Hiroshima

Hiroshima Peace Memorial (広島平和記念碑 Hiroshima heiwa kinenhi?), commonly called the Atomic Bomb Dome or Genbaku Dōmu (原爆ドーム, A-Bomb Dome), in Hiroshima, Japan, is part of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. Fusako said the ruin serves as a memorial to the people who were killed in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945. Over 70,000 people were killed instantly, and another 70,000 suffered fatal injuries from the radiation.

So I am smiling on the outside but its really difficult being here. And sad. But there is also an overwhelming feeling of peace, hope and optimism. Hiroshima_Dome_1945

I asked Fusako about the only buildling standing and she said it was a structure that was at the bomb’s hypocenter.  Soon commonly called the Genbaku (“A-Bomb”) Dome(to the right how it looked in 1945), due to the exposed metal dome framework at its apex, the structure was scheduled to be demolished with the rest of the ruins, but the majority of the building was intact, delaying the demolition plans. The Dome became a subject of controversy, with some locals wanting it torn down, while others wanted to preserve it as a memorial of the bombing and a symbol of peace.Ultimately, when the reconstruction of Hiroshima began, the skeletal remains of the building were preserved

Asakusa – Sky Tree and FOOD!!!

Today, got to take photo with Sky Tree, the tallest tower in Tokyo!!!. Tokyo Skytree (東京スカイツリー Tōkyō Sukaitsurī) is a broadcasting, restaurant, and observation tower in Sumida, Tokyo, Japan. It became the tallest structure in Japan in 2010and reached its full height of 634.0 metres (2,080 ft) in March 2011, making it the tallest tower in the world, displacing the Canton Tower,and the second tallest structure in the world after Burj Khalifa (829.8 m/2,722 ft). The height of 634 m (2,080 ft) was selected to be easily remembered. The figures 6 (mu), 3 (sa), 4 (shi) stand for “Musashi“, an old name of the region where the Tokyo Skytree stands.Sky_Tree

I enjoyed walking around Sensoji, and we had Soba, Japanese noodle, and also, Tendon, tempura bowl….tempura is fried dish, they fry shrimp, fish, veggies and put soy source on top.

At the end, I got to listen to New Orleans style jazz, too:) Fusako and I talked  ALOT about Allison Reinhardt!! Do you remember her? She was the last host I had in my “50 States in 365 Days” Tour!!!! She lives in New Orleans , LA and teaches a group of kids called “Roots of Music”. They use music as a source to grown life skills, teamwork and help at risk youth gain confidence and grow their skills. Its  a very special group. Fusako used to work there and knows Allison well!!!! What a small world!!!

Asakusa – Shopping

Today, Fusako and I took Metro and went to Asakusa.  Asakusa is one of the downtowns in Tokyo.  In front of the Sensoji Temple, there is a nakamise street where there are all kinds of shopsl When we got there  Fusako said to get ready to SHOP.  Well, normally I am not wild about shopping but in Japan it is just the coolest  experience ever. They had things I had never seen before!!! -I have my backpack and I am ready!!!!

In the pictures below you can see :

1.the traditional Geta Japanese shoes that are worn with kimonas.

2. A Mikoshi is carried by the Japanese people during Shinto style festivals and serves as alter.

3. In the picture with me in the middle with colorful objects that are called Kumade. They are sold in November when people buy them for good fortune. Merchants especially buy them for good fortune for good sales for the next year.

 

Tsukishima, our favorite Okonomiyaki place

Fusako has the BEST friends!!!! They had a great time teaching me about a yummy dish called, Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き o-konomi-yaki) which is a Japanese savoury pancake containing a variety of ingredients. The name is derived from the word okonomi, meaning “what you like” or “what you want”, and yaki meaning “grilled” or “cooked” (cf. yakitori and yakisoba). Okonomiyaki is mainly associated with the Kansai or Hiroshima areas of Japan, but is widely available throughout the country. Toppings and batters tend to vary according to region. I love it that all the restaurants are very small and cozy - they are everywhere!!! The pancakes were SOOOOOO good and my new friends are awesome!!!

MARI – A new friend!

Today I met Mari, one of Fusako’s good friends, who is bravely fighting cancer just like my buddy, Parker. She is just so nice and kind – a very special person. Parker you would love her!!!  I told her all about Parker and she really wanted to write him a note. Here it is – just for you Parker!

“Hello, Nice to meet you Parker! My name is Mari from Japan. I usually live and work in Tokyo, but grew up Fukuoka Prefecture in the Western part of Japan. Also I am a patient of  breast cancer, and now taking a treatment of women’s hormone and preparing for two operations. I come to Fukuoka sometimes to consult with a doctor.

I took some photos at my church, one of my cat named Cookie, who is 9 years old, and Haneda and Fukuoka Airport when I went to Fukuoka for medical checks.

Thank you so much for an opportunity to join Flat Parker project.

Mari”

THANK YOU, Mari!!! We  all wish you the best in your fight!! FINISH STRONG in all you do!! LOVE, FP!!!

Ueno Visit – Part 3 – Toshogu Shrine

After the Zoo we explored the Ueno Toshogu Shrine which was built in 1616 and is the oldest building in Toyoko. It is also the 2nd most visited shrine in Japan.. The photos will show you many of the beautiful things we saw. Fusako also taught me so much about Japanese culture.

In one photo, I am with a collection of wood boards called “Ema”. People write their wishes for good health, success of business/study, etc and place them in the shrine.

We also saw some really interesting white papers on stick called “Omikuji”.  People who tell fortunes sell them for about 1US Dollar and after the person reads their fortune-if what omikuji says is good fortune, then people take it back to their home with them. If they don’t like the fortune, they hang and place it in a shrine like this, and they go home!!! That’s is the way to keep GOOD fortune!!!

For a snack there was ” Fish on a Stick” from a food stand in front of Ueno Toshogu Shrine!!! Not sure I would like to eat that… so maybe I should bring one back for you, PARKER!!!

 

Ueno Visit – Part 1 – The ZOO

Today, I am so excited…because Fusako and her friend, are taking me to Ueno – a suburb of Toyko!!! We are going to visit the Toshogu Shrine and the ZOO!!! I picked the ZOO first!!!

https://www.tokyo-zoo.net/english/ueno/main.html

We took a walk from Nezu station, and walked to Ueno zoo. Along the way we saw a small “Yaoya” grocery shop for veggies and fruits.

Ueno zoo is the oldest zoo in Japan!!!  Fusako grew up in Tokyo area and she used to go there on school trips.  Having fond memories of the zoo  Fusako was excited to take me there.

We followed Sayaka suggestion and saw many different animals of Asia, but  I was just really excited to see Pandas and Nihon zaru. “Nihon” means, Japan, and “saru” mean monkeys. I am pretty sure Parker has ever seen a Panda or Japanese Monkeys!!! They were so much fun to watch!!

Nihon zaru are just so much fun to watch.. We all laughed at their funny antics. In any monkey community, they have “boss” of the group, so it was fun just trying to find one.

Ueno Visit – Part 2 – ELEPHANTS & PANDAS!!!

I love this ZOO!!!! After seeing lots of elephants we all got excited to see  the PANDAS!!!  There was a really long line to see them because panda’s are always popular – especially here in Japan!  I think we came at the perfect time, because it was LUNCH TIME!!!!  You all know that Parker and I like Jif peanut butter and Smuckers Jelly – but Pandas–well they LOVE  to  eat bamboo.!!! It was fun watching one panda just munching on bamboo!  I also thought it was pretty cool to see the back of a panda’s head, Ever seen that before? Fusako and I just love pandas and I know Parker would too!!!!

Today is Parker’s 3 year Cancerversary

Today is Parker’s 3 year Cancerversary! It’s a day that we don’t really like to remember because it was the scariest day of our lives. But, we remember it because it helps us see how far the Grace of God has carried us in this journey. It reminds us of all the loving and selfless friends, who have been there for us during the last 3 years. We are so thankful for all the encouragement and support you have given us. It reminds us of the creation of Flat Parker and the family of love and support it has brought to us, it amazes us everyday! It reminds us of all the other wonderful families and children we have met, because we all share this daily struggle with Cancer. We wouldn’t know any of you if it weren’t for Cancer, and we are grateful to have our “Cancer Family”, who understand exactly what we are going through each day.
Thank you to everyone for being with us through the last 3 years! We appreciate the love, support, and prayers for Parker and our family. Our lives are richer and our hearts blessed by all of you!

Running in Bragha, Portugal #2

Here are some amazing photos running in Geres National Park and Braga, Portugal with Harvey and the RunQuest Travel group. This took us to some amazing vistas and along the 2,000+ year old, ancient Roman Roads.  And we even had some time for a few breaks, incredible lunch and a swim…and thankfully a few lawn chairs a the end!!!