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Queenstown and COLD!!!
Submitted by bugsly on Sunday, July 2, 2006 - 21:58 Car | Core | Fly | Foreign Language and Music Study | New Zealand | Physical and Health Education | Train | Walk

We've had buckets of fun in Queenstown for these last five days. We started on the first day going lugeing at Skyline Luge. Dad, Michael and I went down the luge track three times each. It was SO much fun with dips, turns and hills all over.

The next day I went to the movies with my Mom and saw "Click" while Dad and Michael went snowboarding. I really liked the movie and it was good to have some time on our own.

The day that we left, we all went back to the luge together and this time, my Mom did it too! We got to go four times and it was just as fun as the first time!

We headed to the airport next to make our way to Wellington.


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Yodobashi with Dad
Submitted by bugsly on Wednesday, May 24, 2006 - 16:17 Car | Core | Foreign Language and Music Study | Japan | Physical and Health Education | Subway | Train | Walk

Today I went on the train to Tokyo with my Dad to a place called Yodobashi. It's like an electronics wonderland for him. Anyway, we visited the golf course on the 8th floor of the building and had lunch on the 7th floor.

After that, we explored the entire complex with books, glasses, computers, Nintendo accessories, you name it, they probably had it! After about two hours of walking around, we stopped for a quick ice cream sundae or two and headed back for the train.

56 minutes later, we were walking back in the rain. We heard a car go by with a speaker on top saying something very loud in Japanese. We didn't understand it, but when we got back a couple of minutes later, the rain had started falling heavier and heavier and thunder and lightening was getting closer.

We arrived back to find Miyako, Mom and Michael closing the shutters on the house. The car we had heard going by, was actually a vehicle announcing that there was a typhoon warning. About one half of an hour later, the thunder was right above our heads and the lightening was even closer. By 11:00 pm it had passed and there was silence in the skies.


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Toyota Factory Tour & Nine Trains in One Day
Submitted by bugsly on Tuesday, May 23, 2006 - 16:10 Car | Core | Foreign Language and Music Study | Japan | Physical and Health Education | Subway | Train | Walk

This morning we left Kyoto really early. Kazuo dropped us off at the station and we said our goodbyes. We hope to see him again in Kyoto on another visit or if he comes to see us in California.

We got on the first of 9 trains of the day and made our way to Toyotashi for a tour that my Dad arranged of the Toyota Factory.

The tour of the factory was incredible. First we saw the assembly line and how innovative they are with their automation and tools. They saw them building the Toyota Prius. In this factory, they build almost 2,000 cars a day.

After the assembly line, we toured the welding shop. It is all automated and robots do all of the welding and moving of parts from one station to another. It was quite funny to see them working all in unison, almost like they were dancing.

After the tour was over, we had lunch and headed back to the train. Many trains later, we arrived in Kamakura again, most happy to rest.


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Kyoto and Kazuo
Submitted by bugsly on Monday, May 22, 2006 - 15:55 Car | Core | Foreign Language and Music Study | Japan | Physical and Health Education | Subway | Train | Walk

On Saturday we traveled on the bullet train to Kyoto. We got there at about 4:00 and Kazuo, the owner of Bon Guesthouse, picked us up. On our way to his guesthouse, he took us to see a Shinto shrine called Shimogamojina. It was very large, and extremely peaceful. It had a very large entrance gate painted orange and black.

When we arrived at Bon Guesthouse, we got settled and then headed to the market with Kazuo. We shopped for fish and groceries for a sushi dinner.

Michael, Mom and Kazuo made dinner while Dad and I explored the neighborhood.

When we got back, dinner was ready and we feasted on delicious home-made sushi. Kazuo was sushi chef in many places including New York City. It was a fun evening and after dinner we showed our new friends Noriko and Kentaro how to play Rummikub. We had a great time together!

Sunday morning we got up early and headed to the To-ji Temple Market. My Mom had heard from a friend that it was a great experience. And it was. It was hot and crowded, but full of interesting and great finds (and great food!). I found an antique black lacquer box with inlays of flowers and desgins. My Dad sampled various foods with limited success. Michael and I had soy donuts covered in powdered sugar, they were great!

After the market, we went to lunch and then made our way to Bon Guesthouse for the evening. Kazuo made another wonderful dinner, Japanese Curry with brown rice.

On Monday, Kazuo took my Mom and I to several amazing temples. The first one was called Honenin Temple and it had beautiful Zen gardens to walk through.

The next temple was Nanzenji and it had incredible gardens. There were ponds with lilypads, beautiful buildings, stone lanterns and blooming iris. The Koy fish in the pond were HUGE and colorful. There were also turtles swimming in the pond and sunning themselves on the rocks.

After that we had a picnic lunch in the grounds of Kenninji Temple in the Gion Geisha district of Kyoto. The temple grounds were beautiful and peaceful.

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Arriving in Kamakura
Submitted by bugsly on Saturday, May 20, 2006 - 15:44 Car | Core | Fly | Foreign Language and Music Study | Japan | Physical and Health Education | Subway | Train | Walk

Thursday we traveled all day to Japan. First the flight which was 4 hours, then the subway in Narita, then the express train to Kamakura, then a taxi to the home of Miyako where we are staying in her guesthouse. It was 9:00 pm when we finally got settled.

Dad and Michael went to find food for dinner and were able to get sushi and noodles at the local "Union" grocery store.

On Friday we went to see the Daihatsu Buddha, the giant Buddha in Kamakura. It was HUGE. There were lots of school kids visiting since it's the time of year when kids from Tokyo visit all over Japan on field trips.

After the Buddha, we went to visit Catharine Nagashima who is the daughter of Edrica Huws, the patchwork artist. My Mom was really excited to meet her and see more of her mother's work. We had a great time at tea with her and her grandchildren, Sieffre, Steffan and Ffiona. Michael is going to go to school with Sieffre one day next week. We had fun playing board games together.

After that, we all went to dinner at a place where you cook your own food on a hot plate in the middle of the table. It was delicious! It was a great day and we hope to see them again next week!


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Bye-Bye Bejing
Submitted by bugsly on Tuesday, May 16, 2006 - 22:19 Car | China | Core | Fly | Foreign Language and Music Study | Hong Kong | Train | Walk

Today we woke up at four thirty in the morning (yawn) and set out to board our seven thirty flight. Cmoe Qiu picked us up right on the dot as usual and we were off. We arrived at the airport said goodbye and scurried off to catch our flight in time. There were already people getting off of flights even though it was only five thirty! Our flight prepared for take off as scheduled and we quickly downed our blueberry muffins and drinks from Starbucks. As we landed in Hong Kong airport we once again entered the crowded yet clean and organized hubbub. As we were going through passport control we even had these men with a TV camera come up to us and ask us if we would smile for the camera because they were making a “Corporate Video” I think I will type “Going through passport control with the Levy’s” into Google and see if we are universal movie stars! Afterwards we grabbed our bags (the only ones left on the carousel) and sped through customs. Eventually, we finished with all that airport stuff and moseyed on to the train platform that will take you to the center of Hong Kong. After a fast thirty minute ride we were out of the airport and into a taxi and on our way back to the JW Marriott. Finally, we were back in a hotel room swimming, napping, and lazing about!


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Kowloon and on to Beijing!
Submitted by bugsly on Friday, May 12, 2006 - 23:24 Boat | Car | Core | Fly | Foreign Language and Music Study | Hong Kong | Physical and Health Education | Subway | Tea | Train | Walk

Thursday we visited a travel agent that helped us with our Japan Rail Pass. Then we took the MTR to Kowloon on the other side of Victoria Harbour. Kowloon was full of electronics shops. My Dad was in heaven. We went to a small jade shop that we walked by and I picked out a pair of earrings. The woman that helped us assured us that it was good quality jade and that the price was fair.

We then looked for a place to eat and on the way we went through the wedding dress district and saw lots of exotic looks for brides in the windows. After lunch we headed for the Star Ferry to take us back across the harbour.

We stopped by the travel agent on our way back to the hotel and picked up our passes. We had sushi for dinner at the California Sushi Restaurant.

Friday morning we packed for Beijing and said goodbye to Hong Kong for now.


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Shopping with Grandma Rachel and Ronit!
Submitted by bugsly on Thursday, April 27, 2006 - 03:02 Car | Core | Foreign Language and Music Study | Israel | Physical and Health Education | Train | Walk

This morning after a great breakfast with Anat, Igal, Rotem, Omer and Alon, we headed out to the Tel Aviv shopping mall called Azraeli. We met my Grandma Rachel and my Dad's cousin Ronit. It was great to meet her! We had a lot of fun shopping together and then stopped to have lunch. We shopped some more for birthday presents for Igal and Grandma Rachel and then headed back to Anat & Igal's house for the evening.

We had a really nice dinner together and a great time talking and getting to know each other. It's the first time my Mom, Michael and I have met them. They are really wonderful and are making us feel very much at home. It's so good to be with them.

We were tired after the long day and went to bed.


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Paris all the way through
Submitted by bugsly on Sunday, April 16, 2006 - 00:33 Car | Core | Foreign Language and Music Study | France | Train | Walk

On Thursday we got up early and arrived at Waterloo Station in London in time for our train. We got on the Eurostar which goes through the Chunnel (Channel + Tunnel) and were in Paris by 2:00 pm. We went to our hotel, dumped our bags and went out to find lunch. That was easy considering the number of cafes on the street, the competition must be fierce! I had my first crepe which was drenched in super-rich chocolate. Delicious! After that, my
Dad and I went off to see the Musee D’Orssey, which is an art museum in a converted train station. We waited in line for a while and then got in to see the amazing works of the Impressionists. My favorite piece of art there was a large piece of glass on the floor and when I looked down I could see buildings below as if I were a giant above a city. It was a weird feeling.

On Friday we met Ellen from Paris Muse at the Louvre for a tour designed for kids. We went through the Louvre in about 3 hours and she made it very fun by creating clues that we had to find to solve a mystery sentence. We saw Assyrian, Greek, Egyptian, French, Italian and German art, you name it, we saw it. At the end of our tour we got to see the Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci in all her glory. There was a special kids viewing gallery where we got to see her up close. The special thing about her is her smile. Her smile is as if she had seen all of Leonardo’s inventions (secret at the time) and taken absolute joy in them. Eventually though it was time to move on and Michael and I solved the mystery and claimed our prize. We got a DVD tour of the Louvre and a special book on Monet for kids. It was a great day and I learned a lot and had fun.

Later that evening, we went to the Eiffel Tower. At 8:00 pm, in addition to the regular lights, they had a sparkly light show all over the tower. It was magnificent. The line to go to the top was too long however, so we decided to come back another day.

Saturday my Dad and I went to Notre Dame. It was so cool to see the flying buttresses that hold up the roof. I also saw the gargoyles leaning out from the building ready to spit water out of their mouths at the next available rainstorm.

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Chislehurst Caves
Submitted by bugsly on Wednesday, April 12, 2006 - 00:32 Algebra | Car | Core | Subway | Train | United Kingdom | Walk

The Day of the Packages

This morning my Dad, Michael and I went out to mail boxes home. What we found out was that it is really expensive to do that. But we had to, so we did. Then we went to see Chislehurst Caves and had a tour down into the deep caves. It wasn’t cold at all, but the echoes were impressive. The layout is a grid, almost like New York City (giggle giggle), but it’s much easier to get lost in. When we got back to Grandma Rachel’s it was almost time for everyone to arrive for Passover dinner.

Dinner was great and there was lots of good food to eat. Michael and I helped Grandma Rachel make some chocolate chip meringue cookies that were particularly tasty. The time seemed to fly by and before we knew it, it was time to say our goodbyes and go to bed.


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Fun Fact...

There are three types of "Kiwi's" in New Zealand. Kiwi birds, Kiwi fruit and the New Zealanders call themselves "Kiwis"!

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