Japan Part II: Himeji and Yokohama (one year later..)

Last year at this time, Chris and I were traveling all over Japan. Chris put together the videos but I never finished posting from our time there. So I dug through my blog drafts and I'm wrapping things up a year later (and it just so happens that it's Thursday and this is a throwback.. ;)! Here you go!

Before leaving for Japan, Chris and I bought a Japan Rail pass. We did the math and decided to take the train to Hokkaido instead of flying. It was cheaper, and we would truly get to see all of Japan.

Himeji castle was on our list of things we wanted to see, so we stopped by for a few hours on our way to Yokohama. Like most things, pictures don't do it justice. It was big and beautiful, and the day proved to be hot and crowded. Since neither of us had been there before, getting to explore it together was really fun. Most of our trip was spent with people (which was the point of the whole trip!), but it was special having it be just us. After the castle, we walked a few blocks extra to go to McDonalds haha. We never go to McDonalds in the US, but for some reason, it tastes so much better in Japan. So I always try go at least once while I'm there ;) 

After Himeji, we headed to Yokohama. My sister-in-law's parents, the Tanakas, live in Yokohama and they invited us to visit. They picked us up from the train station and took us back to their house, where most of their family was waiting to welcome us with incredible amount of food. Other than two people, no one had seen Chris since he was 15, so it was a happy time catching up and meeting new babies (not ours, theirs obviously). Unfortunately, we didn't get any good pictures with them :/ 

The next day, we played in Yokohama! We went to Akasuka, Tokyo Sky Tree, and went to the waterfront. Thank you Tanaka family for welcoming us, loving us, and showing us your city! We love you! We took way too many photos but here are a few from those few days :)

*The video also covers when we were in Hakodate for a night and in Asahikawa but I'll post about those areas next!


Two month update + a lot of baby bump pictures

We just got back from a weekend in Utah and I was surprised to realize that in two short months, our little apartment in this new city has started to feel like home. Our things have been unpacked for weeks and the furniture has been all set up but it took stepping away for a few days to recognize what our little space has become. We're still on the hunt for some essentials to finish up putting things together but we're feeling much more settled in and apparently, feeling at home here!

We found a wonderful birth center with a great team of midwives in our area. There aren't very many birth centers in the East Bay so I was relieved to find a great one. Leaving our midwives in Utah made me really nervous but I'm really happy with our new birth center. In fact, I actually like it quite a bit better! We had a nervous few days about a month ago when some potential health issues popped up, but the midwives were so supportive and helpful while we got things resolved (everything is fine, I just have to be careful about a few things).

Since moving here, there have been a few things I've noticed. One thing that really stands out is that the entire area is extremely bike friendly! There are bike lanes on almost every street and bike paths everywhere. Drivers are extremely courteous towards bikes and other cyclists are always polite when they pass this slow pregnant lady ;) Everyone wears helmets and there are bike racks near wherever I'm going usually. The closer you get to the city, the more bikes (and parents with little kids on bikes) you see! It's nice to feel safe when riding around :)

Our first impressions of people being super kind were spot on. Wherever I go, I see acts of kindness and it makes my heart happy. I've never been pregnant anywhere else so I don't have much to compare it to, but I'm surprised by all of the positive comments I get! Cashiers, random people at the Costco food court, the homeless person hanging out by the train station... everyone seems to want to wish me congratulations or good luck and this mama-to-be has no problem with that :)

A recent experience when we were out to dinner sums up another thing I've noticed. Chris and I randomly found a small, fresh Mediterranean restaurant and while we were eating, the owner came over to see how our meal was going. In the middle of the conversation, she noticed Chris' left hand and then asked in a very surprised voice if we were married. I said yes, laughed, and then showed her my baby bump. Her response of "Oh wow, but you're so young!" was followed by a "So, where are you guys from? Because you clearly aren't from around here." We clearly don't give off the California vibe haha. Other than church, everywhere I go where there are mamas-to-be, I am by far the youngest. Our childbirth class, prenatal group, all of the baby stores... I feel pretty young. It hasn't bothered me too much, but sometimes I need to remind myself that we felt good about our decision and that the right time for us is now, not ten years down the road when we're homeowners who have a large yard, three cars, and a set career, even though that may be the more logical choice (although here in California, it might be 20 years before we're homeowners haha). Our work situation here is still up in the air (for those who are wondering about Chris' internship) but we've decided to have the baby here since we like our birth center so much. After that, who knows!

Anyways, I'm grateful for this stage of life and for all that is to come! It's going to be an adventure :) Happy Thursday everyone!


Farmer's Market

On one of our first Saturdays in the area, we went to a local farmer's market! I specifically needed local honey for my allergies, but we looked at everything and made it a date :) It wasn't too far from our apartment so we rode our bikes Saturday morning and walked around a bit. One of my favorite things about summer is all the fresh produce! Especially the fruit. Almost all of the vendors had samples and it was pretty clear that all thought that theirs was the best. We definitely did not mind trying all of them and comparing our favorites ;) The goods ranged from fresh fruit to hummus to smoked salmon and all were so good! It was definitely a fun way to see a little more of our new city and spend time together.

^^We like to be matchy-matchy.

 ^^I wanted to take every single one home! They were all so beautiful.
 ^^Normally I'm the one who loves spicy food but I couldn't eat more than a few bites of this tamale. For the first time in my life, something was too spicy. And even crazier, Chris had no problem eating it!

^^The world's best strawberries. We sampled them, bought them, and then sat on the curb and ate every single one. Easily the best strawberries I have ever tasted.

We are excited to continue and see what else our new city has to offer! We've been exploring and so far, we like what we've found :) I'm also trying to squeeze in as much special one on one time with Chris before Baby comes, so here's to many more dates!