Monday, June 27, 2016

Nagoya Japan Trip First Mega-Photo Post

We've been so busy adjusting to our new temporary digs in Nagoya, Japan, sightseeing, keeping the kids busy, writing up reviews, and taking pictures, that I haven't really gotten to share the day to day trip pictures. I figured, since we are off to another BIG adventure this afternoon, I'd try to squeeze in a quick MEGA-photo post and give you guys a few updates to enjoy.

We started our stay at the Hilton Nagoya. We had a stunning view of the city from the 26th floor and really enjoyed a couple weeks of room service, housekeeping, their wonderful breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffets, and free happy hour cocktails, snacks, and desserts for their executive floors.

Hubs is a frequent traveler which usually annoys us to no end but on the upside, with his Hilton Honors status we were given all the perks of the ridiculous amount of times he's had hotel stays away from us over the years.

This picture kind of sums him up. Delta One is the airport check-in lounge for frequent flyers. Right before this trip, he reached 1,000,000 miles and secured his gold status for LIFE. (Yes he is working right before a flight and yes, he always looks like this for work and travel, except when he is in his pj's working ridiculous hours at home. No stuffy suits for him. He keeps it real.

Once we arrived in Nagoya, one of the first things we found was the Pokemon Center at the awesome Matsuzaya department store. If you are looking for the high-end kids toys, clothing, jewelry, even gourmet food, and groceries, this is where it's at. With a subway stop literally in the basement, we have spent a good chunk of time shopping, playing, and of course crying for things here.

The little guy has also developed a fondness for Nano Blocks. Maybe because I can't stand to pay full price for LEGO when the hubs gets a discount back home but probably because he loves building things! This is his own creation - a "baby" from the leftover pieces from the little character set he built.

We've really gotten used to city life in Nagoya. We've visited the iconic Osu Kannon Temple which hosts a flea market twice a month selling everything from estate jewelry to Godzilla toys.

Getting our culture on... learning about different religions...

Saying his "prairie".

There is an amazing shopping area right next to Osu Kannon. There are toy stores, kimono shops, clothing resale boutiques, cafes, pubs, grocery stores, a 100 yen store - like a dollar store but WAY better (Seria). We've spent countless hours and tons of yen here. If I could only talk these kids into thrifting through the vintage boutiques with me... I would have been dangerous in my 20s in there.

Right near our hotel, there is FREE, fun, and very interactive Electricity Museum.

Also, the UH-mazing Nagoya Science Museum is right there. We were lucky enough to enjoy their temporary dinosaur exhibit a few times there before it closed.

We arrived in Nagoya just in time for festival season. We went to a vegan festival, a Brazilian festival, a Hawaiian festival. We ate, we danced, we made friends, we dropped yen like crazy.

Arguably the best part was moving into our apartment right near Nagoya Castle.

Here's a better view from our balcony. 

Hubs had one morning on a short trip to Japan to go with the realtor to look at two places. We could not have gotten luckier. It kinda reminds me of how we bought the first house we looked at with our realtor back home. 

Not only does this place have a beautiful view of the castle and a balcony that (of course) we started gardening on right away. We are also within walking distance of Nagoya Castle, Meijo Park (a HUGE and beautiful park with entertainment, playgrounds, gardens, and so much to do. We are also close to the subway that gets us right to our beloved Osu Kannon. 

And the clincher?! We are a few blocks away from what (so far) I've found is the ONLY VEGAN RESTAURANT and NATURAL FOOD STORE IN NAGOYA - Pupu Kitchen. I could just cry thinking about it. This place has all the seitan, mock meats, sugar-free snacks, fresh baked bread every week, organic produce... EVERYTHING a natural vegan momma could want.

I seriously cannot believe our luck. We could not have planned it better if we had an actual clue what we were doing.

I'd like to think that if we try to be good, kind people, and care about the world around you, that good things come back to us. Some religions have their theories on Karma, or guardian angels, or don't eat fish on Fridays, or  is it "fish or friends, not food" or whatever we are supposed to believe in we are happy and healthy instead of running from a guy throwing spears of lightning... We just try to make our brief stay on this planet and in Nagoya one where we are are happy and kind and so far it has been just perfect.

I'm even impressed with how these kids have adjusted. They are having a good time with not nearly as much fighting as I would have expected by now. The little one has become a lot more independent, and I've come to realize that I didn't get an "easy one" as I had hoped after what the first kid put me through, but I suppose it was my training session for the real deal.

We've gotten our first haircut, here, which was interesting... being told "we don't cut hair unless you speak Japanese" at the "cool" place (even with my translating app! I'm pretty sure they told me to get lost but I'll never know) and having to go to two more places before someone agreed to cut off his mullet. I couldn't seem to translate much more than that so now he has kind of a mushroom 90s thing going after the 80s guido thing he was rocking prior.

The little one outgrew her shoes. Gratuitous shoe selfie:

We bought some beautiful things...

And found a seconhand store called "Book Off" with little toys for MILES.

I finally found everything I needed to make my breakfast of choice... even if it's tiny like everyone and everything else, here. Did I mention I felt tall for the first time in my life at the grocery store here? 

Why didn't you guys tell me how cool it was to be tall?! Totally worth the trip for everyone under 5'5" to experience. It feels as if you are floating for a few split-seconds - totally levitating off the ground. Now I'm going to be more successful in life according to the internet. 

Once again I tried my luck at getting a nice picture of the two of these guys.

I'd say this one is alright :)

Then I was back to being on my own again. Bribery doesn't yet work on the little one but at least I got a smile from the big one for a cookie.

Speaking of cookies, EVERYONE stares at these kids, here. They call them "Kawaii" which means cute. They are the only blond white kids I've seen in this city since we've been here and people treat them like they are unicorns and give them things like cookies, candy, toys, MONEY. One guy actually gave my son 500 yen, the equivalent of about $5. He says he likes the attention and wants to be an actor now. 

The little one does not. Everyone stops, stares, comments, even touches her! This is one of the faces she makes. I need to get a picture of the other face. It is the most evil stink-eye you'll ever see. Funniest thing is that she has gotten used to smiling and doing a princess wave but goes right back to the angry stink-eye. It's pretty bad-ass. I realized that there is nothing that makes me prouder of how bad-ass she is around strangers and hope she never loses her edge.

That's not to say she hasn't made some Japanese friends! I think this is Ky's first bestie! (Of course K always makes friends and the girls cannot get enough of him. He's also quiet the gent around the ladies, so none of that "I'm going to get my shotgun" talk. 

You know you're becoming a local when you have playdates, local friends, and you get to spend 2 nights at a local festival in your neighborhood. What a fun experience!

This was supposed to be a quick post just to make you all smile and repent for all the vague-booking on social media and here I go chatting away like the old-school blogger that I guess I still am... wait until you hear where we're off to next (follow @rightonmom on Instagram to find out first!)

So without further ado, I'm going to leave you with a one-eyed banana. How do we not have these in the states, yet?! If I have my way... you will ;)

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