After all the chaos from the Balls was over and done with, Jeremy and I escaped the base and traveled south to Fukuoka. Ever since we arrived in Iwakuni, I had wanted to go see the German Christmas Markets in Fukuoka but never had the chance to see it the previous Christmases. There are two Christmas Markets in Fukuoka, one at Hakata Station and one at Tenjin Station. Since the one at Hakata Station was bigger we decided to go to that one. Jeremy and I like to travel cheap so we took the back roads from Iwakuni to Fukuoka and it took 8 hours to get to Fukuoka. Had we taken the Sanyo Expressway, it would have only taken 3.5 hours but it would have cost us $60 one way. The drive was nice though and we only got stuck in traffic once.
I have mentioned a few times that Steve Alten is one of my most favorite authors in the world. I love how he usually does large animal attack style books. I love his Meg series and Meg is usually my go to travel book when I go on vacation. I plan on taking my copy of Meg with me when I go to Hawaii. Especially since we will hopefully swimming with sharks.
The next morning we woke up and prepared to head out to Kyoto. Before we went to Kyoto though, we wanted to check out Expo City in Osaka. To get to Expo City from the hotel we had to take a train and then a monorail. When we walked to the train station we were surprised to find an art gallery in the train station. It had paintings that I had only seen in art museums back home. Japan is full of surprises and this was just one of many for this trip.
While Mom was here, the three of us went on our biggest trip yet. We decided to go check out Osaka and Kyoto. Osaka has a huge aquarium with whale sharks and Kyoto has been as much of a dream for Mom to visit as it was mine. We used ITT to plan the trip and to make all the travel arrangements. They really made it easy to plan such a trip.
After having a couple of long stressful weeks, Ashley and I decided that we needed a weekend away from base. Since our weekends are crazy we made Monday and Tuesday be our weekend. Thankfully the Hotel & Resort Sunshine Sazan Seto hosted us for our girls' trip. The resort is located about an hour away on Oshima Island. It is the perfect distance to make you feel like you are from base. With the palm trees surrounding the resort, it is easy to imagine you are on a tropical island. It helped set us up for the relaxation we were seeking.
Jeremy and I were heading to Kyoto the day after the big earthquake with our friends, Stephanie and Anthony. We were all excited to explore a new part of Japan. My main reason of going was to see Geisha and some of the temples in Kyoto. We were only going to spend the night in Kyoto and come back the next day, so we had a lot to squeeze in a short amount of time.