Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Baby Barry

Sorry it's been awhile since we've written! Most of you who follow the blog probably already know that we are expecting a baby here in a couple of weeks. We are expecting a girl and will be having her at the Yokosuka Naval Hospital here on the base. We are anxiously awaiting her arrival!
My sister, Chris, and cousin, Barb, recently threw us a virtual baby shower. What a great idea since we are all the way on the other side of the world! We really appreciate all the packages our family and friends sent. We can't wait for you all to meet the baby!

Here is a list of what we got along with some pictures:
Light-up mirror toy and bibs from cousin Lori.

Diaper bag and accessories from Molly.

Dishes and sippy cup from Jessica.

Burpies, blanket, and outfit from cousin Becky.

Baby OshKosh outfits from cousins Anne and Kristina.

Handknit blankets and winter gear from the Kelemen's.

Blankets, pillows, baskets, and toys from Mom (Grandma) and Dad (Grandpa) Hubbard.

Tons of awesome Hokie Gear from Uncle Matt and Aunt Rachel.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Hubbard's Come to Visit

Mom and Dad Hubbard arrived on May 13 for their first visit to Japan. We had a very busy two weeks and have tried to document everything we did here!

The first day we met Ed for lunch and went to CoCo's Curry House, our favorite place to get curry rice. Mom and Dad became fans of the curry and of the oolong tea. Ed went back to work and we headed up to Yokohama. We went to Landmark Tower and took the obligatory ride on "the world's fastest elevator" (not really, its the second, but Japan still advertises it as the fastest!). It was too hazy to see Fuji, but they got a decent view of Yokohama and parts of Tokyo. Since they were still suffering a little from jetlag, we called it an early day and headed home to meet Ed for dinner.

The sky was pretty clear on the second day of their trip so in the morning we walked to one of the locations on base where we could see Mt. Fuji. We actually went to Mt. Fuji the next day but we knew the weather was not going to cooperate and this might be one of the best views they got. After this we headed out to the train stationed and went to Kamakura. We visited the shrine and of course, the Great Buddha. I was interviewed by some school children who wanted to practice their English and we got some birdwatching done, too.

The next day the bus left at 5:30am for the Mt. Fuji and Five Lakes region. The weather was cloudy but for the most part the rain held off. However, it was too cloudy to see Mt. Fuji and even when we got very close you couldn't tell the mountain was even there. This tour took us to the 5th Station which is where you begin the climb to the top of Mt. Fuji. At the 5th Station we were above the first cloud layer and were able to see some of the mountian and take some picture. We also visited the Mt. Fuji shrine, the Mt. Fuji Peace Park, and the Mt. Fuji visitor's center.

Sunday we tried to go to the Oedo Antique Fair but got rained out. This antique fair is an outdoor flea market that is held every first and third Sunday of the month. I have tried to go one other time since then but got rained out that day, too! Instead we went to the Imperial Palace and the East Garden. The garden is huge and you could spend days exploring all the different parts of the garden. You can look at and see the palace walls with the skyscrapers of Tokyo in the background and see some of the old sections of the palace. After this we decided to visit the Yebisu Beer Garden. Here we could pay 500 yen and get a sample platter of 4 different types of beer along with some crackers for a snack. Yebisu is owned by Sapporo and this tasting room was very similar to the one Ed and I visited in February.

We took it easy on Monday because Tuesday we were off to take the Shinkansen (bullet train) down to the Hiroshima area. This was my first time on the bullet train and is my preferred way of traveling - no security lines, lots of leg room, and fast! We got some good views of Mt. Fuji on the way down and Ed was able to capture a couple of pictures from the train. We arrived in Hiroshima early in the afternoon and after taking a little break we went to Hiroshima Castle. This was mom and dad's first time inside a traditional Japanese castle and we enjoyed seeing the grounds and playing samurai inside! We went out for okonomiyaki for dinner - this is a traditional dish in Hiroshima and I think dad will want to eat lots more of it when they come back! After this we went out for wine and cheese at a little place Ed and I found the first time we visited Hiroshima.

The next morning we took the train to the Miyajima ferry station and took the ferry across to Miyajima island. You will recognize a lot of these pictures from our March visit to the area except this time the tide was out so we could walk right up to the "floating" torii gate. I got to enjoy the oysters this time around and we took the ropeway up to the top of the mountain. This island is a beautiful place and we enjoyed some hiking and birdwatching on some of the nature trails. We rested for a bit when we got back to the hotel and then headed for dinner at a Spanish style restaurant where we shared some tapas and enjoyed some more good wine. We really love all the good places to eat and drink in Hiroshima - it has all the variety of Tokyo but is much smaller and easier to navigate.

We spent our final day in Hiroshima at the Peace Park and Museum. We were only able to spend about two hours in this area during our last visit and giving it a whole day really made the trip worthwhile this time. There are many interesting things to see and read about not only in the museum but throughout the whole park. We saw many monuments we hadn't gotten to see last time and I even got interviewed by some Japanese school children regarding my visit to Hiroshima. We had okonomiyaki again for lunch and then headed back to pick up our luggage and catch the train.

Our next adventure was on Saturday when we went on a Tokyo highlights tour. This tour included stops at the Meiji Shrine, Tokyo Tower, and the Asakusa temple. We saw a couple of traditional weddings at the shrine and walked on some of the nature trails surrounding it. It is hard to believe this shrine is in the middle of Tokyo because you are completely surrounded with woods and trails. The views from Tokyo Tower were not the best but we could at least see a lot of Tokyo. We ate lunch there and then visited a 3-D art museum where we took some fun pictures. We ended the day in Asakusa where we did some window shopping and people watching before the trip home.

Sunday it was time for some baseball at the Tokyo Dome! On the way, we saw a parade of portable shrines so stopped to watch that for awhile. We got to the Dome early and Ed and I were able to ride the roller coaster in Tokyo Dome City. We would have had good views of Tokyo at the top except they forced us to take our glasses off and keep them in storage lockers. We had a pregame beer and then headed inside to find our seats. Our seats were out in left field and the left fielder was an American named Ramirez (Lamilez in Japanese!) so we had fun cheering for him along with the rest of the fans. We heard two very loud rumbles toward the end of the game and went outside to discover a thunderstorm had hit. It was lightening and pouring rain, but we had umbrellas so had to make a dash for the train station to make sure we got the last train home!

Down to only three days left in Japan for mom and dad! We hit Miurakaigen, the beach near Yokosuka and did a little birdwatching. We also visited Ueno park and did some street shopping in that area. On the last full day we did some souvenier shopping at the exchange and the 100 yen store and of course had another lunch at CoCo Curry.

We hope mom and dad had a good trip! We think they did since they are already talking about the next one. Hope everyone enjoys looking at all the pictures and that it encourages everyone else to come visit! :-)