It’s a little more than a week, but there is not much going on at this point. I’m winding down and preparing to get back to life in the States.

I’ve experienced my first 2 real earthquakes since coming here over the past 2 nights (Tue 10/25 and Wed 10/26). They were not very big, but enough to rock the house a little and make me take notice.

Last Sunday (10/23) we climbed up a small hill/mountain near the house here (about a 5-10 minute bike ride up) and they apparently have a very small “zoo”. It’s certainly not a zoo in the sense of how we would consider it, but it reminds me of the bird exhibits of Pioneer Park in my hometown of Walla Walla, WA. (It’s a kind of aviary with all sorts of different bird types on display with little information about them on the enclosures.)

It was basically the same thing at that zoo up on the hill, they had some birds, guinea pigs, rabbits, turtles, and the one thing North America doesn’t have any of (unless you count some of the idiots), Monkeys.

It was a nice little trek with a pretty decent view, small playground for kids, and apparently a little ring pond that had crayfish/crawdads in it, which the kids were having fun trying to fish out, though some had a net which they used to simply scoop a whole slew of stuff out of when they’d see them. (They caught some good ones using that method, the fishing pole method seems to be for those who have more patience.)

From the view, you can also see pictures of Zushi, Kamakura, the island of Enoshima, and way off in the distance, the city of Fujisawa.

After finishing at the Zoo, we went down to the supermarket in North Zushi, and along the way, I snapped a picture of this tiny “land crab” on the sidewalk. Good thing we didn’t hit him.

Then, early in the week (10/25), Al (my cousin’s husband) and I took a trip down to Jogashima, which is basically a mini Enoshima. He wanted to find out how to get to the fish market they have there, and it gave me an opportunity to get some good pictures.

I also snapped some pictures on the road, kind of trying to get a “here’s some of daily life” aspects. It’s not really much different than the U.S. at the end of the day. Just more people, and less space, which creates a little more of a “crammed” lifestyle. They also have a lot more fresh food and less processed and preserved food.

In addition, because we were kinda way out in the boonies, there are pictures of farmland (yes, Japan does have farm land, though a limited amount of it).

I also snapped pictures of the rocks having been turned sideways at Jogashima from natural processes (continental plate activity).

The last thing I was able to get was of a small shrine inside a small cave on the island. I’m not entirely sure what it’s purpose was for, but it seems people visit it regularly and stack rocks.

Jogashima was cool, but it felt a lot like a town that time forgot, or that people don’t really visit anymore these days, but had a beautiful heyday once. According to my cousin’s husband, Al, it is pretty popular during summer and much more busy/bustling, since it’s another “beach town”.

Finally, the last thing I’ve done, and it was a perfect, beautiful day to do so, was visit the Tokyo Sky Tree. I didn’t go up to the 450 meter (approx. 1,485ft) Tembo Galleria, but I went up to the 350 meter Tembo Deck. Got some great shots of the endless concrete jungle that is Tokyo and all the outlying, almost never-ending cities, which connect to each other in the Kanto Plains.

The pictures were taken from all 3 floors of the Tembo Deck (350m, 345m, 340m) in all the directions that I could reach. They have restaurants and little shops and some other things which make it difficult to get 360 degrees worth of pictures from all 3 floors, not that it was super important to do so. It doesn’t give you much of a difference in view.

I also snapped some shots of the Tokyo Sky Tree train station on the way out, and the tower from the base.

Before leaving Tokyo, I stopped in Akihabara again, wandered around a bit, and ate some lunch.

Snapped a few more pictures, but didn’t do much else at this point. I could certainly go crazy buying stuff in the “Electric Town”, but for now, I’ll just have to be content with having visited and looked around.

On one of my last few days, I had dinner with my cousin, her husband, and her friends Barb and Patty, and Barb’s son Calvin. In addition to them, there were a few other friends who joined us that had connections via the base at Yokosuka. There was Kiwako, her sister Makiko, and Yoko, Yuki, and Mika.

Picture from that night:

(left to right) front - Me, Makiko, Teresa (my cousin), Yoko back - Al, Barb, Calvin, Yuki, Kiwako, Patty, Mika

Patty was the hostess and it was a wonderful dinner and a great time.