Saturday, April 18, 2009

Busy week = Straight hair!

Back to regular programing... spring break wasn't quite long enough! We kept busy with Adrienne's mom here until Thursday - we were sad to see our last visitor go and reminded ourselves - TWO MONTHS! WOW! We're not sure how we're going to get all our stuff back we found out that it's MUCH more expensive to have extra luggage to go home than it was to come here - but we're having faith that it will work out somehow! I took a nasty spill down the stairs earlier this week - bruised myself up, but thankfully didn't break anything. Note to self - falling on cement stairs HURTS! We started making our life sized human bodies this week - the kids laughed SO hard when they were tracing each other - we all had a lot of fun!

The first thing we've learned about were our bones so we added a skull and our arm bones!

Mai had a birthday this week - yummy cake!

The big event for the week! As we've all seen my hair is enormous in Okinawa and now that the humidity is back...well let's just say my hair and I have not been happy campers! I decided it would be a good idea to professionally straighten it permanently (or at least until it grows out!) I was so excited about it all week! Adrienne and I headed to the salon and an entourage began to assemble for my hair - it was quite the experience!

Me waiting in the chair with my before hair!
Once they had me in my cape and towels I was equipped with ear caps! I look like somebody off Star Trek :)
After that two people started applying the first of two chemicals onto my hair - speedy! I then had to sit with plastic wrap on my head for awhile. This is one of my 6 hair helpers!

After I sat in my plastic wrap they washed out my hair, dried it and I was still looking at my puffy hair...hmmm...then 2 people (1 the same, 1 new) used a straightener and did my hair, then another person came and said 2nd chemical and away we went with another chemical, more plastic wrap and more waiting. Another washing, conditioning, more plastic wrap and a rotating heater...washing...drying - MASSAGE! hair trim - I did not panic that someone I can barely communicate with was cutting my hair I just breathed deeply! After that I was all done! My hair has never been so straight - who knew? Anyway, Adrienne came back to pick me up and with the windows down and my hair blowing I was amazed that my hair didn't expand in size - so great!

We had a meeting for the Ladies retreat for church (which is next weekend!) today at the Loop...cute tea and coffee place, we might need to go again! I'm really excited for the retreat though - should be a wonderful time with some of our favorite people!

Monday, April 13, 2009

A not so successful tour book day...

I figure I better tell my side of this story first before it turns into and unflattering tale by Adrienne :) Before I begin I'm sharing yet another of Adrienne's "gangsta" pictures...she seems to be going through some sort of phase...
Back to the tale....Saturday was a beautiful day to head south - we had Monkey bread thanks to the biscuits Kevin bought when he was here and then got in the car with the plan of going to Kokosai Street (tourist trap shopping) having lunch at Charlie's Tacos, going to the glass factory (most likely for the last time) and ending the day with an infamous historical walk which was to include a quick stop at a rice paddy before we went to some castle ruins...yea, sometimes the best laid plans go awry! We had a wonderful time wandering on Kokosai Street, had yummy tacos, and got a few more gifts at the glass factory and just when I had announced that I had everything I wanted my lamp called out to me...I had looked for a lamp and hadn't found one and was ok with that...but then we found each other and bonded instantly...went to pay for it and it was even on sale!! Sigh...yes, I have one entire suitcase devoted to glass I believe and I'm just fine with it! We set off for in search of our historical walk - with a small detour to the Peace Park...just the outside - who can pass up the view?????

Onward we go to the rice paddy! I'm carefully following the map - I read the instructions aloud and we're all looking for a sign or the landmarks given...we realize we're to far, turn around and see a sign!

We turn and then I'm looking for the white post - no white post....driving along and it says to veer left and then drive on a dirt road...perhaps it's this way!
NO - it is NOT this way and Adrienne had to do a million point turn to get out...I'm laughing hysterically and she is not mad...we're doing well so far :)
We turn around and go back out and turn into a parking lot and I decide to go ask some people if they know where I'm supposed to be going....OH MY....there is MUCH discussing, then there is some gesturing, and pointing, and then a phone call, another car arrives and the tour book is handed to this man in the car, more gesturing, and pointing, and then pointing at me, then him, then the car and a driving motion. So I went back to the car and said, I think we're supposed to follow him. SOOOOO we did...cause that makes sense....
I'm still amused, Adrienne at this point is not as we follow this man all the way back up and down a different road...and then to a dirt road, white sign post included...down and around we go and I notice another car is following also - random tour caravan? We finally arrive to a paved parking lot, why in the middle of nowhere is there a paved parking lot? We find the shrine and the monument that was also on the tour and NO rice paddy...the other people that were following went to worship the shrine which was rather uncomfortable as I'm reading the tour book and trying to figure the whole thing out...sorry I just took more ocean pictures and I STILL haven't seen a rice paddy - SAD! We ended up making another wrong turn after we left and decided against continuing tour book day...Adrienne was no longer interested in historical walks...better luck next time!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

going up north

On Thursday we headed up north with Adrienne's mom - the day started out rainy, but turned out to be pretty nice weather! We went to Ryuku Mura for the first time which is a recreation of a traditional Okinawan Village, interesting to see...nothing to exciting though. I did enjoy seeing the sugar cane pulp being squeezed out by the machine that was being turned by the bull - who knew?
The bull, I got to pet him too

After that we did our trip up to Cape Hedo, the national park, and of course ended with the Pineapple Park...don't ask how many times that makes (we already have plans to make one more trip before we leave for cookies and face wash)

I love the ocean no matter the weather!

OH MY - see it's not just Adrienne that walks ahead of me!
The flowers were blooming on the side of the road - they looked like pink poppies - pretty!
At the national park we did the big and strange rocks walk...I made Adrienne try and go through this very small space (such a good sport!)

Adrienne being a lizard next to the lizard rock :)

I like how I'm roaring and Adrienne looks nervous...hmmmm
NAPPING at Pineapple Park
...ha ha ha ha - ok it was technically posed...but she did close her eyes for a minute and talk about napping...but the picture was to good to pass up!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Kyoto (Day 4)

Day 4 is a reflection of how brave Adrienne and I have become in the last 9 months! First of all, I never expected to be in Japan...but now that I am it's been great to see as much as we can! We hadn't planned our Osaka trip in great detail (I know, what has happened to me?!) and everyone told us Kyoto was worth seeing. Our hotel had the subway route mapped out to Kyoto so we figured why not, how hard can it be after that? Well, apparently Kyoto is MUCH bigger than we expected and everything is harder when you don't speak or read Japanese! I'm examining our "walking" map the hotel gave us and finally figure out there appears to be a subway station somewhat close to the Golden Pavilion that perhaps might get us to our destination??? So we find a worker and point to our destination and the station and they nod and point and look through a book and point out which subway line we want and send us on our way - after asking a few more people we get to the right train and know that we're going to the bus station and to buy a bus ticket there, we buy our tickets and get on the train. I'm pretty sure this was our finest moment thus far in Japan.

At the Kyoto station! So proud!
Next we got on the city have no idea what to pay or when we pay...but here we are on the bus. I start watching all the people and looking around - I finally see a sign that says 220 so I assume that's the price of our ticket and we figure out that you pay when you get off, the on and off is 2 different doors so it all works out.
We arrive at the bus stop and take a short walk to the Golden Pavilion. It was absolutely gorgeous! The grounds are beautifully landscaped, the Pavilion amazing - the whole thing was worth the Independence trip!! The bottom floor isn't gold and built in the palace style while the other 2 floors are built in the samurai style and Zen style with gold leaf lacquer.

My Japanmate flinging her arms around (skipping style) Makes me laugh every time!
Afterwards we sat down for a bit with some soft serve (cherry blossom soft serve is better than cherry blossom ice cream) I convinced Adrienne we couldn't come all this way and not keep going - our feet were TIRED today! So the next stop was the Ryoanji Temple. Now the map made it look pretty close and when we asked for directions the man said it was a 20 minute walk....hmmmm...ok....sigh. Our walk wasn't to bad but going downhill made me think of going back uphill afterwards :)

Walking behind Adrienne (again!)
In front of the main part of the temple

And of course when we get inside we need to take off our shoes! It felt great to walk around for awhile with the cool wood and no shoes :)
I didn't know that these paintings are made on paper and the paint is made of ground up colored rock and glue - YIKES - talk about a 2nd grade craft on steroids!
Inside the temple was the zen rock garden - it was a little weird to see everyone just sitting and staring at them, the tourists stuck out like a sore thumb with the cameras!

When we left I thought it was kind of ironic to see a traditional Japanese lady in her Kimono and the car parked our back.

After that we walked back up the hill to the bus stop - a short stop at a couple of shops for a cute new bag (to be used as a lunch box) and a beautiful hair tie. We got back on the bus, back to the station and we were heading back towards Kyoto Station but stopping shortly before that to change trains to go to Nijo castle which I think was my favorite stop - inside the castle was amazing, but no pictures allowed - sorry you'll have to go see it yourself! It was the capital in between Tokyo and Osaka (I think I got that right). It's amazing to me how well preserved it looks considering it's over 400 years old!

Once you go inside you take of your shoes of course and walk through each part with the floor squeaking below your feet. There was a neat diagram that showed how they built the floors so they would squeak and no one could sneak up on the shogun. There were lots of paintings done in the colored rock and also gold leaf. The carvings were also very beautiful.

After touring the inside we walked around the gardens - yea for cherry blossom season!

Not only do I have a lot of pictures of Adrienne period...I have a lot of her with her arms flung out doing something :)

All in all - a very successful trip and I'm extremely proud of us for finding our way around without a single mishap! On Wednesday we headed back to Okinawa - surprisingly glad to be back "home" for now! Great trip and now Adrienne's mom is visiting so we're trying to show her as much of the island as we can before school starts again...about 7 more weeks of school left! Love and miss you all - see you soon!