Destination: Osaka, Japan

May 26 – 31, 2015

When mami said we MIGHT go to Japan for vacation, I’m not going to lie, I was pretty excited but then the more I thought about it the more convinced I was that I was just going to stay home. #1.) I was more or less 4 months pregnant, I wasn’t sure if I could handle walking the entire day and #2.) Even If I decided to go Marco couldn’t because he’s in the middle of studying for the STEP 1 USMLE, who’s going to assist me? Well, when I talked to mom she said its okay for me to come even in my current state and they were going to help me out so why not, right? And besides it was the first time I’d be traveling with Marco’s side of the family ever since we got married. I think the last time I traveled with this bunch out of the country was back in 2008 when Marco and I were still dating.

Day 1

All set for Osaka—Mami, Nacho, Pauline, Yaya Dids, Pilica, Mikel, Anya and pregnant me. Today was spent on traveling and settling down in our Hello Kitty apartment courtesy of Mika from Air BnB.

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Pops of red—I ended up matching Pauline’s luggage. Haha

Love this passport holder, thanks so much Ninang Ito.

Japan and their trains. I just love their railway system, it pretty much gets you anywhere just as long as you know how to go about the machines and deciphering which lines to take. We had mami and Pauline on top of that, thanks so much for figuring out the trains, the map, the itinerary and pretty much everything else.

Pauline and Nacho’s area

Mikel and I got this room

Good Lawd…princess Mikel. Haha

Even the bathroom and the kitchen (not in the picture) was stocked up with pink Hello Kitty products, from soap to shampoo to earbuds to towels. I am no fan of Hello Kitty but I couldn’t help it, I was loving the place. It’s very well organized (she had a welcome note for us with a map and btw the pocket wifi was already included in the room rental), the place was clean, the sheets were very plush and comfortable, it felt like our home in Japan.

If you’re planning a trip to Osaka and are interested to check out the Hello Kitty place, Mika has a bunch of these apartments all over the place, please click on the link below.

Air Bnb Mika

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We stayed close to a grocery, a 7eleven and bunch of food places. This one in particular was our go-to one because they had pretty good gyudons at very affordable prices. I understand Sukiya is a restaurant chain all over Japan, we were joking around saying its the Chowking of Japan (of course their food is a lot better)

My Travel OOTD

(TOP:Loose navyblue shirt/ LEGGINGS: black/ ACCESSORIES: fedora hat c/o Pilica, kisses scarf, red round-frame sunglasses, MINTED jewelry necklace/ SHOES: red flats)

Day 2

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN

I just want to clarify that I did not go through any of the rides, I was pregnant bound to a wheelchair and I enjoyed my visit to Universal Studios Japan by just being there. I had fun  eating, taking pictures and buying stuff. Oh yeah, I also enjoyed the Magical lights parade. Thanks so much family for pushing me around the theme park especially Pilica. I really felt like a burden…super sorry.

Tourists on the go

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Obligatory photo with the rotating Universal sign

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This pregnant woman gets a wheel chair…the only ride I could ride

awww…young groupies

Replica of San Francisco’s Fishermans Wharf

Minion-crazy

Hanging out at Sesame Street

Marilyn and Mikel

The infamous Butterbeer (which I think is overrated btw)

(Butter) Beer for me and Butter beer for the baby

Pilica was nice enough to come with me check out this Hello Kitty museum-ish. Oh, did I mention we got to meet Hello Kitty herself. Haha

The day ended with a Magical Lights parade that I extremely enjoyed.

…And a trip to the Anime store just outside Universal.

Day 3: Kyoto

Tenriyu Ji Garden and Temple / Arashiyama Bamboo Groves / Kiyomizudera Temple/ Fushimi Inari Shrine

I can’t drink Green Tea but I think Green Tea Ice cream is perfectly fine

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The Bamboo Groves. Finally we made it!

Couldn’t help myself

We just turned Japanese. 😀

Thanks mami for buying us our kimonos and allowing us to play dress up that night. It was fun literally walking the streets of Japan and even getting on the train wearing our colorful kimonos. They did a pretty good job covering my baby bump, btw.

Day 4

Osaka Castle/ Dotonbori

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Just because everyones convinced I’m getting twins due to the size of my bump. 🙂

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For my eyes only…CRAP!

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Day 5

Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan/ Shopping in Shin Sai Bashi

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Thanks so much Tita Gands and cousin Rei for meeting up with me and treating me out to dinner.

It was really hard to go through all 1,000++ photos and pick a bunch for this entry but I sure had fun reliving Osaka by looking at them, hope you had fun going through this photo diary. I promise to come back, Japan, and next time I’m taking Marco and Spriki with me.

~Rhea

Mik ❤ Poi

While typing the title of this blog entry I almost put “Solon” instead of “Mik”, we should really stop calling him that. All throughout college we were so used to calling him by his last name so naturally we were doing just that during the entire wedding reception, I was actually surprised that we weren’t turning a lot of heads considering that half of Mik’s guests were related to him and they probably had Mik’s last name too. Haha.

Amidst the crazy circumstances and the time constraints, I’m glad we got to witness one of our closest guy friend get hitched to the long time love of his life. I think the last time I saw Solon was right before I migrated to Houston, he moved to Chicago too but in those years that we spent in the US we never found the time to meet up. I’d like to think it was perfect timing for us to still be here, imagine if we moved back to Houston a few months earlier then we would have completely missed this celebration of love.

Like every one else I knew these two were going to end up with each other, it was clearly just a matter of time. Solon and Poi got hitched in the US before coming home to the Philippines so they had a simple renewal of vows by the ocean, in front of closest family and friends. It was a wonderful and intimate celebration and I do have to agree with Missy, the place looked like “Pinterest ideas that came to life”. I loved how everything was charming and rustic. Hats off to Poi…I know how hard it is to plan a wedding fro across the miles but you pulled it off and the details were just gorgeous.

Sharing some photos of this wonderful wedding…

Btw, thanks Ninang Ito for the wonderful Kate Torralba dress, you are a life saver!

LaVista ladies made it to Moalboal

Mrs. and Mr. Marco Mendezona with our little one on the way

Jau and Gelala

When cousins think alike, Kuya JV in yellow too!

This way to the reception. 🙂

Gela, Missy and I waiting for the rain to stop pouring

Little Diego

The set up

Everyone settling down for the night

Classic appetizers

The happy groom and bride

Slicing of the cake

Sandbox—the Kid’s Area

Diego and Mateo having a grand time at the sand box

Tonight’s Menu…Yumm

Tito Marco and Mateo

There were TWO goofballs…

…then THREE

….then FOUR

…and then there were FIVE. Hay nako boys…

I caught my godson coloring the night away

And he’s at it again..

Nacho recruiting the boys to the KLG (Kagat Labi Gang)

Pauline and Nacho

Missy and Andoni

Gela and Jau

Our little family and the Santos(es), the photo bombers

Solon and Poi, thanks so much for having us, it was a fun and relaxed wedding and I’d have to say we enjoyed it immensely. We love you both and we’ll see you in the States.

Congratulations and Best Wishes!

~Rhea

It’s 50-50.

(DRESS: from Mami/ BAG: Gap from Mami/ SANDALS: Parisian/ EARRINGS: Aldo/ NECKLACE: Icing/ WATCH: New York and Co)

At 16 weeks and five days I seriously am noticing a lot of changes in my body and I know women differ in pregnancy changes but people have commented how I’m showing so early in the pregnancy. It has reached a point where I myself wonder how I’ve still managed to squeeze in some of my old clothes but I love my baby bump and I’m actually proud of it. Don’t expect me to be taking any pregnancy photos showing my belly though, I have nothing against it but I guess it’s just not my thing (haha, maybe in the second pregnancy) besides I think my lola (grandmother) would  kill me if she sees me exposing my belly that way.

As I near week 17, we’re getting more anxious to find out the baby’s gender. Marco and I would gladly take a boy or girl or even both (haha) because this pregnancy has been more than we could ever ask for. Now that (we think) we’re ready to be parents and we’ve spent some alone time as husband and wife, we asked God to bless us with a little one and he gave it to us in an instant, now we’re just continuously praying for a safe pregnancy for me and Spriki but for betting purposes Marco’s going for a boy (no surprise there) and I’m going for a girl. I actually know of people who are doing bets on our baby’s gender and I really don’t blame them because from Marco’s side there are 5 of them boys and 2 girls and on my side is the total opposite, there are 5 of us girls and 2 boys which makes the chances 50-50. I guess we’ll see in a week 😀

~Rhea