Monday, September 25, 2017


We went camping. It was fun but stupid expensive, considering. The Japanese can set up a camp. It looked like a small settlement more than a campground. We felt like the odd man out with our normal sized tents and lack of full outdoor kitchen. We took the dogs with us, also not smart. They charged for the tents(we rented 2 small ones vs 1 big one--ever shared a tent with 4 boys?), the car, per person, and the dogs. What would've cost maybe $15 in the States ended up costing about $70(which didn't include all the camping gear we rented as ours sits molding over in storage somewhere in America).

But check out that spot! Absolutely gorgeous. I would've been okay with more than six inches between us and the fellas that set up next to us, but no biggie. Allllll that empty space and they wanted to snuggle up with the ones with kids + dogs. 

With a dog as cute as this, though, of course they wanted to be neighbors.

Ootake Caverns was just up the hill. Not as impressive looking as the limestone caverns in Okutama, but they were there and entrance was cheap.

A spontaneous hug from Jude, a skeptical look and steadying hand from Titus. I don't blame him. 

 There were also several waterfalls close to the campsite. 
 Unfortunately, most of them were beyond this sign. I'm almost certain this sign was made by a bear. We did not have our bear bells as pictured, and every Japanese person we crossed paths with did. We told the kids to make as much noise as they wanted. 
 Back at the campsite, we did all the normal camping stuff. 

 Jude didn't understand why I wouldn't let him in the river. "I rolled UP my PANTS-UGH." 

All in all, a good run through for what we need and don't need for camping here. Next time, we'll go a little further out--and remember to bring the bear bells. 

New Sanno

Last month, we decided to see what all the New Sanno hype is about. We spent two nights in the city. My confidence in understanding the train was tested, but we managed to do a ton. 

New Sanno has nice elevators. I snagged the shot on the right and had to go digging for the throwback. The elevator shot on the left is from just before we moved to Ohio. Oh, Judelet. And Simon, good night. He's almost-not-quite-still-have-him-by-.25inch as tall as me. 
There's a shuttle that can get us from Yokota to New Sanno and it is our most preferred method of travel into Tokyo. $8/person to avoid Tokyo traffic, parking, and tolls: sign me up!

I have been craving bahn mi sammiches since the last good one I had in DC 4+ years ago. We found a spot that did not disappoint. Servings were small and prices were big, but it hit the spot. 
Know what's not cheap in Tokyo? Feeding this crew.
Know what else is not cheap in Tokyo? Shoe-ing this crew. I gave them my price point. I pointed out several options that fit within my parameters. In the middle of it all, Sean realized he'd left his phone at the restaurant. Somehow in the chaos of that, the boys rolled me and I didn't realize it until I got to the register. 
I figured a fair trade would be a trip to a shrine. You can see how excited they were to be there. 
It was right in the middle of the city. Kinda cool, also not that exciting. I liked the tori gates. They would've made for fun pictures if the one lone creeper at the bottom of the stairs would've moved. He was there with his camera, wishing we would move out of his shots, too. Alas, his pictures are probably full of my children and most of my pictures have his hairy legs in them. This was the only one that didn't have him in it.

 They gave me a shrine visit and were rewarded with cotton candy. I had to take a picture of this girl's cotton candy as ours was gone by the time I got my big camera out. 
 They attacked it like a swarm of bees. 
I posed for this one picture, then went in for another handful of sugar and was sorely disappointed. 

 I didn't realize the sign at the top of the street was displaying the crowd. The boys thought it was pretty fancy to be on the big screen.

 After that, we trained over to Ueno. It was hothothot that day and most of the animals were hiding. I told Sean to leave his old man towel at the hotel. Japanese folks always have a washcloth or small hand towel with them to mop their brow or wipe their hands as bathrooms don't have paper towels. After sweating our faces off one day, Sean bought a ton of towels. But they're ugly and gross. "Can I borrow your old man towel?" I asked. "The one you made me leave at the hotel?!" So we had that fight in the middle of the zoo.

Thankfully, we got to see one panda. 

We went to some place that had a lot of cars. The boys loved it, I went in search of Starbucks. 

We saw a Gundam. 

We sat by the water to watch the sunset. Actually, we stood because there were some kinda freaky, nasty water cockroaches crawling all over the rocks.
I love it when the pictures seem to capture a second or two of harmony and brotherly love. Even if the picture is lying.

See? Nasty. 
This dinner cruise boat was going back and forth the entire time. I am so glad they stayed put because it adds something awesome to the pictures.

Our final fun of the night was taking this giant ferris wheel. I didn't realize how queazy heights made me until I was right about at the 12:00 position. 
We had a super fun couple of days in the city and then turned right around and headed for the "country" to go camping.