Plum Blossoms
Yesterday, Ben and I made our way up to Ibaraki prefecture. We are staying with some of Ben’s friends, and we’re having a blast. After arriving at the Tsuchiura station around lunch time, we were treated to conveyer belt sushi at the restaurant where the youngest son works at. It was delicious, we really enjoyed it. 
After lunch, we were taken to the Ibaraki sea side garden. It was beautiful. At the entrance way their was a theme park, with roller coasters and a giant ferris wheel. The fair grounds had little robotic animals you could ride around. 
Spring is nearly here in Japan, and the most eager flowers have already started to bloom. Plum trees are covered in blossoms, johnny jump ups, and daffodils are plentiful. The park was very big, and although very few areas had flowers in bloom, the whole park was amazing. Ben and I found it very refreshing to not be able to see any skyscrapers. The air smelled fresh, and there was a constant breeze from the ocean. Ben and I loved it there.

Daffodils are my favorite flower. I think they look a goofy, energetic, and very beautiful. There was a field of daffodils that absolutely took my breath away, I had never even imagined such a place was possible. The daffodil viewing area was perfect, all around the daffodils were plants that thrived in march, so there were plum trees, and rapeseed all around. The air was impossibly fragrant. The ocean breeze mixed with all the blooming flowers was pure ecstasy. I was almost in shock from finding my own personal slice of heaven.

This is what I think heaven looks like. 

Ocean view.

After the seaside garden we went to a fish market. I personally do not have flattering words to describe a fish market. For most of my life, I had a deep seeded phobia of all things fish related, and that part of me was yelling at me. Five year old me cried and ran as fast as she could, but 24 year old me actually really loved the energy and vibe of the whole situation.
The people were really fun to watch and interact with. They looked at Ben and I, and would throw english words at us, they often had nothing to do with the situation.

I like the leaves over the octopuses, I feel like it makes them look modest.

There were so many types of fishermen, with so many different attitudes. Many were the result of the hard job, they had gravely voices, skin like leather, and let their fish advertise themselves. Others were quite chipper, and very funny. My favorite interaction was with a man who said with much enthusiasm that he could tell that Ben was an American because he had an enormous nose. He did this while miming the honking of a clowns nose. I could not stop laughing, neither could Ben.

Money is made from the bark of this tree.
Ben and I spent the day at Tsukuba botanical gardens. Yesterday and today were beautiful sunny days. It was nice to spend sometime outside, out of the city. It is still very cold, so Ben and I really enjoyed the green houses at the gardens.

Plum Blossoms

In Japan, at sites for tourism there are stamps for you to put in books, or on what ever you want. The gardens placed stamps throughout the grounds, and as an incentive to get all of them, there was a prize, stickers. Although we didn’t need an added incentive to see the whole gardens, it was a fun touch.

There was an entire greenhouse devoted to water plants, I had never seen anything like it. There was also an outdoor watergarden with carpe, but it was still too cold for things to be growing.

We saw and heard a lot of birds today.