Let's start with the pictures from Japan:
This is our first night in Tokyo! Our hostel was perfect and a great experience to spend the night in a place less than 5 feet wide. I love this pitcure!
Our first meal: tempura shrimp and veggies, sushi, rice and tempura sweet potato. It was delicious and followed by a Christmas Cupcake. We ate in a great area of Tokyo called Shibuya. There are millions of people everyday that shop and walk around this area. It was amazing to see the amounts of people at 10:00 at night.
This is taken at the Shinjuku Goyen National Garden in Tokyo. We spent the afternoon on our first full day walking around this beautiful place. It was our first Christmas Eve together and it was so unexpected to be spending it in a place as wonderful as this. When we got back to the hotel we started our first Christmas tradition of having prosciutto and cheese crackers with a great glass of Cabernet.
On Christmas Day at our beautiful hotel, the Intercontinental. We were heading to mass at the church that Anthony found. It was a great day. We went to the Sony building and looked at the electronics, went ice skating and had a delicious dinner at an oyster house. It was the first place I had been where a single Oyster could cost upwards of $20! I had duck and Anthony had fish :)
After taking the train to Kyoto we ended up at our great guest house. It was a very traditional Japanese house and we loved our stay there. We had bunk beds so it was kind of a camping type feel which as actually pretty fun. Kyoto is know as the ancient capital of Japan. While in Kyoto we visited this temple. It is called Kiyomizu Dera Temple and was in the running not long ago to be in the 7 wonders of the world. It was really awesome and encompassed what you imagine of old Japan.
This is the Golden Pavilion and is painted entirely of gold leaf paint. It was also in Kyoto. We really enjoyed seeing the moss gardens here.Hands down one of the coolest experiences of the trip. This was a Buddhist passageway that went on for miles and miles and we hiked about as much as we could which took about 2.5 hours. As we went up the mountain there were dozens of shrines protected by fox statues and candles. Every so often we'd hear a gong ring at one of the shrines. It seemed like we were in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom!
Back in Seoul to see Jay and Annalisa on December 29:
This is my absolute favorite first family picture! This picture is taken at one of Anthony and my favorite places in Seoul, although it was very different during the bitter cold of the northern Korean winter. The almost 0° weather was unbarable so we headed in quickly for dinner and drinks. The river is called Cheonggye stream. Seoul has become one of our favorite place to go because there is so much to do and see.
This is North Korea! It was a once in a life time experience and we both really enjoyed doing it with Anthony's mom and dad.
We have a favorite Korean Bar-B-Q restaurant in Yeosu where we decided to take Jay and Annalisa on our first night in Yeosu. The have mostlyAnthony and Jay were being adventuresome when we went to Odongdo. This picture is taken at the Dragon Cave on the Island. It was a pretty calm day so you could see back into the cave, but there wasn't a way back up once you went down so we all stayed on the cliff side. This was our last day in Yeosu before they left. It was a perfect visit and a great end to our winter vacation. Tokyo, Kyoto, Seoul and back to Yeosu!