Sunday, September 26, 2010

Mikoshi Parade and Tokyo Edo Museum

Last Sunday they had a Mikoshi Parade here on base and throughout Yokosuka. The Mikoshi Parade celebrates the beginning of fall and people carry "mikoshis" which are large, heavy japanese shrines throughout the town. Anyways, it was interesting. Here are a couple of pictures.
Sometimes the shrines fall--they are heavy!

The participants wear "happy coats". Most of them have little shorts on underneath, but some didn't. I kind of am noticing a theme of naked men in Japan!

Brooke and I went to the Tokyo-Edo museum when we went up to watch sumo. It is a museum all about Japan's history--we loved it because they have a lot of interactive exhibits. We had a lot of fun!

Asians, I have decided, love colorful things!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Okay, what is more awesome than watching huge, fat guys wearing a loincloth wrestling--nothing--sumo wrestling is AWESOME!! Brooke, Cade and I got to experience this spectacular experience. Three times a year they have a grand sumo tournament here in Tokyo and for 2 weeks all day it is sumo wrestling.

Brooke and I got up to the Sumo stadium to get tickets at 8 am. Here we are waiting outside the sumo stadium.

While we waited for them to start wrestling, we took advantage and got some good pictures. This is to show Cade in 10 years that I did take him to do fun things!

I think Brooke needs to beef up a little more if she wants a career in sumo
Here is my little sumo--so cute!

Sumo wrestling is very traditional. It dates back 1500 years and was a form of ritual to the Gods with prayers. Here is a picture of the sumo ring (dohyo). Over the Dohyo, suspended from the ceiling is a roof of a shinto shrine with four tassels representing the seasons.

Before each match, this guy comes into the middle of the ring and sings a song.

The guy to the right in the colorful outfit is the gyoji (referee). He comes into the dohyo and calls of each wrestler in a specially trained high-pitched voice and then during the match shouts words of encouragement to the wrestlers. Each match lasts about 4 minutes or less. The wrestlers are matched up by weight at all. Some of the matches we had these big, huge guys against littler guys--very interesting. You lose when any part of you touches the ground or you go out of the ring.
These were some of the higher ranked guys and they come in before the match for an "entering the ring" ceremony. Before they start wrestling, the sumos rinse their mouth with water, wipes their body with a paper towel, raise their arms (to show they have no weapons) and stamp their feet and scatter a handful of salt to purify the rings. The stamping of the feet scares the evil spirits away. They the sumos squat and face each other and glare at each other, go back to the corner for more salt, scatter it, glare, and then when they are ready they wrestle. The symbolic stuff takes longer than the actual match. It was so interesting to watch, especially once you know all the symbolism behind it.
Sumo wrestlers leaving the arena
Sumo mascot

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Submarines and water wings

Brooke is here and we are having so much fun, so that is my reason for lack of posts. It is just so nice having her here--already I am dreading her departure even though it isn't for another 2 months. My friends and I are trying to find her hot guys so she will stay here. Anyways, here are a couple of pictures from the last couple of weeks.

Eric went to the states for training and brought back fun prizes for the kids. We always love when he goes to America!! Anyways, he brought the kids back new backpacks and water wings. Kailey wears her water wings EVERYDAY--all around the house, when she naps, outside, you name it!!
We went to a park nearby that had fountains and Ethan decided to cool off inside the fountain!
Playing with friends at the fountain--we went and had a picnic dinner with friends there.
One of our good friends is a submariner and got us on a tour of the USS Hawaii that is was here in port visiting. It is one of the brand new subs and everything is electronic--Brooke and I found it so interesting!

Brooke climbing down the hatch into the submarine

Where they sleep--this is for officer's--enlisted bunks are so close together that if you want to roll over you have to get out of bed and get back in. Sorry the pictures aren't the best--I could only use my i-phone and they wouldn't let us take too many pictures--top secret stuff!!
This chamber is where they can put Navy SEALS and shoot them out of the submarine into the water--pretty cool!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Enoshima Island

We took Eric's parents out to Enoshima Island while they were here. It was really fun, especially since we hadn't been out there. On the island they have some temples, you ride escalators up the mountain and at the top they have an observatory tower, gardens, etc. It was really scenic.

Playing in the water

Ethan washing his hands--his favorite part of visiting temples and shrines

Annette worshipping idols--she really took to the japanese culture!!

Nice scenic view

At the top of the mountain there was this guy doing illusions and magic and juggling--we sat and watched his show and I just loved it!

He was like a juggling champion in Japan--however, his illusion tricks were a lot better!

Things are always so colorful here in Japan

Observatory tower on top of the island

We saw this post on the island and just thought it had such a nice message!

Grandpa and Grandma visit-Part 2-TOKYO

So I am SOOOOO behind on posting these pictures from Eric's parents visit. Anyways, here is the next installment. We took them up to Tokyo and stayed in the New Sanno and had fun. One of our other reasons for going up was to go to the embassy so we could get a passport for Cade and get him registered as a birth abroad and get a birth certificate. All I have to say is that having a baby overseas requires a lot of extra steps to get everything! Anyways, while we were up there we went to the Tokyo Tower. It is an exact replica of the eiffel tower, except is orange. I always thought the eiffel tower looked so tall and impressive. The tokyo tower is not, but that is probably because it is in downtown Tokyo and surrounded by tall buildings. It was a lot of fun. As we were walking to the tower, we passed a TON of policemen in their riot gear, police vans, etc. We couldn't figure out what was going on and then we saw like 15 people that were protesting. I don't know what they were protesting, but it required a TON of police. Anyways, here are the pictures.

All the police we passed on our way to the tower--that little group in the back is the protesters.

Eric's parents in front of the Tokyo Tower!

Ethan at the top looking down

View of Tokyo from the top of the tower--buildings as far as you can see!

Eric's mom loves cemeteries so we were always on the lookout for them. This one is down in Tokyo, but I thought it was interesting. By law you have to be cremated here, so the cemeteries are packed with gravestones and these wooden slats. The wooden slats you see are part of a family plot. So the family dumps the ashes in the plot and then sticks a wooden slat in there with your name on it. Some of the family plots have TONS of these wooden slats--I thought it was fascinating. Anyways, this cemetery is in the middle of a bunch of buildings--they are in the most random spots.