Thursday, July 20, 2017

Universal Studios Japan

Konnichiwa, Tyson, Audrey, Charlotte, and Christine!

This past weekend, we took Tag to Universal Studios Japan, where Moppy is from!

We have Tokyo Disney Resort in Tokyo, the biggest city in Japan. Then, we have Universal Studios Japan (USJ) in Osaka, the second biggest city in Japan.

In 2016, 30,000,000 people visited Tokyo Disney Resort, while 14,600,000 people visited USJ!
You might think Tokyo Disney Resort is more popular than USJ. However, from the growth point of view, the number of people who visited Tokyo Disney Resort decreased by 0.6% from 2015 (30,190,000) while the number of people who visited USJ increased by 5.0% from 2015 (13,900,000)!

USJ is about an hour and a half away from our home with 4 trains, which is pretty close, so we go to USJ at least once every season to enjoy their seasonal shows and parades.

Tag was very surprised to see how many people were at USJ!

They introduced the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at USJ in 2014, and this year, they introduced Minion Park!

Tag even rode some rides with Yuki including The Amazing Adventures of Spider Man!

It was very hot, so we enjoyed some drinks...

and cooled down with a summer water parade!

We also visited Moppy's house, where Tag enjoyed the company of  Moppy's family. Can you spot Tag!?

We enjoyed our day at USJ this weekend! We are hoping we get to go back again at least one more time before summer is over!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Tag goes to church in Japan!

Konnichiwa, Tyson, Audrey, Charlotte, and Christine!

One of the first things Tag did when he came to Japan... was to go to church with us!

We usually take 2 trains and 2 buses to go to church, which takes about an hour.

It can be quite tough just to go to church especially during summer! On this particular Sunday, the temperature was 85.1 F (29.5 C) with the humidity of 75%. We were sweating a lot by the time we got to church! Japan is very famous for its humid summer.

There are not many churches in Japan, but the ward we currently belong to is pretty big, and I think we have about 100 active members!

When Yuki was smaller, we used to live in a country side of Kyoto, and the ward we used to go had about 30 active members.

However, no matter how many members gather together every Sunday, it is amazing how God's church is the same everywhere in the world! No matter where we are, we can always find home in the Gospel! Tag looked very happy finding something he is very familiar with as everything he has been encountered so far in Japan has been very new and different from what he is used to from his life in the US!

We forgot to take more photos at the church because we were very busy introducing Tag to everyone! Oops...

Hope you all had a nice Sunday over there in the US, and here's to a new week of adventure!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


Konnichiwa, Tyson, Audrey, Charlotte, and Christine!

So, last Friday, when Yuki's mom came home from work, guess what she saw in our mail box!?

A package from the US!!

And inside there was TAG!!

Yuki thought Tag smells like America!

And here is Yuki enjoying some snacks Tag brought to Japan with him!

In Japan, it is very normal to sit on the floor. Back in old days, long before Yuki's mom was even born, Japanese people did not have chairs. So, we would just have a short table, sit on the thin cushion called zabuton on the floor, and eat at the table, just like Yuki is doing in this photo...

Anyway, we are very glad Tag finally made it to Japan safely and we cannot wait to take him onto many adventures with us this summer!! Stay tuned!!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Moppy Helps Celebrate a Birthday

Someone had a birthday in our family this week, but first...

These two missionaries heard about our International Teddy Bear Exchange and just HAD to have a photo with Moppy! Thanks, Elders!

And now for the birthday girl!

Christine turned 4 last week, and we started our celebrations with a birthday breakfast. 

Christine's favorite breakfast food is pancakes with butter and syrup. She had chocolate milk to drink with it. What's your favorite breakfast food?

Later, she had some friends over for some fun. Tyson and Audrey were kind enough to put on a show for the little girls. They used stuffed animals and told some very silly jokes. The little girls had fun watching.

Audrey has a karaoke machine that she let the little girls use, and here's Christine having her turn singing a song. I think she was singing, "Chihuahua." 

We took a break from the fun to sing Happy Birthday and have some mini cupcakes and ice cream cups. Chad and I were getting ready to drop the kids off at his sister's house while he and I went on our Stake's Pioneer Trek, so we kept our birthday celebrations pretty simple.

Later that night we did presents and a full chocolate birthday cake, which was lovingly decorated with M&Ms by Tyson and Audrey. Do you guys have M&Ms in Japan?

Christine wanted to share some cake with Moppy. She loved it! We enjoyed having Moppy celebrate with us.

So what are your birthday traditions?

Monday, July 18, 2016

A Bit More of Kobe and Our Apartment Tour!

Konnichiwa, Tyson, Audrey, Charlotte, and Christine!

Today, we want to share with you a bit more photos from our neighborhood!

There are many interesting buildings. Do you see a UFO in the below photo!? Well, that is not a UFO but a museum!

There is a monorail running through our neighborhood! In Japan, many people use public transportation, such as trains and buses. Public transportation is running everywhere in Japan that it is a very reliable and convenient way to go to places. And can you believe no one is actually driving this monorail!? It is running all on its own!

These are the views from our balconies! Remember we told you in our last blog post that we have both mountains and the ocean in Kobe? Can you spot a big ship in the second photo??

And today... we would like to invite you to our apartment tour!

We live in a very typical 3-bedroom apartment in Japan.

In Japan, we do not wear shoes inside our house. So, when we enter from our front door, there is this little section called 'genkan' where we take our shoes off and leave them. If you prefer to wear something on your feet inside the house, you can put on this special shoes called slippers that you can wear only inside the house. Here in this photo, Yuki is putting on his shoes at the genkan so we can go to church!

This is Yuki's room... We love furniture from IKEA, so most of our furniture is from IKEA. IKEA is very popular in Japan! Are you guys good at keeping your room neat and tidy!? Do you think Yuki keeps his room clean or is his room very messy!?

We will not show you Yuki's Mom's room, because... her room is actually messier than Yuki's room!!

And as our third bedroom, we have this 'tatami' room. Tatami is a mat that is made of rise straw, and they make up a Japanese-style floor.
Since we do not really use this room, it has become a storage/guest room... That is why you can see all those cardboard boxes and etc..
In this photo, you can also see 'futon,' which is a Japanese-style bed. Many Japanese sleep on bed nowadays, but still, there are many others who sleep on futon. It's a thin mattress that you put directly on the floor. The benefit of it is that you can always fold it and put it away in the closet when you are not using it and make more space during the day.

The door for a tatami room is called 'fusuma,' which is a sliding-door made of wooden frame and some cardboard and papers. As the name suggests, you slide it to open and close.

In Japanese houses, we have a separate bathroom and toilet.

On top of the water tank of the toilet, can you see a faucet? Whenever you flash the toilet, water comes out from this faucet into the water tank, and you can just wash your hands there. It seems like many people from other countries are surprised whenever they see this faucet attached to the water tank in the toilet. What do you guys think about it??
And also in the photo, you can see the slippers used just for the toilet.

This is the bathroom. Japanese bathtubs are very deep. When we sit down in the bathtub, the whole body will be in the bathtub. There is a big space with shower right next to the bathtub. In Japan, we usually wash our body first in this space, and then we get into the bath. We do not change the bath water for each person, but everyone in the family uses the same bath water each night... if it makes any sense! We first clean ourselves outside the bathtub, and we get into the bath to relax for the day.

This is our balcony. Can you guess what those green bars are used for?
In Japan, we do not use the dryer. Instead, we hang our clothes to dry after we wash them. We hang our laundry on those bars in the balcony!

This is our kitchen...

And this is our living room! In Japan, there really is no distinction between living room and dining room. There is one big space that we call living room, and we put a dining table in one section of the living room and we put sofas and TV on the rest of the space.

So, how did you like our apartment tour?? Was it pretty much like your house, or did you find anything that was different and interesting? I hope you guys enjoyed our apartment tour!!

Sayonara until next time!!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Splashy Fun With Moppy at Twin Hickory Park!

This week Tyson was at Scout Camp, so it was just us girls. Some friends invited us to go to a splash pad at Twin Hickory Park, about 35 minutes from our home. We'd never been there before, so we decided it would be a fun adventure.

Look at all the fun fountains!

There's also a great playground there- the play surface is very springy, too.

It was pretty hot (about 96 degrees Fahrenheit) so the girls wasted no time getting wet!

Charlotte and Christine play with Moppy on the playground.

Moppy taking a break to get some sun on Charlotte's mermaid towel.

We had a great time at the park and we are planning to go back again soon!

Moppy Celebrates Independence Day

I'm almost two weeks late posting this, but on July 4th we brought Moppy with us to watch Independence Day fireworks!

We went to the grassy area between the kids' elementary school (kindergarten through 5th grade) and middle school (6th grade through 8th grade). The county fairgrounds are behind the schools and that's where they set off the fireworks. We like going to the school instead of the fairgrounds because there's less traffic that way. We laid out a tarp (the grass was wet) and a few blankets and just relaxed until the fireworks started.

Here are Audrey and Tyson trying to make Moppy faces.

And the girls with their Moppy faces! 

Charlotte wanted to try again.


And here's a short video we took of Moppy watching the fireworks. Enjoy!