After spending a few days in Tokyo, Khoa and I took the shinkansen over to Nagano to see the snow monkeys. Technically, they’re called “Japanese macaque,” but everyone knows what you’re talking about when you say “snow monkey.” Khoa had wanted to photograph them for a long time, so I’m glad that we were finally able to make it out to Nagano. Unfortunately, April had already come to melt most of the snow, but it was still really exciting to see the monkeys lounging in the onsen even without a background of white.
We went to the Jigokudani Monkey Park two days in a row. It was pouring rain the first day, so I did my best to hold our flimsy clear umbrella over Khoa (and his camera) as he excitedly took pictures. It didn’t do much good because Khoa was more focused on taking the best possible picture than staying dry. He kept moving out from under the umbrella to capture a shot as I frantically tried to catch up to keep him from getting soaked to the bone.
We were fortunate to wake up to sunny skies the next day. After hiking for about twenty minutes, we arrived at the Monkey Park and were greeted by very energetic monkeys. They seemed to perk up thanks to the nice weather.
The monkeys aren’t bothered by their human visitors at all and barely interact with them. I say “barely” because while Khoa was standing next to a trio of baby monkeys, one reached out and monkey slapped Khoa’s leg. I couldn’t stop laughing! Other than occasionally monkey slapping park patrons, the macaques seem happy to just lounge around or play amongst themselves, allowing photographers to get very close.
Khoa and I loved visiting the Jigokudani Monkey Park and we hope to be able to go back again. Maybe Khoa’s monkey friend will remember him and give him a little slap for old times’ sake.
Last week, Khoa and I took a trip to Tokyo. I was determined to see some sakura, so even though it was raining, we negotiated the puddle-filled streets to visit Shinjuku Gyoen.
I’d like to be able to take credit for these shots, but this is all Khoa. But I was the official umbrella holder while he was shooting, so maybe I get +1.
WE ARE BACK! 🙂
I would like to apologize for not posting any pictures for the past two weeks. We had an awesome vacation and I am back and ready to catch you up on my 365 photo project!
For the past two weeks Michelle was on winter break from work. For the first week we traveled around Tokyo and Kyoto. We saw Christmas lights in Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Roppongi, and went to Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. Then we ended our vacation in Kyoto where we relaxed and watched Skyfall at the movie theatres (it cost us 1800 yen [over $20 USD] each). After we did all of our traveling, we came back to Chibu and had a great week of playing video games and watching movies; just enjoying one another’s company before Michelle had to go back to work. I have to say that this was one of the best vacations we’ve ever taken. We got to enjoy food that we can’t get in Chibu, watched a great movie, and we got to spend Christmas together in Disneyland!
But now back to real life…cleaning the house, doing laundry, cooking dinner, and being home alone. 😦 I am already excited for our next trip to the Sapporo Yuki Matsuri in February!
Remember when you used to see fast food commercials on TV during the Legends of the Hidden Temple commercial break and the kid’s meal had such a cool toy that you begged and pleaded with your mom to get you one immediately, lest the fast food joint ran out?
I still vividly remember the Burger King commercial featuring spinning top shooters that seemed to promise an endless supply of fun. I even convinced my family to have Burger King for dinner that very night in hopes of procuring the coolest toy to accompany a greasy cheeseburger. To my disappointment, our friendly neighborhood BK Lounge didn’t have the awesome spinning top shooters the commercial promised. I was crushed; a flame broiled burger never tasted so unsatisfying.
Fast forward to adulthood and the kids meal toys of today rarely ever come close to my beloved neon-colored spinning top shooters. That is until now.
Check this out!
It’s a taiko drum from Japan’s drumming game sensation, “Taiko no Tatsujin” (Japanese Drumming Master). The game is similar to Dance Dance Revolution, but for drumming. Check out a video here if you’re curious. This cute little guy makes drum sounds and can even hold a card or paper in its hands.
Yes, I’m a grown ass woman, but when I saw this toy at McDonald’s, I had to get a Happy Meal. I was actually worried I’d be turned away upon placing my order. Feeling a bit nervous, I uttered the words, “Happi Meelu” with a bit of an inward cringe. To my relief, the cashier accepted my order and I am now the proud owner of the coolest kid’s meal toy since the Burger King spinning top shooters.
The six year old in me is doing cartwheels and stuffing her face with victory burgers right now.
Last weekend was Chibu’s first annual Dossari Matsuri, a new festival that was created to replace bunkasai (culture festival). Khoa was asked by the town hall to be the official photographer, so he was busy all day taking photos. I was acting as his “assistant” but really all I did was eat, drink, and talk with people.