...left at about 1000 and we were home by 1500.  8 miles of walking :)  

So, we made our way to Kita Kamakura Station and walked to Kencho-ji.  
The trees here are amazing!  
This is one of my favorite temples in Kamakura anyway...the woodwork is absolutely stunning...the pictures just don't do it justice.

One of my little photographers for the day.  I gave both kids cameras so they could take a few pictures of their own today.  Every time I turned around Mackenzie was snapping a selfie.  gee, she's learned young.
This is just past the entrance.  It leads to the first gate.

Kencho-ji is one of the great 5 Zen temples of Kamakura....Kamakura Gozan....and is the oldest Zen training monastery in Japan.  

I'm not quite sure what this building is.  It looks like a little house, which caused Mackenzie to say, "I would LOVE to live here!  The trees!  The birds!  The flowers!  The temple!"

Garytt decided to be uncooperative in my pictures again today...I think I managed to crop it out of most shots, but he purposely wore his pants with holes in the knees so I wouldn't make him pose for any pictures.  

Me: Smile Garytt
Garytt:  NO
Me:  Please?
Garytt:  NOOO
Me:  Just one smile?
Garytt: {silence}
We had to take a lot of breaks on our walk today, because just as we were walking up to Kencho-ji's entrance Boy fell and hurt his knee.  Since his 'limp' was so bad, if intermittent, it was quite an effort to walk around and see the things Mommy wanted to see.  Now, when he found bugs and the tadpole pool the 'limp' was quickly forgotten and he would run like he never fell.  Hmm...

This was the first time we had seen this much sun in many days.  


Dragon painted on the ceiling of the Hatto building.

This guy got a lot of laughs from us...
"This is actually the first statue we've seen with chest hair!" ~ Mackenzie

At the back of the temple grounds is the entrance to the Ten-en hiking course.  The kids were cool with exploring the temple.  When I mentioned that I wanted to go to the back of the grounds and go up a few stairs they weren't as excited.  The went...but, there were a few grumbles.  And, of course, that knee started to really hurt at this point.

There is a nice path with cherry trees and benches back here.  You can see the three torii gates in the middle of the picture.  One ahead of the steps, one at the start of the steps, and one at the top of the steps.  These mark the beginning of the entrance to Hansobo, a Shinto shrine at the top of the hill.  After the kids took several pictures around this area, we made our way up the steps.

The view from the top of the stairs, looking back down the path we just came up.

So, as we turned around to explore this little area I noticed there were more stairs.  "NNNNOOOOOOO", yep...that's what the kids moaned when I said I wanted to go to the top of those stairs.  " your little feet and let's get to movin'!  The top of the stairs is right there...we only have to go up that little way.  It'll be fiiiine!"

When we arrived at the top of the winding stairs we came face to face with the most awesome statues I've seen in a while!  As you know from previous posts, I love, love, like really love to take pictures of all the different statues around here.  Each one has its own life, its own story, its own character.  These are no different.  

The building in the top right of the picture is the Hansobo shrine.

Tenu are mountain or forest goblins.  These guys can shape-shift, and magically move from one place to another without flying.  All I know is....aaawweesssoommmeee!!!

"State your business!"

"You shall NOT PASSSSS!!!"

What a view this guy has.

I really like the dragons at the wash your hands stations., here's where Garytt got really mad at me.  He actually refused to go up these steps.  He said I could go all the way to the top if I wanted, but he was going to sit right there and wait until I finished exploring.  It took quite a bit of coaxing, but I finally got him to go up one last set of stairs.  I promised this time, that we would not go any higher than what was at the top of this set of stairs. 

So...up they went...


At the top, though, they were both pretty happy with the view.  Happy enough that I got them to stand for a picture.  Behind where we are standing right there is the Hansobo Shrine.  Maybe if I had mentioned how close to Han Solo that sounds, they would have been a little more excited to go up all those stairs to see it....or maybe not.  

After looking around for a bit, we made our way back down.  Even though I really really really wanted to continue up the path....but, I promised.  So, down we went.

Garytt found a little pool of water with tadpoles in it.

It was funny how all the things I wanted to look at on the way up the mountain, the same exact things the kids moaned and groaned and found totally uninteresting, were now incredibly amazing sights! ~ I will make a separate post with the kids' pictures.

All the stages of the sakura...bud, flower, future leaf.

After a few more pictures of us in the sakura at the entry, we made our way back to the train and then back on home. 

So...we saw this four-wheeled awesomeness on our way home.  It's a tiny flat bed truck.  The sides of the cab were painted hot pink.  The insides...all pink....all frilly...all totally incredible!!!

Sibling love on the train home.

We walked back to the base through Verny Park where we caught sakura petal showers!  I love walking under fully-bloomed sakura trees.  But, there is just something beyond magical about walking under the trees as the petals are floating around you.

These two pictures are actually from the beginning of the adventure, but since I am not savvy enough to figure out how to change the picture that shows up when I post my blog, I wanted to make sure a pretty picture showed up on the post, not one of these two.  So, as we started the day the kids spent a bit of time trying to catch the petals as they fell.  It was pretty funny, and harder than you think to catch.  

I bought a new sandwich for the kids from 7-11...I'm pretty sure it was a chocolate pudding sandwich.  The kids both insisted it was Nutella, and since they were both happy eating it, I sure didn't want to tell them it was something they refuse to eat at home.  :)

Monday, April 4, 2016

Yokosuka Sakura 2016

With all the rain over the last couple days, and then the wind today, the trees are not as pretty as they could be.  Darn.  With the break in the rain this afternoon, though, I decided the kids and I would take a walk to Mikasa Park for a few spring pictures.  Last year's spring pictures were perfect.  This year...not so much.  Well, at least the weather wasn't perfect.  The Kenz was perfect.  The Boy...he was perfect for five minutes, and then he was irritated that I made him come along.  

It's a bit chilly today, so instead of her cute Spring-y dresses, she opted for jeans and a long sleeve pink shirt.  Now, "her legs wouldn't freeze and her shirt would match the flowers!" 

Boy's outfit was a bit of a disaster.  When we left the house he refused to let me take any pictures of him.  He did NOT want to put on his "fancy pants" today.  Well, when we got to the first flower bed he asked for the little camera.  I agreed, IF he would sit for a few pictures for me.  

He agreed.  

At first...

Taking pictures for me.

Last year this path was beautiful with petals.  This year, the trees are partially green, but mostly bare because the wind has blown the petals off the branches.  Such a disappointment.

This is where Boy decided he didn't want to stand still for any more shots.

Mackenzie's reflection shot

Pretty tulips in the garden around the park.

Absolutely refusing to be in any more pictures today.  Until....

He decides to photo bomb his sister.

 Sakura Heights ~ Our Home

When he saw his sister do this, he had to do it too.  
So, I managed to squeeze in a couple more Boy shots.  :)