Spending Time With My Sister in Japan

No surprise that her time up in northern Japan with me included a lot of eating.  Lots of food and lots of shopping.  It's just that the pictures of food are much more interesting than the shopping.

First up, ramen.  This is the only ramen I have found that doesn't have pork or other meat.  No idea if there is fish in this but I know they said I could eat it based on my dietary restrictions.  Since my sister has similar dietary preferences, I knew she could eat this to.
Next up is the cute little apple pie I found at Nico Bakery.
One of the first days she was here we went to the fish market in Hachinohe.  I wanted to show her some of the crazy stuff in the market and I thought she would enjoy the sushi here.
I went for this right away.  Giant crab sushi.  So I grabbed it off the conveyor belt and after thoroughly enjoying it I realized this was $8.  Totally worth it!
Tamago, which does contain fish for anyone that is a vegetarian but eats eggs and wants to order this in Japan.  It contains bonito in the dashi, which is used as liquid in cooking this.
Inari, which is rice in tofu skin, which is like a pocket.
Here is what it looks like inside.  This place was so busy.  I am glad we got there as early as we did.  They were seriously coming in by the bus load.
Possibly yellow tail.
Scallops.  Rachel tried this for the first time and realized she likes raw scallops, so we made sure to order some here because scallops are fantastic.  It is one of the top products from the region.
Half way through the meal we wanted to ask about something on the menu and they realized no one brought us an English menu...so they did.  Introducing our sushi menu!  I love it!
And the other side.
Here is what it looks like inside.  Conveyor belt and you can get made to order pieces.
The damage.  And the cool part was that when we were done the server came over and scanned the row of plates and that was how he calculated our total.
And our total wasn't even that much, even with my 800 yen piece of crab sushi.  About $24 for everything.
I had to work while Rachel was visiting but only a few of the days.  One night after work we ended up shopping at the mall and had soba for dinner.  We even decided to dine Japanese style and sit on the floor.

Here is Rachel's cold soba set.
Lots of nice looking tempura pieces.
A big pile of soba noodles.
And I had hot soba with mushrooms.
Lunch on my next day off was at a place called Hibiki.  It is a blueberry farm and also nicknamed the hidden cafe.  I made sure to use GPS to find it.  Surprisingly the GPS worked well and we had no problems.
This place was really cute inside.  It is a converted farm house.  I heard they specialize in vegetable dishes using their own organic produce.  
Unfortunately their lunch menu for the week had chicken for the main entree.  The good news was that we could order everything but the chicken and the price was still very reasonable. 

Here is our vegetable platter.
It also came with rice
and a cold noodle soup.
Here is a close up of one of the salads.
Here is another.
Pretty tasty stuff and I would definitely go back.
Dessert was a milk pudding with strawberry jam.
After lunch we headed to Komaki Resort to use the onsen.  We started off with a nice walk around the little lake and looked at the koi.

These were some massive fish!

Statues we found as we walked around the lake area.
Typical red bridge.  So serene out there.  No one else was around that afternoon.
Here is my sister.  Cutie!
Dinner that night was at one of our favorite places, Yoshino's.  Their restaurant burned down last winter and with support from the community and a strong desire to reopen, they moved to a house across the street and were open for business shortly after in June.

Here is all of the food before he cooked it.  This is for our garlic rice.
For our vegetable dish.
Ryan's steak.
The seafood for me and my sister.
Their garlic rice is simply amazing.
Here is the stir fried vegetable dish.
This is my shrimp dish.  It is cooked hibachi style/teppanyaki.
Here is Rachel's scallop dish.  I love that they served them in scallop shells.
We even managed to get back to the base in time for the parade from the weekend festival.  I was glad I could show Rachel our city festival.
Alice in Wonderland float.

That Saturday we drove out to Aomori, but we let the GPS take us their using a different route.  This took us through the Hakkoda mountains and we got to see some very beautiful scenery.

Our first stop in Aomori was to see Big Buddha.  Here is the temple when you first enter.

This is the 5 story pagoda.
Here is Big Buddha.  I have been here once before but it was when we first moved to Japan.
Too cute not to take a picture of.
Dinner was at a "fancy" French restaurant called Chandola.  Rachel started with a Caesar salad.
We also ate the pumpkin and corn soup.  Yum!
Ryan had a nice pizza.
And my entree was seafood pasta.
As we were walking back to the car we stumbled into a festival.  It was amazing.  We heard music and saw lights so we went down an alley way and found a temple with a musical performance going on.  

It was great to be able to share this experience with my sister.

Driving home was a pain because it was pouring rain, but we did get home safely.  I am thankful for that because others were not as lucky as we were that night, although they were coming from a different location back to the base.  Once we were safe and dry at home we ate some of the desserts that we picked up from the restaurants bakery.  These are both apple flavor.
Oh, we we also brought something chocolate home to try.  Of course!
That ends the first week Rachel was staying with this.  We had a lot of fun.  Many things I was busy enjoying with her and not really photo worthy, but I can say that we had a blast and bought way to much.  She mailed a lot of boxes back home.

QUESTIONS:  When was the last time a family member came to stay with you?  What is your favorite thing to take visitors to see in your city?