I feel as if I have finally hit the much anticipated '6 month mark' in Japan so I am finally considering it home. I have had a change of mind set/heart in planning vacations and time with our family. I still look forward to visiting the states (that is why I included 'sort of' in the title) - but I am also concentrating a LOT more on enjoying our time here! I am loving my Japanese Culture Groups, especially when we go off base and learn more about their culture (see pictures from my last outing below). Even Patrick is getting into this new mind set. He has had many patients come through his office, heeding the advice of enjoying our time now...not waiting until the last year to do all the things Japan has to offer.
So, in response to our new mind set...here are a few of the fun activities we have planned for the 1st quarter of 2011!
Hakone Yunessun -
The Yunessun is a spa resort zone where you can enjoy more than 25 different kinds spa related services and fun water recreational activities. It is like being at the beach, so bring your swimsuits. The main Spa facility is called The God's Aegean Sea and will amaze you with its fantastic aqua surroundings.There is a Mediterranean theme for the amusement spas along with the Turkish Hamam and the Ancient Roman Baths. Combined with the relaxing Spa enjoyments at Yuneesun it also has a less relaxed, more wild side, including huge waterfalls and water slides. Fun for the whole family, both young families with their young children can enjoy being together. Yunessun is a place to experience in Japan!
The New Sanno Escoffier Valentine's Day Dinner - The New Sanno Hotel, situated in the heart of the world's most expensive city, offers 149 luxurious rooms. Available to I.D. card holders and their guests, The New Sanno offers a variety of accommodations and restaurants in a helpful, English-speaking environment. The Valentine's Day Escoffier Dinner is an eight course dinner accompanied with a selection of fine premium wines and fabulous live entertainment to enhance the evening. We have a double room booked, and a babysitter to come watch the kids in our room while we attend the dinner. The next day, we plan on visiting the Tokyo Tower and sight seeing around town.
Ski Vacation - We were able to steal a friend's ski vacation (their son broke his foot so they couldn't go). They had done a ton of research for a good family place to go (that speaks English) and loved their trip last year. Alpine Lodge is situated in the mountain township of Minakami, one of Japan's premiere hot spring and ski resorts in the North of Gunma Prefecture. The lodge is primely located in the Yubiso area (valley of the hidden hot springs), which lies in the center of Minakami's 9 ski fields, with the closest field just 200 meters from the back door. They have Western style bunk beds (instead of mats on the floor like traditional Japanese hotels), American food (hamburgers, fries and beer), as well as give private ski lessons in English. We plan on enjoying the onsens (hot spring baths) the first night, private ski lessons for the kids the next morning, then family ski time for the rest of the trip.
Karaoke - Another trip into Hachioji with my Culture Group (from Olympus). Fun night of drinking, eating and singing!
Nagano - We are so excited to go see the snow monkeys, as well as the famous town/resort that the Olympics were held. We plan on staying up there (still have to book a room) and skiing with the kids again at the kid park.
These are just the weekends that Patrick has off and we have nothing else planned...so as you can see we are starting to really fit in here!