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Tokyo Day 8 (Wednesday)


Pushy Pretty Neko
Originally uploaded by Katherine Donaldson
I don't know that we did anything touristy today, unless you count walking around with a big camera, and I do that at home too. Being in Japan is starting to feel normal. We've been here just over a week now. I'm used to not understanding most of what people say to me, I'm surprised when I hear English. The CoCoCurry woman was speaking to me in English, until I said one too many word in Japanese, Kodomo wa, when I was ordering for Rebecca, and then she switched to Japanese and expected me to order for Jesse suddenly, and I didn't really understand more than 20% of what she said. If that. It was sort of silly. It makes me feel like I shouldn't try to speak Japanese, because I don't understand it well enough, but of course that's not a very useful approach. I guess the correct approach is constantly feeling embarrassed and saying wakarimasen constantly.

Rebecca slept quite late this morning, 7:15 or so, of course she woke me up at 6:30 anyway. I used the time to attempt to research which Tokyo metro stations are handicapped accessible, but all I found was a forum thread from stroller moms with no real compilation, and the name of a book of station maps that I could buy if I could find it somewhere.

We were pretty rushed getting out, Jesse didn't get out of bed until 8 to 8, because he can't see the clock and didn't hear me tell him when it was 7:30. So he claims. :-) So we just had breakfast at ChoCoCro, which was okay. Rebecca ate a tiny bit.

Then Rebecca and I wandered up and around Tokyo Dome City and La Qua, well, Rebecca was wandering with a small amount of direction, and I was following her. In the La Qua plaza she played with a pushy little Japanese boy for a while, that was cute, and I bought three Moomin ornament/charms, Little My, Moomin, and Snufkin.

Then we explored around Korakuen Station until we figured out a way to get in that didn't involve stairs, once we made it to the ticket gate a much more optimal way into the station was obvious, using a ramp instead of walking a block, taking an elevator, and then walking back underground and then taking another elevator. At least we had an easy way out when we came back. The Marunouchi line has solid chest high sliding gates bordering the train tracks to keep you from jumping in, the first time I have seen protected tracks.

Ikebukuro is a pretty big station. Wikipedia says it is the busiest station in Tokyo, but although there were an awful lot of people there, and with the large department stores, Tobu and Seibu, on each side, and people walking through the station to get under the tracks, anyway, big, lots of people. We walked around the 7th floor, the children's department (in both department stores actually, is that customary?) for a while, they had lots of cute ~$50 pairs of children's shoes, and adorable clothes, none of which I got for Rebecca. I wanted to, but she really has plenty of hand-me-down clothes, so I really can't justify buying her $60 pairs of pants. Even if they do have kawaii bunnies on them. We made it through the clothes to the toy department, and managed not to buy anything there either. We played at a Lego Duplo table for a little while, but Rebecca still isn't ready for Duplo, I think that probably comes after being good at shape sorting boxes, and she wasn't coordinated enough to cut apart the pretend velcro fruit either, lacking the same spatial relation skill that will let her properly orient the knife with the velcro seam.

Then we wandered down and around and through the station until we made it out the other side, and struck out for Sunshine City in a haphazard compass orientation fashion. We found Minami Park, with swings, just in time to keep Rebecca from taking her nap. She was apparently so cute that two separate people wanted to take her picture. One was a set of young men mumbling "Kawaii! Kawaii!" I assume they were sincere, and not trying to hit on me, or shooting kids on swings for some strange fetish site. I at least like to think that I have a pretty good psycho radar, and Rebecca is pretty adorable when she's carefully sitting on the big-girl swings.

Then we made it under the expressway to Sunshine City, where I figured out that the Gyoza Stadium was part of Namjatown. The maps in the mall weren't the easiest to read, but we made it there, (there was a really cute coat on the way there I want, but I remembered I did already get a coat at REI, so I guess I probably don't really need it,) and finally managed to get ahold of Deanna, who we met there around 1:45.

The Gyoza were yummy, and the ice cream was pretty good. I would have to say that the highlight of the experience was the haunted toilet. You really don't expect the character of a place to extend to flashing lights and cackling when you sit down on the toilet. And I really couldn't expect to convince Rebecca to stand quietly on the floor when I shut the latch and the lights went out... The whole thing shut down and left me in peace after about 30 seconds of cackling, so I'd have to give the whole thing two thumbs up. The other highlight was that as a stroller user I got a special ticket that I could put in the camouflaged elevator door lock. The whole place was like a RPG town come to life really, Deanna was making jokes about going up to people and pressing 'A' to talk to them. There was also a pretty merry-go-round with unpainted wooden horses, and faux marble statues on pillars that animated when the merry-go-round started up. Deanna thought it was a little bit creepy, and I suppose it was a bit dark, but also dreamy.

After that we walked back to the station together, then Rebecca and I went up to the Loft on the top of the Seibu buildings. They had a craft section, so I at least got to buy some nicely packaged 1/9m squares of fabric. I could have gotten full meters, but I just wanted some small patterned pieces for small projects.

I'd noticed that the elevator floor we'd gotten off at had also been labeled 'roof', and indeed, you could go out on the roof, and there were planters and benches, and icecream stands, and a plant nursery, and what looked like a fish section... it was a large roof. We played out there for a while, and then we thrashed our way back to our subway line and got back to Korakuen station. It was odd going out of the station, because I realized where I was from when I'd walked past the park outside the station from a completely different direction and altitude. I'd come out where the playground I'd found with Rebecca last Friday looked down on - the garden next to the station is about 30' below the playground, they are both built into a pretty steep hill. It is a comfortable feeling, getting to the point where I know a place from lots of directions.

Then we met Jesse for dinner at CoCoCurry, and then Rebecca and I came back to the hotel and read books and ate raisins and played with barrettes.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Oct. 11th, 2007 02:49 am (UTC)
Another superb travelogue
I laughed, I sighed and I giggled...keep those pictures coming and all your great work! love, mom
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )