Marching Into Spring

March in Japan marks nature awakening. This winter was milder than the last, but spring’s bounty is always welcome. The days start to get longer, the bushes and trees start to blossom and my morning coffee is accompanied by birds chirping and fluttering about.

We kicked off the spring season by viewing plum blossoms at the Hofu Tenmangu Shrine. It is the oldest of three large Tenjin shrines in Japan and is home to the resident god of learning. The plum blossom is the symbol of the god Tenjin and you can normally see upwards of 1,100 plum trees in full bloom from mid-February to mid-March. The trees were a bit shy when we were there, but the sun was shining and the kids had fun feeding the pigeons.

From there, we went to a really cool park in Ube called Tokiwa Koen. Tokiwa Koen was chosen as me of the hundred most famous places to see cherry blossoms in Japan, but we were there for the zoo and amusement park. We started off the visit at the amusement park where the kids (and mom) got to have some fun on the rides. Rudy and I took a stroll through a three-story log labyrinth.

Thomas the Train in Japanese. Yep, we saw a Japanese live action Thomas the Train show on EB’s second birthday. Which, I just have to say was a magical experience.

And if I can just take a little time to reflect on how incredible this past year has been watching EB grow up. Her personality shows more and more every single day. She’s independent, charismatic and a great hugger. She and her brother compliment each other well.

Thank you to everyone who sent gifts and birthday wishes to EB.

We then took a trip down to the Hiroshima Marina Hop where there was a Space Battleship Yamato exhibit, another amusement park, an aquarium and a really cool indoor petting zoo. The Yamato exhibit was interesting. There was a really cool interactive part where you’re sitting on the bridge, Like all cool anime exhibits, it was chock full o cool drawings and models.

The Amusement Park was pretty cool. There was a roller coaster, log ride and Rudy got a shot at running an excavator. From there we walked through a pretty cool aquarium.

Spring also brought us some change at the yochien that Rudy goes to. The class with the oldest kids is called the Hoshi Class. Rudy started out here in the Tulip class which is the class below the Hoshi Class. His last day in the Tulip Class was this March and we celebrated with a day off at the Kintai Bridge.

We went to a really cool Kids Culture Fair at the Simfonium in downtown Iwakuni. It was put on by a children’s museum. There was a magician, arts and crafts and we got to make our own stamps carved out of small slabs of stone.

We went up to Hiroshima to see Kagura in English. Jaguar is essentially kabuki or noh theater with a little more choreography and theatrics that make it more enjoyable for the masses. The version we saw had a screen above the stage giving us an English translation. The story we watched was about a spider demon who poisons a prince and two samurai are summoned to help destroy it. After the show, we were able to get on stage to meet the cast and try on the costumes.

Most recently, we took in our second Hanami at the Kintai Bridge. We basked under the cherry blossom trees, ate great food with friends, drank some sake and went out on the river. It was such a great time.

The next day was Rudy’s Hoshi Class Ceremony. This was the first day of his new school year and the oldest class at the Yochien. After this, he’s off to elementary school.

We capped off the weekend with more cherry blossom viewing on Miyajima. The kids played on the beach for a bit, then we wandered around taking in the sights and of course eating from the street vendors. Good times.

And of course the post wouldn’t be complete without some cute kid pics. Thank you all for following and enjoy!

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