On New Year's Day, we took the kids for a long, enjoyable bike ride along the river and into the countryside surrounding Fukuyama. On our way back, we stopped at a little, out of the way playground and let the children explore for as long as we could stand the cold wind.
William had fun checking out all of the dinosaur statues.
There were also lots of things to climb and jump on which pleased Theo.
This tube had really interesting acoustics and William enjoyed a few minutes protected from the wind while hearing his own voice amplified.
Scattered throughout the playground were little interactive plinths like this one that shows how to draw a kappa, which is a child and cucumber eating water sprite. They are probably my favourite creature in Japanese folklore so I was pretty excited to learn how to draw one.
We picked up a few Year of the Dragon themed sweet buns from a shop on our way home. Thebuns were made using a plain and green tea flavoured dough and filled with sweet bean paste with chocolate decorations to make them look like dragon heads.
Before we returned home, we stopped at a grocery store near our apartment and bought two fukubukuro, one for the boys and one for Dustin and me. Fukubukuro are mystery bags filled with a random assortment of goods from the store which are sold at a set price which is lower than the actual value of the contents, or is at least supposed to be. I was really hoping that our bag would contain some interesting and surprising new items that I have never had the opportunity of trying. Unfortunately, everything contained in our surprise bag was pretty tame, mostly just snacks. On the plus side, we estimated that we only paid about half of the actual worth of the goods in our bag and we knew that we would be able to use everything in it. Theo picked an Anpanman themed bag for William and himself. It was filled with an assortment of Anpanman candy and cookies which they have both been enjoying over the past week.
The contents of our bag were clockwise from top left: a bottle of tea that tasted like nail polish remover to me, a bottle of water, milk tea mix, 2 cans of coffee, chocolate crackers, senbei, oreos, potato chips, curry mix, seasoning for eggplant stir fry, chocolate covered biscuits, and caramel corn.
I think that fukubukuro are a fun way for a store to get rid of extra merchandise. I am not sure if they would be terribly successful in Canada though, since people there seem to be pickier when it comes to product selection and have way more allergies, intolerances, and food avoidances.