Last week the kids had an autumn break from school and my friend Kerrin invited the kids and me to go with her to her beach house in Shimoda, on the Izu Penninsula, about three hours south of Tokyo. Shimoda is the official landing spot of the American Admiral Perry who in 1853 landed in his big black ships and demanded that Japan open its doors, which had been closed for over 250 years since the start of the Tokugawa Shogunate, to trade with the west. His arrival brought down the Shogun dynasty and made way for the Meiji Restoration and the re-seating of the emperor.
Marc decided to join us for the weekend, as did Kerrin's husband Steven. In addition, another family from the kids' school was down there, so all three families had a wonderful time riding horses, going swimming in the Pacific Ocean (yes on November 1 - it was warm!) and just relaxing and enjoying each other's company. On Friday night we all went into a local onsen, the Japanese hot spring bath. This is my millionth time going, but the first time that I dared to bring a camera. On Saturday night all three families had a bar-b-que. Kerrin is South African and her husband is a Brit. In the other family, the Coppetiers, Adrienne is Austrian and Fredereic is Belgian. There are some things that transcend culture, though, and one of them is roasting marshmallows. Everyone knows how to do that! On Sunday we were able to walk through the town a bit. Enjoy the photos!