Monday, July 16, 2012

Fun Times in Tokyo!

Every morning in Tokyo there is a fish market where all of the fishermen bring their fresh fish and restaurants come and by them to make for their customers.  Mr. Shawn really wanted to go to the market so he got up really early (Audrey and I slept) and went down there.  Apparently they do not like tourists there so he got kicked out 3 times!!  He did manage to buy some fish straight off the boat so it was super fresh then he ate it raw!!


There is a big temple right in the middle of Tokyo.  When we went there, there were 2 wedding going on!  This is how people in Japan dress for their wedding.  Pretty cool, huh!

This is the electronics district in Tokyo. I wish you could hear it.  There are tons of people talking as well as buildings that make noises and sounds like video games!

I really liked this donut shop!  People in Japan like really "cutesy" things so the stores are often very colorful! 

This is us arriving in Tokyo!  We just flew in from Korea where it was cool for the men to wear glasses without lenses!  Mr. Shawn is wearing my glasses because when we were at the Korean border, my lens fell out of my glasses and down a hole.  Since there were people with guns everywhere I decided it would be best if I did not stop and try to dig them out!  So, Shawn got to wear them and be cool!
Tokyo pies!  I got to wear the tu-tu Audery gave me in Tokyo and i fit right in!

This is a famous intersection in Tokyo where everyone gets to cross the street at the same time from all directions.  It is SO busy but it was fun!

Ok, this is probably the most interesting thing in Tokyo.  We stayed for 2 nights at a capsule hotel.  Basically all it is a tunnel you crawl in to sleep.  The little doors are the openings to the capsule.  Girls are not allowed to stay in the capsules though so Shawn and I had to stay in a 2 person room on the top floor (it was not much bigger than the capsules though!)  I was not even allowed to be on the floor so when I was in the elevator I pushed the floor number for it and when the door opened up I took a quick picture!!

Fun street with a view of the sky tree (they are trying to make the sky tree a famous structure like the Eiffel Tower or Statue of Liberty.  It just opened a couple of months ago though so not many people have seen it!)

There is a Disney World in Tokyo but we did not go.  I took a picture by the sign though!

Trains in Japan





The easiest and quickest way to get around Japan is by train.  If you are visiting Japan, you get get a Japan Rail (JR) pass before you leave for cheaper than you can if you get it in Japan.  We got these for our travels but when we were on the plane ride over to Japan we realized that we forgot them!!  Luckily my mom was able to FedEx them to us and they got to us in 2 days!  Thanks mom!!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The most dangerous spot on earth

This is the fence that separates us from the DMZ.  The DMZ is the 4 kilometers of land between North and South Korea that the two countries share.  We got to go in the DMZ where there were all kinds of soldiers with guns but we were not allowed to take pictures!  If you look closely you can see stones in the fence.  It is illegal for people in North Korea to leave but sometimes they try.  If they try to get over the fence, the stones will fall and make noise and the North Korean troops will come arrest them.

South Korean soldiers getting ready to go into the DMZ.

We were not allowed to take pictures of the North Korean villages but they were quite interesting.  There were fake houses and buildings and people there to make it look like North Korea was fun and that the people liked living there.  They were just fake though.  The real villages were behind the fake ones with people who are not very happy and don't have much food.


This bridge used to go between North and South Korea but after the Korean War it now stops and no longer goes into North Korea.  There is another bridge that does go between the two countries that the man that started the car company Hyundai built.  He used to live in North Korea but one day he stole one of his parents cows and and snuck out of the country.  Once he started the car company and made lots of money he paid the North Korean government to be able to build a bridge and bring in 1001 cows to his parents to apologize for stealing one.  He gave the cows also so his parents and friends could have food because millions of people die from starvation in North Korea.

This is the last point where we could take pictures.  We put on hard hats after this and went into a tunnel that the North Koreans had built to secretly sneak into South Korea and try to capture them.  They want to rule over South Korea and they think we in the US are bad for trying to protect South Korea.  We got to meet a lady from North Korea who snuck away.  She used to teach preschool in North Korea.  I asked her if the kids got to play ever and she said the only game she could play in school was the kids were given a picture of the United States and they had to hit it and break it with a hammer and pull out the South Koreans to save them from us.
P.S. The troops in this picture were not working here.  They were still in school and on a field trip to learn about the DMZ!

Even though North and South Korea do not get along and are at war, North Korea still allows South Korea to have a couple of factories there.  So each day a few South Koreans get on this train and go into North Korea to work in the factories.
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Welcome to Korea Folks!

Our flight to Korea from Osaka, Japan was only 2 hours which was great since it feels like yesterday that we were on the 14 hour flight to Japan from the US!  Our plane was super fun too with fun pictures by all of the seats and the ceiling was painted with a sky and clouds!  They even served us tangerine juice!

We arrived in Seoul, Korea!

Korea is not like Japan at all.  There is a lot of stuff on the streets in Korea but not in Japan.  This was a whole pile of vegetables on the street that a couple of ladies were peeling!

This lady was peeling green beans by herself right in the middle of town.  I wonder if those are the same green beans we buy in the grocery store?

We had to walk a long way with our luggage so we took a little rest stop by this Korean food place!

Each street in Seoul was full of small shops.  There was even an entire outdoor shop for tape!

Kimchi (fermented cabbage) is something that everyone in Korea eats with every meal.  I tried it our first day there and it was.....interesting!
To get to the place that we were staying, we had to walk through busy streets where we were told to not take any food sample from anyone under any circumstances.  Then we had to climb up a big hill down a stinky alley.  We were a little scared when we got there but the place was great!

Haechi is a mythical dragon/lion creature in Korea that is said to protect you.  There are little Haechi statues everywhere.

The statue here is the guy who started the Korean language.  Before him, the people of Korea spoke Chinese.  Behind him is the emperor's palace.  Korea is no longer ruled by an emperor though....now they have a president.
The "Blue House" in the background is where the president lives.  While were were there, the president and all of his bodyguards drove by in a motorcade.  It was so cool!

There was a Spiderman statue on the roof!
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We came to Korea because my sister Audrey needed to leave Japan to change her visa.  She needed to let the government of Japan know that she was no longer a student there but a tourist like us.  To do that she had to leave Japan and then come back.  The closest place for us to go was Korea so off we went.  I am excited because we get to go to the border of North and South Korea...also know as the most dangerous spot on earth!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Monkey Forest

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To see the monkeys, you have to climb a big mountain.  They offered pink crocs to anyone who wanted to wear them up the mountain so of course I wore them!

At the top of the monkey forest mountain, there was a building you could go into to buy food for the monkeys.  The monkeys knew there was food inside and they all hung out around the building!

This monkey did not want to pose for a picture with me!

We got to see monkeys grooming each other!

We also got to see a little baby monkey!

Poor Audrey...she got peed on by a monkey who was up in a tree as we were walking down the hill!!
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Ryokan

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A Ryokan is a traditional Japanese hotel.  We slept on mats on the floor and had to wear these slippers inside.  No shoes allowed!

You can also wear a Yakata around the ryokan.  It is kind of like a fancy robe!

Nara




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We took a train to a little town outside of Kyoto called Nara.  People said that there were deer there that would bow and then you would give them a treat.  Well, there were deer alright but they did not bow...they ran up and attacked us for treats!  We were carrying some leftover food with us and the deer would nudge us and jump up to try to get it.   One deer even bit my bottom (and Audrey's too!)  We had to pass around the food so that we would not have to get attacked the whole time.  Once we made it through the park, the bag with our food in it was chewed up and slobbery!!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Japanese Toilets

I know that it may be weird to write about a toilet, but the toilets here are so cool!  You can see all of the extra buttons on the toilet...they do all kind of neat things!  One button makes the toilet seat heated so it is not so cold.  One button makes waterfall noises so you don't have to be embarrassed if you are making noises on the toilet.  One button sprays water on you like a mini bath.  One button dries you off if you do the spray thing.  So fun huh?!

Bullet Train

Being silly trying to find the bullet train!
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We got to ride on the Bullet Train...a super fast train...in Japan!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Temples



A cemetery at a temple in Nagoya.

The Golden Temple in Kyoto


In front of a Pagoda.  A Pagoda is a multi-storied building near a temple.  It does not really serve a purpose except as something nice to look at!

The largest wood building in the world (it is also a temple).



This guy was in front of a temple.  Supposedly if you have a body part that hurts, you run the same body part on him, then rib your body part and you will be healed.

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Most people in Japan are Buddhists.  That is a religion that worships Buddha.  Instead of going to a church to pray, the people go to temples.  They were quite beautiful and we visited lots of temples all over Japan!