Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Back Stateside Once Again (Michele's Picture Post)


Sonos left Tokyo Narita airport on Northwest flight 326 at 3pm on Thurs, Dec 24. We arrived at San Francisco airport at 8:15am on Thurs, Dec 24. Yes, we are a group of time travelers! :-)

Personally, that marked the beginning of several hectic days for me -- directing at my church on Thursday night, then Christmas Day with family, then packing up our apartment on the 26th & 27th, so the movers could come & cart it all away on the 28th, then my husband & I could fly down to San Diego & meet the movers at our house in San Marcos, then I could fly back to the Bay Area for the Sonos concert on Sun, Jan 3, then I could drive back down to San Marcos. *whew* I'm exhausted just reading that! :-)

Things have settled down a bit now, so I can finally write this post.

I took a bunch of pictures with my phone while we were in Japan, and even though I did send a number of them to Twitpic, I haven't posted them here. I've been meaning to do so and now seems like as good a time as any, so here goes:

After Sunghee & I got to our hotel room at the Hotel New Archaic near Osaka, we found this in the corner:

So, we took a closer look:

We wanted to open the door & look inside, but there was a sign saying that opening the door would set off an alarm, so the mystery remains. We like imagining that it's a super slide that lands you on a big fluffy pillow thing....

Some pictures from the Osaka Aquarium:

Not sure what this blurry fish is supposed to be....

I think this is a nurse shark - why oh why didn't I take pictures of the signs?!? :-)

An octopus:

And then there are the Japanese Spider Crabs!!

They are definitely scary looking!

The guy in the background helps give a sense of scale. These crabs are LARGE!

After visiting the Aquarium, we stopped for lunch at the food court. I took a picture of Marquise:

and Tess:

Our hotel had a fitness center & this was on the advertisement poster. I think they mean bicycles....?

Across the street from our hotel was a Fire Station. We saw this very cute little truck in the garage! What could they possibly use it for?? School presentations on firefighting, maybe??

We all went out to dinner for Marquise's birthday & in the restaurant, there was a display of fish heads. I dedicate this picture to my friend Larry Sue, who likes to make (and eat!!) fish head stew. Fish heads! Fish heads! Roly poly fish heads!

We did some sight-seeing!

Sunghee, Marquise, & I at Asakusa:

A historic alleyway in Kabuki-cho, near Shinjuku (part of Tokyo):

Joel & I at the Hie Jinja Shinto shrine in Tokyo:

Taking the train out to Taka-o-san, or Mt. Takao...

... which we then climbed...

... and looked out from the vista point...

... to see some breath-taking views:

This one is Fuji-san (Mt. Fuji).

There were many photographers up on Mt Takao jockeying for space to take a picture of Mt Fuji because this time of year, the sun appears to set directly behind Mt Fuji. We didn't stay until sunset, but I imagine the sight would be almost magical!

Along the way up the mountain we saw some other things, such as the map for the mountain which included this graphic for the Monkey Park:

and this statue of a tengu. Not to be disrespectful or anything, but I think he looks like Mr. Heat Miser!

What do you think?

This manhole cover isn't as colorful as some of the ones Patti found, but it's still very decorative:

Then we rode the funicula back down the mountain:

Others have posted pics of us in the concert halls & frankly, they're better pictures than mine. However, while most halls gave us "tables" like this:

One concert hall tried to give us tables like this:

We ended up stacking other risers on top of them to make them closer to the right height:

All in all, it was a good trip. We ate lots of food:

We also saw lots of amusing or interesting signage & packaging:

I'm not sure *why* Santa is saying, "Oh my god!":

Maybe he had too much "Hot Love"??

Or perhaps an elephant was bothering him?

Perhaps eating some cheese would calm him down?

or some miso soup:

or just a nice hot cup of tea:

and then he could relax in a tub:

But not with a squash, rather with some Cow Beauty soap:

and have a nice drink while he's at it:

I mean, I know what keeps *me* sane:

Happy New Year, everybody!!