Friday, January 17, 2014

Holiday Season

Sorry, no pictures...those of you on Facebook can ask Dad and Mayen for pictures if you want them. So the holiday season is over, and it was a lot of fun! Dad and Mayen visited us during Christmas and New Years. We were really looking forward to it, and we had a couple of special things planned. First, we went to nice onsen ryoukan (japanese style inn with hotspring baths) in Hakone. This was our first experience staying at higher end place, and it was really something special. The ryoukan (Fukuzumiro) was made up of several different buildings connected together and it just rambled on and on. The baths were interesting, unfortunately indoor, but man did they get hot! Hotter than anything else we've experienced I think. The rooms were big and the futons comfy. I think the most different aspect was all the attention the staff paid to us, much more than we are used to! In Nagoya, we actually commented on how nice it was to be totally left alone to our own devices. Definitely a different experience in Hakone. But it wasn't too irritating. The most incredible part was the full on kaisekiryouri meal that we had on our second night.  I had heard that this was a specialty of the nicer ryoukans and boy was it ever!  At first we didn't know what to expect, so when the first course arrived, we thought that was the meal.  We were a bit concerned by the lack of any rice, so we asked for some.  They brought one bowl for Rowan.  We expressed a desire that all of us would like some rice, at which time we were told that we would get rice *later*.  That's when it dawned on us that this was a multi-course meal.  Sure enough, by the time the rice actually arrived, I wasn't sure if I could eat it!  Each dish was an amazing collection of tastes, textures, colors and designs.  It was incredible!  Also, we didn't know what we were getting until it arrived, including the fugu tempura!  I had already decided that I wouldn't bother eating fugu since I was told the flavor wasn't really all that impressive and it's usually insanely expensive, but oh well, I guess I've tasted it now (tastes like fish...).

For Christmas and New Years Eve we mostly just stayed home, ate food and watched movies.

For New Years Day and the day after we had managed to get rooms at the New Sanno Hotel in Tokyo.  This is a military run hotel that we have access to and it's very reasonably priced given it's location.  We weren't sure if there would be anything open after New Years as most Japanese have the time off and stay home, but we figured we could at least try.  As we thought, most things were closed, but Dad did manage to get footage using a new camera he brought along to learn with.  Apparently someone in the Philippines wanted footage that might be used in something.

Anyway, we were glad that we could share the holidays with family, and glad to show our lives as well.

Coming up we don't have any big travel plans really.  The next thing on the horizon is a visit from Kerri's sister and her husband in the summer!  That should be fun.

In other news, we are actively looking for a new apartment, close to the base, smaller and cheaper.  Kerri and I are really excited about it (Rowan not so much).

We are also continuing to try and round up anyone interested in starting a Reformed church near the base and are getting ready for another push.