Saturday, February 5, 2011

Recap of Japan Trip


Thank you for all of you who left comments in my
posts/sent me emails while I was in Japan/snatched
some fabrics from my etsy shop early in January.
I'm so sorry I have been gone for such a long time.

I love blog land - I really enjoy writing and reading
blogs and communicating with my online friends through
emails and flickr, but while I was in Japan, I made it
a point to spend as much time as possible with my
family and friends who I don't get to see very often,
which meant for me to spend little time on computer.

The Japan trip that lasted for a little over a whole month
ended a few days ago, and both Joe and I are trying to
catch up with stuff here and there, and to get over jet lag.
Just like any other times I come back from Japan,
I am feeling homesick. My life in the US is great, but I
can't help but keep thinking about how nice
it would be if I could move back to Japan with Joe where
I have my family and friends close by. I know that's such
a selfish idea. I should feel just fine and normal as I
get back to my normal life here. I'm sorry for bringing
up my negative thought to my blog where it should be
all about fun and happy crafting. Anyway, I want to
share with you lots of pictures from the trip today.

Separate from this post, I will have three more posts
about the Japan trip - 1) Tokyo Quilt Festival, 2)
Suzuko Koseki Project, 3) Fabric and zakka finds + etsy sales.
Today's post is probably the most boring of all, because
it won't have anything to do with zakka or crafts but
my personal stuff, so please feel free to skip or
just look though just the photoes, etc :)


It was Joe's 4th Japan trip. He had always been
my boyfriend but on this trip he was my husband :)
He probably likes Japan more than I do lol.


I have to introduce three cats who live with
my parents. I've done it before, but maybe it is
the first time to see them for most of you.
This is a Scottish Fold cat named Oto. He likes
to check out what we've been eating like this.
His favorite food is Edamame (soybeans). You can't
have an edamame dish on the table without him
trying to snatch it up from you. He is so cute!


Blacky, who is probably the most popular among the
three. He loves to be near you and meow at you
if you call his name while purring. Very sweet.


Shiro, who isn't as friendly as other cats, but
loves to get attention. When someone visits,
he is the first one to go to the door and show
visitors how he can roll his back to the floor.
Such a sensitive and shy boy.


For the new year, we went to visit seven temples
in Tokyo, each of them supposedly corresponding
to a god in "Seven Gods of Luck" which is one of the
traditional things to do early in January in Japan.
Joe was learning to read Japanese characters, so
we let him guide us with the map that has only
Japanese. He was so excited to do this!


But to tell the truth, we visited only six of them.
The last one had such a long line which made my
dad want to go home. lol.


On the way back, we stopped by a traditional
Japanese restaurant where we had an alive spiny
lobster. Poor lobster, he was still alive
after all his meat is gone.


Oh this is absolutely random but I wanted to
share with you how Japanese milk/juice packages
look like at a convenient store. After I posted
about the milk carton block, I received many
emails, especially from Europe that had
their local milk cartons pictures attached.
(Thank you for that!) I truly enjoyed seeing them,
so I thought you might enjoy discovering Japanese ones too!
Or is it only me who is this crazy about cartons?


Shameless, lol. What a mess we made in my parents' house.


We made a big mess in the small monthly apartment
in Tokyo which we stayed at for 8 nights too.
While we were staying here, Joe worked in
Shinjuku for a week and that was the best
time for me to go fabric shopping alone.
By the time we left here, I had waaaaay too
much fabric for the luggage we brought,
so I ended up buying a new suitcase to
fill it with just fabric. You have no idea
how annoyed Joe was when he came back
from work on Friday and saw the new suitcase
awaiting him to carry. lol. sorry, Joe!


We stopped by Edo-Tokyo Museum which seems to
be a pretty popular tourist spot for foreigners,
because there are English descriptions for each
exhibition and volunteers who can explain things
in English. Joe enjoyed learning the history in
edo period in Japan while I had fun looking at
and taking photos of artistic exhibitions.


Behind Joe is a very traditional thing for the new year.
In the middle is a lady's face with huge cheeks called
"Otafuku." I used to be very chubby as a kid and my chubby
cheeks were even chubbier back then. I had someone
who said her face looks like mine. How appropriate is that? LOL


What you'll find at every tourist spot in Japan are
souvenir shops. I found these bento box-looking
candies very adorable - couldn't help shooting a photo!


I wasn't expecting anything like this, but we were
so lucky to have some folks celebrating our wedding
with a little surprise - this cake from my friend Koto's
family was one of them. I 'met' Koto through Japanese
blogs and we became really good friends in real life.
Since Joe and I decided not to have a formal wedding
ceremony, it was our very first ever experience to
cut a cake together. What a nice surprise! Thank you, Koto!!


Maybe you can't tell from looking at what these
people are wearing but this day was SO COLD!
We were hanging out with my friends in Tokyo,
and the only thing we could think of to do is
to head over a hot spring called Spa LaQua that
is located next to Tokyo Dome where the quilting
festival took a place (I'll blog about it later ;) )


At my friend's place, we had a little sushi party
that night. I love hanging out with these girls.
We chatted until 3 am. It's so nice to have friends
like them that I feel so comfortable and happy with
who are so nice to have us stay at their places
every time we are in Japan.


A few days later, we were back to my parents'
house in Gunma. One of the first things we did
was to go Strawberry pick up with my cousin.
She is the same age as mine, and we grew up
together like real sisters.


These strawberries were the sweetest ever!
I was so excited to munch on tons and tons
of fresh strawberries, but they were a lot more
filling than I expected! In just first 15 min,
we were all full. It was lots of fun though!


One of the biggest events on this trip was
a trip to Okinawa that is a little island located about
two and a half hours by plane from Haneda airport in Japan.
This is a place my parents took their honeymoon.
They gifted us this trip and later decided to
come along with us. So I guess I can say this
was our honeymoon also..?


Last time I had visited Okinawa was over 10 years ago
when I was in high school. Lots of things looked
very different from the past and fresh.


I really enjoyed this dolphins and whales show.
This made me miss Sea World in San Diego.
I LOVED the place!


Okinawa is much warmer than the main land in Japan,
so pineapples are something Okinawa is famous for.
We stopped by Nago Pineapple Park where we got to see
may different kinds of pineapple plants. It was fun!


My mom was so happy to see cherry blossoms there.
It's usually around April when you can expect
cherry blossom tree blossoming in the main land,
but it is a bit earlier in Okinawa.


Joe wasn't as excited as my mom about cherry blossom,
so he was experimenting with goldfish at a vendor nearby.


Toward the end of the Japan trip was really busy.
We had our professional wedding photos taken
and a informal wedding party with just families.
This photo was taken when we were trying out
our traditional Japanese wedding clothing.

My mom is pretty laid-back and easygoing who
lets me make decisions about most things, so
I was surprised when she begged us to take
professional wedding photos. I guess it means
a lot to parents to see their kid getting married.
The warmth of my parents made me feel very good.
I let my mom pick my kimono and Joe's clothing
(called Monpuku) was chosen accordingly to match my kimono.


And here is a picture taken by a camera man
with my camera. On my finger are an engagement
ring and a wedding ring passed on from Joe's
great grandmother. I know I am so lucky.


Here is a western version of our wedding photos.
When Joe tried out the tuxedo, he looked amazingly
amazing and everyone applauded. I am wearing a
purl necklace my mom gave me to celebrate our wedding.


A few days later, we had a small informal wedding
party where we invited families only. Joe had seen
most of these people, but there were some people
who hadn't seen Joe, so it was really nice to
introduce him to them. A funny thing at this party
was that there were several people who totally mixed
me and my sister up. One of my sisters
(the second from the left) looks a lot like me
according to many folks. I even saw my uncle
congratulating her, making her feel... um..what? lol


After the wedding party was a get-together at
my cousin's house. Guys drunk and girls chatted.


The last trip we took while we were in Japan was
Ikaho hotspring in Gunma. It was definitely the
coldest weather we experienced in last few years.


The Cleansing fountain over there was totally frozen.


It was nice to see the steam coming from
a hotspring river though.


It was way too cold to do anything so we hung
out at a cafe while Joe went up a mountain
to take some pictures - this is one of them.

Ok, I am getting tired of writing now so you
must be really tired of reading this LOL!
Thank you to all of you who took the time to
read/look at this post :) Come back to see
photos from Tokyo Quilt Festival next week :)

Thank you!!


  1. wow, amazing ayumi, so glad you got to spend so much time with your family and friends. I'll definitely be showing my husband the pic of the lobster, very interesting!

  2. It sounds like it was a wonderful trip, thank you for sharing your pictures. I especially love the wedding photos, both the Japanese and Western versions!

  3. thank you so much for that gorgeous blog & description. so great that your family & friends got to see you in your wedding attire, it means a lot to those who love you. & you look beautiful in both the traditional japanese & the western attire. i only found your blog yesterday, but i love it....

  4. thank you so much for your post! you are so lucky to have such a great family! japan is a wonderful place. i hope to visit it some day soon! congratulations again on your wedding, the photos are amazing!

    i cant wait until your next post! seeing this one made me very happy after 1 month without any :P

    you can reply at


  5. Wow, this trip looks like one of a lifetime. How utterly amazing! This is the way to travel - with someone you love and who knows the area!! Loved all the pictures!

    I am totally digging the polar bear on one of those milk cartons! Hilarious! And poor lobster!

  6. The two of you look incredible, and very happy. It's perfectly normal for you to feel homesick and miss your friends and family and to want to be near them. I feel the same way and my family is only about 8 hours away, not on a different continent! I hope you're able to visit them more often, or have them visit you, that way you can have the best of both worlds. Glad you had a great time.

  7. Thanks, Ayumi. that's a really long and enjoyable post to read. Looks like a whole load of fun too. I think the photo taking is great. always good to do something traditional to remember the wedding by.

    I'd so wish to visit Japan one day too!

  8. Wow what amazing pictures. I grew up in Japan and Okinawa until age 12 so it really takes me back! My mom and sisters just went to Japan in November to visit family on my mom's side and they had a blast!

  9. What a wonderful trip Ayumi, I'd love to see a whole post of pics of your wedding kimono, it looks wonderful. Congratulations on getting married and on having a lovely trip home. Poor you feeling homesick :-( XXX

  10. Ayumi, thank you for this beautiful post! I really enjoyed learning more about you! I also have left America and moved to the Middle East to be with my husband! I understand whole-heartedly your sentiments of Japan! I can't wait for the other posts on your visit. I met a woman whom is Chinese and married to a German now living in Dubai. She googled 'quilter's in Dubai' and my name came up even though I live in Oman! Love this internet and blog business! All the best! And, and, congratulations on your wedding!!!

  11. Thank you for sharing your amazing trip with us!
    And congratulations for your wedding!
    Japan is so far away, but it has fascionating culture. I hope to visit it one day!
    Bye Bye

  12. As I've never been far from Western United States, I can't tell you how much I enjoyed reading your posts and seeing your pictures ... beautiful! I truly can't wait to see the quilt show pictures. Congratulations on sharing wedding times with your family in Japan ... what memories! Thank you for sharing :)

  13. I loved seeing all your photos of Japan...I say no post on Japan can ever be too long!! I hope some day to visit Japan too...It's always hard when your family is far away :(

  14. Welcome back, Ayumi. Thank you for writing such a detailed post about your trip; I could almost believe I was there, too. Such gorgeous photos, too, especially of you and Joe all dressed up in your finery; you both look so 'amazingly amazing'!

  15. Thank you for sharing the more personal side of your trip, I really enjoyed seeing pictures of all of the buildings and colourful food. It was great to see the two versions of the wedding photos too - how special that your mam arranged that for you both.

  16. What beautiful photos. I lived in Tokyo for 18 months many years ago and your photos reminded me of the fabulous time I had there. I really want to return with my husband....maybe in a couple of years.

    You and Joe look amazing in your wedding attire. Thank you for sharing.

  17. Lovely pictures and your wedding photos are gorgeous. You are a very handsome couple and these photos will become more precious as you get older. Welcome back.

  18. Thanks for sharing all these wonderful pictures, what an amazing trip you had. Wouldn't it be nice if you could find 2-3 years to live there and then come back to the US? How good that would be for J's japanese too. I know how hard it is living in a foreign country, you get so homesick sometimes! Looking forward to seeing your other photos too, esp the quilting ones!

  19. Beautiful pictures! My youngest daughter and I read your post together and enjoyed the cats, the milk/juice packages, the poor lobster and your stunning Japanese wedding outfit! What a nice documentary of your stay in Japan! I really appreciated it.

  20. Thank you for sharing all these amazing Japan vacation pics. I felt like I vacationed too though vicariously. You and your hubby look so cute in that traditional japanese outfit. :)

  21. thanks for the tour-great photos-especially the wedding ones:)
    cute cats!
    i understand feeling torn between 2 places-it's hard to be homesick for several locations!

  22. Wow those are some great photos. Thanks so much for sharing them. It is fun to see the world thru someone elses eyes, when you can't go there yourself!

  23. Beautiful photos, and your wedding pictures are AMAZING! Congrats!

  24. Wow. Amazing pictures, thank you for sharing your travels with us! And congrats on your marriage! I love to travel, just wish I had more opportunities to do so, although Japan is definitely on my bucket list. Thats one of the wonderful things about blogs, sharing with others and seeing those 'far away places' through others eyes!

  25. Looks like you had an amazing trip. Glad to see your back blogging Ayumi! Can't wait to see lots of other exciting photos - hope there is one of the fabric suitcase!!

  26. Thanks so much for sharing your trip with us - Japan is on my list of dream vacations! Love Love the wedding pictures [your dress is gorgeous!]

  27. I really enjoyed reading this post, the pictures were great! I'm glad you had a good time and got to do so many things.

  28. Welcome back! We all missed you! But now that I see what a wonderful trip you were having, I'm glad you had your own time.

    If I have the pic of your sister picked out correctly, doesn't she wear her hair on the other side? That could have been a clue to your uncle. *L*

    Never too many trip pictures is what I say. Bring on more.

  29. Welcome back, Ayumi, I missed you and am glad you are back. I am never bored of your writing and interesting culture in Japan. The photos you posted are very good, full of interest. I know what it is like to miss your family, we only came here to the USA in 2009 for work and although we are settled, there is a part of you that remains behind in your homeland. It is especially hard when you return from a trip but I am wishing for you that you will get back into the routine of your life in the USA and the ache of missing home will not be as intense.

  30. Great photos and congrats for your wedding! Japan looks like an interesting place to visit (:

  31. Thank you for sharing your trip with us. And your wedding photos are beautiful!

  32. Great post! I love hearing about your adventures in Japan, what a wonderful vacation!! Thank you for sharing, great photos, too!

  33. Thank you so much for sharing all your beautiful pictures and giving us a glimpse into your life and your family in Japan. And thanks also for all the explanations, very illuminating!

    Hope your jetlag is soon better and that you settle back to a productive routine.


    PS I wish I'd seen the photo of the fabric filled suitcase ;-)

  34. i never get tired of reading ur blog ayumi! in fact, when the blog entry ended, i was like.."no more pics of japan?" hehe. Japan is really a beautiful country & it's definitely one of the destinations on my wishlist!

    haha i agree with peppermint penguin abt the photo of the fabric filled sure many would LOVE to see it! :)

  35. I really loved reading this blog post, Ayumi! I thought the pictures were wonderful and your story was sweet!

  36. Wow, your photos are so pretty--especially the wedding photos--you really look beautiful in them!!!
    And did Joe really think he was going to Japan and not going to have to lug fabric home, haha?

  37. Congrats for your wedding. And welcome back. Felicidades :)

  38. Hello Ayumi!
    Congratulations for your wedding!
    Thank you for this great post, I enjoy reading it.
    Japan looks like an interesting place and I hope I can visit it one day.
    Greetings from Bavaria,

  39. Thank you for sharing all the great photos. They are fabulous! Looking at your blog was like seeing a brochure for a tour. Your photos and details are so informative. I loved everything about your trip enjoyable.

  40. Welcome back, have missed your blogs. Thank you for sharing your trip pics, felt like I was having a mini holiday. Enjoyed seeing the cats and loved your wedding pics.

  41. what a lovely post, thanks for sharing that, it makes a nice change,

  42. bienvenida Ayumi!!!Que alegria tu viaje, gracias por dejarnos ver un poquito de tu viaje. Ánimo al volver a la vida de siempre. Un abrazo. Esperando ver tus compras y tus nuevas creaciones.

  43. What a great trip! Gorgeous photos!

  44. Ayumi, it was like taking a trip with you to Japan. Thank you for sharing your experiences and these beautiful pictures :-) You both look so cute and sweet in your wedding pictures. I can imagine how thrilled and happy your parents must be. So sorry that you are feeling homesick :(

  45. Congratulations on you marriage and cute husband! You look beautiful in the kimono your mother picked for you. I enjoyed the post and pictures!

  46. Thank you for sharing Japan with us! My daughter lives in Kitami-city up in Hokkaido and she shares pictures of Hokkaido with us. I would dearly love to visit the country that she has fallen in love with and I feel like I know it a bit better seeing your adventures in Japan. It is hard when you are in one place and your heart is in another. I hope you get to go "home" more often!!

  47. wonderful pictures thank you so much x

  48. you look so beautiful in Kimono! .. Congratulations again!

  49. Welcome back. I've missed your posts. Ohh the fabric in that kimono!!

  50. We missed you!!! But very happy to have you share such wonderful photos and experiences. Having been married 15 years now, I agree with other comments that you will be glad to have those special pictures in the future. Cherish the love from the family and friends who want to share your joy! I had many favorites but I think I like the one of you and Joe with the fans, the colors are so vibrant and you both look sweet. next would be the cherry blossoms, I can't wait for spring! here in Pennsylvania it's still very snowy. Looking forward to quilt posts next!

  51. I'm a new reader of your blog, and I *LOVE* all the photo's you've shared with us!! You and your new dh are a gorgeous couple!! I love your 'western' wedding photo!! You look like a delicate porcelain doll! Just beautiful! :) Thanks for sharing!

  52. Missed you a lot but looks like you had a blast!!!

    I don't think it's a selfish thought to want to live in Japan - that's where your family is. That's where you are more familiar with life.

    Can't wait for the next entries!

  53. Hi Ayumi! thanks for the great report, you had a great time. Joe is so lucky. Thanks for the glimpse into your life. I am one of the very lucky ones to get some fabric from you while you were on your trip. I have only stopped for a couple of hours in the tokyo airport, never really visited Japan, so it has been great to see it through your eyes!! Can't wait to hear the rest of your blogs. Karen

  54. What a great trip and beautiful and interesting pictures of Japan. It looks like it was a wonderful time and I really enjoyed reading all about it and am looking forward to the next post. And I never knew cats might like edamame - we will have to offer ours some next time we have it!

  55. Welcome back and thanks for sharing all the beautiful photos!

  56. Thanks for sharing your trip. I have always wanted to visit Japan. I especially loved the pictures of the wedding kimonos, and the containers. Such wonder you have such inspiration. I can imagine what will come from your trip in the form of quilting.

  57. Welcome back, Ayumi! We really missed you:) What a wonderful trip that must have been -- thanks for sharing it with us! After all of those memories, I don't think it's selfish for you to wish you could stay there.

    (But really, live lobster? How does that work?!)

  58. What a great trip, I love the way you describe, you and Joe to make a cute couple!, is that love!

  59. Thank you for the great pictures and the account of your trip! It's so lovely that your mother made you take the wedding pics, I'm sure you'll thank her for it later when you have them as a souvenir! :-) And you're not selfish at all, I think it's only natural to miss your friends and family while in the US. I miss mine, too, and my home country isn't as far from my country of residence as yours. Looking forward to your other posts!

  60. I love this summary of your trip! I hope to have an adventure in Japan some day too. Your fascination with container design is shared with many, I think. And the wedding pictures are lovely, the dress especially is wonderful!

  61. What an amazing trip you had! Thank you so much for sharing about it with us! I would love to travel to Japan some day :)

    Don't feel bad about mentioning your homesickness - I don't blame you for missing where you came from! Take care! :)

  62. What a lovely trip! Thank you so much for sharing the pics with us. I really enjoyed (except lobster meal, poor lobster)with all the pics and explanation. Maybe one day I will go to Japan (fingers crossed). And don't worry about your feelings, you're not selfish.
    Is a very natural feeling.


    Can't wait to see your etsy updates *^.^*

  63. Thank you so much for sharing your pictures. They were wonderful. I will probably ever get to Japan so it was so very nice to see it through your eyes.

  64. THanks for sharing! Your wedding photos are beautiful. So glad you got to spend time with all of your friends and loved ones, you are not selfish to wish you were near them :) Heck, I couldn't live away from mine!

    Can't wait to see photos from the quilt show...

  65. Welcome back Ayumi! I missed you loads! You've written out your travelogue so well...feels like a personal trip we made with you :) Japan looks so much like India, the colours, temples :) Hope I can visit Japan sometime in life eh! Love your wedding"ll be so grateful you got them clicked. My husband I never did and I regret that now :( you'll be homesick for a while but then there's tons of work to do eh? waiting for pics of the fabric you brought back :)

  66. Thanks for sharing your pictures and commentary with us. I loved seeing the photos. Joe is a treasure. Your photos are lovely. You are so beautiful.

  67. Wow what a wonderful trip. I would LOVE to go to Japan one day, hopefully when the boys have grown up my husband and I can go!


  68. I am so pleased to see these wonderful photos! You look so beautiful in your wedding does your handsome husband!!
    I love those strawberries, the amazing hotspring river and the dolphins etc etc..

  69. I love your wedding pictures! Thanks for sharing!

  70. Beautiful place..happy to you happy.. Really love your all the pictures... :)

  71. Thank you for sharing so much of your trip, Ayumi. Maybe one day I'll be able to visit Japan? I do enjoy watching pictures and learn more about this beautiful country.
    Your wedding pictures are so pretty - love the two versions, representing the different traditions.

  72. I'm teary eyed and giddy at the same time! Loved seeing you in your Japanese wedding photos... was giddy seeing the milk cartons! What a beautiful and thoughtful post (just like you!).

    I know exactly what you feel living far away from parents and family - but even tougher for you because Japan is much further away. Big huge hugs my sweet friend!! xxoom

  73. What a special trip...for family, sightseeing, and your shopping finds :o)
    I love all your photos, especially the formal wedding photos of you and your hubby! You are so beautiful :o)

    My dad was in the Air Force and when I was in 2nd to 4th grade, we lived in Wakkanai on the tip of Hokkaido.

    Blessings & Aloha!

  74. hello Ayumi. I found your blog accidently and I just want to say "thanks" for posting these photos of Japan. I come from Greece and Japan is a place I'd really love to visit... you never know... some day perhaps I will! :) Until then, I can just take a look at your pictures! I enjoyed all of them- especially the one with the milk cartons and you and your husband in your kimonos. I wish you happiness and love!

  75. This atrcile keeps it real, no doubt. Haha. I woke up down today. You've chereed me up!

  76. Beautiful and amazing shots, it sure was an splendid trip, besides Japan is so beautiful.

  77. Ayumi, Gracias por compartir estas preciosas vivencias. Deseo que esta alegría, belleza de vida y experiencias tan gratas, y el amor que los une ahora sea así para siempre. Dios Los Bendiga.
    Feliz Año Nuevo 2012 para ti, tu esposo y todos tus seres queridos.
    Desde Venezuela, con mucho Cariño.

  78. Japan really is a beautiful country. These are amazing shots. But I believe it is not enough to capture the beauty of Japan. One needs to see it with his own eyes.

    japan tour

  79. this is realy nice post thanks for shearing it we also offer Best Japan Vacation Packages at affordable price Contact Now!


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