Sunday, August 31, 2008

Seeing Guam from a different view

Today, the Miller family invited us out for a boat ride. I've never seen the island from the ocean and was anxious to do so. We had a blast! We saw tons and tons of skipjacks (flying fish). We snorkeled which was SO much fun but I didn't do it for very long because I was trying to keep an eye out for the kids. I think once the baby is a bit older I will put him in the CDC and make a day of it. We fished, well sort of, we actually just let the lines out while we were driving and caught two good sized tuna! Those suckers stink! It was a great day. If we ever get stationed out here again I would love to get a boat. Oh yeah...and I cut my hair off's just touching my shoulders. I'm still in shock........

My favorite picture of the day. I call this "Solitude". I think I'll print this out and hang it on my wall. What a lucky shot!

You can see my hair a little bit in this pic but there are more in the web album along with more pics of the day.I thought this was kind of neat. The sun was setting and rays were peaking out from behind the mountains.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Baby Gift

I needed a baby gift for a Christening on Sunday. I just found out about it today so I don't have much time (nor money thanks to the Tokyo vacation we just returned from!). I had made these bibs several months ago but just never added the finishing stitches on them until now. They are made from shirts and baby towels that I picked up from Navy Marine Corps Relief Society. The towel is on the back to give the bib absorbency. I actually intended on using them for Ryland but like I said...I never finished them (big problem of mine!). I also made a boo boo baggie that I filled with wheat which is supposed to hold heat and cold better than rice. I just need to come up with a clever little poem to put on gift card for it. By the way...some of you reading this right now are going to be receiving this for Christmas so act surprised when I give it to you! ;-P The baby toy was on sale for $1.35 so if you think about it, that's all I spent on a gift! I already had the other stuff on hand so add rattle and yet personal gift. I love re-using and re-purposing items. It makes me feel like I'm doing my small part to protect the environment. Ok so maybe a really, really small part but at least it's a start!
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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Back on the island

We just returned home and are very glad to be here. The plane ride went better than the ride to Japan except for the last 45 minutes. Ryland was tired of being on the plane...can't say that I blame him.

Below is the travel journal that I wrote while on vacation. There are many, many more pictures in the web album also. And if you see some weird ones or some people you don't know...that would be when Logan had the camera. Make sure to scroll down and start with day one! I hope you enjoy reading about our adventures! Now on to plan for the next one.....Thailand!

The Morrisons

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tokyo--Day Five

This was the last day of our journey through Tokyo so we decided to take it easy and join a bus tour in the afternoon. The tour started off at the World Trade Center. We went up to the 40th floor and this time it was a pretty clear day so we could see all over the city. We took a boat ride up the Sumida river afterwards to get to Asakusa. The boys enjoyed it very much and Logan made friends, as usual! We saw the famous Rainbow bridge and pass under 13 other bridges, each one a different style and color. Very cool!

We went to Asakusa Shrine and saw the 5 story pagoda that Tokyo is famous for. It was awesome. The whole experience was just mind numbing. I watched people praying to buddha, inhaling the incense (prayers) and just worshiping as they have for hundreds of years. This place was actually erected as a shrine to a buddha statue that was found in a river by three fisher men and they became gods because of it. CRAZY! I can't believe that they actually worshiped them like gods for finding a statue.

Outside the shrine Ryland was getting loved on by ladies.
After Asakusa we went to Imperial Palace and took pictures of the watch tower that has been there since the mid-1600's. The Imperial Palace is closed to the public and only opens twice a year. The Emperor and his consort live there and do not leave the premises. There is a moat around the entire place. It's very interesting.
Ancient Samurai Warrior.
Famous Kabuki Theater
Ginza Strip...upscale shopping district.
And that's the end of our trip!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tokyo--Day Four

After a good night's sleep we were ready for another adventure. This time it was Tokyo Tower, Ueno Park, Museum of Science and Ameyoko Street.

Tokyo Tower....their version of the Eiffel Tower. Very cool although it was cloudy so we couldn't see as far as we would have liked. There was one spot in the floor that allowed you to stand on glass and look down. I wouldn't do it and Tyler was scared too. Logan and Ryland had no problems though. We gathered quite the crowd when we tried to get Tyler to go on it. He kept doing his little squeal and everyone would laugh.

In our country you'd find hot dogs and nachos at a convenience store. In Japan you'll find this.....
Ueno Park/Science Museum....there were a lot of museums in the this area and I would have liked to explore a little more but we were all tired from A LOT of walking. We did explore some of the museum which was pretty amazing. There were two buildings each with about 6-7 floors. We only did one of them. Chris and the boys did a 360 theater which is screens all over, on the top, bottom, sides, etc.

After we left we noticed a large crowd in the park and some music playing. I started to gravitate towards it but then realized that it was an outdoor soup kitchen. There were so many homeless people coming to get something to eat. It was nice though because they were being entertained by a concert.
We decided to stop and get some authentic Japanese street food. I had no idea what to order so we got pot stickers and tempura chicken. The girl behind the counter didn't have much patience for foreigners. Makes me well aware of how I treat people that don't speak my language. It's a very helpless feeling to not be able to communicate.

Then on to Ameyoko market. This is the original market place for old Tokyo, formerly known as Edo. It's where they sell everything from fish to bags to shoes. We got free samples of miso soup...pretty gross. And fruit on a stick...very good. Once again we were stared comes the giant Americans!
We headed back to the hotel, rested, ate and went back out again for some night time fun. We went to Shibuya station by taxi. This is where Lost in Translation was filmed. It's the place with all the giant screens on the buildings and the intersection with the most people that cross it in the world! It was so overwhelming. We stood there for 10 minutes in awe of the place.
We walked around there for awhile. I got a chance to get some Japanese fabric from a cool store. We bought some Krispy Kreme donuts...YAY! (They cost 1600Y---roughly $16 for a dozen!) Then we headed home by taxi once again. We actually had to have someone write a note in Japanese so we could get to and from the hotel! The taxi driver took us on all of these tiny back roads. It was fun!

End of day four.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Tokyo--Day Three

Time to leave Disney :-(

Now we had to conquer the ever-intimidating metro system. Once we got to the train station we had no idea where to go since all of the signs were in Japanese. We just floated along with the crowd in hopes that they were going in the right direction! We had to buy tickets from a vending machine. That was fun. Everything was in Japanese! When we finally got on the train we were ok...until we had to switch trains. That was a bit of a stressful moment. Once you purchase a ticket you must hang on to that ticket because you need to use it to get through to different lines. If you take more than 30 minutes to get to the next line you have to buy another ticket!

We finally made it to the Hiro-o Station and had to carry luggage, baby, stroller and Tyler up several flights of stairs. Not fun. I guess we looked pretty lost (which we were!) because a nice older Japanese woman stopped to give us directions and she spoke English! Whew...I just wanted to hug her. While we were talking with her a white guy came up to Chris and started speaking German to him. He was like...WHAT?? The guy kept talking and then said...oh, English? I guess we looked German.

We had to walk a couple of blocks to our hotel but once we reached it I wanted to jump for joy! The New Sanno is a very nice hotel. I enjoyed it very much. We were given a family room with an adjoining room which is a lifesaver when you just need the kids to go to bed but you want to have some relaxing time!

After recovering from our subway trip for a little while we were ready to go again. We headed towards the Meiji Shrine and Harajuku (which is where the teens get all dressed up). Once we arrived we went to place called Kiddy Land. It was 6 floors of toys! Each floor had a different theme such as Hello Kitty, Power Rangers/Transformers/Legos, etc. We spent quite a bit of time in there. They had the craziest toys I have ever seen.
Next we went to Oriental Bazaar which is a multi-floored store that sells neat Japanese artifacts and souvenirs. I got this little ceramic sumo that is SO cute and a wooden Geisha. I could have spent a while in there but shopping is not really an option with 3 kids.

On to Meiji Shrine. It was built to honor the Meiji Emperor and his consort. This was quite the stroll through woods but so worth it. It was a very peaceful sanctuary in the middle of all the hustle and bustle. We we got there we participated in the hand and mouth washing ceremony which purpose is to cleanse yourself before you pray. The boys liked this part and they were VERY clean afterwards.
Once inside the temple Logan saw a man doing his ceremonial prayer which consists of clapping your hands, rubbing them together really fast and then bowing (repeat this several times). He was fascinated with it and decided to do it himself although he had to add a karate pose at the end. It was so funny but a little embarrassing because I didn't want anyone to get offended! Oh well....boys will be boys.

That's the end of day three.

Tokyo--Day Two

Disney Sea!
What a shock to the senses. This place was absolutely fascinating. Disney really thinks of EVERYTHING. This park was by far one of the best that I've ever been too. When walking through each seaport you actually felt as if you were there. The Venice, Italy port was first and there were gondola rides, Italian bakeries, musicians strumming, etc. The characters walked by and Mickey was bombarded. I mean surrounded like a rockstar. I have never seen that happen in the states! It was crazy. There was one picture that was actually made up of little tiny pictures of disney guests. It was amazing.
The park was packed quickly so we were limited as to what rides we could go on. The kids did not like waiting in the lines at all. I think that next time we go to a disney park it will be either off season OR when they are older.
Now let me tell you we were stared at....and I mean gawked at. I was a little prepared because of being in Guam with the Japanese tourists but some people actually dropped their jaws and stopped what they were doing to watch us walk by. It was weird. I think many of them have never seen Americans before! We got used to it but it was a bit uncomfortable at you can imagine! Everyone wanted to see the boys, especially the blonde/blue eyed ones. The people were all very friendly and smiled even though we could not communicate with anyone.

While Logan was in the bathroom an old Japanese man helped him dry his hands. (They had these peculiar hand dryers that you actually had to stick your hands down into.) Well leave it to Logan to make quite an impression on the man. A little while later we saw him and Logan runs up to him to hug him. The man follows us shortly after and gave us three envelopes with a Japanese symbol stamped on the back. There was a 1000 yen dollar bill in each one! Ok, so maybe you are thinking like me....$1000!!!! Relax's roughly $10 US but it shocked me for a second. It was a very nice gesture for the man to do that. Logan...our little social bug makes friends despite the language barrier!

A lot of women still wear the traditional kimonos. some for just special occasions, some for everyday dress.
I actually thought that these two were dressed up in costume from that Disney movie, Milan or Mulan...can't remember. BUT they were actually dressed like this to come to the park. I'm assuming they were on their honeymoon but I'm not sure.The temple from Indian Jones.
Tuckered out after a long day."Maine"Logan and his random picture taking. At least these two were able to pose. He usually just does the snap and run.

End of Day Two.