Thursday, October 22, 2009

Asahiyama Zoo...

I haven't been keen on the idea of going to a zoo after living in Kenya... but when we were passing through Asahikawa on the way home from the Mushroom festival and had a bit of time to kill, I decided to see what a Japanese zoo was like!

The first thing I did notice was how cute everything was (surprise surprise)... from the signs, to the drinking fountains to the trash cans to the vending machines to the.... to the.....

The other thing I really liked about the zoo was all of the viewing tubes and tunnels that weaved in and out of each habitat.... we watched the penguins and seals jump, dive, feed and play around us...

The monkey tube was fun too.... but it was more of a crap smearing tube with foggy views and cheeky monkeys...

They also had little spaceship pod viewing spots within the habitats... we got soooo lucky with the wolf sightings and other animals!!!

Another thing they had was all sorts of bizarre tightrope walks and ladders that went overhead of the walkways... you just have to learn to look up and duck or dodge when the timings right.

I'm glad I didn't give up on zoos altogether after Kenya... it was a cute zoo and heaps of fun... but of course it paled in comparison to watching the animals on safari in East Africa. ;-)

Mushroom Festival.... why not???

mushrooms mushrooms everywhere!!!!

last month a bunch of JETs went to the Aibetsu Mushroom Festival after a weekend of camping...

You could buy and eat ALL KINDS o' mushrooms... mushroom soups, mushroom curry, mushroom breads, pickled mushrooms, mushroom cakes, dried mushrooms, mushy mushrooms, pots o' mushrooms and more...

and of COURSE since this is amazing Japan.... they just had to have a mascot for this mushroom festival!!!!! SUPER AIBETSU MUSHROOM MAN!!!!! he was a bit shy at first, but soon warmed up to us ;-)

The fashion at the mushroom festival was pretty unbelievably good. i gotta get outta the city more often! ;-)

HIP HIP HOORAY for mushrooms!!!!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Emperor Sorensen, Lake Toya and a sad goodbye...

Ikuya decided to take us to hell and back for my Dad's last day in Japan!!!!!

First stop was Noboribetsu to see the onsens and DEVILS!!!!!

After getting a dose of devils we decided to improve our samurai and ninja techniques at the SAMURAI VILLAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The samurai village in Noboribetsu is full of crazy cheesy fun...... we threw ninja stars, watched ninja shows, went thru crazy ninja mazes, saw more plays, played with the actors, went through crazy haunted houses and temples and more...

There was even a crazy spooky cat temple with haunted demon cats jumping out and meowing everywhere. ewwww......

But the highlight of the day (and maybe the ENTIRE trip) was when my Dad was picked to go on stage and become the STAR of the show with the geishas!!!!!!!!!!!!! i think the photos and video speak for themselves ;-)

We then drove down to Lake Toya where we had a HUGE sprawl of food at a yaki niku mom and pop shop....

Then went to watch the sunset over Lake Toya. ;-) Before heading home we went up to the fancy schmancy Hotel Windsor where the G8 summit was held.

Thanks Dad for an amazing, fabulous, hilarious, fun, wacky adventure in Japan!!!!! Sooooo glad you were able to get a taste of my life here and meet all of my friends, teachers and students. ;-)


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Sapporo Ski Jump and fun with friends...

When I came home from work yesterday - my Dad had somehow magically found a supermarket near my house and STOCKED UP my fridge!!!! My fridge has never been so full before! ;-)

On Saturday morning we biked over to the Nakajima Park Flea Market. Dad wanted to buy everything. I had to hold him back - but I did let him purchase this 50 cent Godzilla purse. ;-)

We also met lots of cute pups.... some who had the royal treatment in baby carriages and others in flashy outfits... (this schnauzer below even had boxer briefs on under his trousers!!!!)

After the flea market we rode our bikes through Odori Park and then on over to the Olympic Ski Jump… We biked all the way up to the ski lift!!!!! Luckily the weather was good and once we got to the top we DESERVED that view! ;-)

We then went to the neighbouring Olympic museum with virtual reality games. We played on every single one. I think I almost vomitted after being spun 100mph on the figure skating VR ride tho. blech.

After biking up and back down from the ski jump we were STARVING so we met Steph and Crystal for Okonomiyaki, yaki soba and monjayaki back in town. YUM!!!!

After eating, we went over to Odori Park to meet the cute family (who we met randomly earlier in the week) to play on the slides. The little cute girl ordered me around to run from one slide to the next, to dig like a dog, to jump, to run, etc…

We played and played and played til it got dark and then went over to Nakajima Park for the illumination which was BEEEEEAUUUTIFUL! There were crazy 11 year olds in maid costumes singing and dancing on stage tho... Weird.

It was so sad to say goodbye to the family at the end of the night.... the mom sobbed and sobbed.... it was sooooo sweet.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Nippon Ham Fighters!!!!

Dad's e-mail to Mom about the Sapporo Nippon Ham Fighters Baseball Game:

The baseball game was the craziest thing I ever saw.

So wild and fun...

Had to learn all the cheers for every player who came to bat.

And then also remember the noisemaker pattern for beating out a rhythm and what gestures to make.

Callie's friend Stephanie was so sweet.

Thank goodness we also had Callie's friend Shingo to teach all of us the cheers. He was a really nice guy. He brought us our own official Hamfighter noisemakers & then started us off with each cheer.

Like for Hichori Morimoto, you wave a green flag & sing....

Ekei, ekei

Osay, osay

Moto Moto


And then you wave blue for Mokoto Kaneko while you yell...

Go, go

Let's go


And tap out a boom, boom, boom rhythm followed by shouting Kaneko.

For Keisuke Tanimoto, the color is pink to wave- he must be a liberated ball player.

Then everyone stands up to sing and song about him, wave the noisemakers above their heads & start a chant...



Boom boom boom



Boom boom boom

I don't even remember the color for Shoto Ono, but i do remember the cheer...







But my favorite cheer and player of all was Atsunori Inaba.

The minute he comes up to bat, everyone starts to sing and then jump up and down like madmen.

And I do mean JUMP!

Nothing quite like flags waving, colors flying, and 40,000 people on their feet jumping up and down in unison shouting...

Kato Basei


Kato Basei


During the seventh inning stretch, the organ played "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" but NO ONE knew the words except us so we had to sing it really loud and everyone started laughing. We sang it all the way to the subway after the game, along with the "Kato Basei, Inaba" cheer.

What a night...

It really was the most fun I ever had at a sports event.

WILD... wish you could have been there with us.


Hugs from Dad