Thursday, August 18, 2016

Throwback Thursday. August in Denver, Colorado 2008...

August 2008, Noboru and the boys and I decided to skip Hawaii that summer and head back to my home state! Denver, Colorado. 

Inside Denver International Airport. Or as we call it...DIA. Just the 3 letters.

I love this airport so much! I always know, I am home, whenever I see it. Makes me so happy!

After getting settled and stuff. We went to eat. The best thing about going back "home" versus a vacation spot... is the fact that I already know the best Mexican food restaurant...best Italian restaurant, etc etc. Best malls. You know what I mean, I hope. Noboru lived in Denver from age 15 to age 28 and 2 years in Hawaii after that until age 30. So, Denver is a place he feels so comfortable too. Noah and Bran each got a kids plate. A bean and cheese tostada and a side of rice and beans. Noboru a smothered burrito.

A happy Branden...

I had the huevos rancheros.

Just relaxing at one of the amusement parks, Denver has 2. Denver has 1 new expensive modern... wait all day in line... amusement park. And this old amusement park too... this is super cheap, all you can ride for like super cheap and there is no waiting in line and the people are just super chill here. We always go here. The boys having a cherry Icee because well...that's what Denver people do in summer.: ) 

There's my Icee next to my backpack. Having fun kiddos? : ) I went here all the time, when I was Noah's and Branden's age too. I love this place! : )

Is grandpa steering or is Branden steering? Hahaha! And see that ride in the background, absolutely zero wait in line. I love this place!

Stocking up and buying clothes on the cheap! : )

Homemade pasta and ravioli at an Italian place I have been going to since I was a kid. 

I know Japan thinks they are the country of onsen and hot springs! But many states in the USA also have the gift of natural hot springs too. Colorado is full of natural hot spring places! I grew up since I was a wee baby being taken to the hot springs. In Japan...sometimes Japanese people will ask me. Have you ever been to Hakone (famous for hot springs)? I smile and say yes. They will then say..."don't you love Japan for the hot springs?" Yes...I will politely answer...*however* did you know my state...Colorado is famous for hot springs too? In fact I grew up going to soak in hot springs my whole life. With snow all around the mountains while soaking in a hot spring. They are always super *duper* surprised hearing that. But yes it is true. : ) I do come from a fantastic state that has natural hot springs all over it. Granted us westerners... aren't too keen on soaking butt naked hahaha...but hot springs soaking, yes we do that too. : ) 

This hot spring is so hot. Your whole body feels so relaxed after wards. The lobby has a sign with all the minerals in this hot spring that are good for your body and skin. : )

Having gone here since I was a toddler. I know to get a hand stamp before leaving the hot springs. So we can re-enter the hot spring at night. : ) We stopped for some ice-cream and some lunch. Told ya...swimming sure makes a person hungry. : ) Dairy Queen...we sure do love you! : ) 

An early dinner after some sight seeing for the kids. And then back to soak. Pizza Hut and breadsticks are always nice.

Family...let's soak until we're all wrinkly and shriveled like raisins! Hahaha. At night in August the mountain air is cold and crisp and the contrast to the hot water...feels so nice. : )

At my auntie's house. She has fantastic peach trees, apple trees, 2 varieties of apple trees. 

My aunties back porch. See that fire pit in the table there. Perfect to roast marshmallows and just talk and enjoy your family.

Yes we need lots of seats because I have a big extended family. : ) 

And my family is very Roman Catholic. 

Our last night in Denver. We went and ate at my favorite restaurant one more time. 

It's so fun going to Denver. This will always be considered my home. My birth place. The placed I was born and raised. I love Colorado people. Colorado people are so nice. So cool. So friendly. I have a whole lot of family there who love me...love Branden...love Noah and Noboru too. : ) So yes...it is super hard leaving. Arriving in Denver is super easy. It's the leaving part that's hardest. If you have ever lived overseas....you will understand my words. And understand what I'm saying. I rarely get to Denver. Every 3-4 years maybe. So when I land in Denver and the pilot always says..."welcome to Denver." I cry. I cry because it is so good to hear that. So not hysterical psycho crying nonono. Just a few happy silent tears. While looking out the window. So no one else.. can see or know. When I fly out of Denver...I always cry for a minute or two too. Because it's pure heart break for me. I never know when is the next time...I can go back. Maybe 3-4 years. So sad tears. Very very sad tears. Again...not psycho loud hysterical crying. Just a few very sad silent tears during take off. And no...I don't want anyone to know or see. After an hour in flight...my funk goes away. And I am back to my peppy ol' self. But yes...leaving is so hard, isn't it. : )  Anyway...that was this week's TBT of 2008. I have been back to Denver since this. But that was in November 2013. Anyway happy TBT everyone. I will not be able to do my TBT for next week. Since I will be on vacation in the states. We leave this Saturday. Am I happy? Heck yes. I so need this trip you guys. The kids are packed, I packed them up 2 days ago and today I went and bought the kids some snacks for the airplane. I will pack myself up this evening after supper. Noboru is getting excited about our trip too. : )  

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Enjoying some shave ice (kakigori) in the Japanese countryside...

August 13th, my family and I went to eat shave ice (kakigori) from another little shop. This shop is a little stand in front of their house. It's just 10 short miles away from our house so it's pretty close to us. Yes, I live in rural Japan, so this shop is obviously in rural Japan as well. : ) Which is totally fine and fun actually! This is in Ibaraki Japan and you already know that... I live literally a 2 minute drive from the Ibaraki border. Think of prefectures in Japan like states in the USA. So the actual edge of Chiba and edge of Ibaraki is where we live. : ) Noah ordered a ramune flavored shave ice. Somebody else just pulled up and wanted shave ice too and parked near our car, so Noboru was watching a dad and his child : ) 

Branden and I each picked the same flavor. We each ordered a mikan shave ice. Also, I should mention this lady who was probably mid 40's in age, if I were to take a guess. She made all the flavors handmade/homemade. She only has like 8 flavors for that week on the menu board and that was very nice, flavors change weekly. This mikan was out of this world, it was so good!

We were enjoying. Noboru's was meanwhile coming up.

This was Noboru's. Noboru ordered a matcha (green tea) with azuki beans on top.

They had 2 goats and this was one of them. He was just munching on some greenery. 

Here's the other one. 

And a sheep. There was also a medium brown sheep and a dark brown sheep too.

I love that my 11 year old thinks that he can whistle to the goats. Childlike innocence, I tell ya! : ) 

It's a wonderful area for kids to be raised.

Love that my teenager was updating his Line message with a picture of a goat! What a country teen! LOL. : ) His friends were laughing apparently! : ) He also shared a pic of his shave ice. 

Natural weed control right here! Hahaha. : ) 

Their house was this modern very nice red house with solar panels on top. I have been watching the show Tiny House and Tiny House Hunters all summer long, so I was really excited to see their house. The style really was cool. Their door was super nice. I love that she had about 30 cucumbers on her front porch on the ground. When we pulled up. We waited outside for a few minutes. We at first wondered if they were open? Her husband was a farmer and saw us coming and he must have realized his wife wasn't outside, he ran and knocked on their door and said "wife you have customers outside" She was really nice and really modern looking. She said I am so sorry. I usually always hear if a car comes down our road. Noboru said, "it's not your fault we drive an electric car so that's why" And she was laughing and said..."that must be why." This was their own car and I did white out their license plate. But she sold fresh veggies in those blue and orange crates. This day she had sweet potatoes and kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) I love kabocha. : ) She also sold flowers too. Freshly picked flowers. These were her other customers. Selling shave ice is just her summer hobby. The silver building is her little stand her husband got for her. : ) Nice...wonderful couple. : )  

Their land is huge. They had this huge wood pile for winter stoves and fireplace, I imagine. In their new and modern home. 

I am not sure if you can see them or not. But there are 2 chickens under this tree. They were just relaxing. And they did walk around, they are the true meaning of free range chickens. Hahaha. : ) 

A huge garden area for their own personal usage. 

An adult horse. 

A better pic of their garden.

They had plenty of fruit trees. A totally self sufficient family!

Two ponies.


No barrier between the 2 little ponies and the adult, these horses have a huge area to run and play and walk and be happy horses. 

You can see their cute little red house in the background. 

Lucky country sheep! : )  

All in all, a pretty good afternoon spent, just 10 miles up the road from us, enjoying some shave ice. Chit chatting with some nice folks and enjoying watching some happy and well taken care of animals. Definitely a great afternoon! : ) 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Summer fun in Japan! Wave pool family fun at the water park and a picnic lunch...

7 days from now my family and I will be gone on vacation. So, I am trying to get as much as I can posted between now and then. Last week, Monday August 8th my family and I went to the wave pool place for the entire day. It was the perfect best day to go! Reason? A typhoon was expected to hit Chiba the next day. It didn't, it fizzled before it ever got to Chiba. However the day before was so nice and breezy and windy. It felt so good. versus hot steamy sauna type weather. So it was such a nice day to go. It was hot weather high 80's in temps. But so nice and breezy it was so nice and the cool breezes meant none of us died of heat stroke. : ) Also it was cloudy at times and that was nice versus being beaten down by the sun. So perfect best weather day to spend a whole day outside totally. : )  Happy boys spending a perfect day at the wave pool place. There are a ton of different types of pools. If you're from Colorado think Water World. If you're from anywhere else, just think....water park. And that's where we were. : )

The boys splashing and having a really good time. Noboru and I were splashing too.: )


Summer fun!

Wave pool time. Let's go! I'm so ready! Let me snap a pic or two and I'll be joining you all in a sec!

After going from pool to pool to pool. Burying the kids in the sand yet again. Even now! We went back to our tent area and had some lunch. I had sliced and marinated the chicken the day before and so it marinated for 24 hours. Since the BBQ we had at home... the day before. It was so marinated and gingery! Yumm. We had tons of karaage (Japanese style fried chicken) rice balls, we had cookies, fresh fruit and yes 2 bottles of lemonade. We had a fantastic picnic lunch and plenty of snacky goodness too. 

BrannyB just enjoying the cool breezes about to dig into his lunch. You can see the cooler behind B, we had our fruit and drinks inside there.

Noah checking things out, while I grabbed the plates for our lunch.

After lunch we went right back at it. We weren't swimming a marathon or anything but some splashing after lunch was okay.  Wave pool time! 

Full tummy's and happy smiles from Noah!

You look so happy too Branden. You're really growing up kiddo.

We splished. We splashed. We slid down slides. We swam. We frolicked. We wave pooled. We picnic-ed. We had done it all. And we went home. We took fast showers and went out to dinner. We also went to eat ramen after we showered at home. We went and ate noodles after our beach day too. Reason? Because I make a picnic lunch and it's not fair to make a huge meal twice on a pool day. So we always eat out on beach or pool days. We can go anywhere of course to eat.... but we 4 always crave ramen after a good pool day. Why? I don't know. : )  

I had my usual tantanmen. I love it here. It's so good. The rest all ordered shoyu ramen. We enjoyed our hot delicious bowl of noodles. Noboru even ordered extra noodles for the 3 of them. Swimming does make people hungry. : ) 

And we stopped and each got a slice of cake from a fantastic little cake shop on the way home. It was near the noodle shop, there is no cake shop in my tiny town. hahaha. : ) All in all, it was a fantastic day. A day of playing at the wave pool. A picnic lunch. Some hot noodles for supper at a friendly restaurant we've been going to for years. And some cake at home for dessert. The most perfect low key type of day! Awesome! : )  Summer fun in Japan, totally! : )