Friday, 17 August 2012

Trip to Tottori - Part One

We live in Tottori prefecture. It's not a well-known area, even within Japan, but one of its few claims to fame is its sand dunes, on the coast just outside Tottori city. Part of me wants to tell you how beautiful and impressive the dunes are; part of me wants to say 'you've seen sand, right?'...

Anyway, playing on the sand theme, there has been an exhibition of sand sculptures held near the dunes annually for several years now. We went to the first one in 2009, when K was the age T is now, and decided to go again this year. The first exhibition was held outdoors but since then they have built a big shed exhibition hall to house the sculptures. Previous themes for the sculptures have included 'Folk Tales' and 'Africa'; this year, taking into account the Queen's Jubilee and the Olympics, the theme was the UK!

We drove over to Tottori and got to the dunes in the early afternoon (after a delayed start due to having to take T to the doctors for some terrible mosquito bites, poor little boy). There was a high walkway around 3 sides of the exhibition, allowing for a good overall view of the sculptures from above, before we went down to see them all close-up.

Windsor Castle - can you spot the skull in the trees?

The reign of Queen Elizabeth I

Celebrating Shakespeare

Darwin and Newton - K was pleased to see Jupiter

K's favourite sculpture of them all was of the Queen!
 After much admiring of the sculptures (all made of only sand and water, no kind of glue at all), we checked into a hotel and had an early dinner, much to T's delight:

Then it was out again, to the true destination of this trip: Saji Astro Park. Everything a planet-obsessed 4 year old could want!

We looked around the exhibits downstairs for a while, including meteorites to handle, moon dust to look at through a telescope, a big interactive Earth and (K's and my favourite) models of the planets suspended from the ceiling.

Then at 8pm we went up to the observatory to have a guided tour of the stars, using this huge telescope!

Actually it was a bit cloudy so we couldn't see as much as we might have, but we did see a few cool things. I'm not sure I could tell you exactly what they were though.... The star Vega, a doughnut-shaped (that was the technical term, honestly!) collection of stars (?) and some lovely sparkly thing, among others.

K was a bit scared when the huge telescope moved around, but overall he really enjoyed it. And T? He fell asleep in the car on the way there and stayed asleep the whole time, despite being moved into the pushchair and dragged up stairs. Before leaving we changed his nappy, brushed his teeth and put his pyjamas on, all with T in a half-asleep state, and then he slept again on the way back! K also got ready for bed before we left the observatory and then fell asleep in the car, so that all we had to do at the hotel was carry two sleeping little boys into bed.

No comments:

Post a Comment