We went on a 13 day trip to Japan during May. By far, the longest trip for our family of 4, without helpers. The initial plan was to go on a month-long trip during end of the year, but we couldn’t decide if it’s gonna be Europe or US (since both seem to be equally dangerous constantly), plus Baby1’s Primary School uncertain plans, hence we brought forward all the plans to pre-June so that we have the second half of the year to settle all the Primary School stuff. We settled on Japan also because to use up the Yen that we had leftover from our honeymoon 7 years ago. Due to the radiation fears, as far away from Fukushima as possible, heehee.
As usual, Dear1, the holiday-enthusiast took charge of the entire planning. From accommodations, to flights, to where to go, and what to eat, and how to travel, Dear1 handled it all. Along the way, Dear2 helped to fine tune certain details, like placing the most fun theme parks to the end of the trip, or making sure that Dear1 catered sufficient nap times (not like that last disastrous Perth Fremantle day-trip), and luggage-packing. This style of complementing each other seemed just nice for us. :)
To document down the wonderful memories of the Japan trip, it is a definite that we post it here. So I’ll start off with our first 3 days in Japan – to Mother Farm we go!
Being seasoned parent-travelers, the flight itself is part of the fun for the kids. So no-no for night flights. As Japan was a 7 hour flight away, we woke up in the wee morning hours for the 7am flight, and touched down at 2pm. Took the rail to Kimitsu Station, ate a yummy dinner of tonkatsu at Katsuhana, and flagged a cab to Mother Farm. Alas, the taxi driver didn’t seemed to know that Mother Farm actually has a ‘hotel’. He brought us to the main entrance of the Farm, but by then it was pitch dark and of course all the visitors had left and the Farm was closed. We circled around and there didn’t seemed to have another entrance anywhere. He helped us call the Farm’s lobby. The first call was unanswered and we started to panic; luckily the staff picked it up at the second attempt, and we safely checked into the ‘hotel’ via the same main entrance. Inside, there were 7 houses, and ours seemed to be only one of two occupied. *sweatz*
Next morning, we woke up to beautiful weather. We joined the first Farm Tour where Baby1 got to feed sheep nibbling from her palm and we saw how sheepdogs chase sheep and how sheep huddle to each other. We watched the Sheep Show, the Duck Show, the Piggy Race Show, chased after the gigantically slow turtle, and plucked 2 baskets of fresh tomatoes. There was a strawberry-picking session too, but we completely missed the 1-hour window for it, urgh. Towards the late afternoon when all the activities have wound down, we sat back and enjoyed the cool Japan breeze on the slope overlooking the gorgeous fields and sky, and took lots of photos amidst the sea of purple flowers in spring-bloom.
Dear1 ordered the Manchu-BBQ spread for dinner. The restaurant offered to send this to our house as we really were the only diners there. Luckily we did not take up the offer. The BBQ was sizzling non-stop! Our room would have smelled terrible after this, LOL.
As per our usual night time routine (even during holidays, yes), we were ready for bed by 8+pm. The kids were quietly playing when suddenly Dear1 and I felt the house trembling. “What was that?” Both of us were very puzzled. It took the both of us a full minute before we realised that we were experiencing an earthquake. OMG. At the restaurant earlier, we were aware that we were the only family in that restaurant which can hold probably 200 tables. And we had noticed that all the visitors had left the Farm when it closed at 5 just now. So. we. are. alone. here!
Being both our firsts, Dear1 and I tried to rationalise our next steps.
Risk of house collapse – Only tall concrete buildings have a major risk. Ours is a one-storey, looks-like-wood-cottage, so this seemed unlikely to fall on us. The main door doesn’t seemed to pose a risk of blockage too, as again, only the roof is above our heads.
Gas leaks – Nope, not cooking anything now. And there doesn’t seemed to be any neighbours around us. Even if we have to run, we’ll just run outside, where there. basically. is. nothing. outside. except. dark.
Call the lobby – The lobby probably knows that we are the only people here, since we. are. the. only. people. here. Foreigners some more, so I believe they’ll call if there’s anything.
Hide under table – Yes, we have a dining table, but one that seemed to hold more hazards than any falling objects. We quickly cleared the kettle and glasses and shifted all the chairs away.
Torchlights, handphones, escape routes, kids, all in place, and we packed everyone to sleep, but fitfully the whole night, constantly waking up to see if the walls still tremble like earlier. Dear1 had checked the earthquake alert websites – tremors measuring 3.1 were felt nearby so this was probably the same waves.
Next morning, we woke up to the sounds of pita-pata raindrops. By the time we finished our hearty breakfast at Makiba Cafe, the rain was still not abating. Some visitors who came earlier, left, after seeing how it’s gonna be a rainy day today. We were soooooo lucky! From our previous farm trips, we learnt that you need to stay at least 2 nights in order to cover all the farm’s activities. But what happens if your only full day at the farm is a rainy one like today? Basically, there’s nothing that you can do in a farm on a rainy day, boo-hoo. We felt really thankful.
Today, we’ll be travelling from Mother Farm to Shin-Yokohama (via Umihotaru) where we’ll stay for a night before embarking to Shin-Osaka tomorrow. Shin-Osaka will be our base for the next 4 nights where we utilise our Japan railpass fully by making daily day-trips out from Shin-Osaka. Stay tuned for the next post!