Well, this is a little difficult, but I have Drew's computer to work with, so we'll give it a go. The pictures are all in reverse order, sadly. So this is our arrival in Kyoto, where there is apparently a cake store at the train station...and why not? There are 2 malls attached to the station, and our hotel. Tomorrow I'll get you some pictures of the amazing size of this thing.
And this is the "conveyor belt sushi" joint where we ate dinner tonight - in the basement of the train station.
These are 2 great-nieces of our host in Hongo, who's married to Dean's aunt. These girls are 2 and 4 years old and just amazed at Lucas, who had them both in stitches with some dance moves. You don't have to speak Japanese to make a friend.
This is the coolest moment so far, for me. I wore the shrug I knitted to breakfast at the hot springs hotel where we stayed last night, and Kiku, Dean's aunt, apparently took a liking to it and asked me to teach her how to make one. She does some intricate needlework herself, and had given me an umbrella that she embellished with stitching, so when Dean's mom said I should make another one and mail it back to her, I just offered her this one. She gave me a very deep bow and wore it yesterday and today! I'd say there's no higher compliment.
This is what you wear at the ryokan when it's time to go to the onsen (hot springs). Once you get to the "locker room," you put all this in a basket, get naked, bathe yourself while sitting on a little stool, then get in scalding hot tubs of water with your peeps....or your MIL and her sister. After the initial minute of embarrassment, you realize that everybody looks pretty much the same, other than height, and it's all good....and hot. Lucas even made it through his usual modesty to participate with the big boys.
This is our dinner before the springs. That's Kiku and her husband, Fumiyuki. Everybody flash your peace signs! (You can't take a picture of a Japanese person without a peace sign, apparently. It's equivalent to a smile in the States.)
And this is Kiku's house, where we stayed the previous 2 nights. The Japanese bathroom is a very different thing, so they had to explain that you slide open one door, change your slippers as noted below, then slide open either the urinal door or the toilet door, which is a high-tech Toto with heated seat, bidet, and various streams of water, etc. It even flushes automatically when you stand up!
Fumiyuki is a certified, licensed soba noodle chef. You actually study how to make these, and have to pass a test to get certified! I have a video I'll post later, but it was like watching a live cooking show to see him make these things.
This is Miyajima with the famous Torii. They have a bit of a deer infestation, which you can see down next to that little river.
There's the Torii out in the water - very famous.
And here's Drew making friends with an inhabitant of the island, who was disappointed that he had no food. (I love the look on the deer's face. "Where the hell's the food?")
This is Kiku's beautiful garden in front of her house.
This is the main room where we slept. Living room by day, bedroom by night. They pulled out futons, pillows, and duvets for us each night. Very Last Samurai...
And here's the first thing we did when we arrived in Hongo - go to an arcade. These people know how to make children happy! Lucas nearly died of joy when he saw all the cranes in this place (he has a little problem), and we were all amazed that he scored on his second try.
Okay, I've stayed up till 11:13 PM, which is my best yet, so hopefully I won't wake up at 4 AM. Dean and I had a nightcap at the hotel bar, which was the spitting image of the one in Lost in Translation. We even re-enacted a little scene to show you later. Oyasumi nasai!