Golden Birthday

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My adventure to Mexico was not the typical way of crossing the border, it was on a cruise ship! Yes, my very first EVER Cruise :D

It all started in Salt Lake City, where we flew out of …

Jon playing MY iPod at the airport

We then made it to L.A. and stayed the night at a really cheap/crappy hotel. The hotel was okay, but was in a nasty neighborhood. I would have thought more from a Best Western establishment!

On Sunday the 19th of July (2009), we went to the cruise terminal and began our check-in process.
I was so nervous! First, this is right after the whole Swine Flu outbreak (which is how we could afford the cruise), so we had to fill out health form thingies; Secondly, I’ve never cruised before! The check-in process was a lot like checking onto a flight at the airport, the only difference is that after I checked in, I had to sit in these seats that were facing the check-in counter. There were about 75 – 100 of these seats and we all had to sit and wait until our group number was called. Once the number was called, those with that number got up and filled into a line for security. Once that was done (clap twice if you like being probed!) we then made our way up towards the ship.



These were taken while walking up to the ship in the line. There were times when it was standstill so I was able to take these shots

Once onboard, literally, on the deck, we waited in another line to get our key card and get a picture of us taken (the image would be encripted on the card so that our picture pops up every time we use it).
Then … we were free!!!

Since our room wasn’t quite ready when we boarded, we went to the top deck (with the pool) where we got to see the view. No pictures :( But I do remember calling up my friend Amanda as well as my parents to let them know we made it onboard safely :)
That time on deck was my first introduction to how cruise lines try to nickel and dime you! Jon and I were hanging out on the lounge chairs and a waiter carrying a tray of yummy drinks came up and offered us a pina colada, I don’t drink those, but Jon was curious (non-alcoholic) and he asked if they cost anything. They did, we didn’t purchase.
A few minutes later, a group of 3 women came up on deck near us and they were also welcomed with a tray of drinks, however, the women didn’t inquire on price before taking the drinks and the waiter did not say they cost anything until the women took sips. Well … needless to say, these ladies were NOT happy and said that if they were told the drinks were for purchase, they would not have taken them. The waiter insisted they pay since they already took a sip.
At this time, Jon and I decided to go check on our room …

Thankfully, the cabin was ready! Our cabin was an inside promenade room ^_^

This video was taken sometime after we boarded … probably mid week o.O

We then followed the crowd and made it up to the Windjammer Cafe for some food and were greeted with this …

Yes, we were on our first cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas.

After some unmemorable food … not cause it tasted bad, but because I was too preoccupied with the fact of being on a ship, I kind of forgot I ate at all!
We headed back to our cabin and I was able to take a few more shots of the goodies we got …


Since we were on the cruise for my Birthday as well as our 1 Year Anniversary, we decided to get a package that gave us fresh flowers, non-alcoholic champaign, & Chocolate strawberries upon arrival, a tray of canapes before dinner and petit fours after dinner (on formal evenings), breakfast in bed one morning and a silver framed portrait. This was called the Grand Romance Package (Non-Alcoholic).
Instead of chocolate dipped strawberries like you see in the photo, the package now includes vanilla cupcakes

Next, the one thing we were nervous about doing … the muster drill! We had very fashionable wardrobe though …

Then, we were backing away from the dock ^_^


And On our Way!



And after that, I completely forgot what we did until dinnertime :p
When we arrived back into our cabin, we found that we have been upgraded to a 6 person table by the window in the main dining room (for dinner).

I completely forgot the names of the wonderful people we dined with (sorry!) but they were fabulous!

There was a couple not too much older than Jon and myself and they were from Utah as well! I believe they were celebrating their 5th Anniversary. The other couple (that was like the table’s mom and dad) were on for … oh I don’t remember but they were simply delectable

… much like the food …

and the dining room itself …

July 20th

This day were out to sea the whole day!

And was kinda dreary …

This was the day for the Meet & Mingle! This is a gathering that Royal Caribbean puts on if enough people sign up to want to do one. I found out about it on Cruise Critic and signed up for it. It was a cute gathering and was able to meet people in person that I had corresponded with on the forums ^_^
I also participated in a ‘Cabin Crawl’ where we got to see other cabins that people booked. Ours was on the list since we were one of the only ones with a promenade room. But the last stop was the best because the people that had the room (and also the ones that put together the cabin crawl) had an okay sized room but the balcony was HUGE! You could pitch a tent outside o.o It was a room at the very back of the ship (aft?) and so there was tons of space.


Us on the big balcony! This, obviously, is only a snippet

Another thing I remember is going to our FIRST ever art auction :D I went before hand and was wandering around looking at all the magnificent art! Haha, what’s really interesting is that I was going to talk to the art host dude and I was standing next to a man, of which, the man had gone to a show before the art show/auction and had told the host a secret code to get a free piece of art. Well, since I was standing next to this secret word man, the host thought I was with him! So, I ended up getting a really awesome piece of free art at the end of the cruise ^_^
We didn’t buy anything at this auction, in fact, I got rather seasick because it was at one of the ends of the ship and we were in choppy water. I ended up going up to our room and we spent a lot of the time resting.

July 21st
Cabo San Lucas!


We didn’t go into port because we DID have an excursion planned but the line changed it to an immensely earlier time, of which, we reserved the later time just so we wouldn’t have to wake up early. So, they refunded our money and we spent the time exploring the ship and going to the spa …


Mwahaha, blackmail!

Me after my pretty make-over!

July 22nd
Mazetlan and my Golden Birthday! I turned 22 on July 22nd ~_^

We decided to book a private tour with some of the people on the Cruise Critic forum. It was a really cool tour! We went all around the city and stopped at a resturaunt … which they tried giving me tequila shots for my birthday (free!) but I uh … I don’t drink alcohol, so I had to politely decline … twice.

Here are some pictures I took while on our tour ^_^



Then … comes the evil Iguana!



Yeah, Jon just stood there and let it attack me. Some knight in sweaty shorts!









Yeah that’s a casket. We had no idea we walked into the high bishop’s funeral ^^;

There was Senior Frog EVERYWHERE! One shop even was giving out free tequila x.x Jon and I went inside a lot because of the air conditioning. It was so hot x.x Senior frog is just like our Disney Stores, they’re everywhere and themed.

Once back on the ship, we found a cute ….

… Squid/Lobster. I say it’s a squid, Jon says it’s a Lobster … even after the pillow battle, this creature remains a mystery.

At dinner I was served a cute dessert thing with custard and an edible little banner on it that said Happy Birthday! They sang the song to me too :)

I then wanted to go to the Casino, just to see what it was like. Yes, my first casino ever o.o The theme was like a carnival.



I love duckies ^_^

We ended up winning like $30 dollars from the slot machines and spent $25 of that playing that quarter pushing machine. It was a lot of fun ^_^ Lol I don’t think gambling is for me XD
This was also when we bought a specialty drink and got 2 glasses out of it. To this day, we still have them and use them on special occasions ^_^

July 23rd
Puerto Vallarta!

So this day was not that great :( We were scheduled to go on a zip line excursion but I woke up that morning and I couldn’t walk. I have an issue with my hips/muscles that makes the muscles clench and they don’t let go. It’s extremely painful and I think what started it was I slept wrong the night before (it was starting to hurt then).
We had to get me a wheelchair, carted down to the doc and he signed a paper allowing us to get our $$ back for the excursion. So, I spent the whole day resting to allow my muscles and bones to relax and fall back into place.

Though, we did go to one of the specialty resturaunts that was on the ship: Portfinos. It was amazingly delicious and they were so nice to us! We arrived in the resturaunt when we were still in port and we were seated by the window (me, still in my wheelchair). We were able to watch our ship sail away from the port during late sunset and it was beautiful! I forgot what I had to eat, but Jon had some sort of beef cut (sorry! I don’t eat beef) and he said it was the best he ever had ^_^

When we went back to our room, we were greeted with the best towel animal ever!

It really brightened our day :)

We ended up staying up really late because I couldn’t sleep due to pain. Finally, in the AM hours, I was able to relax enough (while watching TV) and my hip/muscles/joints ALL slid back into place and I was able to walk again ^_^ I celebrated by finally going to sleep :p

July 24th & 25th
These were sea days and mostly what happened was staying up late …

Yeah, this was me after going to the pool/hot tubs late at night/early in the morning

… played video games in the arcade

… explored the club onboard

… and had a grand time on our last dinner of the cruise!

This was the last day and our waiters paraded around the dining room. It was really fun. We also were able to catch a picture of our two awesome waiters ^_^

I completely forgot their names but they were witty and funny and we always had a blast with them ^_^

When we got back to our room, we came back to this:

We think it is because we put that our anniversary is on the 26th (it’s really on the 27th). We put it a day before because we were ordering anniversary decorations and we had to put when our anniversary was … only gave the dates of the sailings x.x
Because of this, we also got a cute Happy Anniversary! dessert at dinner … the same kind I got on my birthday, the words just said Happy Anniversary this time and they sang “Happy Anniversary TO YOUUUUU!!!” lol.

July 26th – Disembarkation

The night before, we had to have our bags packed and put outside our cabin doors (with all tags affixed). This morning, we had to get up, grab some food and head to the spots where we have to wait until our color is called.
We waited in the theatre …

After about 45minutes to an hour of waiting, ORANGE was called and all of us with orange tags on our luggage were able to get off the ship. Once off, we followed the path to where our luggage was waiting. Thankfully, all of our luggage was out and just fine!
I then snapped one last picture of our ship

… and we were off on our next adventure: Knotts Berry Farm

** I would like to add that the whole time on this ship, we always had room service! Lol no matter what time at night, we had room service. It was pretty entertaining. It was nice because it was free … unless we ordered WAY late at night (which we did), but that was just a small fee **

Into the Sunset

Soooo I have A LOT of plans for the next Year ^_^

1) October 15 ~ 19th Universal Orlando Studios; Wizarding World of Harry Potter

2) March 6 – 13 ~ Norwegian Cruise Line; Exotic Western Caribbean Cruise
* This is a cruise for my Grammy. She has cancer again and it is not going away *

3) May 25th – June 3rd ~ Egyptian Tour w/ nile Cruise; EFCollegeBreak.com
* If anyone is interested in joining me on this, let me know, got a code for $50 off the trip *

Then, for Fall of 2011 I’m applying for Semester @ Sea. If I don’t get accepted, I’ll be looking into 3 Options: Study Abroad in the UK, Study abroad in Japan or live in Japan for a few months.

Blogging

Okay, so I just updated a lot … I still have a few days to do an entry for … I still need to update entries for May 22nd, June 2nd and Today (June 3rd).

BUT I figured that I owed you guys some updates, I’m sorry it took so long x.x Getting internet long enough to update blogs and do pictures is rather hard with all the activities, classes and homework we have going on. Next week is my last week of being in Tokyo, then we’re going to Kyoto … I hope to have all the days up to the last day in Tokyo updated on here before we go to Kyoto … just don’t quote me on that :p

Please leave any comments you feel you must make ^_^

Back 2 Tokyo

Morning was the same as yesterday, got up early, ate breakfast, and came back to the room. But this time, we had to pack up our things and check out by 10am. We paid for the hotel (it was bout 48,000yen) and the English guy drove us down the mountain and to the station. As we were leaving the hotel, the ladies that worked there went outside to bid us farewell (there were about 3 of them) and they waved to us as we left in the car. Being me, I waved back enthusiastically and could just imagine that past the beautiful smiles, they were thinking “Yeah, she’s American.”

On our way back to the station, we were able to see the views from on top of the mountain since today was a sunny, clear day. I kept trying to snap pictures of the big lake … which is a crater lake and Japan’s deepest lake :D BUT I failed because there were so many trees :p
We got dropped off, had to wait about 2 hours before our train came … in the meantime we called my mom and got to talk to her ^_^ We also picked up some gifts … no, can’t tell you what they are :p But they’re pretty nifty!
Then we got on our train and rode 3 hours back to Tokyo where we just kind of lounged about for the rest of the evening

Slippers, Where have you Gone

We woke up at 7:45 so we could go to breakfast, it was buffet style and they had pretty normal breakfast food like rice, fruit and fish, but they also had lettuce and mini tomatoes … AND dressing. Yummy, salad for breakfast is awesome, you should try it.
After breakfast we showered in our shower/bath room and it was really interesting. Mostly cause blue kept coming out of my hair because the lady did a REALLY bad job … so now the streaks on the top of my head are like white -_- I want my money back!
During the shower, I kept trying to not get blue all over the walls/doors/floor … and if I did, I had to spray it off so it wouldn’t stain x.x
After that, we pretty much lounged around all day … oh, except for when the maid lady came by. Haha, they wanted to clean our room … but we couldn’t understand what they were saying so I told Jon to say wakarimasen which means “I don’t understand”, since he was the one that answered the door. They left and in a few minutes, we had a phone call from the English speaking guy that told us we have to leave for a bit while they come in to clean our room … like, they had to. We thought it was funny, but were okay with it, we just requested that our futons stay out all day. We just went downstairs to look at some snacks and ended up getting some Ramune, came back and lounged out some more.
That night, dinner was MUCH better, there was a lot of things we were able to eat (and did) including a soup that was given to us the night before. We think it is specific to the Tazawako (perhaps Akita?) area and had leek, dough dumplings, a piece of chicken (about 1x1x1 inch) in a really good broth … I’m guessing chickenish broth. This soup was prepared much the same way as that veggie egg thing I had the previous night; it was in a little metal pot with a wooden lid and all of it was sitting on a stand that had space underneath to put that little disk in … so that when the disk is lit, it burns and cooks whatever is above.
-dinner pics-
Including that, we had cooked crab meat, pickled veggies, raw octopus and trout, udon noodle soup AND an unidentified sea creature. Seriously … we have no idea what it is, maybe you guys can tell us?
-insert pics and video-
As you can see, we had a small room to ourselves, which was nice because we were able to spread our legs out and sit … not properly because our legs/feet kept falling asleep XD
After dinner, we went to the hot spring public baths that the hotel had. If you have not been to a hot spring public bath, you should do so … once you get past the awkwardness, it’s a real treat ^_^
What is it, you ask? WELL …
I didn’t take pictures because there were naked ladies all over, BUT I can describe it for you ^_^ In our Ryokan, there were 4 hot spring baths. 2 were for men, 2 were for women, each had one inside and had one outside. Jon pretty much didn’t describe the men’s bath for me, so you will get my experience.
When you first go into the area, which is at the top of some wide stairs, you need to take off your shoes/slippers. I did this and found that to my right after I took a few steps on the raised wooden platform (where shoes are NOT allowed) there was an area big enough for a few (3 or 4) women to primp themselves after the bath. Going straight past that area and through the curtains (the short ones that you usually find in front of Japanese resturaunts … like this …)
-pic-
I came into a room with baskets (no handles) on shelves and some benches with tatami tops. To my right was a big glass window that allowed anyone in the room to see into the bath area. Yes, the baskets were to put your clothes and towels … so I stripped down and realized that I didn’t bring down the little washcloth. I mean, it wasn’t big enough to cover ALL of me, but there were some areas it could have covered. So, with a sigh, I walked towards the glass door and marched my white and naked (literally) butt into the bath area.
The area is rather nice, stone floors and big “bath” areas to soak. These more look like a kiddie wading pool because they’re shallow, but deep enough to sit and still have your head above water while your neck and down was covered with hot spring water. BUT, before getting into the ‘bath’ you need to wash/rinse yourself. Since I had already taken a shower that day, I just sat down on a stool that lined the walls, faced mirror, and rinsed off my body before climbing into the bath.
The water was hot. It felt very nice though, the smell wasn’t that fantastic because the water is from a real natural hot spring … which is basically sulfur water. It turned my toe ring black :o But don’t worry, it’s going back to silver now ^_^ After soaking inside the steamy and foggy (yes, my glasses kept fogging up!) bath room, I went outside to check out that hotspring. Outside was chilly but worth it. The “bath” was in more of a natural stone, it wasn’t smoothed out like the inside (but still comfy enough to touch/sit on) and then there were little individual “baths” for women to go into. It was really relaxing and there was a little waterfall that the water came out of, the rocks that it splashed on had turned white from the sulfur.
Afterwards, I trotted my American self through the little naked Japanese women, dried off and got dressed back into my Yukata. I think the thing that bothered me the most out of that whole thing was that I think I accidentally put on someone else’s hotel slippers :(

Tazawako

Today is an exciting day, Jon and myself are going up to Tazawako! Tazawako is up in Akita Ken … which is a prefecture north of Tokyo. To get there, we are on a … get this … bullet train! It’s really cool! As I’m writing this, I am sitting in a chair that resembles an airline seat, but a bit more roomy. They also have a cart that goes down the isle where you can buy some snacks and things. We got a small thing of Pringles, chocolate covered almonds, bottled water (me), and a small cup of hot coffee (Jon). Well, we also got something else, but they’re for Mom, Dad and Bekah (my little sis) … as well as for us, but I can’t say what it is since it’s a surprise :p
The scenery is really interesting, it started out all busy with skyscrapers, homes, more buildings, etc. as we were in Tokyo, the further we got, less and less big buildings, with more and more small rice field plots here and there. Right at this instant, we are going through a tunnel which looked like the opening was through a mountain. We are in the more mountainous region now but I think we still have *checks watch* about an hour and a half left. It takes 3 hours to get to Tazawako from Tokyo station on the bullet train.
In case anyone is interested, we’re taking the Akita Line up to Tazawako station on the Komachi #17 train 
I still find it amazing that I can read menus and understand some of what is being said to me, it’s really cool ^_^ The train itself is extremely smooth, like on a boat almost cause it rocks back and forth slightly. Oh, looks like we’re stopping at another station, we only stopped in 2 previously (Oedo station in Tokyo and another one about 10 minutes out). Didn’t catch the name because the English announcement is a lot softer than the Japanese announcements. My ears are popping, yeah, you can tell we’re in a higher elevation than Tokyo. Looking out the window, the buildings look older than the buildings past Oedo. There are still high rise apartments here though, they seem to be everywhere. I keep wanting to see inside of them :p Yup we’re pulling into another station, there’s another bullet train at the platform just next to us. I’m a bit nervous going up to Tazawako because it is a smaller station and usually smaller stations don’t have any English.
Oh and it’s kind of loud and less smooth while in the bathroom on the train x.x
With that, I’ll write more later.
****
So, Tazawako was Awesome! Granted, we didn’t leave our room for anything but food and hot springs, it was still pretty neat.
Once our train got to the station, we went to try and get a taxi to take us up to the Ryokan hotel, since, that’s what the instructions from the website said to do. Well, it was rather cold when we got up there and all the taxi cab drivers were taking a nap in their warm cars! Lol, so we went back inside the station and asked how to get there. The lady at the desk knew our hotel (we showed her the Kanji address) and said that there was a pickup service available! That was sweet because that allowed us to save money ^_^
Once the driver finally got to the station, we both got inside and held on tight. The Japanese drive on the left side of the road and their cars are, for the most part, tiny. More then that, our driver was a daredevil! We were taking winding roads at around 40mph going up a mountain, when it was raining.
We arrived in one piece!
Check in was interesting, turns out that there is only one guy in the hotel that speaks English and he was pretty good at it … we got the point of what he was saying anyways. He brought us to the room himself after check-in and pointed out how to do everything, including where our yukatas are and how to use the safe.
Our room was freaking huge, sadly, it was bigger than our apartment!
-insert video of room-

That night we ate a traditional Japanese meal and it was … well … interesting. First, we roamed the hotel the whole weekend in our Yukatas and slippers they provide, so we were always comfy :D Then, we went down to the 1st floor (we were on the 4th) and they led us through what looked like a little street in a town, to a room. There we took off our shoes on the stepping stone and went inside the paper door. Inside were a few tables for other guests at the hotel, including for us. It was traditional, sit on the ground, layout. I don’t eat beef so they gave me some sort of vegetable and egg thing (all cooked in a little pot in front of me that was over a small fire, the fire was lit as we sat down … much like a little tealight but without the wax). They tried explaining how to prepare the food but my Japanese wasn’t THAT good, so they brought the English speaking guy to tell me that I needed to pour the raw egg over the veggie thing and let it cook.
Unfortunately, I forgot to take my camera to take any pictures, but I suppose not a huge loss because we didn’t really eat much (we felt bad) because a lot of it was raw seafood (crab, tuna, shrimp) and some we couldn’t identify. But they had this BEAUTIFUL Kimono that was white with cranes, and some greenery and splashes of orange as well as orange material on the inside. It was so beautiful, I really wish I had taken a picture of it.
After dinner, we didn’t really do much because Jon wasn’t feeling well, he kind of started to get sick so we went to bed kind of early.

Host Meeting

Haha okay, so today was interesting to say the least. Class topic was Nonverbal communication and culture, but the REAL interesting part happened in the evening. So, next weekend, June 5-6th, we will be staying with a host family. For those that don’t know what a host family is; it is where we get to stay with a Japanese family for the weekend. My family is the Tazawako family and I am paired with another girl in the program (Laura) to go that weekend. Unfortunately, our family couldn’t make it tonight to meet us. Yes, today was the day to meet the host families! But, Jon’s ‘family’ came 
I forget the name of the family, but the man came to meet Jon. The man told Jon to call him Michael and he spoke extremely good English … like an American! This is because he participated in an exchange program with Wittenberg for about a year and also spent longer in the United States before or after the exchange. Michael is married and works as an accountant 
Lol the meeting was SOOOO funny because poor Jon was nervous as all heck. Jon got very business-like and forgot to plan activities with Michael and his wife for ONLY the weekend that we are scheduled to be with the host family lol. Finally, Michael was distracted and talking to Imai Sensei when I was able to go over to Jon and nudge him into reminding him that he doesn’t need to be so nervous, keep the plans to only that Saturday and Sunday … and to get the man’s email. Haha, I felt so bad for Jon, but it was cute ^_^
After Jon got Michael’s attention back, he was able to converse a bit more relaxed and was able to hammer out some plans (Michael and his wife live in Yokohama)  Unfortunately, Michael was 30 minutes late to the meeting and the discussion went for a bit …and we still had homework to finish … so Jon excused himself so we could get our schoolwork done. He didn’t feel too bad for doing that because Michael knew Broz and Imai Sensei (and a few other students) and we think they may have gone out to a rather late dinner.
After the homestay weekend, you can bet that I’ll be updating you with mine and Jon’s experiences … but the pictures will only be from my experience due to us only having one digital camera.

Ohio, who knew?

A slight note I wanted to make for today! ^_^ Our class topic was Language and Japanese culture, Forms and formality. After class, we all went down to Shibuya (first time for me and Jon!) and went to an office that was for Ohio business. Yes, Ohio, as in, the state in the U.S. … turns out there are a lot of Japanese companies based in Ohio and the business is kind of a guide to help Japanese business come into America (Ohio specifically) and American companies to get into Japan … and they have a branch in Tokyo. It was pretty neat :o Helped Jon think about his future in medical science/entrepreneur ideas he has. It was also refreshing because we were able to talk to a man that wrote articles in WIRED magazine, he’s from the U.S. too and was nice to speak to someone that was also loud in his demeanor and didn’t have an accent to us XD
What they really recommend to those students who wish to move to Japan to work/live, is to start in a program (like JET) and live in Japan for that program, make connections and go from there. Take opportunities.
It was rather interesting and just wanted to let you guys know about it ^_^

East I Say, EAST!

Today was slightly notable  Not just for class (which the topic was: The self in Japanese social communication), but because we went to Shinjuku station to get our JR Passes! It was fine for our 7-day pass, which we’ll be using our last week in Japan after the program ends. The problem was with our 4-day pass that we were going to use for getting up to Tazawako this weekend. Turns out we had to go back to the NYC to pick up our confirmation number of our tickets that proved we WILL be leaving the country.
I just wanted to make note that, unlike in the good ‘ol U.S. of A., they kept trying and trying to get those passes handled for us. For some odd reason, our names weren’t showing up in the database and it took a good hour or so to get done. We were discussing that in the U.S., the employees most likely would have given up, told us to go somewhere else, or said “tough luck” … but man, these people were persistant! They were uber sweet and professional about it though  It finally worked out, so we got our passes (yay!), they just expire the day before we planned them to 
Anyways, I just wanted to make a note of that for today ^_^

Bubble Tea

Today was kind of exciting. Class Topic: Religious influences. We went to a few temples and shrines in the Tokyo area … Kanda, Myojin and Ameyoko .. I think o.O The area was Ueno :D After looking at the religious areas, we went more downtown and scattered! We were left to our own devices and the first place that Jon and I went was to this mini pet shop! The animals were so tiny! There were kittens and puppies. The pets were expensive, rather well taken care of … and tiny! They even had a Scottish Fold kitten and I wanted her SOOO bad (one day I will get a Fold!) but … yeah, couldn’t. I was allowed to hold one of the kittens, but I had to put sanitizer on my hands first. Her fur was so floofy and soft! She mewed and then cuddled up to me … so cute ^_^ Jon also got to hold her (sanitizer!) and didn’t want to let her go. But we had to and we just went off and hung out around the area. OH! We did get bubble tea … Japan style! It didn’t have crushed ice in it (like a smoothie or slurpee) but it had ice in it and just tea with the tapioca balls.
After our wanderings, the group got back together and went to eat at this resturaunt that was traditional dining; Our VERY first time sitting on the floor, on cushions, with the low table. The food was rice with our choice of meat (Shrimp for me and Jon), cooked in an individual little pot. It was pretty good! Before the meal, we were served other dishes like Tempura and raw fish … of which, I only ate the Tempura :p
And yes, after dinner … we had to find our own way back … but not before stopping by an electronic store to get an internet cable ^_^

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