The Freyder Five

Life is an Adventure
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Highlights In Japan

Leaving Our Comfort Zone

Kokedera, the Moss Temple

Our scheduled time is Saturday, November 11 at 1pm.  My confirmation postcard says, “Please never fail to bring this card on Nov. 11th at 1:00 pm when you are going to visit this temple.”  My Japanese friend and I had a good a laugh over this wording. I found out about Kokedera while surfing the internet.  The real name of this temple is Saiho-ji but it is also known as Kokedera which translates koke = moss and dera = temple, so it’s the moss temple.  It is located in Western Kyoto, not far from the popular town Arashiyama.  This temple is a bit off the beaten path, not because it is not known, but because it takes some effort to…

Nagashima Spa Land

Saturday and Sunday, November 4 & 5 is birthday weekend.  It’s Halyard’s 16th birthday (and Avalon’s 11th and my 40-something).  To celebrate Halyard’s 16th we decided to go on a little weekend getaway.  Nagashima Spa Land is an amusement park that he had asked to go many months ago.  It’s actually just one part of the larger Nagashima Resort which encompasses the amusement park and a water park, a hot springs onsen, an outlet shopping mall and a large flower garden called Nabana no Sato.  Nagashima Spa Land reminded me of a mini Six Flags from the US. It’s about 2 hours away near the city of Nagoya so we rented a car the night before.  We rented a large…

Toilets in Japan

I’m finally writing my toilet post.  We’ve been here a year now so I’ve been thinking about it that long. Gomen nasai (sorry), but I’ve got a year’s worth of thoughts to write about.  There’s just too much to say about toilets/sinks/bathrooms in Japan.  There are two kinds of toilets in the ladies room here:  Japanese toilets and Western toilets.  Maybe Asian toilets are not a surprise to some people.  But they were a surprise to me when we vacationed in Japan in 2013. A lot of people told me beforehand that I should always carry a pack of tissues with me just in case I needed them in the public bathrooms.  That advice was drilled into me as a…

Going home

Our tickets back to Orange County, California are booked for August 13, 2017.  This will be a year to the day that we flew out on our big move across the Pacific Ocean.  It’s unbelievable how fast the year flew by.  We decided to stay another year in Japan (an agonizing decision that I might post about later) so before we fly out we have to pack up our belongings, move to another house, clean our old house thoroughly before the owners come home, and host more guests from the US.  We have about 12 days to do all of this. It is not as stressful as when we moved from California to Japan, but it feels overwhelming at times. …

Summer Guests Part 1

We’re in the full swing of summer guests now.  It’s Tuesday, June 27 and our Newport Beach friends are on their way home today.  Good-bye Luke, Tom and Sheridan.  We will see you again soon.  Thanks for letting us go temple hopping with you in Kyoto, coming to dinner at our house and going to USJ and the arcade with us!Our Long Beach friends arrive tonight.  Later on in July, two more sets of friends from Costa Mesa will arrive in Osaka at the same time.  I’m getting off work early today so I’m planning to go straight to Itami Airport to hook up with John and Avalon.  I want to be on time to see our friends when they…

Snorkel Among Stars

Thursday, July 20, we are leaving Cambodia today.  It was a quick stop in this country but the short time we spent here was educational and interesting.  Now we are going back to Thailand to come full circle and close out our trip.  We are finishing up in Phuket (Poo-khet) and Phi Phi (Pee Pee) Island, locally known as Ko Phi Phi.  I scheduled our flight so that we could spend a little extra time in Siem Reap and now we won’t arrive in Phuket until after 8pm.  By the time we get off the plane, find a driver and check in to our hotel it’s probably going to be well past 10.  Update:  Our plane was super delayed and…

Phare, the Cambodian Circus

It’s still Wednesday, July 19.  The second half of our one full day in Cambodia began after lunch.  We said good-bye to our friendly and funny guide.  He told us so much about Cambodian history and his country’s struggles.  He told us how his parents had been killed by Vietnamese and his aunts and uncles killed by the Khmer Rouge.  We got the feeling they might have been scholars who were the first to be executed in the same type of sweep that Mao led to kill off the cultured and educated in China during the Cultural Revolution. When he left us I felt so sad that the Cambodian people have suffered so much at the hands of corrupt governments,…

Charming Hoi An

Sunday-Tuesday, July 16-18 is a time to rest and sightsee in Hoi An, Vietnam. It’s another traveling day, this time from Hanoi to Hoi An, Vietnam.  We must fly to the Da Nang Airport and then a car will pick us up to take us to Hoi An.  John heard that Da Nang is a relatively new seaside town meant to cater to booming Vietnamese growth and wealth.  There is a large, fancy housing complex going up on our way outside of Da Nang and our driver tells us that the most famous soccer star, Ronaldo, has bought a place there.  John tells the driver he’s never heard of Ronaldo.  Our driver cannot believe this and he must have thought John…

Chaotic & Wonderful Hanoi

By now we’ve traveled as a family to many countries and we can’t help but make comparisons between one country or city to another that we’ve already been to.  It’s a small world after all.  Something we see in one place will remind us of another place around the world. But Hanoi is a city like no other place that I have ever been to.  It is crazy, congested, chaotic.  Crossing the street means taking your life in your hands every time.  If you cross the street 10 times to get where you want to go, that means you are testing fate 10 times.  For anyone who loves a vibrant, lively city, and John and I do, Hanoi is the…

Cheers from Chiang Mai

July 9-12, 2017.  Thailand is our first stop.  Arrive in Chiang Mai from Bangkok.  We’re exhausted from our initial overseas travel and the early morning wake up calls that it took to get here.  We flew from Osaka to Bangkok and arrived around 11pm.  Then we got up early to fly to Chiang Mai.  Here we are getting on the plane for the first of our many little hops around Southeast Asia.  Before we moved here I thought using the stairway to get on the plane from the tarmac was so cool.  But taking a hot bus from the airport gate to the plane, and then dragging luggage up the stairs isn’t fun anymore.  We’ve done it too many times…