Monday, November 23, 2009

Chicken Dancing at the Old Folks Home...

One of my friends here in Sapporo works at an old folks home... She doesn't speak a lick of English, so when she invited me to go to an International festival at the home I couldn't resist... but little did I know that the festival was going to center around ME!!! oh no!!! I later found out that I was going to give a talk on America and myself and experiences in Japan... all in Japanese. ;-0







They also asked me to sing a few songs and dance with the grannies and grandpas...
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I also had a table set up with a bunch of pictures of my family, Chicago, life in Kenya and more...

They had sooooo many questions ;-)

They also formed a long line to touch my skin and my hair... hahah...











At the end of my presentation I passed out these little American flags with red, white and blue flowers on them. Everyone was soooooo excited!!! A few of the grandmas even wheeled back to their rooms to fetch various kinds of presents to come back and give me! they were soooo cute.... I got a bunch of knitted goods, a pink beaded bracelet, a dolphin snow globe and more! hahaha... soooo sweet.








My friends and the rest of the staff were so fun and great with everyone at the home... they even hand crafted American Flag skirts to sport at the festival! ;-)












After the presentation we were invited to eat lunch and chat with everyone. They had a delicious lunch of food from all over the world and even sculpted a big buddha, map and cut out picture boards. ;-)
















It was great fun and they invited me to go back and chat with them in January... can't wait! ;-)

Halloweeeeeen!

For Halloween a few of us from Hokkaido flew down to Tokyo for the weekend.

We stayed at our first capsule hotel in Asakusa!!!

We woke up on the morning of Halloween and decided to wear our costumes all day as we explored around Asakusa and the rest of Tokyo...









I decided to represent Hokkaido by dressing as Super Marimokkori!!! The excited green algae ball... (search my blog for more on marimo if you don't know about him yet!)

Everyone was so excited to see us all dressed up and I was shocked at how many people knew who I was... Even lil old grannies were shouting "MARIMOKKORI!!!!!"






















































































Maid Cafe in Akihabara...


















Then a crazy themed theatrical dinner at Kagayas...

































After dinner we headed off for a dose of Halloween nightlife in Tokyo... soooo many people were dressed up and the club at night was PACKED FULL.... I even found another Marimokkori friend!


















The next morning we had a lazy breakfast and shopped in Harajuku... and swung by the bridge to see the cosplay girls...





















Back in Sapporo there were more Halloween celebrations to be had.


At both of my schools... I didn't think that Marimokkori would be appropriate... so I decided to surprise them by borrowing a student's uniform and wearing it all day at school. One of the teachers had a blue wig in her desk so I decided to throw that on too ;-)

In class we played bobbing for apples, the body part guessing game, and had heaps more spooky fun!






At home Ikuya and I made a jack-o-lantern.... it was his first one and probably better than any jack-o-lantern I ever carved!!! Especially considering we used a cheap regular knife. ;-)
















Hope everyone back home had a spooktacular Halloween as well!!!!! xoxo

Monday, November 9, 2009

Onuma National Park

Another stop on the way home from Hakodate was Onuma National Park... It's a gorgeous park where you can spend a relaxing few hours rowing, hiking, fishing, strolling, and biking around...

we grabbed a picnic lunch and headed out on the rowboats for an hour... paddling around the lake and islands... then went on foot over the dozens of footbridges which connect the little islands.

It's a beautiful stop if you're on the way to or from Hakodate ;-)

























Seaweed festival.... why not???

On the way home from Hakodate we stopped off at the seaweed center.... and we were soooo lucky to go on the SEAWEED FESTIVAL DAY!!!

we scarfed down on seaweed popcorn, shaved ice with sugar flavored toppings and then took a wander thru the intriguing and free seaweed museum which ended in the BIGGEST EVER seaweed shopping mall. you could buy seaweed everything!!!! and soooo many free samples. i was so seaweeded out... but did fall in love with the seaweed jello shots. mmm..... so bought a bag to take home ;-)










Hakodate getaway...

With Ikuya being a typically hard workin' Japanese guy, it's hard to find time to take a trip... but luckily a few weeks ago he got a few days off in a row so we headed on a road trip down to Hakodate!!!!



Before heading into Hakodate town we purified ourselves at the Trappestine Convent... it was pretty funny watching the Japanese tourists pose like Jesus on the cross for photos... oh dear...











Our first stop in Hakodate was the Goryokaku Tower which overlooks the star shaped fort/park. The view was gorgeous from the top of the tower!!! The weather was also amazing (especially since a typhoon was scheduled to hit that day!)

























When I think of Hakodate I think of the amazing squid dance and festival. Sadly I couldn't make it this past summer... but we made sure to pose and visit with as many squids as possible!









not only did we pose with em but we also ate em.... sorry squid!!!

the squid ramen mix was DEEEELish as was the black squid ink gyoza!!! yum yum!


























I passed on the fresh sea urchin at the morning market tho.













my favorite in hakodate was watching the children fish for squid...



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The other famous thing in Hakodate is Lucky Pierrot... a greasy burger joint which themed circus/angel/50's/etc restaurants dotted all around the city.

We were lucky to grab a swinged chair seat before we dived head first into their greasy burger and chinese chicken sandwiches... mmmmm......














Hakodate IS a beautiful city... with the old buildings, brick warehouses, cobbled streets...



































The night view of Hakodate is famous and ranked one of the top night views in the world... I was a bit suspicious but it actually was gorgeous!!! If you go - I recommend escaping the crowds by grabbing a candle lit table at the cafe which had perfect (and quiet AND warm) views over the city!









yeeeeeeeah hakodate!!!!!!!!