Thursday, October 09, 2014

Beautiful nature & things

My summer vacation was wonderful!  One of the biggest perks of being a teacher are the long breaks.  But can they ever be long enough?!  One thing that I love about going back to the states is the beautiful nature.  This trip, besides our usual California destinations, we were also able to visit a couple of Utah's National Parks (Zion & Bryce Canyon).  Both are just a few hours drive from Las Vegas.  We did some pseudo-camping there in a wagon tent and cabin at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort.  Our last night in Vegas we were upgraded to a Pyramid Suite at the Luxor.  This room was about the same size as our apt. in Japan!  Anyway, I was a good boy and didn't even gamble.  We were too busy seeing all the free entertainment there.  My favorite was probably the Fountains at Bellagio.  Las Vegas isn't the only place to visit in Nevada. Don't forget Reno, "The Biggest Little City in the World".  We spent a couple of relaxing days/nights there at the Peppermill Hotel & Casino Pool.  This time I couldn't resist the blackjack tables.  And I won!  The must go to place in Reno is The National Automobile Museum.  I remember how much I loved this place when my dad took us there when we were kids (at that time it was called Harrah's Automobile Collection) and I loved it just the same some 40 years later.  The cool thing was I could bring my son this time!  Driving home from Reno, we stopped at one of my favorite CA spots, Lake Tahoe.  In the winter, world-class ski resorts and in the summer, hiking, water sports and all kinds of outdoor fun.

I'll also post some pictures of Calaveras Big Trees which is just over an hour from my parents' house.  The animal pictures are from Safari West, the only place in California where you can go on an African jeep adventure. And I have to post a couple pics. of Taiga with his California cousins.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Capsule Hotel

I like capsule hotels.  They are cheap at 3800 yen (about $38) a night and I can take a nice hot bath & sauna.  Before going to your capsule, you put your belongings into a locker and change into the PJs that are provided.  Inside your capsule, there's a TV, clock radio & reading light.
There's just enough room to be comfortable inside at 2m by 1m and 1m high.  A couple of drawbacks are the snoring & alarms that start ringing from 5am.  However, if you can go back to sleep easily, it's not too bad.

I use them once or twice/year.  If I'm in Tokyo and have to be back the next day, it's more convenient to stay over night.  I can save time and money.  If you miss the last train home or just want to experience something a little different, try a capsule hotel next time!