Sunday, June 11, 2017

Tsujido Beach

Living on an island, one would think beaches are everywhere and easy to get to. Mmm. We were aiming for Enoshima Beach or Enoshima Island. I took the wrong way on a toll road last week because Siri said, "Turn right onto toward UNH.(only local friends will get that)." There were three left lanes and one right lane that would've made me cut across three left lanes and a weird empty space the width of another two lanes. Before I could make my arms turn the wheel, we were in the toll lane and I was completely stuck. Considering I've made it four and a half months without having to pay a toll for my lack of navigating skills, I count myself lucky. I still cussed, but I do realize I'm not doing that badly.

All of that to say, I have begun boycotting the toll roads. Lest you think I'm dramatic, the toll roads here are not like the toll roads in America. The cheapest toll road we've been on to date is 970yen going one direction. It adds up, lemme tell ya. Every time we go to Fuji or anywhere near Fuji, it's about $40 just in tolls--and that's a cheap trip, toll wise. Throw in parking, food, and souvenirs and every day-trip turns into a financial investment.

Today, I did my research. I realized the route to Enoshima was only a 20 minute difference if I skipped the toll road. That's what Maps said. Maps was wrong. I also almost killed my entire family during two somewhat evasive maneuvers. I almost killed a man on a moped. And someone in a BMW (that I was bound and determined to catch at the next stoplight) almost killed my entire family and a man on a moped at the same time. I was sooooo hoping we'd meet at a stoplight. I had some English phrases on the ready to test his language skills.

We never made it to Enoshima. We gave up with only four miles to go. Those last four miles were going to take us 30 minutes to complete. Well, "30 minutes" is what Maps said and we all know Maps is a liar. We opted for a parking lot at an unknown beach and it turned out just fine.

Tsujido Beach is where we landed. The boys had a blast. The Pacific was still a TAD nippy, but kids don't seem to notice things like that. The surfers were something to see. I can't believe how many were there for such tiny little waves. Either way, I was kicking myself for not taking my camera. Thankfully, Simon brought his! I won't steal all of his pictures, just this one that he took of Jude & a few I got when he oh-so-graciously lent me his camera.

They had so much fun running free and dumping buckets of water on each other. It's not often that Simon remembers to cut loose and BE A KID, so today was perfect. Unfortunately, he's the only one that didn't wear a rash guard and he got fried. I don't know how the sun found him and not the rest of us.

A few differences from American beaches: the sand is black. Well, not really black, more like dark brown. It has gold flecks in it that shine when the sun is out.

There weren't shells on the beach. We found lots of really cool rocks and quite a few pieces of broken pottery(I'm assuming from tsunamis that have hit here), but no shells.

There were tsunami warning signs and giant loud speakers at the edge of the beach. I can't even imagine...

We were the only non-Japanese I could see. There was one little boy that wanted to play with my kids, but every time he got close, his mom would say something and he'd turn away. I was listening hard, but I couldn't pick out any words. It bothered me. Our sunshade went airborne as we were packing up and landed right on her tent, collapsing it on top of her. If people on the beach hadn't noticed the white people before, they certainly got an eye full as we chased our giant half-tent down the beach. Good times, good times.

The drive home was interesting. We knew what we were in for given the drive out, but traffic at 730am on a Sunday is a different beast that traffic at 1pm on a Sunday. It took us 2.5 hours to drive the 39 miles home. It wasn't even all that busy, just typical Sunday traffic.

Even Sean agreed the tolls would've been worth it. It was a great day, all in all. I sure do enjoy this stage. Taking big kids to the beach is so much easier than taking babies to the beach!

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Tama Zoo

This zoo is amazing! Would you believe, Americans, that it cost my entire family less than $14.00 to get into an amazing zoo?! They even have a bus to shuttle you to the highest point of the park so you could enjoy your day walking downhill rather than dragging screaming children uphill. We spent the entire day here and didn't manage to see it all. We will definitely go back. 

It was hard getting pictures of this guy through the window. We spent a good thirty minutes just hanging out at his house. He would sit at the window and stare at us as hard as we were staring at him. Anytime a girl would come up to get a picture with him, he would pucker his lips!! 

The baby orangutan was playing peek a boo. I want one. 

Whenever I see a little girl with red hair, I say to Sean, "That's what our daughter could look like." When I saw the baby orangutan, I had the same thought. 

This orangutan!! We were laughing so hard at his antics. 

This Koala house was a gift from Australia. It was amazing. SO much space for one little koala?? Maybe they had more and only one was on display. Either way, Australia has money to burn and I think we should all move there. 

I want one. 

This kangaroo was too cool. It would not have surprised me a bit if he'd pulled cigarettes from his pouch and lit one up. Is it just me or does everyone imagine Kangaroos have Australian accents?

All I could think of was the scene from Ace Ventura...

The Asian elephant was awesome to watch. When the zookeeper called his name, he went running to her like a puppy. 

The little guy in pink was cracking me up. The tiger was humongous and the first pass by the kid and he bolted to his mama. He got brave after a little exposure and every time the tiger paced by him, he erupted into giggles. 

This one. He's too cool and I don't take nearly enough pictures of him. He seems to be approaching those teenage years a bit quickly. Equal parts bad attitude and heart of gold. 

 This one has figured out if he does the peace fingers, Japanese people will take his picture. It's starting to go to his head a little bit. 

 Once upon a time(holy smokes, a DECADE ago!!!!!), I took a picture of the big two doing the exact same airplane arms thing. This was when Simon was 5 and Felix was 2 and I'm going to cry myself to sleep now. 

The butterfly house may have been our favorite part. Simon and I spent so much time taking pictures that we missed out on the African elephant and chimps. 

Titus...We argued over these Crocs. He insisted they were too ugly for him to wear. While I agree Crocs are ugly, they are necessary. When they started rubbing his foot raw, I gave him my socks. My socks were too girly. Japan doesn't have quite the same gender stereotypes as America when it comes to colors and clothing. He spent the rest of the day pointing out all the other boys who were wearing girly clothes like his girly socks(blue puma socks, by the way. Nothing girly or boyly about them).

By the time we made it to the "Africa" portion of the zoo, most of the animals were being put away for the day. A guy working with the Chimps opened up one window for us. They have garage door type shutters that close over the windows. This fella was peeking out from under the door waiting to see who was there. He was so much fun to sit and chat with.  

I want one. 

 I can honestly say it was the best time we've ever had at a zoo.