Friday, April 24, 2009

Flowers in Japan

I have had lots of fun going around my neighborhood and surrounding areas just taking pictures of the flowers. They are beautiful!!

I am amazed by how similar, but how different the flowers are. They have lots that are the same like pansies, etc.

They have Japanese Azaleas that are different than our azaleas in Virginia. I hope to bring some bulbs back with me when we go home.
I have put flowers out on my fence. I have four different buckets. Then, on my porch, I have 11 different buckets of flowers. They are so pretty and happy. I really enjoyed putting them out.
Around the house, I have wild salmon colored poppies growing. It looked like a bunch of weeds at first, then the poppies started blooming. I'm waiting for them to die off so I can borrow a weed eater to get rid of the weeds.
I wish you all could see how beautiful Japan is at this time of year.

Exploring Our Surroundings

Brian has 4 days off from work. He is still recovering from his jet lag after his trip to Virginia. We didn't want to venture to far from home. So, we decided to go explore a couple of train station areas that looked interesting.

Our first stop was to Sagami-Ono train station. There is lots of shopping dept. stores around that station. But, we had seen a restaurant called J's Garden and wanted to check it out. Once we exited the train station, we got our bearings (the restaurant is to the right of the train station on Highway 51) and headed to the restaurant. It was about two blocks from the station and across the street.
Their menu's had good pictures and we were able to quickly decide what we wanted to eat. This is a chain restaurant and they focus on fresh garden items and leans toward Italian food. I had a wonderful half pizza (personal pizza) that was half tomato/mozzarella and half 4 cheese pizza. They use the freshest ingredients, like you would get a pizza in Italy.
We decided to try an appetizer, Toasted Mozzarella Bread on skewers dipped in garlic/olive oil. YUMMY!!
Brian had a sirloin steak with brown gravy, baked potato and broccoli. We also had unlimited trips to the "drink bar". Drink bars are very popular here. You pay for the drink bar and you have to go get your drinks yourself, but you can go back as many times as you like. Some restaraunts add slushies and other treats at the drink bar. They usually have tea, coffee, lemonade, juice, sodas.
We both really enjoyed our meal and it was well worth the $35.00 (3500 YEN). They were busy today and had a party going in another room. But the service was EXCELLENT as usual. Here in Japan you get your food QUICK. 5 MINUTES QUICK.

We both were stuffed when we left!! We headed back to the train station, figured out which train to get on and went to Odakyu-Sagamihara station.

Sagamihara station was interesting. It was more a local crowd. We walked straight out towards the Docomo store. Docomo is a cell phone carrier. You see their stores everywhere. Like Verizon in Virginia. There is a shopping street there. It was crowded with people going back and forth to the train station.
We found a second hand store to browse around in. They had some really interesting Japanese items. Brian saw a lamp for $140.00 that he really liked. It was a water fountain lamp that the water drops from leaf to leaf. I will try to go back later and do some bargaining. We didn't have a car today, so I'd rather surprise him later. I did find a really nice wood box/nick nack display. In Japan, wood furniture that looks like steps are very popular. You can buy very large ones for your living room or you can buy small ones for table tops. They always have nice iron work corners and handles. The one I bought is small for a table top and was only 1500 yen ($15.00).

Back around the train station area, I talked Brian into going back to Sagami-Ono and getting me some Starbuck's coffee. YUM! That makes you feel like home. We took a picture of the large kite hanging at the train station. They have festival every year to fly the largest kite in Japan. This was the kite from last year? Not sure....
We took a few more pictures. Then we headed back to Minimi-Rinkan, our own train station. We rode the bus home from there!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Sanrio Puroland - A Trip to HELLO KITTY World!

I wanted to do something silly a few weeks ago. We had a Sunday with nothing scheduled. I looked through my trusty map box and came out with the map to Sanrio Puroland. I did a little fast talking and my husband agreed. I suggested we take the train, but hubby said, it's only about 20 kilometers, so lets drive. Ha ha ha. I don't know why I listen to that man.....LOL! 2 hours later, we arrive at Sanrio Puroland.

I had heard that there was a five story Hello Kitty store inside and that was why I wanted to go. I was wrong, the big store is in Yokohama. We park in the parking garage and walk towards Sanrio Puroland. WOW! What an entrance! We said to each other, "this place is huge!". We walked up the stairs and over to the ticket booth and I tried to explain that I wanted to go to the store inside. The lady showed us the ticket prices and it was 3000 yen to get in the door! That's a little over $30.00 just to go in!! Then she showed us that if we waited until 4 p.m it reduced to 2000 yen. I motioned I would come back at 4 p.m.

Hubby and I talked and he said, "I'll look around you go back at 4." We had about 30 minutes to kill, so we walked straight from the Puroland. There was a Wendy's, a McDonald's, a 100 YEN store, and a Sega Land. We went into Wendy's and grabbed a small frosty, YUM! Then walked down to Sega Land. Just what we expected, a game center. Hubby decided to stay there while I walked back to Sanrio Puroland.

I paid my 2000 yen and walked inside. WOW! and DOUBLE WOW! This place was a little people's paradise. Think Disney's "It's a Small World" theme. It was a total kiddie land. You could take a boat ride, play games, dress up for photo's, visit Hello Kitty's life size house, see a live show, watch hello kitty on a huge big screen, eat ice cream in Hello Kitty cups, etc., etc., etc. Man, I wished I was little again! OR at least had a little girl with me!

I did go to the store. I did spend too much money. Afterwards, my loving husband said, "so, How much did you spend?" Then he said, "Nah, don't tell me, I hope you had fun." Aaawwww, he can be a real sweetie when it's important!