Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July! Culture in Kyoto today!!

Today was a very busy day! We ventured out on our own this morning and visited three temples near our hotel. It was so strange to see such historic places in the midst of such a busy, modern city! The architecture was spectacular! One was considered to be the largest wooden building in the world. We got to witness a Buddhist monk performing a ceremony. Kind of like a church service where we come from! We had to take our shoes off before entering any of the buildings. I forgot my socks but luckily, bare feet were OK! It was really warm and humid today. A lot like home! Later, we did our "Kyoto Special Night" tour and it was really neat! We had our own taxi ride to the historic Gion District, famous for it's tea houses and geishas. We were taken to a tea house, which was really tiny. We learned about how a proper tea ceremony is done, then had a traditional tempura dinner of veggies, rice, miso soup, kelp, and tofu! All with chopsticks! Sounds icky but it was quite tasty. Lots of green tea to wash it down. Then we were led down the narrow streets to the theatre to see traditional performances of Japan. We saw geishas, a comedy play, bunraku (puppet theater), and weird Japanese music. The taxi took us back to our hotel and we called it a day! Lots of fun!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Crazy , crazy day!!!

Well, Dennis and I made it from Kawaguchiko to Kyoto on about three different trains! The last was a Shinkansen that traveled about 165mph and got us to Kyoto in a hurry! It was nothing short of a miracle that we were able to find our way through all of the stops and stations. We had to search for any sign in English and ask for help alot. There are sooo many people that travel the trains so not only is it confusing which train and then which car, but you have to filter through all of the people running past you! But we made it and the Granvia Hotel is quite swanky. Our legs are killing us! haha We are able to use wireless only in the lobby so here we sit with all kinds of people running around. This hotel has about 9 restaurants and if you order a room service orange juice it will cost you 9 dollars!!! Translated, we are going to be really skinny when we leave here! haha Tomorrow, we will walk around some and see some sights close by then we will have a tour tomorrow night. Dennis is sooo NOT driving here because it is crazy busy. 'Til next time!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

We survived Mt. Fuji - barely!

Hello everyone! We started climbing Fuji yesterday at 8:30 am and got back to the room at 10:00pm. We had to take a more difficult route due to the snow blocking the trail we had planned to take. There were wind gusts of up to 120 mph!!! One gust started a rock slide and a rock the size of a cooler hit me in the back while I was curled up in a fetal position with Dennis crouched in front of me, holding on. It took us 7.5 hours to climb up and 5 to get back down. So many times I wanted to just throw in the towel but hated to go all that way just to give up. It was sooooo much more difficult than we expected. We used our headlamps to the last half down. Dennis said his legs were shaking all the way down. The trail was full of big lava rocks that you had to go hand over hand and crawl your way up and then back down the same difficult path. We were beyond exhausted! And all that on just some peanut butter crackers and some snacks! The hotel sent us on our way with a breakfast of sea weed, rice , and raw salmon! They call it a Bento Box. We had black dirt caked in our eyes, ears, nose, even our feet were dirty with shoes and socks on. Our legs really hurt today but not as bad as we thought it would be. There were some older Japanese people climbing that were amazing! One younger fella was wearing a cardigan, dress pants and loafers and practically skipped his way to the top!! And there we were with the best of equipment about to die. We could hike just about 50 feet then had to stop to breathe. The whole trail was very steep!The altitude made us a little lightheaded but otherwise we did fine. One lady on the way back down was really bad off. We passed several people on their way up at about 8 pm and we warned them about the terrible winds. We would ago a little ways and here the gusts start up at which point we just had to crouch down and shut our eyes and hold on to whatever we could!!! We were happy to have made it all the way to the top and got to see the actual crater which was amazing!! Glad thats over though!!!Today we are resting and going to see a few things. Will probably go buy our train tickets to Kyoto as well. Miss everyone!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Have more time on the old internet card so I will add some more! It is cool and rainy today which is typical for this time of year. All the Japanese people we have dealt with are super nice and patient with our ignorance of Japanese.A lot of them even speak english and I always say Hello so they will know to speak English. I am the only one here just about with blonde hair. At least Dennis can find me easily! The flight bout killed us. A baby squalled for about 2 hours and sleeping in the fetal position on a hard seat is impossible. Slept a long time last night though to make up for it. Will write more later! Hi Mom and Dad and everyone else. Wish you were here! It:s pretty crazy! Love, Lee Ann and Dennis

We are here!!

Hi, everyone! Internet access is very limited and slow! I will keep this short. Flew a really long time and got lots of sleep last night here at the Hilton. Taking the trains today to Fuji. Later!