Sunday, September 7, 2008

Paper Making, Parrots on Our Heads and Waterfalls, Oh My!

What a day we had on Saturday! We took another ITT trip to Nakatomi Washi Paper Village, Otodome Waterfall and Shiraito Waterfall and Kacho-en, the Begonia and Owl Park. I have a lot of pictures and a few videos. For the videos, adjust your speakers accordingly, and if you get the blog in your email, you'll need to go to the main site to view it. To view the pictures in my Shutterfly album, click here. I'm going to make an attempt to not write a lot, but no promises. The pictures I took really do speak for themselves, and Julie gave me a copy of hers. The ones she took are scattered throughout this post, and are the first bunch in the Shutterfly album...arigato gozaimasu, Julie!

We were picked up at 0600 in our housing area, then headed to
Shinzouka to start our activities for the day. We stopped at a rest area a couple of hours into the drive, and there I bought some onigiri. It was so yummy and filled with salmon! I've had it before on our trip to Yunessun Spa, the place with the feet sucking fish. Anyway, these things are yummy, and even Sydney liked it. The packaging is perfect, and has instructions for removing the wrapper without disrupting the seaweed. Once I find the molds I'm going to attempt to make it myself. Keanna didn't like it, but I think it was the seaweed that she didn't like. She eats all different types of sushi and rolls with the seaweed, but normally is softer.

Our first stop was Nakatomi Washi Paper Village to make our paper lamp shade. We did everything from scratch, and even the girls got in on the action. The sensei gave instructions and our guide translated for us. He was very helpful, and afterward knelt down and asked the girls [in English] what their names were. He was so sweet! While we were waiting for our lampshades to dry and set, we walked across the street to a natural foods store and drug store. There Julie and I found some Kit Kats...I now have Kit Kat Grape and Sakura added to the collection. The store had the packaging for Kit Kat Fruit Parfait and Kit Kat Caramel, but they were sold out.

After that we went to lunch and did something I've never done before. We ordered lunch at a vending machine, then got a ticket, went to a counter and collected our order. It certainly was different, but everything was in Japanese, so our guide stuck with our group of about 20 and helped us. After that we got up to the counter, and when our number was called she let us know. I know how to count up to 10 in Japanese, but our number was 26. After eating our noodles and tempura, we got back on the bus to the Kacho-en, the Begonia and Owl Park.

This place was beautiful, and without a doubt was the girls' favorite of the day. I've never seen so many flowers in one place before, and certainly not any as beautiful. The pictures doesn't do it justice! We didn't have much time there, and arrived shortly before the falcon show, and were leaving before the owl show. I wish we were able to see the owl show, but guess it's an excuse to go with Bob. Inside the main building with the flowers was a separate area with little parrots inside. For ¥100 (about $1) we bought a little cup filled with chopped apple. Well, we ended up buying about six of them since it was so much fun. As soon as we got in there they immediately came to Julie and I since we were holding the food. Keanna saw someone with one on her head, so she had me put food on her head...that was hysterical! And Sydney being the younger sister wanted to do everything Keanna did; she wanted one on her head too. Well as you'll see in the video below, Sydney flipped out when one flew to her arm!!! For the record, after she calmed down she fed them from the floor.

The waterfalls was our last stop. The first was Otodome Waterfall. It reminded me of one we saw on Kauai. To get to the second one, Shiraito Waterfall, we had to go down 100 steps. Sydney wanted me to carry her and I was fine with that since she was going so slow! It was so beautiful, and Julie said it reminds her of those inspirational posters you usually see hanging in offices. She got all fancy slowing her shutter speed to make the water look soft and blurry. I didn't do it on mine since I couldn't figure it out. Turns out I have to put my camera in TV least I know for next time. It was here that Julie noticed I had bird poop on my butt. Gotta love that, eh?! My mom has always said it's good luck to get pooped on. She said that while we were on vacation in Wildwood, N.J. while I was in high school. But ya know, the only people I've ever heard say that are ones that have been pooped on by a bird.

We had a great day, the girls slept on the bus on the way home, and we've made more wonderful memories for our time in Japan. As for the strange and funny finds for the day....the ladies' room at the rest stop had a lit sign letting us know which stall was available. They also had little chairs in there for babies to sit in! Our favorite had to be the Elegance for Lady's Inner machine also in the ladies' room.
An ice cream stand by the waterfalls had a variety of flavors. I immediately noticed Triple Sec, and Julie spotted caramel cracker. Do those look like Saltines to you?! And last but not least, the completed lamp we made! It will be going in the girls' bedroom on their night stand.


Joe and Samantha said...

Love the shade!

AndreaLeigh said...

What breathtaking pictures! I love "seeing" Japan (probably the only time I ever will) and I appreciate you sharing.