Saturday, July 30, 2011

Beretta's always good for a laugh...

While sitting in our living room, checking emails and what not...our Apple TV was on in the background, scrolling through generic photos of animals. Apparently Beretta didn't like them. She's not too keen on other animals showing up in our house unannounced...the lions on the screen were just too much for her! We, however thought it was hilarious!!!

Thank you Beretta for continuously entertaining us...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

See a Cherry, pick it up!

Before Nick deployed we went on an MWR tour, where we went cherry picking, made washi paper and toured a winery. MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation) is a program on base that provides recreation, fitness, and leisure - such as the tour we went on - to service members and their families. (More info on their website....which ironically enough, Nick and I are the cover photo for at the moment =

Cherry picking was first on the tour...
We walked through a cherry farm, picking and eating as many cherries as we could for 30 minutes....Nick LOVED this, and was determined to make himself sick off cherries, stuffing himself with as much as he could in the timeframe! (which he did!)

The cherry farm was in Shirane, located in the Yamanashi Prefecture, and is one of the rare places in the Kanto Plain where cherry picking is available. Otherwise, cherries (as well as most fruits) are very expensive in Japan!
The cherries weren't as red as the ones seen in the grocery stores, nor were they as sweet....but they were still tasty!
Due to the amount of people who walk through the rows upon rows of cherry trees, picking and eating the tree's contents, the lower branches didn't have much left to offer. Luckily Nick and I are taller than most Japanese people, so we had an advantage....but then Nick had the idea to hoist me on his shoulders so we would could reach even higher (like I said, he really wanted to get his money's worth).
The things I do for my husband....
Next stop on the tour - washi making...
In the Nakatomi Japananese Paper Village, Nick and I learned how to make washi paper.
"Nakatomi is famous for the Nishijima Washi Paper for [a] long time, even going back to [the] Sengoku Period, taking the pride of tradition.

Nakatomi Washinosato has a workshop where visitors can challenge making their own washi paper. A shop inside the building has all the different kinds of washi paper from all around Japan."

Each person was able to put their own unique touch to their paper...making it as simple or as fancy as they so desired... Mine was not worthy of a photo, (I do not take pride in this fact, I am normally the creative one in our household!!!) but Nick's paper (in the below photo) says: Holman in Kanji.
The last stop on our tour was to the Shirayuri Winery, where they make L'ORIENT wine.

"Yamanashi's environment is well suited for deciduous fruits, including grapes, peaches and plums. Also cherries, persimmons, apples and Japanese apricots are grown in the many orchards around Kofu basin. Shirayuri Winery owns the vineyard in Katsunuma (in Kofu basin), well known as the birth place of Koshu grapes. Their name brand "L'ORIENT WINE", which means the Orient in French, won the prize at Japan Wine Competition in 2003."

We learned about the process of wine-making, bottling and the history of wine in Japan.
Afterwards, we were able to taste the wines...which of course, was the best part!

Of course they have Sakura (cherry blossom) wine!
Nick and I enjoyed the MWR three-part tour...we took home a bag of cherries (as well as stuffed stomachs), several types of washi paper, and an entire carton of Japanese wine!

It's easy to stay home, and not see different parts of Japan and experience the culture...but why would we do that, when picking cherries with the Japanese is so much fun?!