Good Morning and Happy Thursday to all of you, my wonderful bloggie friends! It's cold here in Spokane today although the skies are gloriously blue. It was 17F last time I looked on our deck thermometer. Quite a change from the 60's and 70's we enjoyed last week in Japan. First I thought I would show you my knitting projects at the moment.
This first one is the yarn fellow blogger, lovely Gracie gifted me with. I keep putting it aside to work on other things but it's getting cold so I'm trying to make good time on it. Since it's only size 3 needles, it does take awhile to knit. I think I'm a little over 1/3 done with it.
This is a scarf I'm making for Harumi in Japan as part of her Christmas box. Scarves are very popular over there and people wear them when it's not even cold! It's an easy drop stitch pattern. I just started this yesterday afternoon and I'm almost halfway done.
Lastly are the socks that I carried along with me everywhere. I knit on the planes, in the taxi and on the bullet train! Otherwise they just sat in the bag while I went sightseeing.
I don't think I told you that we had two rather large earthquakes while we were in Tokyo. The first was Sunday morning. Hubby was still asleep and I woke him up so he wouldn't miss it. The other was Saturday night before we left to come home. He's traveled the world but never experienced an earthquake. Me, on the other hand, had lots of experience on my last trip to Japan after the "big one". However the epicenter with those was far away in the ocean, so even though they measured 7-8 on the Richter scale, they didn't seem too terrible. These two were centered right under Tokyo and measured in the 4 & 5 region. Doesn't sound too bad unless it's right underneath you. The second one was the worst with me jumping out of bed to catch Alex's T.V. just before it crashed to the floor. The building swayed and moved for about 20 minutes after the worst of it was over. Not fun. Alex says they were the two worst ones since he moved to Tokyo from Northern Japan two years ago. That is a worrisome fact in and of itself.
This is one of my favorite pictures from the trip. It was at the Ryoken where the group shower room is. Remember that from my last post? They provide these Nukata's for you to wear to and from the shower/tub room and to lounge in while in your room.
Christmas lights at Roppongi Hills. This is a VERY expensive shopping area in Tokyo, which is saying something. Tokyo is expensive anyway and this place is "over the top". Needless to say, we didn't buy anything, just enjoyed the atmosphere. Both Roppongi Hills and the Tokyo Tower are within walking distance of Alex's apartment.
Alex pointing out the entrance to Keio University where he is a translator. It looks small, but the campus goes on and on behind this gate. Many buildings and a big courtyard.
At the Edo museum. The Emperor and other high falutin' people rode around in these. The Emperor's feet were not to touch the ground outside, only special floors in the palace.
In Japan the majority of the restaurants have fake, (wax) food on display outside of the dishes that they offer. We went by the store that makes these wax displays. They look good enough to eat, don't they?
I found yarn at the 100 yen store, (like our dollar stores) and I bought three small skeins of yarn just to say I bought yarn in Japan!
Alex did a LOT of translating for us, although I could read the second sign all by myself.
Some of the goodies we had there. These are all sweets, famous in Japan and found only at this restaurant in Kyoto. Only chopsticks could be used to eat them. Actually, I've gotten pretty good with chopsticks, but these were wiggly little things and I had some trouble!
Like father, like son. Whenever we stopped for a minute or two, Hubby was answering emails and phone calls for work. Alex is working on a translation job so he would pull out his laptop. Here we were waiting for our lunch. While we were there, Alex had a book hand delivered to him by a publishing company. It was just published October 31 and he did the translation. It's about a person who walked the coast of the tsunami damage and wrote the story of the people. We're very proud of our son. I hope it's okay to brag a bit.
Our "daughter" Harumi who lived with us for two years while she was in Spokane going to college. She is a sweetheart and we adore her. She works for Ernst and Young in Human Relations and this is her office building. She took us to lunch on the top floor overlooking the Tokyo Imperial Palace. The second picture is her little boy, Harutaro and Alex. Harutaro was born one day after I arrived in Tokyo two years ago, so I was one of the first people to hold him! Alex is a Pied Piper with kids. I think he needs to go back to teaching elementary school. He loves kids and they love him too.
Harumi took us to Chinatown in Yokohama and we shopped and had lunch before going to her house and having pizza for dinner. She remembered how much we love pizza! Also the port of Yokohama. Important because it's where the "Black Ships" came and opened up trade with Japan and the rest of the world. Before that, Japan was an isolated country.
The bamboo forest in Kyoto. Notice the lady in a kimono and the monk behind her?
You saw ladies in kimono's everywhere you went in Japan. We did try to go to Gion and see the Geisha's, but although we walked around the alleyways for a few hours, we never were lucky enough to catch sight of one. This picture was during the day on a city sidewalk.
The Tokyo Tower, (orange colored) and the Tokyo Skytree. The Skytree is the worlds largest free standing structure. We were supposed to go to the top but it was too windy the day we had tickets and all tours were cancelled. We've been to the top of the Tokyo Tower before and it's a beautiful view.
Our last night in Japan we had dinner with Yoshie, (remember her from last summer?), and Mayako. They've both stayed with us in Spokane. We went to the top of Roppongi Hills tower, the tallest building in Tokyo. This picture was taken outside on the skydeck of the 57th floor about 1 1/2 hours before the earthquake I told you about. I'm so glad I wasn't out there during the earthquake. I don't like heights to begin with and I can't imagine begin on the outside of a swaying building. Especially one that tall.
One of the things that I love about Tokyo is the "citiness" of it. You can walk everywhere or take the subway. No need for a car. Within just two or three blocks of Alex's apartment are every kind of store you would like to go to. French bakeries, Fromongeries, (French cheese shop), dentist, doctor, supermarket, several convenience stores. The ease of living there and taking care of your daily needs is great. He walks about 15 minutes to the University for work. People are in MUCH better physical shape than we are here in the U.S. and they don't go to the gym! That being said, there is no place like home and I'm glad to be back although I miss Alex terribly.
Okay. I think I've inundated you with enough Japan pictures. I hope you've enjoyed them like I have. I'll leave you with one last garden photo. I just LOVE the gardens and trees in Japan. They take such good care of everything and are very detail oriented.
Aren't those colors gorgeous?
Have a lovely day my friends and I'll be here again soon.