February 10, 2008

Three Day Weekend, Two Days In

Saturday morning began with a chocolate-chip pancake breakfast at home. It's so nice to have our Bisquick and Maple Syrup. Saturday was also noteworthy because it actually snowed. Some people that have lived here for 2-3 years, told us it was the first real snow here since they have arrived.

On Saturday night we attended a social event put on by Community House and Information Center (CHIC) at the Kobe Club in the Kitano area of Kobe City. To get to the Kobe Club, you take a train to Sannomiya Station, hope into a taxi, and tell the driver to take you to the "Gaijin Club."

The event that we attended (sans children) was called Cocktails and Carpets: dinner, drinks, and a Persian rug auction! We were just going to be social, get out and meet some people. And...we walked out with our first Japanese souvenir; a Persian Rug! Go figure. It was actually a lot of fun. And we were definitely on the younger (and poorer) end of the spectrum of those in attendance. Let's just say there was a lot of money flying around that room that night. We met a lot of nice ex-pats who had lived here for varying amounts of time, working at the Japanese offices of companies like P&G, Caterpillar, and Nestle. (Of note, it seems that once people start traveling for work, they never stop. Nine out of ten ex-pats we meet are on their fourth and fifth different abroad assignment!)

On Sunday, we took the JR train into Sannomiya, Kobe.

We first went to the Tokyu Hands store (a Japanese combination of Target, Bed Beth and Beyond, and Home Depot, but a lot pricier!). After weeks of searching we finally found a "taberucoroso" (aka a tablecloth) there. (Ah, the little things!).

Afterwards, we visited the nearby Ikuta Shrine, which was both lovely and peaceful. We witnessed a ceremony there, which involved bowing, clapping, and ringing a giant bell.

Next, we strolled through a perfect little garden behind the shrine, which had a small brook and waterfall, and places to sit and enjoy the surroundings

For lunch we hit the Daimaru Department Store. Daimaru is one of the bigger department stores in Japan. Shopping in Japan, and in these mammoth stores is indescribable. They make even the New York Macy's and Bloomingdale's look tiny. We bought our lunch on the bottom floor, which in all of these department stores is always filled with tens and tens of counters selling all sorts of different foods and sweets items. Free samples everywhere. And each person manning each counter is shouting "irashaimase - dozo!" at you to welcome you to the store. On our way back to the train station, the kids spent some time with the dogs of an adorable little pet store.

Back on Rokko Island, we saw a great rainbow.

In the afternoon, we all went to the family swim at our gym. They open up the pool to kids at our gym on Sunday afternoons. And our bathing suits just arrived with our sea shipment. It was so nice to just hang out and splash around together. And the kids looked super-adorable in their (mandatory) swim caps! We even tried out the hot tub there, as a test to see if the kids would like a Japanese Onsen (hot spring tubs that are everywhere). They seemed down with it!

Tomorrow is a holiday in Japan, so the kids are off from school and Mike is off from work. Our plan is to head to Kyoto for the first time and see how much Jacob and Lauren will let us explore!

Finally, here is a t-shirt we saw while shopping on Rokko Island on Saturday: Will Perdue Basketball Camp!?

1 comment:

Lisa said...

It's like you were reading this blog entry to me as we were on the phone earlier! Hope Kyoto was great today! Lots of love to allllll!