A Backyard Koi Pond: The Ultimate in Relaxation

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Mia and I in front of the relaxing koi pond.

Mia and I in front of the relaxing koi pond at my parent’s house.

It’s 2014 and my family and I just returned to Finland a few days ago after spending three weeks back at home in Florida for the holidays.  We have gone nonstop for the past year with the move and my husband’s busy job, so we really needed some time to recharge, thaw out, and just turn everything off for a couple of days.  We were successfully able to do so mostly because my dad decided to put in this amazing koi pond for my mom a little over a year ago.  My mom is from Okinawa, Japan, and one of her dreams has always been to have a koi pond in her backyard.  Well, my dad jokes that he has heard her say that she has wanted one the whole time they have been married (40 years this year).  So, if he was going to finally put one in for her, he was “going to make damn sure it was a really nice one, so he wouldn’t have to hear about one for the rest of his life!”

Well, he successfully did so after finding a company that installs koi ponds in the Central Florida area and to our surprise, construction finally began on my mom’s koi pond and was finished in only a couple of days! This corner of their backyard has turned into an amazing sanctuary where you can sit on one of the benches and listen to the sounds of the waterfall and truly feel yourself completely relax.  My daughter Mia has spent hours upon hours playing and catching little minnows and frogs at the pond.  There is even something so tranquil about feeding the koi (nishikigoi) and watching them come to the surface and swim around each other while they eat.

There is a lot involved in the pond such as the pump, waterfall feature, bubblers, UV lighting to control the algae, the filter, and testing the water.  But, overall there is not much upkeep to it other than feeding the koi everyday and cleaning out the filter. There are about 30 koi total in the pond as well as minnows and frogs.  The plants have really grown in since the install and although the lily pads that were originally put in looked really nice, they have all been eaten by the koi.  Here are a few photos of the koi pond in my parent’s backyard:

A backyard koi pond: The ultimate in relaxation!

A backyard koi pond: The ultimate in relaxation!

A few of the koi coming up to the surface to eat.

A few of the koi coming up to the surface to eat.

Mia spends a lot of time with this little net catching some of the minnows in the pond.

Mia enjoys spending a lot of time with this little net catching some of the minnows in the pond.  She puts them in a bucket and then returns them back to the pond.

So tranquil… the beautiful koi peacefully swimming around the pond.

Ahhhhh…its ‘s so tranquil watching the beautiful koi peacefully swimming around the pond.  You could easily want to spend all day here!

Mia was so happy to catch one of the frogs in the pond!

A koi pond is loads of fun for kids…  Mia was so happy to finally catch one of the frogs in the pond!

My mom and Mia on one of the rocks in front of the waterfall at the koi pond.

My mom and Mia enjoy spending lots of time relaxing at her backyard koi pond.

After 30 years… Our trip back to my homeland: The Beautiful Island of Okinawa, Japan!

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The big day is almost here… We will be flying to Finland tomorrow!!! It has been a very busy week getting everything packed, but we are looking forward to starting our new adventure! I am finally posting the photos from our trip back to my homeland. It was an amazing experience and also a very emotional one. It was so nice to see all of our family in Japan after so many years and also to meet many of them who were not born until after we moved away. I had forgotten how beautiful it was… It felt like we were in paradise!!

First evening in Okinawa. Dinner with some of our family! June 5, 2013. — at Okinawa|沖縄.

First evening in Okinawa. Dinner with some of our family!
June 5, 2013. — at Okinawa|沖縄.

Our first evening together with our family!

Our first evening together with our family!

What an amazing view! at Itoman-Shi, Okinawa.

What an amazing view! at Itoman-Shi, Okinawa.

Such a peaceful place! — in Itoman-shi, Okinawa.

Such a peaceful place! — in Itoman-shi, Okinawa.

My mom at the WWII memorial site.  She is pointing out her uncle and great grandfather.

My mom at the WWII memorial site. She is pointing out her uncle and great grandfather.

The Cornerstone of Peace memorial.

The Cornerstone of Peace Memorial.

Mia and her daddy enjoying some beach time at sunset. — at Araha Beach Okinawa Japan.

Mia and her daddy enjoying some beach time at sunset. — at Araha Beach Okinawa Japan.

So cool... meeting my Aunt for the first time at the airport and her purse matched my wallet!  I gave it to her as a gift before we left! :)

So cool… meeting my Aunt for the first time at the airport and her purse matched my wallet! I gave it to her as a gift before we left! 🙂

Mia and her cousin feeding Koi fish.

Mia and her cousin feeding Koi fish.

This is a cave that I visited 30 years ago on a school field trip! It was amazing! — at Gyokusendou Caves.

This is a cave that I visited 30 years ago on a school field trip! It was amazing! — at Gyokusendou Caves.

Mia and I with our cousin — at Gyokusendou Caves.

Mia and I with our cousin — at Gyokusendou Caves.

At Gyokusendou Caves.

At Gyokusendou Caves.

A beautiful waterfall in the cave. — at Gyokusendou Caves.

A beautiful waterfall in the cave. — at Gyokusendou Caves.

Being brave at the Habu Snake show!  — at Habu Museum Park, Okinawa.

Being brave at the Habu Snake show! — at Habu Museum Park, Okinawa.

Having fun on our last full day in Okinawa! — at Okinawa world.

Having fun on our last full day in Okinawa! — at Okinawa world.

Mia and I having fun in front of the beautiful Shisa dogs. — at Okinawa world.

Mia and I having fun in front of the beautiful Shisa dogs. — at Okinawa world.

At my Aunt's home for an amazing family dinner!

At my Aunt’s home for an amazing family dinner!

Our family butsudan at my Aunt's house.

Our family butsudan at my Aunt’s house.

Mia and her cousin having fun!

Mia and her cousin having fun!

Danny enjoying some good food and drink!

Danny enjoying some good food and drink!

Mia and I on the balcony where we are staying in Okinawa... very close to where I was born! June 9, 2013. — at Okinawa|沖縄.

Mia and I on the balcony where we stayed in Okinawa… very close to where I was born! June 9, 2013. — at Okinawa|沖縄.

Danny and I at the beach where we stayed.  We are very happy to be back together again! ♥

Danny and I at the beach where we stayed. We are very happy to be back together again! ♥

Mia having fun at the playground close to where we are staying... June 9, 2013. — at Pirate Ship Park, Araha Beach.

Mia having fun at the playground close to where we stayed… June 9, 2013. — at Pirate Ship Park, Araha Beach.

Our family at my Aunt's house.

Our family at my Aunt’s house.

Mia and her cousin enjoying the yummy dinner my Aunt's family prepared for us. It was amazing!!

Mia and her cousin enjoying the yummy dinner my family prepared for us. It was amazing!!

Mia playing with all of her cousins! They had a blast together!

Mia playing with all of her cousins! They had a blast together!

Mia and her cousin. They are the same age and only one day apart! March 15th and March 16th. :)

Mia and her cousin. They are the same age and only one day apart! March 15th and March 16th. 🙂

Mia trying on her cousin's cool school backpack.

Mia trying on her cousin’s cool school backpack.

At Camp Lester... where I was born!

At Camp Lester… where I was born!

My mom and I in front of the hospital where my older brother and I were born in the same room, by the same doctor, and exactly two years apart!

Where it all began… My mom and I in front of the hospital where my older brother and I were born in the same room, by the same doctor, and exactly two years apart! We were told that this hospital would be torn down later this year. So glad that we made it back when we did!

The glass bottom boat tour to see all of the beautiful coral and fish. It was unbelievable!

We had a lot of fun on a glass bottom boat tour to see all of the beautiful coral and fish. It was unbelievable!

Having fun on the glass bottom boat ride!

Having fun on the glass bottom boat ride!

Mia and I on the beach. Mia and her daddy drew a note in the sand for me. :)

Mia and I on the beach. Mia and her daddy made a note in the sand for me. 🙂

My family enjoying an afternoon together at the beautiful aquarium.... — at Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium.

My family enjoying an afternoon together at the beautiful aquarium…. — at Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium.

Entrance to the Churaumi Aquarium.

Entrance to the Churaumi Aquarium.

Mia and I enjoying the beautiful view... — at Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium.

Mia and I enjoying the beautiful view… — at Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium.

An amazing tank at the Aquarium!

An amazing tank at the Aquarium!

Mia at the aquarium.

Mia posing with a cool fish at the aquarium.

At my family gravesite. Reunited with my mom's Uncle and his wife. We had to cut through the jungle behind us to get to it.... Luckily, there were about 12 of us to hike through it together. Yikes!!!

At my family gravesite. Reunited with my mom’s Uncle and his wife. We had to cut through the jungle behind us to get to it…. Luckily, there were about 12 of us to hike through it together. Yikes!!!

We made it through the jungle to my family's gravesite.

We made it through the jungle to my family’s gravesite.

Danny introduced my Great Aunt to Angry Birds! :)

Danny introduced my Great Aunt to Angry Birds! Now all of my family in Okinawa are playing the game!

This was on the drive to Motobu.

This was on the drive to Motobu to visit my family’s gravesite.

Grocery shopping... Holy Daikon! — at Okinawa|沖縄.

Grocery shopping… Holy Daikon! — at Okinawa|沖縄.

Our last dinner in Okinawa. We miss all of the yummy food!

Our last dinner in Okinawa. We miss all of the yummy food!

I will end with my favorite photo from our trip. Mia couldn't stop laughing from these Doctor Fish! ;)

I will end with one of my favorite photos from our trip. Mia couldn’t stop laughing from these Doctor Fish! 😉

Our exciting adventure in Tokyo, Japan

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This post will include some of the photos from the Tokyo area of our trip and the next post will include photos from our visit to my homeland: the beautiful Island of Okinawa, Japan. We really enjoyed our trip to the Tokyo area of Japan and were able to experience many beautiful sights as well as some amazing food! Visiting the Tokyo area was a first for all of us and the most exciting part was our ride on a bullet train! Wow, what an amazing experience that was!! I’m sure the look on all of our faces after the first one flew by us while we were waiting for our train was priceless! The sound of them flying by will certainly make you jump and say, “Wow!!!!!” right afterwards!

The highlight of our trip for Mia was when we visited the location of the Hachiko statue from her favorite movie, Hachi: A Dog’s Tale.

Mia in front of the Hachi statue! The highlight of her trip to Tokyo! at Shibuya Station.

Mia in front of the Hachi statue! The highlight of her trip to Tokyo! at Shibuya Station.

My mom, Mia and Mayu at the Hachiko Statue!

My mom, Mia and Mayu at the Hachiko Statue!

A cool building in Atami!

A cool building in Atami!

Mia feeding Koi fish at a restaurant in Tokyo.

Mia feeding Koi fish at a restaurant in Tokyo.

My mom and her family at Atami Station.

My mom and her family at Atami Station.

View of Atami.

View of Atami.

Our cool room for a night... sleeping the traditional way (on a tatame)!

Our cool room for a night… sleeping the traditional way (on a tatame)!

One of the many amazing meals from our trip!

One of the many amazing meals from our trip!

My cousin and I having fun at dinner!

My cousin and I having fun at dinner!

Mia and I getting ready for a hot bath (onsen)!

Mia and I getting ready for a hot bath (onsen) in the robes they gave us at check-in!

A beautiful butterfly near Mt. Fuji.

A beautiful butterfly near Mt. Fuji.

On a side road near Mt. Fuji.

On a side road near Mt. Fuji. Not going to say why we are on a side road… that was a whole other adventure all by itself! 😉

My mom reunited with her two brothers!

My mom and her two brothers finally reunited after 30 years!

Enjoying some sake! Kampai!

Enjoying some sake! Kampai!

Mia relaxing after the bullet train ride at Atami Station!

Mia relaxing after the bullet train ride! at Atami Station

My family in front of the Sensoji Temple in Tokyo.

My family in front of the Sensoji Temple in Tokyo.

Mia and I at the Sensoji Temple.

Mia and I at the Sensoji Temple.

Sensoji Temple.

Sensoji Temple.

Mia with her fortune and her Godzilla toy she picked out! Lol

Mia with her fortune and her Godzilla toy she picked out! Lol

Mia and I at the Sensoji Temple.

Mia and I at the Sensoji Temple.

Mia and her daddy at the Sensoji Temple.

Mia and her daddy at the Sensoji Temple.

My mom and I at the Sensoji Temple.

My mom and I at the Sensoji Temple.

Peaceful... at Sensoji Temple.

Peaceful… at Sensoji Temple.

Tokyo Skytree.

Tokyo Skytree.

We enjoyed way too much sushi!

We enjoyed way too much sushi!

Holy Wasabi!! Ask the chef and you shall receive....

Holy Wasabi!! Ask the sushi chef and you shall receive….

My cousin enjoying a tall mug of beer!

My cousin enjoying a tall mug of Asahi beer! Love her! 😉

On the bullet train!

On the bullet train!

Bullet Train! Wow!!!

The Bullet Train! So cool!!!

Our view of Mt. Fuji from the plane ride to Okinawa! Wow!!

Our view of Mt. Fuji from the plane ride to Okinawa! Wow!!

I will end with a photo Mt. Fuji that I took from the plane ride to Okinawa! I felt so lucky to get this shot. Amazing!!!

I will end with a photo of Mt. Fuji that I took from the plane ride to Okinawa! I felt so lucky to get this shot. Amazing!!!

Our family is finally reunited and our VERY long awaited family reunion in Japan!

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Word on the street is that I need to update my blog!! So sorry, I am a little behind…. things have been crazy here!!! We are very busy packing up the house and are down to only one week until our move to Finland! Wow! It has been a great couple of weeks of family reunions for us. The first photos are from Danny’s return home from Finland and the rest are the airport pics from our trip to Japan. It had been 30 years since my mom and I had been home to Okinawa, so it was a VERY long awaited family reunion! I will post the rest of our photos from our trip in my next two blog posts.

Tears of Joy!  Sorry this photos is blurry... mom was too excited to hold the camera straight! Lol

Tears of Joy! Sorry this photo is blurry… mom was too excited to hold the camera straight! Lol

At the airport in Orlando... getting ready to leave for our Japan trip!

At the airport in Orlando… getting ready to leave for our Japan trip!

At the airport in Tokyo.... Reunited with one of my mom's brothers and meeting his daughter for the first time!

At the airport in Tokyo…. Reunited with one of my mom’s brothers and meeting his daughter for the first time!

At the airport... Greeted by some of our family. We made it to Okinawa!

At the airport… Greeted by some of our family. We made it to Okinawa!

My mom and her Aunt reunited at the airport!

My mom and her Aunt reunited at the airport!

Less than 24 hours and our family will FINALLY be reunited!!! Yippeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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We are FINALLY down to only hours until our family is reunited!!! Danny will be boarding a plane in Finland in about 5 hours and will be on his way home to Orlando! Mia will finally get to finish her bike riding lessons with her daddy and I will get to sleep in for my b-day on Friday (Mia’s an early bird like her daddy and I am a night owl so I could really use some sleep)!!! We are so excited that the day is almost here and have a very busy month ahead…

We will be leaving on Saturday for our long awaited trip home to Japan. We will spend a few days in Tokyo visiting family as well as Mt. Fuji and then we are off to Okinawa (where I was born). We are very excited to finally be reunited with our family in Okinawa which we have not seen in almost 30 years! We will then return home for a short period and will be off to Finland for our big move on the 28th of June!

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