Yokohama was our first adventure after arriving in Tokyo. We had dinner on the water and did some shopping at Marine and Walk before checking out the Red Brick Warehouse. Later, we made a trip back to Yokohama to check out the CupNoodles Museum. (Am I the only one who has called them Cup *OF* Noodles?!) Word to the wise – stick with the ramen and do not try the CupNoodles soft serve. It is not a joke when they ask you to choose between soy sauce and curry ice cream!
It is a weird feeling to pack a suitcase for roughly a month knowing the next time you come back, it will be with your baby! But pregnancy in Japan has been nothing short of an adventure and this is the final big one! With no hospital on base in Iwakuni, there are two options: have your baby out in town with a Japanese doctor and translator or travel to Tokyo a few weeks before your due date to live in the Yokosuka Stork’s Nest until you deliver. From the beginning, I knew that Tokyo was the only reasonable option for me. As a first time mom, I wanted doctors that spoke english and I wanted American medicine. So far – no regrets on that decision!At 37 weeks, we took the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Tokyo to move into the Stork’s Nest. The Stork’s Nest is free lodging connected to the hospital on the Navy Base, provided to medevaced families from bases in Japan without hospitals to live until their babies are born. It is nothing fancy but it does the job. Yokosuka is a suburb of Tokyo so there are endless opportunities to explore while walking this baby out! Not to mention, Yokosuka has a Chili’s and a Dunkin Donuts right on base 🙂 I plan to take full advantage of living in the “big city” while I can!
One of the best parts about living on mainland is how easily accessible it is to travel throughout Japan. We woke up Saturday morning and took the train from Iwakuni to Hiroshima. We walked around Peace Park and paid our respects at the A Dome, the memorial of the 140,000 people killed during the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The memorial is very somber, but also a beautiful place of hope. It is hard to believe how this city has been rebuilt in the last 70 years.After working up an appetite, we decided that we needed to try those fluffy Japanese pancakes. Luckily, Cafe & Pancake Gram on Hondori Street is the perfect place for a tall stack! They only make 20 orders of these pancakes, three times each day. Since they always sell out, they allow people to begin lining up an hour in advance. The pancakes lived up to their hype and were the perfect midday treat.
Saturday, we hopped on the train for a quick day trip to Miyajima Island. Miyajima is home to the floating torii gate, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and considered one of the most famous spots in Japan. It’s difficult to even tell how massive this shrine is in person! The island is also home to tons of wild deer, which freely roam the streets and are believed to be sacred. Of course, a trip to Miyajima would not be complete without a few local fresh oysters and some momiji manju – a maple leaf shaped pastry stuffed with everything from chocolate and custard to green tea and the local favorite: sweet bean paste. Our favorite? The sweet custard filled!
|With temperatures reaching into the 90s, we might have picked the hottest day of summer so far to walk around. Thank goodness for this adorable mojito stand…including a virgin grapefruit one for this mama-to-be!|
Can I just give a big hug to the person who thought of the idea of a “babymoon”?! Best idea! We spent five days in Okinawa at the Ritz-Carlton and had such a relaxing trip. While the rainy season definitely got the best of the weather, it was so wonderful to be able to just spend some uninterrupted time together…especially after two months apart!
|Afternoon tea in the lobby is pretty hard to beat!