Sunday, June 28, 2009

Weekend on Izu Peninsula
Eric planned a get away weekend for us for the Izu Peninsula which we can see from Shizuoka. Less than 30 minutes from our house is the ferry wharf. We decided that the kids would much rather run around a big boat than sit in the car for an extra 90 minutes to 2 hours it would take to drive. We parked the car on the ferry and had a 65 minute boat ride to Izu.

Unfortunately, the boat did a lot of rocking and I didn't feel well the entire boat ride. Eric graciously watched the kids while I stood outside getting fresh air. The boat didn't land soon enough for me! Climbed back into our van and were off.

Here we were leaving Shimizu (our neighboring town) and you can see the local Ferris wheel in the background.

Eric's turn

We were staying at Shimoda for the weekend which is located at the tip of the peninsula, not where the ferry drops off. Eric found the Kawazu Seven Waterfalls were on the way to Shimoda and would provide a nice break/car stop for us and the girls. Within a one hour walk you can see seven waterfalls ranging from 30 meters tall to two meters. We didn't end up seeing all of them because the girls just couldn't take the length of the walk nor the heat. It wasn't that hot, but when it's steamy, sunny, and you are walking, it just seems worse than it is. The first waterfall we saw was the biggest and best. You can pay to use an onsen just at the bottom of the waterfall, which would have been a spectacular view. However, with Chloe and Etta it would be impossible to sit back and enjoy the scenery for more than a few minutes.

Odaru Waterfall

This was the smallest one we saw just next to a larger fall. This one was fun because Etta got under it to play in the fall. Cooled her off a little too.

We had parked our car next to a restaurant. Since it was an indoor restaurant (everything else was benches outside) it got our vote! Since the warmer weather is here, cold soba noodles is a popular Japanese meal. Eric decided to try that plus a little side dish of tempera. I opted for the tempura on top of soba noodle soup. We were both happy with our selection.
The girls were happy with rice (of course) and ate some of Eric's cold noodles.

Chloe enjoying rice while I enjoy my soup.

This was Eric's dish, tempera on the bottom left of the tray with the dipping sauce above it, cold soba noodles, fresh wasabi root (which he didn't know what to eat it with so left it alone), and I can't even remember what's the bottom right dish.

After lunch we headed for our hotel Sakuraya Pension in Shimoda. Along with the girls, I fell asleep and didn't wake up until Eric needed help navigating the last turns to our hotel. A four minute walk from the beach, and up an impressive hill, we found the family run hotel. Eric checked in and had great Japanese practice with the owner for a good 30-45 minutes while the girls continued their nap in the car (while I continued to read my book Howl's Moving Castle). By the time the girls woke up our room was ready. I still can't believe we forgot to take pictures of the place since it is very Japanese and not typical for us. It's an 8 tatami mat room with a little fridge and a TV. That's it. Since the girls are so young we weren't charged extra for them. Woohoo. You get to pull out your own futons and blankets for the night and all sleep on the floor (except we put Chloe in the pack n play). Also, it's a shared bathroom. Not a big deal since there were only two other groups staying the same time as us. More on that in a minute.
We settled into our room and got changed for the beach. The day before, Chloe and I went to the 1oo yen (aka $1 store equivalent) to get some new sand/beach toys. The girls were super excited about going to the beach. I of course forgot my swimsuit. How is it possible for me to pack all of the girls swim gear then forget my own? Anyway, I was glad in the end because the water was frigid and Etta still wanted in. That meant Eric was the one for the job.
We didn't take the camera to the beach which is disappointing for all the great photos we could have had but then again we were carrying enough stuff to the beach already. I don't think I could have carried another item. We were at the beach a good two hours or so just playing in the sand and water. Getting them to leave was a whole other story in itself, lets just say poopie Chloe didn't want to leave and neither Eric or I wanted to carry her. That 4 minute walk took a good 30 minutes to get back. We showered outside to remove as much poop (in Chloe's case) and sand from the rest of us. We were informed that the shower and bath were ready to be used and what we would have 30 minutes for our own personal use. You put robes and take towels to the washroom which has three shower heads, shampoo, body was, a huge jacuzzi sized tub, and plenty of toys for the kids. The method is to completely bathe with the shower then get into the tub for soaking. The kids just wanted the tub so it was the fasted showering they ever had. The tub water was basically to Chloe's shoulders so it's pretty deep. It was fun sitting in there playing with the girls. Etta showed us her new skills from swimming by constantly submerging her head in the water. It was a chore getting them out of the tub!
After our bath, we got into the van and headed for Perry Road. In 1853, American Commodore Matthew C. Perry landed on Izu Peninsula and set Japan on the course for western civilization. Of course it's more complicated than I made it out to be, but this blog won't be a history lesson. It's a short but beautiful road to walk on with homes and businesses on it. We were hoping to find dinner on Perry Road but nothing good for the girls was there. Bar food would be just fine for us, however not the girls. We ended up walking a ways to a Chinese restaurant the hotel owner pointed out. Ok, it is NOT Chinese food, it is ramen! We just can't find Chinese food here. However, our gyoza, ramen, and beef yakisoba were quite good even if it was a dive. When we first arrived and were placing our order Etta did a face plant into the table knocking over a good two glasses of water. Let me try describing the incident. The restaurant in elevated on tatami mats and then you sit around round tables with cushions. Etta happened to be jumping up and down with her hands on the table and the cushion slipped out from under her feet when she jumped and she hit the table. It literally looked like someone had their hand on the back of her head and slammed it into the table. Luckily, her arm hit the table first and her face was unarmed. Gees, we have two accident prone kids.
We got back to the hotel and put the kids to sleep. It was late so Etta actually said she wanted to go to bed. Trying to get them to sleep in the same room is not an easy task. We laid down too in hopes to speed up the process (rather than just leave the room). A good 45 minutes later both the girls were asleep. We left for the patio that overlooked the room and hung out for a good 90 minutes. It was nice to have quite adult time. We knew there was a good chance of Chloe waking up in the middle of the night or really early in the morning so we went to sleep too. Chloe slept until 5:30 (which is pretty early for her) but she must have felt it was much later because it was so bright in the room. We kept the kids entertained until breakfast at 8am. The owners have a nice dining room for quests where you can eat. We were served grilled Aji (type of fish), scrambled eggs, steamed spinach, two sausage, miso soup, rice, and several pickled veggies. It was a pretty amazing spread for the price. The girls of course chowed down on rice topped with pink furikake. A first for them and they loved it, I'll have to look for some at the store next time I go. Etta also loves the Japanese sausages and now eats tofu, so she picked that out of the miso soup.
After breakfast we checked out and made the short drive to the Shimoda Aquarium. Good thing we planned this for Sunday, because it was raining. This is our sixth aquarium since moving to Japan. Not something we strive for but something that entertains the kids. we particularly liked this one. First, part of the aquarium in floating on water! You walk across a bridge towards the floating part of the aquarium. On the way you can see two different kinds of dolphins. The pair that does a dolphin show were particularly interested in seeing the kids and kept coming back and popping out of the water for the girls to admire, wave at, and say hi to.
We didn't end up taking pictures of the sea lion of dolphin show. They were back to back and Chloe was on her way to extreme exhaustion by then. But, it was tons of fun watching some new tricks. That's one nice thing about going to a different aquarium, to see new things!

The floating part of the aquarium can hold up to 600 tons and has 200 species. The large tank really kept the girls' attention, especially the sting ray.

You can see three large rays in the thank, some a little ways away.

Chloe would scream with excitement every time one of the rays came close.

An extremely large crab

I can not remember what type of shark this is but looks like it has a saw for a mouth.

Of course a trip would be incompletely without ice cream. We got a blue (couldn't tell you what flavor it was, but it was good) and vanilla cone. The girls are so peaceful while sharing a cone.

My newest favorite picture! Eric just randomly got this wonderful picture which is now our wallpaper on the laptop.

Chloe almost done with the ice cream cone.

Of course as soon as the last bite is taken Chloe falls off the bench, hitting the back of her head on the way down. No blood, no need for a trip to the emergency room. Her is Chloe getting some sympathy from daddy.

We were hoping to go sand sleding after the aquarium but it had been pooring since the morning. Oh well, we had enough time to drive back to the warf for the next ferry. The girls had a rice ball in the car and quickly fell asleep. We still had some wait time when we got to the warf so the girls continuted their nap until we drove onto the ferry. This time I took some medicine to get me through the ride (which worked) and the girls were good too. It was probably one of the more sucessful trips we've taken in awhile. No puke, few outbursts, and halfway decent sleep. Funny how we categorize a good trip since having kids.
Sorry this was longer than I intended, but I know how much the parents enjoy seeing pictures and hearing about our trips.


Jen said...

Looks like lots of fun! And good for you in getting this posted already...I am still trying to get all of our vacation stuff up. :)

Tara said...

I love reading about your trips and adventures! You always do such fun stuff. :) This one looked like a great time!