We’re home. And we’re ready to go back.

🇯🇵❤️🇰🇷

Last full day of the trip. See my prior post for the great start to the day - seeing where our nephews spent the first months of their lives. 😭 Then K-pop dance classes and visiting various K-pop touch points. Eating Ttoekbokki and bulgogi. Finishing the night at Seoul Record Pub. ❤️

Visiting Eastern Social Welfare Society where our nephews were before coming to AmericaCheck up area in Korean orphanageK-pop dance classRestaurant where BTS would eat on rehearsal breaksWandering through fountains in Seoul Bulgogi restaurant in SeoulSeoul Record Pub

Two of our nephews were adopted from South Korea and today we were able to visit the orphanage where they spent the first 6 months of their lives. They were escorted to the USA at the time of their adoption. This was the first time anyone in our family, aside from the boys, had been there. 🥹😢😭

Quite a day in Seoul. Walked through the Gyeongbokgung Palace grounds and Bukchon Village in hanbok; ate Cho Yonsoon’s famous handmade Korean Noodles in Gwangjang Market; struck poses at Dongdaemun Design Plaza and KTO K-Pop center; and finished the night with BB.Q Chicken and speakeasy cocktails.

My daughters in Bukchon Village wearing hanbok.Sneezing in front of the Gyeonghoeru Pavilion … in hanbokstriking poses at Dongdaemun Design Plazastriking poses at KTO K-Pop centerBB.Q Chicken and Beer in SeoulSpeakeasy cocktails

Empties.

Empty soju and beer bottles

Travel day to our last stop of the trip. We got some Seoul time in tonight.

Hotel view in SeoulBurger joint sign with an “it’s good enough” jokeThe streets of SeoulSeashell sculpture with our daughters in SeoulA river walk in SeoulA bright bar “alley” in Seoul

While walking Kawaguchiko.

Sign in Japanese. Tickle sign I haven’t translated.Sign in Japanese. What does this sign mean? Looks like explosions and exclamation points.Our reflection in a road mirror.

Lights of the nighttime hikers on Mt. Fuji. (3-second exposure.)

Lights of the nighttime hikers on Mt. Fuji. (3-second exposure.)

Cafe in Kawaguchiko.

Cafe in Kawaguchiko

The sting of leaving Togari is alleviated a bit after a travel day to a room with this view.

Fuji San from Kawaguchiko hotel.

Wasabi chips are kind of amazing.

Some tears as we leave Rich, Meike, and Togari. 🥲

Our group in Togari

One more from last night of me and Takuya nailing Aerosmith.

Iiyama Aerosmith karaoke

Ended the night singing karaoke with the locals. Or as the kids said, “making a core memory.”

Visiting a minka (traditional Japanese farmhouse) under renovation to become a restaurant.

Flowers in Togari, Iiyama, Japan

House swallow.

Swallow through hole in house entryway

Today…was unbelievable. We climbed a mountain with the neighborhood, who open the shrine up once per year for a festival. We helped clean. The monks and neighbors refreshed the Shimenawa (ropes), including around a very miraculous tree. Then we celebrated, carrying a lantern in the procession.

Torii gate to shrineChanging ShimenawaPreparing to clean the shrineService in the shrineShimenawa around a miraculous treeSake celebration at the shrineHiking back down the mountainCarrying a lantern in the parade

Iiyama rice fields.

Iiyama rice fields

It’s bedtime in the storehouse.

Kura Japanese storehouse suite

Asahi in Togari, Iiyama, Japan.

Asahi in Togari, Iiyama, Japan

Post box in Kanazawa.

Post box in Kanazawa

When in Kanazawa one must have gold leaf ice cream.

Gold leaf ice cream in Kanazawa

Hitching a ride.

Hitching a ride at Kyoto Station

Travel day today. Hitching a ride, Omi-Cho market, when in Kanazawa one must have gold-leaf ice cream, various views from the streets of Kanazawa, and the lovely garden at the house of a samurai.