Tuesday, August 31, 2010

World's Largest Aquarium

Dustin, Heather and Grace took me to the World's Largest Aquarium!
It's called the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium and we've been once before when Grace was just 13 days old. But, at that time it was only the world's second largest aquarium. And - Grace was really too small to enjoy it. Now, it's bigger and better and she loves the ocean and fish, so Heather wanted to take her one more time before they PCS back to the states.

We stopped on the way to get closer look of this rock formation. Look closely and you will see that it looks like an elephant.
It rained on us as we walked back to the parking lot, so here is a picture of Heather, Baby McGriff, Dustin and Grace. We had an umbrella, but Grace prefers just getting wet.
And this is just a couple of small islands with a rope between that we saw while we were out!

When we got to the aquarium the first thing we did was go to the dolphin show.

The dolphins did a great job performing for us!

Then we went to the hands-on observation tank. Grace enjoyed petting the star fish.

We saw lots and lots of fish.... in lots and lots of tanks!

There was also one big HUGE tank that was 4 stories tall!

It had sharks in it.... along with whale sharks, tuna and other tropical fish. The largest fish in the world in captivity are in this tank.

This is just one side of it.

And here it is from the top. We got a "behind the scenes" look at the feeding area where we could see down into the giant tank. This photo only shows part of it, but it kind of gives you an idea of what it looked like.
We had lots of fun and Grace got a new stuffed dolphin and a stuffed whale.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Happy, Happy, Joyful!!!!

When I came to Japan for the first time in 2008, my friend Amanda from Footsteps Photography took me to explore some castle ruins and an old abandoned hotel and I got this drink out of a vending machine. It was sooooo good.
And, ever since I had that first drink, I have been looking for it. I've been back to Japan three more times and looked in vending machines when I had the chance and I was never able to find it. But, when we went Torri Beach the other day and Heather needed to stop for a drink, she found it. When I told her that was it she said that she thought that they had it at the 100 yen store, so when we went we picked some up. Now, we have 6 whole cans! And that's a good thing since Grace loves it just as much as I do! She actually drank over half of the can Heather picked up for me at the vending machine by the beach. And - this morning she asked for it instead of Chocky Milk (chocolate milk in Gracie language).

Who could resist a drink called HAPPY HAPPY JOYFUL?

I can read enough of the label to tell that it's 10% fruit juice, but I can't seem to make out the other ingredients. Can you?

And to see the pictures of the Castle Ruins & Old Hotel from 2008, you can go here:
Castle Ruins
Royal Hotel

There are also several other albums from Japan on my myspace.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Butterfly Garden

On the way home from Okuma, we went to a butterfly garden.
There we saw LOTS of butterflies.
Japanese Butterflies!

More Japanese Butterflies!
And even More Japanese Butterflies!
These were all over! I think there were more of these than there were any other species.

A different angle.

And a group of three!

Grace liked the blue ones, but they are very shy, so it was quite difficult to get pictures.

Another blue one!

And another! This one looks like a large mosquito with wings, to me.

And the lantana flowers I have in my own butterfly garden seem to attract the most butterflies.

A Japanese Swallowtail!

An Orange Butterfly!
Sorry, I don't know the names of the Japanese Butterflies. Most, I have never seen before.

But - this looks a lot like the escape artist that visits my butterfly garden in the states. It is known for fluttering away any time I grab a camera.

Another blue one - with buck eyes on his back!

And another orange one!

And Grace slept almost the entire time we were at the butterfly garden. But, the butterflies loved her. Here they are worshipping at her feet!

And where there are butterflies, there are often hummingbirds! Here is a Japanese hummingbird!

And another. This one was backlit so it almost makes a sillhouette.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

More Photos from Okuma!

This little bridge was right outside our room!

Grace liked walking on it - but she wasn't interested in posing.

But, I thought they were pretty cute, anyway!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Monakids Jungle

It rained most of the day, so we decided to make the most of it and take Grace to Monakids Jungle. Monakids is a huge indoor playground.

Getting ready to go in and take off our shoes!

Grace found a little girl to play with. They may not speak the same language, but the smile on their faces is universal. And - this little girl was really nice to Grace. They had "gentle" ball fights. Grace just threw the ball the way Grace throws a ball, but the little Japanese was careful to throw nicely and not to hit Grace in the face or hard enough that it might hurt.

Heather & Grace on the slide!


Grace and I sliding down the slide!

And - Grace chasing a boy!
Grace really likes playing with other kids! It doesn't matter if they are boys or girls, but the boys really seem to like her!
Little boys seem to swarm around her whenever they can.

I think this makes Dustin just a little bit uncomfortable.

But, really.... it's all innocent. Most of the local people in Japan want to get a closer look at Grace.

Her fair skin, blue eyes and sandy red hair are extremely rare in this country.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

More Snorkeling Pictures!

Fish behave much like a lot of the toddlers I take pictures of. You have to be quick, or they escape from your picture!
I decided to zoom out and take wide angle shots. At least I was able to get fish in the picture.

Heather served as the "surface spotter" and Dustin was the photographer for this one!

And this one!

This is another one of Dustin's shots. The leopard print fish matches the coral, helping him to hide from any fish that might like to gobble him up for lunch!

And I know the video is a little shaky. I can't seem to tread water without moving.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Playing On The Beach!

Playing in the sand takes a certain amount of concentration!


Watching a wave! Grace loves it when a big wave comes and splashes her. But, it's not so fun when it knocks her down.

Me & my little water baby! I can't wait until she moves back to the states and I get to spend more time with her.

Grace taking a break by playing in the water while we wait for the snorkleing boat to give us a ride. Grace loved the boat ride!