Saturday, May 16, 2015

Just one word... IKEA: Spring Break 2015 Day 5


Blogger's Note: If you haven't already, start with the first Spring Break 2015 post. The remaining posts will be much more enjoyable if you understand the inside jokes explained earlier.
Here is the Itinerary for Day 5 (as it was left with the spouses remaining home):

Friday

IKEA Fukuoka and whatever random trouble we can get in to. ;)

So the main goal of our final day on the road was to arrive at home. But we weren't overly eager to get back, so we planned a detour in Fukuoka, at IKEA. Sure, there are IKEAs in the States, but since we have been cut off from most shopping establishments we have come to love in the States, a trip to IKEA is almost American, even though IKEA is actually Swedish (and founded by a 17-year-old in the 1940's... Wow). It ranks right up there with a trip to Costco for those of us stationed in Iwakuni. And we just happened to be visiting IKEA Fukuoka on it's third anniversary.




I don't have a lot of photos from IKEA. Because as you will come to understand from this Huffington Post article, there are a lot of emotional obstacles to overcome as you shop IKEA. So, here are the pictures I found on my phone:

I did not buy this item. I can't even remember what it was at this point.
 However, I did purchase the following:









We also managed to lose two children twice and whisper-shout "No! Put that down!" 17 times.

An item to note is that there is a Starbucks within walking distance of IKEA, where Cortney was finally able to find a city mug: Fukuoka.


 Mission accomplished! Time to go home....


Horror Toilets and Vampire Traps: Spring Break 2015 Day 4

Blogger's Note: If you haven't already, start with the first Spring Break 2015 post. The remaining posts will be much more enjoyable if you understand the inside jokes explained earlier.

It's Spring Break 2015 and the meaning of "spring break" has changed for me... I still have a road trip buddy, just like in 1995, but now I am with a fellow mother, and we have five small(ish) children we are now responsible for. So, we went to a winery for lunch... like responsible adults do.

Here is the Itinerary for Day 4 (as it was left with the spouses remaining home):

Sasebo
Huis Ten Bosch: 6,200 yen/adult, 5,200 yen/junior high, 3,900 yen/child http://english.huistenbosch.co.jp/guide/passport/

Navy Lodge Sasebo: 0956-24-0322  

We were in no big hurry to get to Huis Ten Bosch, an amusement park minutes away from Sasebo; most of the reason I was going was to photograph tulips and the amazing spring light show the park had this time of year. Both of these things needed to be done in late afternoon or evening, so everything else to me was just gravy. I had heard there were rides and such, but my American expectation of amusement park wasn't really what Huis Ten Bosch ended up being.

So, after our breakfast of Dunkin' Donuts and McDonald's...



Followed by Starbucks (it's in downtown Sasebo, but only about 10 minutes from base),

Nope, no Sasebo or Nagasaki mugs here...

We hit the road for Huis Ten Bosch which is about a half hour from base. When we arrived it was sunny. Rain wasn't supposed to hit until around 8 p.m. We got all the requisite group photos.







Feeding his brother to the dinosaur.
The kids' favorite part of Huis Ten Bosch was the maze, obstacle course, and zip line of Adventure Park. Big OK's could not do these activities, but I was content to just take photos, anyway.























And then it was time to check out Thriller City, where Halloween happens all year round. Especially in the bathrooms.



I'll admit that I shoved Cortney in to the bathroom before me just in case something was going to jump out at us. Yes, I sacrificed my friend for the good of the team. Turns out, the shadowy figures I saw were just mannequins and dummies. Here is the bathroom with and without flash photography.


We went to the haunted hospital next. If you're a fan of the Disneyland Haunted Mansion, lower your expectations and keep in mind the bark is much worse than the bite. The kids were completely freaked out by the movie they played prior to us entering the haunted hospital... especially since it was all in Japanese and we couldn't understand a word of it. No photos because I was too busy dragging my kids through it as the clung on to waist. I have no doubt that they would have sacrificed me if any zombies attacked.

But we made it out alive and the only monsters appeared to be friendly ones.


Something a little easier to swallow was the Chocolate Wonderland.






 In Attraction Town, there is the Super Trick Art building, full of optical illusions. All of the paintings are only two-dimensional with a great use of shadowing.











Then there was the Ice Flower Cafe, where we had to pay to drink beverages in a freezer with silk plants frozen in ice blocks stacked in a pyramid.

We could choose a cold beverage, such as juice, soda or beer, or we could have hot chocolate or hot coffee. I chose hot chocolate. I try to be intelligent as often as possible...

... my children. Well, not so much. They thought a soda and a juice in an ice glass was the way to go when spending some time in a freezer.


And, well, so did Cortney.



One of the only other interesting things to check out was a big pirate ship. On the map it looked pretty close to the rest of the park. Looks can be deceiving. It was not close and took about a half an hour to walk out to it in Harbor Town.



After walking back from Harbor Town, we jettisoned the children at the Art Garden Activity House (don't worry, they had cell phones... plus Japan is REALLY safe) area and headed of for some quality camera time with some tulips.









(Un)fortunately, the kids found us once their hour of activities was over. 


We grabbed some gourmet popcorn and sat in the Art Garden, waiting for the lights to turn on. They finally did. Here are some of the images I got:












Just as Cortney and I were wrapping up our night photography and the children started getting antsy, rain drops began to fall and the wind picked up. It was definitely time to leave the park. And eat at Chili's one more time before heading to bed for the last day of our road trip.

On to Day 5!