Monday, June 9, 2014


A couple weeks ago we made the trip to Uji. Uji is a little town full of history. It is between Kyoto and Nara, was where the aristocracy of Kyoto once summered, and where the last few chapters of the Tale of Genji take place.
Here is a statue celebrating the author of The Tale of Genji.

The most famous building in Uji is the Byodo-in. A picture is on the back of the Japanese 10 yen coin.

The symmetrical building is referred to as the Phoenix Hall. It, apparently, looks like a bird spreading its wings and taking flight. It also has these nifty phoenix statutes on the roof.

Gus's favorite activity in Uji was to pick up fistfuls of gravel.
The sign behind Gus says "Wet Paint" in English. Craig didn't believe it because of how distressed the bell house looks. The red paint on Gus's butt and arm proved the sign true.

One of the specialities of Uji is double matcha ice cream. They put powdered matcha on matcha ice cream. It was really hot, as you can tell from our wilting ice cream cone.

'Cleopatra' Spadola Jolley fell asleep in his stroller so Craig and I had to carry him up and down all the stairs.

We had to get tickets to see the inside of the Byodo-in. We took turns so Gus could just stay outside and play. Here he is enjoying his banana snack while Craig looks on excitedly.
Uji has tons of tea shops. We stopped in one where they gave us green tea and houjicha. Houjicha is roasted green tea and has no caffeine. Japanese people give it to their kids to get them used to the taste of tea. Gus is willing to try anything.

As I mentioned, Gus loved picking up rocks. He was really frustrated by the rocks cemented into the side walk.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Anpanman Museum AKA Baby Crack

As some of you know, Gus loves Anpanman. Anpanman is a character created by Takashi Yanase after WWII. Yanase believed sharing food is one of the greatest things people can do and that is what Anpanman does, he feeds the hungry. His head is made of anpan, a sweet bun filled with red bean paste, and he gives people his head to eat if they are hungry. His Uncle Jam is a baker and bakes Anpanman new heads. Anpanman is EVERYWHERE in Japan and I know this because Gus can spot his picture from a moving train. When we learned there is a Anpanman museum in Kobe we knew we had to take him.
Gus prepared for his big adventure with a nap. He's wearing his new shades. I did not pick out the Anpanman shirt especially for today. Gus picked it out all by himself.
It took us about 10min to get him in the front door because every image of Anpanman required full investigation and constant "Anpanman! Anpanman! Anpanman! Anpanman!" You get the idea.

As you can see, this place was built for toddlers in mind; everything is at their height.

Gus is "driving" an Anpanman submarine.

The staff were trying to get the kids to hold their arm out like Anpanman. Gus, of course, was totally adorable when he did it.
This is Anpanman's nemesis, Baikinman - Bacteria Man. He wants to stop Anpanman from feeding the hungry and spread germs all over the world.

The ball room was pretty crazy. A whole bunch of little kids with a whole bunch of big, bouncy balls.

Here is a video of Gus getting all excited about Western Anpanman and the "ho-shees."