Shonna and Blake hired a babysitter and flew to Japan to spend a few days with us. It was such a joy to be with them and to share our beloved area and friends with them.
|They flew to Tokyo on Saturday, spent the night there, then flew into our little airport on Sunday morning. This picture touches my heart.|
|They served us these delicious (and expensive) little treats.|
|Blake and Shiho|
|They had each treat labeled and let us choose which one.|
|I chose pink, of course.|
|Then Shiho had us try a very Japanese dish. You heat some rice, put in a raw egg white and stir it up. Then you gently put the raw egg yolk on top. We were all good sports and tried it, but won't be eating that ever again!|
|We then took Shonna and Blake to their hotel. I had to take a picture of this beautiful bouquet in the lobby- pretty much the perfect bouquet.|
|The view of Kamo- a little fishing village on the Sea of Japan|
|They all climbed the tower at the top.|
|This was such odd behavior. These fish were all gathered together up against the glass. We don't know why.|
|Shonna loved the touch tanks and even touched a sea cucumber.|
|I love this beautiful shot.|
|This is the area they breed the jelly fish. Shonna is checking out the newly hatched with a magnifying glass.|
|They were brave and tried the jelly fish ice cream.|
|We then went to lunch at Capsushis- where your sushi is delivered by train.|
In the afternoon, we headed to White Island and hiked around it.
Shonna and Blake loved beach combing for treasures.
|What's better than sitting with your feet in hot water while the sun sets?|
|There were a few lingering sakura in Atsumi. It is such a beautiful little town.|
|Atsumi is a tourist destination. People come to soak in the hot water and relax. You often see people walking around the streets in robes and geta shoes. These people were very friendly. They were visiting from Tokyo.|
|That evening, we had dinner at our favorite, Hana dining.|
The next morning, we went up the mountain to Hagurosan- a very famous shrine in this area. It is probably the most famous shrine in the mission.
|We were hungry after exploring Hagurosan, so went back to Tsuruoka to Kadowaki's ramen shop for lunch.|
|Mrs. Kadowaki has been helping her son in the ramen shop when she can.|
|Japanese custom is to walk you out to your car and see you off. Isn't she cute?|
|This is the now defunct train station near there with an ancient train in the train station. Great place for a photo shoot.|
|After hiking to the top of Hagurosan, Blake needed just ten more flights of stairs to make 100, so he ran up these stairs.|
|Shonna and Ken followed. I didn't. I stayed at the bottom and got three very strange bug bites that I am still living with over a month later! That's what I get for avoiding stairs!|
|Me- at probably the moment I got the bug bites. Man, my hair is getting grey.|
|We then walked down the street and took pictures of blossoms and flowers.|
|Man, we're going to miss Tsuroka in the springtime!|
|We then went to another of Ken's early morning stomping grounds- Shimo Ike pond.|
|People buy prayers and hang them up on these lines and boards.|
|One tree was still blossoming.|
|The next variety of cherry blossoms was just starting to pop. They are my favorite. There will be many more pictures in a future post.|
|This is the stamp/ calligraphy for the Tsuruoka shrine.|
|This is the one for Zenpogi, I think. Isn't it beautiful?|
|That evening we attended FHE at the church.|
|We had okonomiyaki|
|It is such a fun group!|
|The handsome dishwashers.|
|How I love this dear lady- one of the two cooks every Tuesday.|
|The branch is preparing to do a dance for a meeting for President and Sister Smith because they are being released in July. Shonna, and later Blake (when he was done with the dishes) joined right in. It was so fun! I will post a video of it soon.|
Shonna and Blake left early Wednesday morning to fly to Tokyo and then take the train to Kyoto to hike the famous trail near there. They had a wonderful Japanese experience after they left us.
Unlike Kristen and Don, they breezed right through the check-in process.
|We went out on the observation deck to wave the plane away- Japanese custom.|