I looked out of our hotel room window this morning to find this guy flying by with three friends.
I got a nice shot of him flying away from us. I'm not sure what kind of raptor it is. Very pretty though.
After breakfast, we decided to go for a walk along the seaside walkway that we could see from our hotel. The sky was blue again today. What a treat! We wanted to enjoy it.
Along the sea walk I noticed these life rings mounted every few hundred feet or so.
I stumbled across another nice manhole cover. I now have one from each city we stayed in. Kinda cool!
As we walked along, I spotted what I thought to be large flowers in one of the trees. Upon closer inspection I found these decorated bags with what looked like sponges inside of them.
A little further along, we happened upon these bottles mounted on a hillside beside the walkway.
At this small cafe we found answers to the mysteries of the two curiosities we stumbled upon. Apparently, these were part of an art project called Smart-illumination which attempts to "utilize public spaces with the aim of merging urban tourism and art. This year, energy efficient night illuminations will be used to decorate public spaces by merging environmental technologies and art. Since the Great East Japan Earthquake, the need to utilize LED lights, solar panels and other energy generation methods and energy storing systems have increased more than ever."
Inside the cafe we saw this cute elephant ice cream that couldn't possibly be turned down.
While Ethan ate, he put his foot over my foot. This is something he does often when we sit together, and has done since he could sit up on his own and reach down with his legs to my legs beside him. I hadn't taken much note of it before. It's just how we always sit together. But, today, in a different part of the world, I saw it and appreciated that connection we share.
We walked further along the sea wall to the Marine Tower, which claims to be the largest seaside tower in Japan. It's kind of funny how so many places lay claim to some tallest, fastest or first status. It's about 90 meters high.
If you squint you might see Mt Fuji!
But if you can't see it, here it is on the photo posted on a beam beside the scene. I could see the shadow faintly. I'm happy about that. :-)
Similar to the CN Tower, the Marine tower has a glass floor. I was too afraid to stand on it. Ethan wasn't afraid at all.
Here we all looked down together.
Since it had taken us a couple of hours to walk the seawall to the tower, we decided to take a taxi back to the ferris wheel near our hotel. Ethan wanted to explore an adventure world he had seen yesterday. While in the taxi, Ethan made an interesting observation. If you hold the first three fingers of your one hand straight with the other hand, it's difficult to bend your pinky finger at the first knuckle. Try it! Doug mentioned that it's the result of coarticulation, and is a problem animators struggle with.
It's interesting to me that Ethan finds fascinating things anywhere and everywhere.
A few things I've noticed while walking around:
- People walk on the opposite side of the sidewalk. (That took me a while to figure out. I'm sure I irritated a few people this trip.)
- There are almost no garbage cans along the sides of the road or in public spaces. I had a water bottle from an our ice cream break earlier. I carried it around with me due to the fact I could not find any place to dispense of it. People do not seem to eat food on the go.
- Many of the washrooms do not have paper towels or air dryers. I have been shaking my hands to dry them. Today, in a public washroom I observed two ladies pull nicely ornamented towels from their handbags to dry their hands. I wonder if the men have pocket towels?
- In general, parents seemed very respectful, loving and very attentive to their young children. There seems to be a close bond with the children and both parents, as well as grandparents often. That has been very sweet to observe.
The adventure exhibit that Ethan wanted to explore was entirely in Japanese, so it was kind of tricky to navigate, but we did figure it out eventually, and enjoyed the mirrored maze while doing so.
After we all relaxed a while in our hotel, we headed over to Yokohama's China Town for the evening. It was really beautiful and teaming with people. I loved seeing the lit lanterns and signs at night.
Steamers of dim sum lined the streets, making us all hungry.
While we enjoyed the sights, we looked around for a quiet place to enjoy our last meal in Japan.
While wandering I saw these interesting shoes.
And complimentary socks.
Doug found a lovely Chinese restaurant. He and I shared this Sapporo beer. I thought Pat would like to see this label.
When we first came in a gentleman was playing the piano. Later on in the evening, two women played traditional instruments for the patrons. The music was sweet and light.
When we left we passed under this grand gate, but not before picking up a few sweets to take back to the hotel with us.
On the way home we talked about what a wonderful trip this has been. We've experienced so many new things and have seen so many different sights. There was such a different feel to every city. Fukuoka was slower paced and had a nice mix of old and new. Tokyo, which we only got to experience briefly, was an extremely fast paced, huge modern metropolis that seemed to offer something for everyone. Yokohama seemed to be a more modest modern seaside city that reminded Doug a lot of Vancouver, BC.
Tonight we pack and get ready to fly home in the morning. We leave the hotel at 5am. It will be 24 hours before we walk through the front door of our home if all things go smoothly. We leave Monday morning and arrive in Ithaca Monday at dinner time...I think. I'm still trying to get my head around that one. :-)
To those who have followed along with us, thanks for the company!