Kon-i-chi-wa — Japan!

Kon-i-chi-wa! Hello, in Japanese. Sadly, we have left Australia, but moved on to another great country, Japan!  Here is happy arrival in Japan after a day-long flight from Australia through Kuala Lumpur and an overnight flight to Osaka, Japan.


M & M = Mariko and Makenna upon arrival at Osaka International Airport

We are staying in a traditional Japanese home. Arigato to Mariko’s friends, Mr. & Mrs. Kabashima for a fantastic home-away-from-home, not too far from Mariko’s hi-rise condo, in Kobe.  Mariko Ohnaka is my kindergarten and first grade teacher (and Japanese teacher’s) mother-in-law, and has become a dear friend of ours.

The first of many, many sushi meal -- one of my favorite foods in the world!

The first of many, many sushi meals — one of my favorite foods in the world!

Two years ago we visited Mariko in Tokyo, the capital city of Japan.  And many of you know her, too, because last year she came to visit us in the U.S. for a few weeks and we toured her around Northern California. Okay, let us talk about what we did with Mariko, after she picked us up from the Osaka Airport. Once we drove from Osaka to Kobe, in the morning, we went to a sushi restaurant with a conveyor belt, so sushi can ride right to your table and you can pick out exactly which pieces you would like to eat. It was so cool! Check out this video:

Advice from Makenna:  Keep eating sushi!

After sushi, Mariko’s friend, Yumi Yamada, who is a licensed “Traditional Tea Ceremony” teacher (for over 40 years!), invited us to learn about the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Her Tea Ceremony Assistant was Toshiko Izutzu.  We gladly accepted!


We learned how to wash our hands correctly before the ceremony and how to enter the tea room.


Left hand first, right hand second and your mouth is rinsed last

We learned how to make the green tea, how to present it to guests, and also, how to drink it. IMG_2835 IMG_2851


I had fun mixing the tea to bring it to a nice froth. My teacher was impressed. 🙂

You can see the traditional tea ceremony equipment and the tami mats which cover the floor. IMG_2846



During a Japanese tea ceremony it is ok to slurp your tea.


Thank you so much to Yumi and Toshiko for the amazing traditional tea ceremony experience!

The next day, Mariko threw us a Welcome Party, with a surprise early birthday cake for me!


Japanese hospitality and friendship – and YES, of course, MORE SUSHI!

All her Japanese friends were so kind and generous.




IMG_2876I I I enjoyed learning more Origami.



Origami Samurai Hat and presents from my new friend. Thank you!

The food and birthday cake were wonderful and so were the presents!



Our new friends are so kind and loving.




We all ended up singing Japanese and American songs together.

IMG_2889 After the party we went to one of the world famous, Japanese Onsen’s in Kobe. This is a public bath (divided into girls and boys) with all kinds of hot tubs, that are different temperatures. The onsen has a sauna, steam room, and an ice dip pool, too. Then Mariko had made some home-made beef stew for dinner at her house……we went to bed very full from the party, very relaxed from the Onsen, and still very sleepy from our overnight trip.  What a great day! The next day we got to celebrate Mother’s Day. I love my Mom’s! And Mariko! We made a special Mother’s Day breakfast before heading on the train to Kyoto.


M, M, and M = Mama, Makenna, and Mommy, on Mother’s Day, in Japan.


I bought my Mom’s some surprise gifts while I was in Australia! Thanks Rochelle for your help with shopping.


M & M & M on M Day. I love you! Love, M

We are very lucky, and as Mariko says, “Life is wonderful!” So far, Japan has been awesome! And much more to come!


Look for more sushi, I mean more posts, from your Junior Worldtrek Reporter!


IMG_0889 Keep Calm and Travel Around the World!

12 thoughts on “Kon-i-chi-wa — Japan!

  1. Hi Makenna, so great to see you and Makiko!! The green tea ceremony looks lovely. Was the tea Matcha powder? Juliann and I make it at home often. It would be great to get a lesson from you on the proper preparation!


    • Hello, Pam! Yes, the tea was Matcha powder. One utensil that really interested me was the chasen, or a whisk. It is made out of bamboo and it took me a while to master how to whisk it, because it is way different than the type of whisk I have at home. Maybe sometime I can give you a lesson! 😉 I miss you and can’t wait to go to one of your concerts when we get back home! LOL!!!!!!


  2. Life is wonderful, indeed! A grand adventure, as well! Did you enjoy the tea? What is your favorite kind of sushi here at home? Do you have a new favorite from your trip?


    • I REALLY enjoyed drinking and making the tea! One of my favorite types of sushi is a tuna roll, and( I don’t know the name of it) the type of sushi with rice on the bottom and shrimp on the top. These are my favorites to have on the trip and at home! Tell the class that I really, really, really, miss them!!!


  3. Hi, Dear Makenna. I’m glad to see you in the Facebook since your Birthday-party in Kobe. Pls keep posting your recent state and I can find you wherever you are. Have a nice trip!


  4. Hi Makenna its joycelin hope your having the bestest(I know its not a word but it works for you right now)time traveling around the world and we had fun video catting with you (did you see me i was behind tyler f but i couldn’t see).


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