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Friday, December 11, 2009

SNOW!!!


Yesterday, we arrived in Hakodate by an express train called the super hakucho (swan). On the train trip on the way we went on the longest tunnel in the world by train under the water about 240 metres for 23.3 kilometres. It was quite scary going under it knowing you were underwater. Once we were out of the tunnel there was snow on the ground which was exciting but the train kept going because we hadn't reached Hakodate yet. When we arrived in Hakodate however there was no snow. When we arrived we went for a look around and had some lunch. Dad and I had curry and gyoza for lunch. Then we went to a cable car which took us up a mountain that had lots of snow on it. I really enjoyed playing in the snow and making a snowman - something that I don't remember ever making before. Then we came back and checked into the hotel which is called Toyoko Inn. We then went to a beautiful outdoor onsen and went to our Italian buffet dinner feeling very relaxed. The buffet food was very nice and we were some of the only people in the dining place so we felt like we had it to ourselves. Then we went home and sank down on our comfortable beds and went to sleep.
By L

Yuki Daruma







Thursday, December 10, 2009

Disney Sea!

Disney Sea!

On Tuesday we got up from our very comfortable beds at approx. 7:40 to get to breakfast at 8:30. Breakfast was really nice at the Ryokan and all Japanese food. On Tuesday, I was really excited because we were going to Disney Sea (Disney land except next to the sea and with better rides!). Dad wasn’t coming with us to Disney Sea because he was going to organise something for next year at a Japanese school. We left the Ryokan at 9:30 and got onto a train to the Disney Resort station. Disney had their own mono rail line so after we got to the station we had to go on their mono rail to get to Disney Sea. All the stations were Disney Land, Disney Resort and Disney Sea. When we got to Disney Sea J and I went to a French bakery type of place and we had a couple of pastry things with a drink. Then, we went on a boat trip to the other side of the theme park (Disney Sea was quite big). When we got off on the other side, there was a ride called Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. We decided we might as well go on it as it was just where we were. When we got in the line was HUGE!! We must have waited at least 45 minutes to get into the ride. When we were on the ride, it was very jerky and quite scary. It was really fun though. Then, we went into a place called Ariels playground with an under the sea theme which was cute. We went on a few rides there and I went on a good rollercoaster by myself. Then we decided to get some lunch and we found a good hotdog stand selling hot dogs. I bought a drink and then we went to a small café where I bought an ice-cream and J bought a hot chocolate. Then a parade started on the water and I went to look at it. It was SO loud!!! There was music blasting out of the speakers on high! Then Dad arrived, and J left

"Starbucks" はどこ???


On Monday, we didn’t have a very busy day but we did lots of shopping. First we went to a place Asakusa which had heaps of little souvenir shops. I bought a little key ring from outside one shop and after I bought the key ring, the lady in the shop literally pushed me into the shop so I could keep looking in the shop. She was pushing me quite hard and I wasn’t rude enough to push her back, so as soon as I got into the shop I walked out a different way. Then, we went to get a coffee/hot chocolate for afternoon tea at starbucks and I learnt how to ask in Japanese: スターバクスはどこですか。That means ‘where is starbucks?’ I also had a sausage roll (which they called a sausage pie).
After that, we went to Akihabara, where we bought G something which I wont write in case he reads this. There were lots of technology stores around where we were which were interesting to look at but strangely dressed up girls on every corner. They were wearing maids dresses and other weird things advertising café’s.
Then, we went to an internet café which was when we last updated this blog. It stank of smoke (the internet café, not the blog!) because there were people smoking there which was disgusting. Then we went to a small tempura place for lunch which was very nice tempura. We shared 1 plate because we weren’t very hungry!
That night was Dads night off taking the boys to dinner so we could go where we liked. First we went for dinner early at an Italian place which was delicious- if not very small! We had gnocchi and a small salad and shared them. I had ginger ale and dad had wine. Then we went to a really nice shop place called Tokyu Hands (ときゅうはんず). It had 8 levels all themed and interesting. We bought some stuff for people which we wont write about in case….
Then we went home and Dad posted a couple of coat-hangers and we went to bed on time for a change!!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Tokyo!!

Yesterday we arrived in Tokyo at lunch time and got lunch as soon as we arrived. The teachers got lost on the way back to our meeting place, but luckily everyone else found their way back to the train station and all the students were waiting for us when we arrived a few minutes late. We met up with our friends Kiyo and Tetsu and Ria and they took us to the Meiji Shrine, Harajuku, Omotesando and Shibuya! (by L)

The Meiji Shrine was amazing, with a Korean wedding, a Japanese wedding and all these kids dressed up for Shichi-Go-San Festival! Then one of the boys got a nose bleed in the middle of it all! A very bad one, luckily someone had some water to clean the ground up...
I (Gwyn) have never seen Harajuku so busy, it was literally wall to wall people. We had to work to get from one end of Takeshita dori to the other, but we made time to get an incredible crepe on the way, I had cream, ice-cream and peach. L had chocolate ice cream, cream and thats all.

Shibuya was also V busy, but we stopped to talk to our hosts, while the boys walked around tiring themselves out. A traditional ofuro never felt so good, at the end of the day - L and I are convinced that the Ryokan traditional guesthouse is far better than Japanese hotels! We have a private garden and veranda on our room... Cheers to all, G and L.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Nara

Today, we caught the fast train to Nara in the morning. We all had train tickets with allocated seats! It was raining all day, so when we got to Nara, we all bought umbrellas for ourselves. We walked through the absolutely packed with deer deer park. We then went to Todai-ji Temple, the largest wooden building in the world. It used to be bigger, but it burnt down and got rebuilt again - smaller - but still the largest building in the world. There was a lot of incense and candles there. Inside, there was a hole which would 'enlighten' you if you crawled through it. I crawled through it but got a bit stuck on the way because I went in headfirst. I managed to get through in the end.
By L




fears... of swine flu and...







Fears of swine flu - evident in Japan from the groups of students we saw today with face masks on. Later at Kiyomizudera, at the fountain which everyone wants to drink - of pure water - the cups they were using were being instantly purified by use of ultraviolet rays!


Still, having a great time - December not as cold as I thought as yet - but I could be speaking too soon!