Monday, February 4, 2013

Yamaguchi City

We just went to Yamaguchi City for the first time on Sunday and tried to see our fair share of sites in the area. The big event on Sunday was the monthly Flea Market. It happens on the first Sunday of the month from sunrise to 3pm. We got on the road around 8:30am and it took about two hours with a few wrong turns mixed in. Beware if driving: the tolls added up to about $40! Parking was free.

As we are preparing our house for a new baby in May, we don't have a lot of space to share with antiques. It was really fun looking around at gorgeous wooden boxes, old tools, those hilarious garden-gnome-style beavers wearing hats, kimonos, sake barrels, and crafts, but we didn't find anything that needed to stay in our house. We found a few things for our taste buds though: apple cider and fresh apple pastries from a local apple orchard! 

Five-Storied Pagoda
After our shopping trip, we headed over to one of the most famous pagodas in Japan: the Five-Storied Pagoda. It was a beautiful day and we took Eddie for a walk along the grounds. 

A nice stranger offered to take our picture. Why not?
After relaxing in the sun and doing a little hiking around the pagoda, we got back in the car and went over to Xavier Memorial Church. It was built in 1998 but memorializes St. Francis Xavier's work in Japan 400 years ago. 

A Catholic church in Japan
Thanks for bringing Christmas over here, St. Francis Xavier!
We usually try to go somewhere that looks interesting for lunch on day trips but there weren't too many places in Yamaguchi with English signs. We ended up going to a little place called "Organic Delicatessen" but found that it was more of a grocery store and buffet. Nothing was freshly cooked or very exciting.

On our way back to the highway, we made a few more stops. When we saw the sign "Fresh and Half-Price Bakery", how could we refuse? We stopped in at the little store that looks like a gatekeeper's house and bought a loaf of white bread and 4 various rolls for under 200 yen. What a great deal!

We hopped back in the car and I had to see what the "Dog Cafe Hanegawa" was all about. Were dogs allowed in? Was it dog themed? We brought Eddie in and everyone fawned over him.

Not only did they have a Dog Cafe, but they also had a dog hotel, dog salon, dog park, and a small shop with dog accessories. We loved it! Eddie had never been to a dog park before so he didn't really know how to behave with the wild pack he encountered. He eventually warmed up and played with a friendly black poodle and a tiny Italian Greyhound. 

While we were there, we thought Eddie might like to get cleaned up. We try to shampoo him regularly but it's a wet and time-consuming process! It's also a big season for shedding for the little guy, and the pros know how to brush him enough to minimize his shedding. We heard a few little yelps while sitting in the dog cafe reading and eating sandwiches, but I think they treated him very well overall. When he was done, it was almost dinner time, so we treated him to a special meaty meal for being so brave:

Eddie at Dog Cafe Hanegawa with a fresh shampoo and blow dry!
Joe smooshed the treat for Eddie's convenience and Eddie really enjoyed it! After a long day of adventures, Eddie and I slept for the ride back and gave Joe a chance to catch up on his Diane Rehm podcasts. 

What a great day! 

The next day, Monday, the Superbowl was on at 8am here in Japan and the III MEF Marines had the day off to enjoy this wonderful American institution! We ate pizza and wings for breakfast, bought a game pass to watch the game and commercials on our TV, and had the Puppy Bowl streaming for me and Eddie. Thanks for the long weekend, Marine Corps! Ooh-rah!

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