But this time, though late, I managed not to forget! It also helps that I just didn't take as many pictures this time, so it's easier to post. So finally, here's some pictures from my trip to Japan last month. (FYI, I already posted pictures of my grandma's cabin, the mountain, and the town before, so I didn't take pictures of them this time, even though that's where I was for the majority of the trip.)
January 18, 2011
On this day, I went to my aunt's house in Fuji. While my mom, grandma, and aunt went to some art exhibition together in another city, my cousin Yumie and I decided we'd rather just hang around in Fuji so we could bake pumpkin bread and do some shopping.
For lunch, we went to a shopping mall and ate at the food court. I ordered miso ramen, and Yumi-chan ordered pasta (Japanese-style, which means it's pasta the likes of which would never be seen in America). We walked around the mall, checked out some stores and the arcade (lots of UFO catchers, in which a majority of the prizes were various One Piece merchandise), then came back to the food court to get dessert. There was a crepe place, and since I wasn't able to eat a crepe last year in Tokyo, I wanted one.
This was mine. :9 It had strawberries and whipped cream and chocolate sauce, and it was delicious.
Yumi-chan's crepe. Bananas and custard creme, I think?
As we were driving around, I was constantly in awe at the great view of Mt. Fuji the city had. I've been to Fuji before, but usually the mountain is hidden from view by clouds. Today was an unusually clear day.
Taken from inside the car.
Yumi-chan told me the hill behind their house had a better view, without any power lines getting in the way and stuff. And she was right. :OOO
That hill had a pretty great view of the area besides Mt. Fuji too.
(There was another bridge here that the bullet train runs across, and I tried taking a picture, but it didn't turn out well because of the sun. D:)
January 20, 2011
Mom finally rented a car for a couple of days. My uncle was working overnight on the 20th (he's a police officer), so the three of us (me, mom, and my grandma) drove to Shimoda at the southern tip of the Izu peninsula. On the way (and coming back), we had to cross the Kawazu loop bridge, which was fun. :D Mom was clearly enjoying herself; she had the steering wheel turned the whole way and was going "wheee~!"
After that, I fell asleep in the car for a while. Later, I woke up to this:
We drove further, not entirely sure where we were going, but still enjoying the view.
The water is so goddamn beautiful here.
We began seeing signs for a "Daffodil Festival" (since daffodils were in season), so we headed there. It turned out to be right next to a beach.
(The white things on that rock are seagulls, btw.)
There were also some food stands set up. Since it was really cold outside, I decided to warm up by drinking some oshiruko first. :9
Oh, and yes, there were a lot of daffodils.
Quite a lot of aloe too. Actually, there was aloe growing everywhere in Shimoda, not just here. I'd seen aloe plants before of course, but not with flowers, and certainly not in such a large quantity. And the flowers are pretty by themselves, but when you look at them with the leaves.....I dunno, personally, I think they look like alien plants from Mars or something. O_o
There was a lighthouse right there too, so we went to look. More nice scenery on the way up there, and lots of tsubaki growing on the sides of the path.
Walking around, we found even more gardens in the area.
There was even a greenhouse! But when I walked in, both my glasses and my camera lens immediately fogged up from the heat. :(
My grandma has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of plants, so she was pointing out all these different kinds of flowers, and I kept going like "Where?" *can't see through foggy glasses* *takes off glasses* *squints* *still can't see because duh, I'm nearsighted* -__-;
Then we left and continued driving around.
After a while, we found a bust of Commodore Perry! Oh, and there was a message from George Bush too.
Some more driving around, and we spotted the Japan Coast Guard! Mom had just watched the whole Umizaru movie trilogy on the plane, so she had to stop and fangirl them a bit. XD
Here, they were hosing off the deck.
(Taken from inside the car because, again, it was friggin cold outside.)
And then........SEA TURTLES!!!
Mom was thinking about going to the Shimoda Floating Aquarium, but by that point I was like "but I'm tiiiiired and it's laaaaate and it's coooold," so we were just going to drive past it. Until I glanced out the window and saw SEA TURTLES in an outdoor tank and I sat up shouting "AHHHHHHHHH KAME KAME KAWAIIIIIIIIII." >__>;; So yeah...we parked the car and went out to look.
I could literally reach out and touch them, but there was a sign saying not to touch because they might bite, so I didn't.
They were really big. :O
Every time they'd raise their heads out of the water to breath, they'd open their mouths and make a "pfffffuah" sound, and it was so adorable. :D
However, I quickly noticed that the tank was pretty small, and since the turtles were so big, they were really crowded together. There was barely any room for them to swim! Soon a guy came out to measure the water's temperature, and we asked him about the turtles. Turns out these were turtles that had been caught in fishermen's nets, and the oldest had been with them for thirty years. Thirty years...in that puny tank?!?!? D: No wonder they were crowding around to get a look at us; seeing visitors must be the only interesting thing to do in their lives anymore!
I can't help but hope that the reason they kept those turtles was because they were injured in the nets and couldn't live out in the wild anymore. I mean, I certainly don't want sea turtles to be injured, but if the alternative is that they're being kept there just to entertain dumb tourists like me........ ;_____;
...And that's a heartbreaking way to end this, so I'll just say that we went out to eat after that (I went to a udon place while mom & grandma went to eat sushi) and then went home.
January 22, 2011
My uncle took me to see the live action Space Battleship Yamato movie at Mishima's Joyland theater. I already wrote my thoughts on the movie on Twitter, so here is just some fun things I saw at the theater.
After the movie, while mom went to use the bathroom, my uncle Masashi went to smoke a cigarette. Turns out there's a special corner in the theater, indoors, where people can smoke. There was a nifty machine there that sucks in all the smoke so there's no worry about secondhand smoke (there needs to be more of these!!!!).
Also, this sign was on the wall:
Basically it says, "Please enjoy yourself while looking at Mt. Fuji."
And that's just what my uncle did. :P
Btw, the actual movie theater was on the second floor. The first floor was devoted to pachinko, thus making any attempts at conversation futile, because your voice would be drowned out by the raucous noise. Going in, my priority was just to get to the elevator as fast as possible, so I didn't really look around. But when we were leaving, I spotted something I'd missed the first time:
"Oh, hey, it's a giant Pikachu."
Judging from the kinds of Pokemon inside, I think this game must have been there for quite a while. XD
January 25, 2011
SPEAKING OF POKEMON. I didn't take any new pictures of Tokyo since I was in a hurry, but I did take one of the Pokemon Center!
When I visited last time, the Tokyo Pokemon Center was in the middle of Heart Gold/Soul Silver fever. This was the window display last March:
But now, everything's turned Black and White. :D
Annnd that's it! Phew.