Monday, April 8, 2013

Spring Break Family Time

Since arriving at Japan, I have had the opportunity to live on my own again. I have been able to improve my cooking skills, pay for my own utilities, and travel by myself for two weeks. Living on my own is nice, but I admit that I miss having my own parents pay for me sometimes. Therefore I was looking forward to meeting my parents during Spring Break.

After I met with my friend at Okayama, I traveled to Hiroshima, Miyajima, Yokohama, and Tokyo with my parents.

At Hiroshima, I saw the Peace Memorial Museum, the A-Bomb Dome, and I ate Hiroshima style Okonomiyaki with my parents. The Peace Memorial Museum was very disturbing because there were a lot of pictures of people that suffered from the Atomic bomb during World War II.

The infamous A-Bomb Dome

Origami donated to mourn the tragedy of the atomic bomb
One of the saddest things I saw at the museum was an autobiography a girl named Sadoko. Sadoko survived the atomic bomb when she was a baby, but shortly after birth she was induced with cancer. Therefore she tried to fold 1000 cranes because she heard that if she could fold 1000 cranes she could cure herself from cancer. Unfortunately she died before she could make all 1000 cranes.

The Hiroshima style Okonomiyaki was very good. Okonomiyaki is a Japanese style pancake. Hiroshima is famous for Okonomiyaki, but so so is Osaka. Osaka also has its own unique style of Okonomiyaki. Hiroshima style Okonomiyaki has noodles inside of it, and it is cooked differently compared to Osaka style.

In Japan, there are a lot of restaurants that allow you to cook your own Okonomiyaki. But the chef at the restaurant my family and I went to had cooked the Okonomiyaki for us.

At Miyajima, I was able to travel underneath the Itsukushima Shrine by boat. I was also able to take a cable car to the top of a nearby mountain with my parents. Like Matsushima at Sendai, Miyajima is supposed to be one of the three most beautiful places within in Japan.
Posing at the Itsukushima shrine with my parents
Next my family and I traveled to Yokohama. Yokohama is famous for its Chinatown, but my dad did not care about visiting Chinatown, so we only passed by it. Instead we went to a baseball game at Tokyo, the Ramen Musem, and World Porters.

I am not a huge sports fan, but I think Japanese baseball can be very exciting to watch. Usually when someone makes a homerun, the fans of that team swing their mini umbrellas to celebrate that teams success. This was my third Japanese baseball game. Compared to the last two games, this one was difficult to enjoy because the dome was not closed, and the weather was too cold. Below is a video from youtube of Japanese people celebrating a homerun made by their team.

At the Ramen museum, my family and I ate delicious ramen. The Ramen Museum had a lot of vendors that looked like old style Ramen shops during the 1920s.
The inside of the Ramen Museum looks like an old fashioned Japanese town

Ramen from the Ramen Museum
My dad wanted to World Porter's because he heard that there were Malasda's (Portugese doughnuts that are popular in Hawaii) sold over there. Surprisingly at World Porter's, there were not just malasada's, but also other restaurants that sold Hawaii food and Hawaii merchandise. At World Porter's there are a bunch of Hawaii stores known on the first floor as Hawaii Doori.

Hawaii styled garlic shrimp
 Finally I traveled to Tokyo again with my parents where I was able to eat dinner on two different nights with my Japanese relatives. It was nice getting to know my relatives because I know a lot of Japanese Americans in Hawaii that no longer communicate with their Japanese relatives.

Compared to my relatives in Hokkaido, my relatives in Tokyo speak better English. My Tokyo relatives are able to have a conversation in English with my parents that do not speak much Japanese.
First night my parents and I had dinner at Tokyo with my Japanese relatives
Second night my parents and I had dinner at Tokyo with my Japanese relatives
Like a lot of Japanese people that I met, it seems like my Japanese relatives really like Hawaii a lot. Therefore my cousin from Tokyo that was slightly older than me was really happy to discover she had Hawaii relatives. In addition, my cousin will also be coming to Hawaii to get married around this September when I return.

For me getting to know my Japanese relatives is like getting to know my other relatives. Although my relatives are good for Japanese practice, I usually find find it easier to talk to my relatives that are closer to my age than my older relatives

Perhaps it is because of the age gap or it is because I feel the need to be more respectful when I am around my elders, so it can be difficult to maintain a more casual conversation.

It was nice spending time with both my family and Japanese relatives. Unfortunately, I had to return to Akita for the Spring Semester, and my parents had to return to Hawaii soon. Therefore I parted my ways from my parents and left to return to Akita by night bus from Tokyo.