Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Parents' Visit to Japan

I had an absolutely wonderful time with my parents! They were here for two weeks and I kept them busy everyday. It was my goal to show them as much of Japan as I possibly could, and I think I did it! They were great sports... they tried every kind of food I set in front of them and they didn't complain about a single road trip (and we took a lot).  I'm so glad they were able to experience this amazing place that I call home.

My dad loves sushi!  Our first stop was a "sushi-go-round." They had fun pulling their sushi off the conveyor belt as it came around.  They were also great with their chopsticks! 

Of course we had to get a picture with the chefs!

Our sushi picnic at Peace Park

I was so glad my mom was able to be here for hydrangea season! They are one of her favorite flowers and they are amazing in Japan. They grow everywhere and they are huge and so vibrant! 
Look how big it is!

 The place we laughed the most was at BioPark!  It is a zoo where you can feed the animals.  We fed the flamingos, racoons, and kangaroos. But the best part was the monkeys!  I didn't tell my mom that they were going to jump on her as soon as she got out the food, so the look on her face was priceless!!

My dad's favorite part of the trip was painting his very own Sasebo Top.  We went to little top-shaped house where the kind owners explained to us how to paint a top using the "spinner." My mom and I followed the directions and painted our cute little tops, but of course my dad did his own thing and being the artist he is, his top turned out amazing!

The red top is my mom's (she had the owner write "Jensen" and the date in kanji), mine is the white one with the flowers (which are supposed to be cherry blossoms) and my dad's is the one with the Japanese garden on it (the design goes all the way around).
Another favorite part of our trip was visiting the footbaths.  All the small towns around Japan have footbaths in the center of their towns where you just take your shoes off and soak your feet in the warm water.  It feels so good and the best part is that it is free.  At first my parents didn't believe me because we were the only ones there, but when the sweet people saw three Americans in the footbath and came to join us.  My parents had such a fun time talking with them and taking pictures with all of them!
At first, we were alone at the footbath and my parents were very unsure of it...

But then, the whole town came out to join us!

My mom was thrilled that she was going to be here on a Wednesday night because she knows that is when my Japanese students come over for their English lesson.  She was looking forward to it all day and even bought them gifts (and they brought my mom and dad gifts, too).  She had such a fun time visiting and laughing with them.
My parents with Keiko and Yumi.

My parents will tell you that they enjoyed everything about there trip, but I know the highlight was seeing the ESSEX pull into port and touring Chris' ship.  They were so disappointed that they wouldn't be able to see Chris while they were here (the ship had already left for summer tour), so when Chris called and said they were coming back to Sasebo, they were elated!
The ESSEX homecoming!

We were so glad Chris was able to join us for the weekend!  We went to a fun town called Beppu that is famous for their hot springs.  You can tour 8 of the natural hot springs. They are actually called "hells" because they steam and produce such hot water, but my mom didn't like that word, so we had to refer to them as "bubbles" while we were there. Chris and I hadn't been to Beppu yet, so we had fun exploring it with my parents for the first time.

On our second to last day, we went to a baseball game in Fukuoka!  We had such a fun time watching the game and listening to the cheers, but the highlight was when the balloons were released at the seventh inning and at the end of the game because our team won.

Getting ready to release our balloons.

Look at the sea of yellow balloons... they were everywhere!
There they go!!

We had such a fun two weeks together!  Sorry that this blog is so long, I told you we were busy!  I have just two more pictures to show you... they are my two favorites!
In a Japanese garden... this place was the inspiration for my dad's top.  I just love this sweet picture of them!

They are so fun!  This was on the pirate ship tour around 99 Islands.