A Day in Ueno Zoo & Children’s Library

It was a sunny Saturday yesterday and we went to the Zoo & the International Museum of Children’s Literature in the Ueno Park area.At the Zoo, Lisa and her friend Hayato enjoyed a monorail ride as well as watching elephants and monkeys.

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Ueno Park, full of lotus leaves

We had lunch at Park Side Cafe, then walked to The International Library of Children’s Literature. The reading room on the first floor had a section of transportation-related books, where both of the kids spent some time opening several books one after another.

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The International Library of Children’s Literature

After saying goodbye to Hayato and his parents, Lisa went on playing at a playground across the zoo. Then we walked by the Shinobazuno-ike pond and head home. She fell asleep on the way back – it was a fun day!

#上野公園 #紫陽花

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Sagamiko, June 2017

Last weekend, we went to the Sagamiko (Lake Sagami) area in Kanagawa prefecture with my friend’s family and some of her coworkers.

We stayed overnight at Sagamiko Pleasure Forest, where an amusement park, campground, and hot spring are all on one site.

キャンプ場の朝。 #breakfast #相模湖

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Since Lisa is two-year-old, there were many rides at the park she wasn’t able to ride. But she had plenty of fun with the merry-go-round, mini-coaster, and several coin-operated car/bus/bike rides (she was really into those).

Picaso-no-tamago was also fun. It’s a giant obstacle course with 27 different types of stuff. It wasn’t easy for us to keep up with her!

Before driving back to Tokyo, we stopped at the public park surrounding the lake to ride a swan/duck boart.

ピンクのあひるボート #相模湖

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Kamakura, May 2017

We took a day trip to Kamakura, which is a town in Kanagawa prefecture 1-hour train ride away from Tokyo Station.

First, we arrived at Kamakura Station around 11:10 and had lunch before it gets crowded. ROOFTOPS near the station was a hit (though you need to be prepared to get really messy!).

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Avocado & grilled tomato burger at ROOFTOPS

Then, we strolled Komachi Dori Street to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu (鶴岡八幡宮) Shrine.

From there, we walked more to see the bamboo grove in Hokokuji Temple (報国寺). The quiet zen garden was a nice contrast to the vivid shrine. Some bamboo shoots and young stalks

We took a local bus and Enoden train to the Great Buddha, then walked by the Yuigahama beach.

Kamakura has so many places you can easily visit within a day. We picked some of the major spots to visit since it was my first time there (Keita’s second), but it felt like I only saw a small portion of this old town. We kept walking around until it’s time to go home.

It’s a great destination to take a short trip to while in Tokyo. So much closer than Kyoto but you still get to see & learn the historical parts of Japan.

Kamakura Travel Guide (japan-guide.com)

Photos: Team Global Meetup in NY

From March 27th to April 1st, I went to New York for my team meetup. We stayed in an Airbnb in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and worked together.

During the week we had all kinds of food – sashimi cocktail, ramen, pizza, Italian/Taiwanese/Australian (home-cooked), and even Peruvian.

We went to Manhattan for a day. Took a ferry across the East River, visited the 911 Memorial site and the One World Observatory, then strolled around the city.

It was my first visit to NY since I had my daughter, so it made me notice things to do with kids. It was fun shopping for her thinking of her reaction and watching other kids around her age in the parks and streets.

Since I first visited NY when I was in high school, the city always gives me realization what I’m interested in at the time of my life because it offers so many things I can choose to do. I look forward to going there again and discovering more of myself.

Trip to Yakushima, April 2017

Last week, we went to Yakushima Island, visiting my Mom and Dad. It’s the first time for my daughter Lisa —  we had only met up in Tokyo and Fukuoka (which is my hometown and where my other relatives live) since she was born.

Day 1: April 22

We flew from Haneda to Kagoshima, then Yakushima.

It takes about 2 hrs from Tokyo to Kagoshima, and 35 minutes from Kagoshima to Yakushima. Once we landed, I could smell the difference in the air. Humid and fresh.

My parents picked us up at the airport, and we went to Harutahama Beach (春田浜) to take a walk. It was a little cloudy, but the clear green water made me realize that we are now on the southern island.

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View from Matsumine Ōhashi Bridge (松峯大橋)

Day 2: April 23

The sky cleared up and it was one of the most beautiful days I’ve seen in Yakushima. We decided to go around the entire island (the circumference is about 130km/80 miles) by car.

Dad drove us to all kinds of neat places, Yakushima Shrine, Environment & Culture Center, Issō and Nagatahama Beaches, Ōko-no-taki Falls, Rhododendron Park… We saw some wild deer on the roadside too.

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Ōko-no-taki Falls (大川の滝)

Day 3: April 24

We went to Yakusugi Land, a hiking trail at 1,000-meter altitude. Because we have a 2-year-old with us, we took the shortest route toward the Budda Ceder (仏陀杉) to have lunch at the gazebo nearby.

It’s kind of our tradition to make coffee when we go there. This time we also made miso soup and tea 🙂

Day 4: April 25

We spent the morning at Mom’s garden, having tea and cake on a picnic table. The smell of spring flowers was really nice, so intensive it was almost like perfume.

ハゴロモジャスミン。 #pinkjasmine #momsgarden

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In the afternoon, Keita flew back to Tokyo by himself. Lucky him, he had no delay or cancellation.

Mom made an apron for Lisa because she loves to put it on at her daycare. She now has her own to use at home!

Day 5: April 26

Mom, Lisa, and I were to leave for Fukuoka on the 13:15 flight this day, but the weather didn’t let us go so easy. We waited for about half an hour after the scheduled time, hoping the flight coming from Kagoshima could land so the same plane can take us to Fukuoka. Despite the crew’s effort to attempt landing several times, they didn’t make it and went back to Kagoshima.

We ended up canceling the flight and taking a high-speed craft Toppi and Shinkansen bullet train instead. Which meant the 50-minute single plane ride turned into 4.5-hour trip with a boat, taxi, and train. At least, Lisa was (I think!) excited to ride on Shinkansen for the second time in her life.

We had a short visit at my grandma’s & aunt’s assisted living residence in Fukuoka.


If you are planning to visit Yakushima someday, my one recommendation is to stay as long you possibly can. Because 1) you never know how the weather will turn out to be, and 2) it’s just a great place to spend time at. I hope my next trip is a longer one!

.blog domain logo

New domain: naoko.blog

I’ve changed the primary domain of this blog — en.naoko.cc is now naoko.blog 🙂

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If you also want a short & sweet .blog domain, head out to get.blog, or upgrade to any of WordPress.com paid plans with a free custom domain credit (Automattic, the company I work for, is the registrar of the new .blog extension).

Here’s a video of Matt explaining why you should get own one (with Japanese & Brazilian Portuguese subtitle options, too!).

 

Automattic Grand Meetup 2016 in Whistler

Automattic Grand Meetup is an annual event where the whole company get together and spend a week. This year, we all travelled to Whistler, Canada.

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Writing Class

For an elective project/class, I took the Art of Wiring class taught by Nicole Kohler. She is a content manager for the Woo team and I’ve always enjoyed reading her posts on WooCommerce Blog.

I used to fear English writing assignments at high school & college, but this was nothing like those. I enjoyed feeling like I’m able to improve rather than being pointed out my flaws.

Activities

We were lucky not to get rained too hard during the Whistler Photowalk tour. The clouds & rainbow after a shower were a nice bonus!

I also joined a cooking class, tea tasting, and Asiamattician breakfast with lots of local food everyone brought from home.

Swing dancing and the farewell party were not just fun but good opportunities to see the side of my colleagues that I don’t get to see every day.

Back to Work

The Grand Meetup was an excellent timing for me to catch up with what’s going on after a sabbatical.

The event reminded me how lucky I am to be working at a company that inspires & helps me grow both professionally and personally.