Sunday, February 21, 2016

China Town, Chieko-san & Skiing

I've all but given up on clever "post titles" so I came up with this great idea to just call them what I'm going to talk about in that post. Feel free to use this titling tidbit in your everyday life. You're welcome.

China Town (chinatown?):
Whether it's one word or two, it was basically like a visit to Mulan's village...if she lived near a bunch of Hello Kitty stores. We made our way here with some friends we made on an MWR trip (seriously, these trips are our LIFE). Lindsey & Kevin are optometry students doing residency rotations here in Japan & Edgar was a friend coming to visit the Land of the Rising Sun for the first time. 

So, you're thinking, "Ok, cool. Chinatown. I've been to one of those. You eat some dumplings and see more asian people than normal..." NO. Well...I mean, YES. But there's MORE. It was Chinese New Year when we visited. The Year Of The Monkey (which you can see LOTS OF PICTURES of here.) And there was a massive celebration going on. Think "The Festival Scene In Mulan." So yes, there were dragon puppets and loud drums and fireworks. It was everything I wanted Chinatown to be. I almost don't want to go back until there's another reason for dragon puppets to be everywhere so that I can believe Chinatown is ALWAYS like that.

At each storefront, the dragon would stop if they had a paper charm hanging from the door way. 
The dragon would dance around & enter the store to bless it in the new year.
Then it would jump up and take the paper in its mouth (pretty impressive).

She is one of my dearest new friends in Japan & she has taken me under her wing to show me her country. So far we've been to an antique market in Tokyo:

 This lady's face says it all as she leads the school band. 

 & the school band...

 & the school t-shirts...
That's a US school.
Yes, there was a whole booth dedicated to USA t-shirts which were really just piles of old drama program t-shirts.

 These incredible pieces of art are actually home-shrines.
Made of wood, they looked like doll houses to me!

& This is the back of Chieko-san's head as she shops for a tea tray. 
I know, I know.
We need a picture.

& these were my favourite things I saw there that day:
beautiful knobs for drawers, etc. 

She recently took me & another friend, Ms. Judy, to a Hina Doll Exhibition in Tokyo.
It was fascinating to see the tradition passed down for three or four or seven HUNDRED years.
Hina dolls are bought or passed down as gifts for newborn baby girls.
They usually come in a set that includes an emperor, an empress, warriors, musicians, an old couple and occasionally some miniature household goods.
You can add any number of characters to this set if you have enough money...
They're literally little dolls, but unfortunately, they're not toys. 
They're like good luck charms with each doll representing something the family hopes will come true for their daughter:
warriors- safety
musicians- joy
old couple- long marriage
We weren't allowed to take any pictures inside the exhibition rooms, but the hotel it was housed in is quite famous in its own right because it has a "million dollar bathroom."
That's right. A bathroom renovation of $1,000,000.
So OF COURSE we visited it.

And I did snag one of this great display!
Those are all hand sewn dolls!

 That's Ms. Judy in the red above.
(I swear, I'll get a picture of all three of us)
 & #noshame I took a million dollar bathroom selfie...
 But then I found this one in my pictures from when we first moved here & I realised I can't totally blame the bathroom selfie on the million dollar draw...
Sometimes, you just coordinate so well that you HAVE TO...
& next Chieko-san is having me & Ms. Judy over for a traditional tea ceremony TODAY.
I promise I will have a picture of the three of us (& all the tea ceremony things).

Oakie & I are what you call, people-who-ski/snowboard. NOT skiiers/snowboarders. There IS a difference.
However, there's not a difference in how much fun you can have. We are PROFESSIONAL FUN-HAVERS.

I have an iMovie about it that I made myself...sooooooo...
To change it up, the pictures are in that! 


I am exorbitantly proud of this video.
Hats off to all the people who do this for a living/a hobby that they think is fun.

until next time,
love from japan


  1. I just love you and the way you see life. I want to be like you when I grow up. :)

  2. And the guy in the picture of the woman leading the school band looks like a Japanese Mr. Ron😊

  3. Ok I know third comment BUT I wanted to watch the iMovie but it says the video is private :(

  4. First of all, mad props on your iMovie. It was awesome. Although I admit I was a little bit disappointed you didn't catch Oakie actually falling. But that's okay. Him just lying there when you panned back over was pretty hilarious.

    The video from China Town didn't work. When I clicked on it, it just pulled it up like a picture.

    Million-dollar bathroom selfie!!!

    1. THANK YOU!
      i would hate for something that took that much time and frustrated clicking to not be appreciated ;)

      & bummer on that video.
      I might start using youtube exclusively.

      I always say selfies aren't my thing, but then...sometimes they are.

  5. Same story for me on your videos...they just come up like still pictures. But you can show them all to me WHILE I AM THERE!!!
    Now for the million dollar question.....what was running in the creek over which the bridge goes? Hopefully just water.....

  6. GORGEOUS movie! I am so impressed that you filmed while smoothly snowboarding!

    1. Thank you!!
      I'll work on the video issues for next time!

      hahahahahaha I didn't even THINK about the creek issue.
      Let's hope you're right!!

  7. do you have a gopro? snowboarding vid was rad.
    caption game is still on point. you're so funny.
    china town in japan is pretty funny. i really, really want a giant dragon puppet to chase me around a store.
    i found a million dollar bathroom in monterey! the japanese aren't the only crazies! too funny. selfie game is strong.

  8. i said funny a LOT in my above comment. apparently you're....comical.

    1. I do not have a go pro.
      I literally just finagled my iPhone into the current scarf bundling and hoped for the best...I can now see why people invented the go-pro...

      I was simultaneously awed and scared by those dragons...I mean, I knew there were people under there BUT STILL.

      yay for million dollar bathrooms (& the selfies they require)! Making our ordinary lives just a little extra-ordinary...

      thanks man. the day I'm not entertaining is the day I stop this blog, shut the computer and chuck it across the room at maximum speed ;)

  9. Adam and I LOVED the video! We miss you guys!! Love you both! 😘