Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Day 1: Jusco Department Store

Jusco is a Japanese department store close to Mike & Meika's house (see the "links" sidebar for Meika's blog). It sells everything. It's roughly similar to a Meijer, Target, or Wal-Mart, but much more upscale, especially in the clothing department. The clothing for sale more closely resembles a Marshall Fields or JC Penny. You can buy refrigerators, electronics, groceries, toys, school supplies, kimonos, and go out to eat all in the same place.

The first picture is Sam scaring small Japanese children by taking a ride in the kid's section. Meika also had us try out a very fancy photo booth. It's similar to the coin operated ones here that might be in the mall, but here you got to choose different backgrounds and themes, and once the pictures were taken, you could go around to a video screen and digitally add in flowers to your hair, borders, funny Japanese cartoon people, or all sorts of other things. It was a great use of 400円.

Meika needed to pick up a few things from the grocery store in Jusco, so we went with her for the Japanese grocery experience. For the most part it was similar to an American store, though cultural differences were plainly evident, especially in the seafood section. The picture to the left are prawns, which can be bought in the U.S., but not usually raw with the heads still on. I bet if you took these home & threw them in an aquarium you'd have a new pet.

To the left is something I've never seen in a non-Asian grocery store: Octopus tentacle. Yummy! While they may not look too delicious, later on in the trip I tried takonaki (sp?) or octopus tentacle fried in some sort of doughy ball. It was pretty tasty...

Meika told us that dogs and cats are very expensive in Japan, which maybe is why these beetles are so popular as pets. The Japanese seem to love their Japanese Rhinoceros and Japanese Stag beetles. Not only were they for sale as pets at Jusco, but video games in the kids section featured fighting rhinoceros & stag beetles, and you could even buy folders, pencils, lunchboxes, and backpacks with the beetles on them. At least they don't cough up hairballs... Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Day 1: Jusco Department Store- Japanese Bathrooms

Here's the Japanese cultural lesson on bathrooms:

Many private toilets have heated toilet seats with bidets as a part of the seat. At Jusco (a large department store a short walk from M&M's) they had several types of toilet seats available. I especially liked the bidet control icons.

Here's another cultural treat: A traditional Japanese style squatty potty. Many bathrooms had both "Japanese" and "Western-style" toilets available. Although on Mt. Fuji Sam & Meika both had to use a Japanese style toilet because no other options were available.

Meika theorizes why elderly Japanese people get around so well is because they use a squatty every day. Posted by Picasa

Day 1: Temple Grounds 3

This is a large chunk of clear obsidian sitting at the base of a Buddha statue with an inscription on it's base. I have no idea what it says, but maybe if someone who reads Japanese comes upon this site they can inform us all. :)

In a clearing along a path in the cemetary there were several small statues of Buddha that all had bibs put on them. We're not sure exactly why people put bibs on the Buddhas, but almost every Buddha statue we saw in a shrine in Japan had a bib either on it or tied on a fence in front of it.

Sam is cheesing it up even through the intense heat. We weren't sure exactly how hot it was, but it was probably in the low to mid 90's (fahrenheit) with high humidity every day. You can see some of the bibbed Buddhas behind her.

Further on down the path we came upon an opening with a building with multi-colored banners hanging over the opening. We would've walked over to check it out, but there was no shade from where we were to where it was, so we decided to walk down a shady path instead. Posted by Picasa

Day 1: Temple Grounds 2

This is a newer pagoda on the temple grounds, located just up some stairs from the old 5-tiered pagoda. Posted by Picasa

Day 1: Temple Grounds

After stopping at the small shine we went to a larger temple in Nagoya. The temple grounds were quite large and had several buildings, a cemetary, and wooded areas.

This is an old (I'm not sure how old) 5-tiered pagoda on the temple grounds. Posted by Picasa

Day 1: Small Shrine

I'll try to go through our time in Japan a day at a time to break it up into more managable chunks.

We actually got into Nagoya on Thursday, flying in about 4:30 or so. At that point we had been up for a long time, so we really just went back to Mike & Meika's and went to sleep.

On Friday morning Meika took us around the area near her house while Mike had to work.

We walked from their house up the road and stopped at a small shrine near their house. The bottom picture is a picture of the shrine from it's entrance.

The top picture is a water spigot in the shape of a dragon. The water that comes out into a basin where people pour it over their hands to purify themselves. Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 18, 2006

On top of Mt. Fuji; All covered with rain...

Here we are a bit over 3000 meters (9900 ft) above sea-level on Mt. Fuji.

The details of the climb will have to come later due to excessive tiredness now.

Back From Japan

We're back from Japan. Flew in 11:30ish Friday morning after departing from Japan 12:55pm (Yeah, we arrived before we left). We're tired, we're going to bed, we've been up for almost 30 hours. More details and pictures will follow...

This picture is Fuji-san from the outskirts of the town of Gotemba.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

That's Fast

Here's the speed of a typical Zumaya fastball. He got one reading of 103 mph and several 102's.


Zumaya came in during the 7th inning. He's well known for throwing very hard.

Tiger's Bullpen

We sat in the Pavillion just behind the Tiger's bullpen in left field. These are pictures of the Tiger's relievers and closers from our seats.

From right to left: Todd Jones, Joel Zumaya, Jason Grilli, Fernando Rodney, ???, Roberto Colon.


Zumaya & Grilli watching the game from the bullpen.

Tiger's Game Pics

Here are the promised pictures from the Tiger's game last night.

This picture shows the sun setting behind the stadium. You can see our view was almost blocked by the foul pole, but luckily we could see just inside it.

Detroit Tigers & Nagoya, Japan!

Last night Sam & I slipped out for a Tigers game quick before our honeymoon to Japan. We tried getting tickets for Friday or Saturday night, but two seats together weren't available two weeks ahead of time for Saturday, and only obstructed views way, way up in the upperdeck. It was probably for the best though, since Monday the Twins came into town, and they've been streaking as of late. We sat in the "Pavillion," which is just past the bullpens in right field. We sat in section 144, row L, seats 16 & 17, just inside the foul pole.

Game Notes
Tigers: 9 Twins: 3

Tigers record: 76-36 (best in the majors by 10 games I believe)

Winning Pitcher- Zach Miner (a rookie): 7-2
Losing Pitcher-
Francisco Liriano (a rookie): 12-3

Marcus Thames hit the longest home-run at Comerica Park this season (442 ft) to lead off the 4th inning.

We're hoping to get back to see the Tigers a couple more times after Japan. Hopefully tickets will still be available...

I'll post some pictures of the game later (maybe much later), since I have to unpack at school and get stuff done for this trip to Japan. Leaving tomorrow!! WOO!

Saturday, August 5, 2006


Here are some more of our wedding pictures.

Friday, August 4, 2006

The Pictures Are In!!

We were able to pick up our CDs with our wedding pictures on them from the photographers earlier this week. We have 4 CDs with over 600 images total. Plenty to choose from. I know I haven't been updating this as regularly as I would have been liking too, but I'll try to keep up as much as I can.

Here's our group picture of everyone at our reception. We're planning on placing the group picture in the frame with the signed mat.