Saturday, January 1, 2011

Weekend in Nagasaki

Chris and I were thrilled when our new friends, Lars and Maud, invited us to go with them to Nagasaki for the weekend.  Nagasaki is about two hours southeast of Sasebo. It was not only our first trip in Japan but also it was our first train trip.  We woke up the morning we left to a snow covered city... it had snowed all night and it was absolutely beautiful! 
Chris' ship and a view of the base from our window.
When we got to Nagasaki we set out to explore the city.  As we were walking we saw two adorable kids carrying huge snowballs.  It was too cute!  We also stopped for a snack of dough balls with octopus inside. They were gross interesting!

Chris' new friends!
We aren't in Hawaii any more... crazy to see snow on a palm tree!

We just had to stop and take a picture!

The octopus dough balls.

Throwing snowballs!
For our New Year's Eve dinner we went to eat at a new place that Maud and Lars heard was wonderful, so we were all excited to go!  Right when we walked in we had to take off our shoes and place them in a locker.  But the tables were the most exciting part!  It was true Japanese style... you had to sit on the floor, but for taller people they made deep holes under the table for your legs.  So when the waiter led us to our seats we were actually walking on the benches we were going to sit on.  The food was wonderful! We had spicy calamari, prawn and avocado rolls, lotus chips, gyoza, and salmon and yellow tail sashimi.
Our shoeless feet!

Maud and Lars at our table.

Our delicious food!

After we ate, we went to our hotel and we were greeted with origami cranes and robes, so of course we had to pose for a picture (notice we were given slippers, too)!

I know... we're goofy!
The next day was New Year's Day. For breakfast we ate rabbit pastries because 2011 is the "Year of the Rabbit." Then we set out to shop! In Japan, New Year's Day is like our "Black Friday," except a little different. Instead of incredible sales, they have "Bag Day." Each store has piled up in their store a table full of large sealed bags.  You don't know what's inside, so opening it is a big surprise.  People were walking around with about 4-5 bags, and they would open them with great excitement in the food court.  It was fun to watch all of them as they opened their bags.  Also, to make it even better, the workers at the store, were standing outside screaming at you to buy their bags. Some of them even had megaphones! It was loud, but hilarious. Of course we had to buy some! We bought a bag from a tea shop, sock shop (we were hesitant to buy clothing bags because we haven't figured out sizes yet), and a home-goods box. 

Our "Bag Day" purchases!

We had a wonderful weekend with our new friends... it was a great way to start our new year in Japan!  We hope all of you have a wonderful 2011!