Friday, July 31, 2009

Temple Tour

I'm going to try very hard in the next 2 weeks to get all caught up in my blog on our travels and trips and sight-seeing around here in Japan. My baby girl is due 2 weeks from today- once she gets here, I know I'll be busy (and have an entirely different subject to blog about!) Anyway, I still have a few trips to blog about, so here goes:
On June 26th, I went with the Airman and Family Readiness Center (and some friends) to visit a temple here in Japan, only about 30 minutes from base. We took the train into the Tachikawa station, got off and took the Tama Monorail 4 stops and a short walk later- there we were. It was HOT outside and we were sweaty, but even at 33wks prego I really wanted to see the temple and learn about it.
Some of the banners and things hanging in the streets of Tachikawa, left over from a festival held earlier that week.
The main temple.
The water station in front of the temple. They believe you have to cleanse yourself before you can fully enter the temple and be blessed. You take a scoopful of the water, pour it over one hand, repeat with the other hand, and then leave the scoop upside down on the bamboo log across the middle.
The prayer plaques near the temple entrance.
The big vat where they were burning incense (yuck- I HATE the way it smells!)
Heather and Courtney cleanse themselves at the water station.
Another view of the temple buildings.
The temple
Some of the hydrangeas located in the garden of the temple. There were TONS of them and they were beautiful. In the garden there are 88 "spots" to pray- something about the number of sins the Buddhists believe each person has and need to cleanse themselves of daily.
The main temple as seen from in the garden.
A cemetary located just outside the temple grounds. Another view of the cemetary right next to the temple. You can see the large stick things at some of the grave sites- we think they stand for prayers for various family members in that section.
Some statues in the gardens.
Inside this building we got to see an actual ceremony being performed. It was really interesting to watch0 involved Buddhist monks, gongs, incense, etc. but they don't allow you to take pictures out of respect for their religion.

This is the restaurant where we ate lunch after the temple tour. It is a Yakiniku Restaurant, where you cook your own meat on the little grill on your table. I LOVE these places- the meat has such a good flavor to it!
Ok, now I'm just 1 month behind- that's not TOO bad :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Back on June 20th, I went to Yokohama, Japan with some friends from here at Yokota. It is about a 2 hour train trip down there, even though it is only about 18 miles from Tokyo. Yokohama is a separate city, located on the bay, so it is known for it's shipping industry. There is also a huge Chinatown located here. We had a good time wandering around, eating at this awesome buffet for lunch, going up in the observation deck, and riding the ferris wheel. It was a fun time and yet another cool Japanese tourist adventure. I love getting to see all these sights and places, while LIVING here in Japan. That way, you can see them at your own pace instead of having to smash them all into a short window of vacation time.
The HUGE ferris wheel and clock that overlooks Yokohama. We rode on this, and yes, it stopped when we were up at the top.
The Landmark Tower. This is the tallest inhabitable building in Japan. There is a hotel, offices, shopping, and the observation deck on the 69th floor.
The Landmark Tower sign.
The sign telling us that the observation deck is on the 69th floor. We went up there by elevator, which is supposed to be one of the fastest ones ever. It was pretty darn fast, which is good, since they like to cram as many people as possible into the thing!
Me with the observation window behind me. I was about 32 weeks pregnant here. (I'm almost 38 as I write this- so much bigger now! That also shows that I'm a bit behind on my blogging- I'm trying to get caught up before little one gets here though!)
A row of vending machines up on the observation floor. The Japanese L.O.V.E. these things- they are on every street corner I think! They sell both cold drinks and hot drinks out of them, along with snacks and sometimes even whole meals.
A view from the observation deck. It's just a wee bit crowded out there in Tokyo, huh? The view looks like this from every angle. I don't think I've ever been or lived anywhere with as many buildings as here in Tokyo.
We didn't eat lunch here, but we thought about it. It was tempting- ha.
Mike, Bridget, Matt and Amanda on the ferris wheel.
Hillary, Anders and myself on the ferris wheel.
This button was in the ferris wheel. You KNOW you want to push it...
The big ferris wheel.
Yokohama at night.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sweet Baby C's Cherry Blossom Nursery

So, before lil' miss thing arrives (due August 15th- so any day now!) I thought I'd share some picture of her nursery. I went a little overboard, but I love to decorate, and what is more fun than a little girl's room? Plus, it kept me entertained and busy while Brett was stuck in Singapore for a month! I tired to make it girly (I think I succeeded w/ all the pink) with a Japanese flare and a touch of nostalgia and a few heirlooms. Without further introduction, lil' bits room...
The view from the doorway, looking into her room. You can see the animal cross stitch my mom (Baby C's grandmother) made for my little brother (Uncle Cody) when he was a baby. You can also see the baby kimono I have hanging on a hook.
Another view from the doorway.
The toy box I bought at the cheap furniture "recycle" store. It was plain wood, so I painted it to match her room, painted the word "toys" on top, and lined the handles with pink ribbon.
The cute little chair I found (free!) at the Airman's Attic. I decoupaged it with Japanese Washi paper to match her room. These are the time filling sorts of things I do when my husband is stuck in another country for a month and I'm mucho pregnant!
This is just 1/2 half of the closet. Sadly, the other half is just as full. Her Daddy and I share a closet this same size, but Lil' Bit here gets her own, plus a dresser, plus another tub of clothes that are in bigger sizes. Seriously, she better never go naked!
The window in her room. I "made" the curtains to go over the window. Actually, I just altered them a bit, to work around the lovely window a/c unit. They have a front green light blocking curtain, and a light green sheer curtain behind it. The sun comes up EARLY here, so something to block out light is pretty essential. The valance at the top matches her bedding. Under the window is the heater, with picture frames and some cherry blossoms in a vase (purely decorative, of course) on it. The toy box sits in front of the heater.
The shelves above the dresser. They have some cute stuffed animals, a couple picture frames, 2 pictures I bought in Singapore (the artist was painting them right there in front of me), and a corkboard I made. It has family pictures on it- if we can't be near family, at least she can see pictures of them in her room!
The dresser and bookshelves. They have some good first books, stuffed animals and toys on them, as well as a hand-painted Japanese umbrella with a cherry blossom depiction, of course.
The glider, ottoman, and little table with a lamp and radio/CD player for lullabies at night. Above the glider I hung some Japanese paper lanterns.
The changing table (that was mine from Italy where I was born) and the Japanese noren (doorway hanging) behind it showing a cherry blossom scene and 3 little girls on a hill.
Her crib, mobile, and quilt. This is the crib we bought from some people moving out of here, but their child had "eaten" the front rail. So, Baby C's mommy and her friends lovingly (and painstakingly, sweatily) sanded it all down, restained it and assembled it. It looks pretty darn good if I do say so myself! Above the crib I will hang a painting my friend Amanda is making that has Baby C's name on it!!
The floor of her room. Our house has ZERO carpet in it (I guess that's nice b/c you don't know who lived here before, but it also is quite hard on the feet) so I found these pink foamy puzzle piece block things and laid them in her room. I think they are quite cute- it just makes it uber pink and it's pretty essential she is indeed a girl in the end!
I will post pictures of the rest of the house one of these days, but I think this might be my favorite room. I've spent a lot of time in here getting it ready, and although it sounds crazy, I can't wait to spend many nights rocking, reading, singing, feeding, etc. in this room. I already love you so much little one, and can't wait to meet you! C'mon out any time now and meet us and see your room filled with love- and pink, girly things!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Singapore- Part 4- The end of the trip

The next day after the zoo, Brett had to fly so I was on my own. I hopped in a taxi and went back to Chinatown for a bit more shopping. I stumbled across this Temple that was having some type of ceremony.

QUite intricate inside!
Then I went shopping. They have these glass globes that sit on a little wooden stand. They paint all types of scenes inside them. Once you buy one, they will paint something (like your name or date, etc) on the inside for you, to personalize it. I bought one- this is the girl painting the globe I bought.
The little globe I bought for baby girl. It's an ox, because 2009 is the Year of the Ox in China.
I had her just put "Baby C 2009". I was going to put the name I *think* we are using, but if we change for any reason...well, Baby C just seemed safer :)
A super cute little sundress with elephants appliqued onto it.
I fell in love with these handpainted pictures I bought in Chinatown also. The artist was painting various pictures as I walked by, and she had a whole assortment of adorable pictures. These 2 caught my eye- a cute little Asian girl w/ a Japanese lantern, and a sweet pink giraffe smelling a flower. They are now hanging up in baby girl's nursery.

After the return trip to Chinatown, I returned to our hotel, and walked to the Botanical Gardens. On the way I passed the US Embassy.
The flowers here were absolutely beautiful. I have so many pictures of them- I could fill tons of blog posts with them, but I'll just post a few here:

Pitcher plants are cool- they had a while room of carnivorous plants, including Venus Fly Traps and Pitcher Plants. I think they are so interesting.
Here I am walking thru the National Botanical Gardens at 30 wks prego. I was hot and sweaty by the time I got back to the hotel!

The gate of the Botanic Gardens.
That night we went to Hard Rock Cafe to eat dinner. It was expensive and typical American cuisine, but one of those "staple" places to go when in an exotic location.
Then I flew out the next day. A view of Singapore from the plane window. It was a super fun trip. I'd go back, but it is pretty darn expensive. And since Brett just spent another month there for work, I'm thinking we have done Singapore and will be exploring other parts of Asia, which sounds like a fun plan too!