Thursday, December 18, 2008

Surprises in Japan

I know that nobody wants an entire recap of my recent vacation, so I have whittled my 300 photos down to just a few of the best for you to enjoy or hate. After that I may need to blog about Christmas, because I AM SO FREAKING EXCITED!!!!!!
*phew*
Yes. This is a public toilet. I dreaded these squatters so badly.....I have no idea how those little Japanese women in there high heels and tights and miniskirts even handle these things. If you were lucky, there was a bar to hang on to as you squatted....but that makes wiping...well, nevermind.
Funny thing, though, the regular toilets were DECKED out with heated seat, bidet squirters of nice warm water, and even musical flushing sounds so no one can hear you tinkle. I loved those toilets, man, Just loved them!

Mr. Sammy took this picture at a quiet park just across the street from the Olympic Arena. The colors were so great, I was amazed! We packed heavy coats, but really didn't need them. This was such a nice place, I wanted to share it. The parks are all so serene- a big contrast to the squished buildings and neon signs.
This is the Landmark Tower, the tallest building in Japan, where the hotel is located. Turns out my husband had been working around this area on his mission, but didn't know it because the area had changed so much in the past 20 years. The metal art was in the courtyard outside the mall, which linked to the hotel you see behind it. Yep-it is 70 stories high, and sitting in the window was enough to make you dizzy and your hands sweaty, but it was gorgeous.
Not an uncommon thing, my kid in a picture with complete strangers....but the kids were especially fascinated with his looks and hair. I love this picture because of the kids in uniform and all the peace signs. You better throw a peace sign if your in a photo in Japan!
This little barber shop behind me is very special....above it is the apartment my hubby lived in for 7 months while serving his mission in Hachioji. The town was amazing- with a great street of sidewalk sales and quaint shops (well, some not so quaint, as the vendors yell out strange things to try to get you to come shop)and we toured the small LDS meeting house and visited with missionaries who happened to be there, and met up with a local member who was a friend during the mission. I have never seen my hubby giddy over anything....but he was giddy this day. I also call this my "take a picture it will last longer" day, because I left my hair curly, and I was stared at, double takes, and watched all day. Weird. I felt like Angelina or something.
This was taken at a shrine that had a flame burning (in the metal wing) that has been linked to the flames of Hiroshima. Around it were strings of various origami, and a history board was posted nearby. It was kind of a somber feeling here, but my son was fascinated with the story and ended up really loving this site.

I realized I have barely made a dent in my favorite of favorite photos.......so, oh well, more later to come..... I hope there is something here of interest or beauty.

20 comments:

Kristina P. said...

These pictures are so great!

We had exchange students live with us for years and years, when I was gorwing up, and most of them were from Japan. I love Japanese food. Except for Umi boshi. Did you try that?

Oh, and our exchange students HATED root beer. It tasted like medicine to them.

Victoria Elder said...

Ah sweet pics! You are adorable & I love your curly hair! I was just talking to my dad about the squatters last night & he didn't believe me!

Erin said...

These are great pictures! The toilet is completely bizarre. We went to my husband's mission area (NYC - Brooklyn and Queens) after we were married and he was giddy too. It's kind of fun to see our husband's like that, isn't it? And the picture of your son with all of those kids - priceless.

the letter Bee said...

Those pictures are AWESOME! You are so lucky he went to someplace SO cool! (Que went to Bolivia; land of tapeworms, drug lords and military coups.) (So of course I am jealous!)

When do you think the toilet technology will catch up over here? I can't wait for anti-tinkle music.

Vanessa said...

How great they you were able to go back to where he served! It looks like you had an amazing time.

I should convince my husband we should go to the Dominican Republic so we can see where he served :)

Jeremy and Ashley Bogard said...

I have loved seeing the vacay pics, I want to see them all! Guess 300 could be a whole blog site by its self. :) I am super jealous. Can't wait to see more. Keep em coming.

Mommy Madness said...

Great pictures! Can't wait to see more. I can't believe that a picture of a toilet can be so fascinating. You can help but wonder!!! ....How???

Bobie said...

Heated Toilet Seats??? Dang! Now I'm jealous!!

CB2 said...

keep 'em comin'. I can get cultured by proxy.

Can you guys come up to the blessing?

Jo said...

Oh man, I so want to go to Japan, so I am LOVING your stories. Feel free to tell more.

Strawberry Shortcake said...

I love your photos. They are simply amazing. What a wonderful experience to go back to where your husband was able to share the gospel! I can't wait to go to Italy with my hubby. I don't know how you did the toilets. I would have to use the bum splash ones as I am sure it would have been, um, not good. I can't wait for more :)

LittleLovables said...

Oh this is a great post! I'm so jealous of you :)

My dad served his mission in Hong Kong and spoke Cantenese fluently for over 25 years until he passed away from Leaukemia. And my bro in law served in Japan (Loeven, maybe hubby knew him?) and he goes there often with his family for work. They LOVE it there and are tall (even the mom) over 6 feet tall, so they def get stares!

They told me about the standing shower/baths that are supposed to be shared for the day. Weird!

Little Lovables said...

By the way, my hubby served in Oregon so since that is closer, we for sure want to visit. I hear it is beautiful!

Teresa said...

What an amazing experience for Parker! I can't imagine being able to spend that kind of quality time with just one of my kids. You are VERY lucky, Ramona. It sounds like you had a great time. I want to come over and look at all of your photos!!!! Jill was trying to pull a non-bunco Christmas party together last week, but I haven't from her since the initial call. I'll call you tomorrow. Need to come get a gift certificate for my dad for Christmas.

Wendyburd1 said...

PLEASE RAMONA!! Share MORE pics!!

So said...

Those are great pictures! And not enough. I can't wait to see more. The origami...way cool.

Jessica G. said...

Next time you go to Japan, can I stow away in your luggage?

(My hubby served in California but, due to the location, its not exactly safe to visit when you are a) white b) female c) not armed to the teeth. Lots of fun.)

Shannon said...

Gorgeous pics!

Whitney R said...

Oh I love all of the pictures. And I wish I could go to Japan!

But the picture of the red tree among all of the green is BEAUTIFUL.

And the picture of all the japanese kids with your's is pretty funny :)

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