Tuesday, June 21, 2016
A couple weeks ago we were invited to make Japanese sweets at a friend's house in Kurihama. So, we made our way out of town with friends to try our hands at making sweets!
After a brief, ten minute train ride we met Junko to drive us the rest of the way to Hiromi's house.
First, we learned how to make tiny origami butterflies to use as our chopstick rests! How unbelievably cute!!! Mackenzie was in paradise...she LOVES origami! And, butterflies!!
Next up, we started to make our snacks. Yatsuhashi was on the menu for the day!
First, we measured the ingredients. Then, mixed.
After the mixture was microwaved for a few minutes we stirred and stirred and stirred to get a gummy texture that was firm enough for us to roll out flat and then cut into little squares.
After they were cut, we added a dollop of sweet red bean paste to the middle and then folded it over into a triangle.
The finished product.
The Em and M's...ready to eat! I was a bit nervous about my picky eater not even tasting anything she was offered. But, she gobbled up the yatsuhashi! Yay! and...shew!
On the dish below you can see the two folded treats at the front of my plate. Towards the back is a larger, rounded sweet. It was the mochi dough with a strawberry surrounded by sweet bean in the middle. So so so so yummy!!!
We had a lot of fun learning about the different types of flour. We even managed to learn some katakana and kanji...well, we were shown the kanji. I'm not sure I could still tell you what the kanji is for flour. I took a picture though...so I can find it at the grocery store! We will definitely try this again!
Garytt also ate his two smaller sweets. He didn't bite into the strawberry. I ate all three of ours :)
After the sweets...yes, we did it backwards, much to the kids' excitement...we had lunch. Delicious chicken, a yummy salad, also noodles that were dipped in a cold fish/soy sauce. I thought it was going to be kind of weird. But, it was very warm inside the house, so the cold chicken and the cold noodles were very refreshing! And, super tasty! Garytt also had a bowl of curry rice. Love that Boy! Mackenzie had enough edamame to feed a village.
Hiromi has ume trees in her yard. So, she gave us each a bag of ume (kind of like a cross between a plum and an apricot) to take home. I used it to make ume jelly. I didn't add enough sugar, so I'll have to go back and add a bit more sugar in order to put it on our toast.
Warning: Take your allergy meds...flower overload ahead!!!
But, first...ice cream! :) Garytt got blueberry and Mackenzie had pineapple. Yes...I was just as shocked as you...her highness, the girl who absolutely refuses to eat any ice-cream but chocolate actually ate pineapple ice cream! And, it was delicious!
Last week, the kids and I ... really, I decided and since they aren't legally allowed to stay in the house by themselves they HAD to come along with me ... decided we would make our first trip to the Yokosuka Iris Garden (Yokosuka Shobuen). Year after year I've seen the amazing pictures from the garden, but we've never been. This year I was going to make sure it made it onto our itinerary!
Since Daddy needed the car for work, the kids and I had to hoof it to the park. Well, partly. We've been to this park before, but we didn't pay to go in then because it was out of any flower season, we actually hiked the mountain just beyond the park.
Any who...we walked out Daiei (or is it now called Aeon? :) Gate and hopped on the 1005 train from Yokosuka JR station to Kinugasa Station, like 5 minutes and a couple hundred yen. From here we tried to find the right bus. I read on another site that we needed to look for the number three bus because it drops you right at the entrance to the park. We didn't see a number three bus anywhere! I pulled up Google Maps and asked it to tell me how to get to the park by bus. The map told me bus #25. Ok...so we jump on bus 25 just as it was getting ready to pull away...I sure hope this is the right bus! As we were pulling away from the bus shelter I noticed that bus 25 parks at bus stop #3. Oh...now, that all makes sense. It was about a 15 minute ride, 180 yen for me and 90 each for the kids (paid when we got off). There is a display inside the bus that tells you which stop is coming up. So, for us it said "Iris Garden". Easy peasy! There is a ticket machine just outside the park where you purchase tickets to get in....310 for me and 100 each for the kids.
On to the flowers! And, there were a LOT!
According to the park's pamphlet, there are 412 varieties of flowers that bloom between late May and early July. The park is about 7,000 square meters.
The water wheel
There were a lot of hydrangeas in bloom as well.
Rows and rows of color!
So many different colors!
A red dragonfly! The kids were so excited to see these guys all over the place.
We thought it was interesting how the grass around the row of yellow irises was also tinted yellow.
This is a view of the smaller iris garden. on the right side of the entrance.
This was one of my favorites of the day.
These red flowers were hiding at the back of the garden, under a tree, by the fence.
I love this variety of hydrangea
There's a staircase in the back to get a bird's eye view of this side of the park.
He was pouting...not sure why...sometimes there isn't a reason.
During the iris festival (June 1 - 30) you can see the field workers dressed in traditional field attire. Kongasuri is a kind of tie-dye, dark-blue cloth with white splash patterns. The hat is called a sugegasa. They were beautiful!
Mackenzie said that we needed to find a hat like that for Grandma to wear in the garden because it looks like it does a really good job of keeping the sun off her face and the back of her neck.
The top of the hat. The red straps ran down and around the lady's chin.
We saw a man climbing a pretty steep hill trying to get a close-up of the lily below. We also watched him wobble (the accident-type, not the dance :) and then almost fall!
There is a staircase at the back of the smaller garden. It gives the view below and then leads over and down to the larger iris garden as well as the wisteria and rhododendron gardens.
This hydrangea was a very light purple. Almost white.
The ladies have beautiful kongasuri to wear.
The men...black shirts and grey work pants with a ball cap.
Here's a view of the back gardens. There's part of the larger iris garden on the left. The wisteria is on the right side of the picture, mostly out of the frame.
This was Mackenzie's favorite iris color.
My budding photographer. Get it...budding... ;)
This little bit of cuteness happened as I was walking around snapping pictures and they were relaxing with a snack.
There are nice boardwalks throughout the park to walk around the flower beds.
Besides red, blue and black dragonflies, we saw birds and tadpoles...and the stage between frog and tadpole. A botany lesson AND a zoology lesson!
This happens quite often when we go out. Someone wants a picture of one of the kids. This time it was Mackenzie. As soon as we turned around from this picture a man stopped us and showed us photos he took from the park. He said we could each have one as a gift. :) So, we got three beautiful pictures.
The gifts we received: (http://dg-flowershop.com)
For the first time in Japan, we were also given literature from Jehovah's Witnesses that didn't speak a lot of English. Enough to say "Do you know Bible?"
There's a lotus pond at the entrance to the park. Right now it looks bad. We saw a couple flowers, but that was it. A lot of it was dead looking leaves.
|We saw this on the way home. |
Grapes, I think.
When it was time for us to leave we made our way back to the bus stop. Oh my...apparently everyone else was leaving then too. There were about 40 people in line for the bus. And, the bus just left. It would be 20 minutes before the next bus was there, and we wouldn't make it on that trip because it would have been too full. So, add another 20 minutes. I'm not sure we would have made it onto the bus after that either! So, add another 20 minutes. It was hot. And, none of us had lunch (it was 1330, I didn't think the park was this big!). I really didn't want to wait around for another hour or more to get back to the train station that was only a 20 minute walk away. Somehow I managed to convince the kids that we could easily walk to the train station and make our way back home. And, all was well for the first ten minutes. Then, we had to walk up hill. Then up another hill. All in the sun. With little food in our bellies. And, I couldn't tell on the map where the train station was in relation to where we could come out on the main road. Of course, I made a wrong turn. At which point, Mackenzie collapsed in the middle of the road crying because she was hungry and hot and her feet hurt and...
WHYYYY DIIIID IIIIII MAAAAAKE HEEERRRRR WAAAAALLLKKKKKKK????????????
I don't know, but I won't do it again!!! We made it back to Kinugasa Station and caught the train back to Yoko where we bought three onigiri, pocky, chips, and more water.
Taking shelter under a tree while they ate lunch and those menacing seahawks hunted overhead.