Griffith Observatory in LA

We took advantage of our time in California to see some of the sites. We spent one day in LA at Griffith Observatory and the LA County Museum of Art (LACMA). It was such a beautiful, clear day.  I know that southern California needs rain, but coming from Okinawa the clear, dry, sunny days are kind of awesome to me. Griffith Observatory had a great view of downtown LA and the Hollywood sign. The museum was pretty cool too. I'd recommend it.
I wish she'd let me put bows in her hair still. She immediately rips them out. 
A statue of James Dean bc part of Rebel without a Cause was filmed here!
They have a tesla coil there which was actually pretty cool to see

We spent a short time at the LACMA. We both love art museums so we wanted to check it out, but Lucy was loud and over it so it didn't last long. I'd like to go back sometime.


Balboa in December

Mid-December we went to the States for 3 glorious weeks. It was Duke's first time back since we had moved to Okinawa over 2 years ago. He was pretty ecstatic. We visited both his and my family in California and Arkansas respectively. It was seriously so fun to see everyone and we had a blast the whole time. It was the first time for me that it hard been hard to come back to Okinawa. I miss my family! We started our time in California. Here's some pictures from visiting Balboa Island. We didn't stay long enough to see the houses lit up with Christmas lights, because, well, babies. But we walked around, enjoyed the shops and Christmas decor and got a frozen banana. It was a good time.
 It's weird to think that Lucy wasn't walking yet in these pictures!
 Duke's brother Roy, his wife Julie and their cute kid Jack


Kyoto Day 2

I just spent 2 days writing this post, thought I had pressed save multiple times, and then lucy unplugged my computer this morning and when I looked everything was gone except the pictures. So frustrating!! So I'm not going to go into as much detail. These first pictures are from Kiyomizudera. I headed up there first thing in the morning and it was very crowded, but some of the prettiest maple trees I saw were here.
The bus drops you off at the bottom of a big hill. The street up to the temple is filled with vendors and tons and tons of people. The school girls below stopped to ask me some questions in English out of their books and then asked for a picture, so I asked for one too. (poor Lucy can barely see haha!)

view of Kyoto
Next we hopped in a cab and headed south for Daigoji Temple. I specifically wanted to go here to see fall colors. There is a certain area that was so picturesque, but sadly a lot of the Japanese maples here had already lost their leaves. However, this place seemed to be off the beaten path compared to everywhere else I visited. It was actually very peaceful and serene and I'm glad we made the visit.
Daigoji is split up into 3 different areas that all charge separate admission. I just paid for the central area that had the 5 story pagoda and Bentendo Hall.
This pagoda is the oldest building in Kyoto built in 951. I think it's one of the oldest 5-story Pagodas in Japan as well. Basically it's really old.
Bentendo Hall
Letting Lucy play and snack.
Next up, we took the metro to Fushimi-Inari Taisha. This is the place you may have seen with allllll the torii gates. It was really neat to see! I didn't go all the way to the top bc my back was killing me and I'm still planning to come back with Duke before we leave! (hopefully)

We then took the metro to Gion and walked along a few streets hoping to get a glimpse of a geisha or a fake geisha, but we weren't so lucky. I spent a lot of time exploring this area bc Lucy fell asleep. I loved the architecture. It was exactly how you imagine old Japan.
I absolutely loved this trip and fell completely in love with Kyoto. I have a big crush on Japan and am gonna be so sad when we leave. I think about it all the time and all the little things I will miss. Lucy was also SO AWESOME on this trip. She enjoyed being in the Ergo and constantly seeing new things, for the most part. It was special trip for me with my Lucy girl. She has some serious attitude but is also so very sweet and when she is happy she is very happy. I loved our little selfies below. I felt like I was just hanging out with my pal.