Thursday, June 12, 2014

Summer vacation plans starting to take shape...

Are you going on a vacation this summer? Do you have anything fun planned?  Camping or backyard bbq maybe or perhaps a trip a little farther? : ) As for us and our family, we always like to take 1 big family vacation together in summer. This years original options were, Los Angeles, Hawaii, South Korea or Europe. After a lot of deciding and talking we managed to get it widdled down to Los Angeles or Hawaii. As of right now we are strongly leaning towards Los Angeles. I'd say it's a 90% chance we will be going to Los Angeles and a 10% chance we head to Hawaii. We love Hawaii, a lot, Branden was born there, we used to live there. And we seem to go there every summer for vacation, however we'd really like to take the boys to Universal Studios while they are at this age, and what a perfect age to go! Age 12 and 8 (well Noah will be a newly minted 9 year old by then : ) And yes we know  the Harry Potter ride is opening at USJ, same for in Florida too, I believe (won't open in the one in Hollywood until 2016, I think). However we'd like to to go the original Universal Studios, and just check it out. I haven't been to Universal Studios Hollywood since I was a child, so I'm excited. : ) Noah is so into the Transformers, so I know he'll be over the moon to ride this!

The Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride just opened and it looks super cool! We all can't wait for this ride. 

The Simpsons ride looks cool too!

Branden will dig this ride, I'm sure. : )

Jurassic Park-The Ride, we loved this ride at USJ. So it'll be nice to try this again. 

King Kong 360.

It's just gonna be a very cool/fun day for us. Riding and seeing so many fun things and okay some scary things too. Hahaha. : )

It will be nice to catch the shows in English, not that I mind having to catch them in Japanese most of the time here, but yes it will be nice to catch all the shows in English. : )

We have been in serious research mode...anytime I have free time where I'm not at a kids club thing or meeting or here at home spending time with my family. If we have free time, say while the kids are at school, we both are heavily researching. Best, cleanest, highest Trip Advisor reviews for hotels and affordable. Location, is it safe. Food, what's to eat nearby. Like right here, one day I was, researching what sort of food is available on the day we head to Universal Studios. They have Gru's Cafe.  El Macho Nachos (this cracks me up, because the names of foods are characters from Despicable Me.) Dr. Nefarios Lab salad. Banana Chocolate shakes (omg, I like choco banana flavored anything)...and the other place to eat... Despicable Delights, lol. 

At the mall walk. Which should be either right near Universal Studios or inside. I'm not sure, again we'll find out when we get there because I haven't been in a zillion years. And our kids have never been to Universal Studios Hollywood before, they've just been to USJ (Branden twice and Noah once). Pizza Hut Express, KFC Express....

Handmade pretzel shop, Yogurtland, and Subway...lots of choices... so eating at Universal Studios seems to be zero problem at all. Could be...too many good choice options... but that's not really a problem at all. : ) 

Again either in Universal Studios or at the mall walk near Universal...Tommy Hamburgers (famous place in California, as in a landmark type restaurant) and Taco Bell...
Panda express and Pinks Hot Dogs! Yeah... zero trouble food wise at all.

Louie's Pizza (yumm) and the Flintstone's Bar-B-Q.  LOL, the Flintstone's! 

Mel's Diner. And the shops to buy gifts from Universal Studios, they have the Kwik E Mart (from the Simpsons) probably can buy lots of Simpsons souvenirs there. And they also have a Transformers place to buy stuff from too. I imagine we will have to buy a few things from the Transformers shop. Hahaha. : )  Again, do we have summer vacation plans? You betcha! We're just keepin' things on the down low for right now. But yep...lots of online researching. When we go to Hawaii, we really don't have to research stuff because we know already. : ) Same for when we go to Denver. But, we are a bit unfamiliar with Los Angeles, so...that is why we are researching like crazy now...so by the time, we do get there, we at least have a general idea. A notebook of restaurants to try...I am already making sure are written down or a list of movie theaters to check out nearest us...or a list of closets Targets or Walmarts or outlet malls from our hotel, type information, you know what I mean, I hope. :  ) 
For example, one of my most favorite things to eat in the entire world, is a chili relleno burrito. So, I searched with keywords "best chili relleno burrito in Los Angeles" and a whole list on Yelp popped out. Yelp is a place that does reviews in the US, real reviews written by real people with real pics they take at the restaurant or whatever. Whenever we head to a city we are unfamiliar with, I always hit up Trip Advisor and Yelp! I just always do. : )  Turns out lots of people also *love* chili relleno burritios as much as I do. The highest ranked place is...La Azteca. Over 102 people say...they make the best! Well...okay then! I believe you! So, I'll try 'em! : )

It says..."but especially the chili relleno burrito, it was the best."  And in 2nd place is another restaurant which I also wrote down too. 

An Asian American guy named Tai, says La Azteca is the best for chili relleno burritos. Again in states like Colorado, California, Texas, Nevada, Arizona, it really doesn't matter if you are Asian American, African American or Italian American, chances are, if you grew up in one of those types a states you are a Mexican food expert! 

This is Tai's review and that is his pic down below. Okay technically, I took a pic of his pic, so Tai gets all the credit, so glad he and the others shared pics because I was curious what it looked like. Thank goodness for sites like Yelp and the people who take the time to leave a review and share pics! We are coming all the way from Japan to try this place now! So thanks! : )

I must have looked at this pic and read the caption lots of times. That is so totally a handmade tortilla. *drools* hahaha. 

Another pic, courtesy of Yelp. But OMG, doesn't that look delicious. To me it does! So anyway...not trying to make a super hugely long post. But yep we are researching Los Angles like crazy insane right now. Restaurants. Best Italian, best this best that. We also plan to go to a few movies also. Oh when will we be going? We are shooting for immediately after the Summer Festival. Because I am a yakuin head, I *have* to be here for that. I can't get out of it. So, we are planning the very next day after that... is when we will leave. So right now the plan is at the end of July to head out on vacation. : ) Of course with us... the dates can always be changed and stuff depending on when they actually give Noboru his vacation days off and stuff. But at least it gives you a general idea of when. Either last week of July or first week of August at the latest. Type dates.  So 90% chance of Los Angles and 10% chance of Hawaii. Either way we will be looking forward to it. : )

Also, our family is taking a small weekend get away type trip to a hotel someplace near Mt Fuji last weekend in June. We have had a hotel reservation for that for over a month and it's just something we will be looking forward to. Especially since it will be right after Branden takes his finals. So some R&R will be surely needed for us all. : )

Also...sorry, one more thing. My dad is taking his summer vacation starting tomorrow. He will be flying to Denver for 2 weeks and will be staying with his sister, my auntie. : ) So my dad is really looking forward to that. And since he's flying non-rev/stand by. I will be monitoring his flight and connections off and on tomorrow, making sure he makes every connection. Guam to Narita (no time to visit, he's just connecting),  Narita directly to MN and then on to Denver. : )  If he should get bumped we will relist him immediately, but tomorrow's flight looks *really* good which is why I listed him on that flight in the first place. : )  So yep, plans are starting to form and take shape for sure! : )