Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Banana Chips

These are banana flavored potato chips. They were not good. They tasted very banana-y, but they had a bitter aftertaste that was unpleasant.

Monday, June 29, 2015

A Little Park

Millinophile and Chickadee stumbled onto this little park on one of the side streets hear the Yokosuka JR train station. It had tons of stray cats.

We don't know what this is, but it looked like a commemorative obelisk with a small shrine.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Salt & Fruit

Millinophile decided to try this out of a vending machine. He thought it was actually rather good, but Chickadee was not a fan. It was very sweet and fruity, with a salty aftertaste.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Dokuonji Temple

 Dokuonji Temple is a Zen Buddhist temple located in Oppama (it's a 15 minute walk from the Keikyu Oppama station). 

 They hold Intro to Buddhism classes here every couple of months for spouses from the Navy base.

 For this session, one zen monk described all of the types of incense they use in their rituals. Another monk explained a zen picture story called the Ten Bulls (Wikipedia has a good article on it).

On an unrelated note, it's hydrangea season here, and there are tons of beautiful bushes in bloom everywhere.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Japanese Culture Day

The Yokosuka International Association hosted a Japanese Culture Day last weekend. It was an entirely free event, with the exception of the kimono dressing and the ikebana (flower arranging), which were 500 yen each.

 Japanese tea ceremony (we didn't have the greatest view--the lady with her back to us is preparing the tea).

 After the tea ceremony, we were all invited to try making the green tea ourselves. The tea at a Japanese tea ceremony is powdered green tea, called Matcha. You use a tiny bamboo stick to scoop out some green tea powder and place it in the bottom of the tea bowl. You then add hot water, using the bamboo ladle that's perched on top of the tea kettle in this photo. You must then use a bamboo whisk to vigorously whisk the tea until it is foamy.

 Chickadee dressed in a kimono (they even styled your hair for you). She enjoyed it immensely. 

 Calligraphy. You could choose either character. Chickadee made the left one (north/kita), and Millinophile made the right one (south/minami). The red stamp indicated that it is official calligraphy. 

 There was also an origami table. Chickadee chose to make this rose (hers is the top one and the other one is the instructor's).

 Millinophile made this adorable cat.

Some other origami you could choose to make.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Transportation Festival

This past weekend, Millinophile and Chickadee headed over to the annual Yokosuka Transportation Festival.
 The first stop: cotton candy for Millinophile (note how it's been spun onto chopsticks).

 There were all kinds of vehicles there. People were standing in line so that their child could dress up as the operator of the vehicle (e.g. bus driver, firefighter, animal control person, motorcycle rider, etc.).

 This was the most popular attraction. The kids (with a parent) could operate a real digger. They were scooping things out of the pool and placing them on the mat. The pool was filled with little plastic balls and toys. The kids got to keep any of the toys they scooped out.

A cool phone booth Millinophile saw on the way to the park.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Scenes from Yokohama

 While walking home from church, we noticed this parking lot shrine.

This is a typical Japanese graveyard (they're all really densely packed).

Monday, June 8, 2015


 This is the site of Minamoto Yoritomo's grave. Minamoto Yoritomo was the first Shogun of Japan, and he chose Kamakura as the capital. This hilltop used to have Minamoto's temple, which housed his body. Samurai would come here to worship in the temple and venerate the Shogun. The temple was later destroyed.

This pillar marks the suspected location of the temple.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Kamakuraga Shrine

 Look at all the cups!

 We suspect they were setting up for a wedding.

 The shrine.

Friday, June 5, 2015


 Walking up to the temple.

Sugimoto-dera is the oldest temple in Kamakura. It was established in the 8th century.

 These guys are scary.

 Millinophile noted that their muscle-definition-and-beer-belly combination was rather impressive, if you think about it.

 An incense burner.

 The main temple (the roof is thatched).

 Looking down the stairs of the temple.

 This Buddha likes pinwheels.

 A side shrine.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Repair remain strong in Japan, as evidenced by this Honda shop across from Sugimoto-dera. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Bamboo Temple

 Hokokuji Temple, also called the Bamboo Temple.

 The bamboo forest was pretty impressive.

 We suspect these are the Seven Lucky (Shinto) Gods of Japan.

 An actual Zen garden.