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Tokyo Day 10 (Friday)


Moomin Cafe
Originally uploaded by Katherine Donaldson
I just had an excellent dinner, and most of an enormous beer that I didn't order, so we'll see if I can make it through this.

Rebecca slept to the civilized hour of 7am, and we were mostly out the door a bit after 8am so that we could have a final breakfast with Jeff, who left today, at the Moomin Cafe. In the process of getting ready I wacked my head/brow-ridge on the window sill when I was picking up the phone that had gotten knocked off the table. The window ledge was much harder than I would have expected. Also Rebecca is freaking out more about the shower running when she's taking a bath and we're sharing. Unfortunate because playing in the bath keeps her entertained while we get ready.

Breakfast was nice, and Rebecca and I hung around for another hour until the supermarket in La Qua opened at 10am hoping that they would have diapers, because we got them at a supermarket in Kyoto last time. They only had food though, so I had a mangled Japanese conversation with an AM/PM clerk, looked through the wrong building, I thought she'd either said, that building, third floor, or three blocks that way, and it turned out to be three blocks that way. Pretty long blocks too, but eventually we found the pharmacy. The nice lady at the pharmacy pointed at the wall behind her and said 'soto' when I asked her where the diapers were, and I was confused, because the wall behind her was full of drugs, but eventually I figured out she meant *outside* the pharmacy, on the other side of the wall she was standing in front of. Which should have been obvious, because I'd seen toilet paper stacked up outside on the way in. So we got a much too large package of diapers for only four days. But we'd gotten down to ZERO diapers remaining before finding the pharmacy, so I was quite glad to have anything. Having no diapers remaining in a foreign country is not the most comfortable position to be in.

Rebecca was getting fussy and sleepy, and I really didn't want to miss her nap time today, since I'd managed that the last two days. So even though we went buy a bookstore that I really wanted to go into, I just walked past. I need to keep walking to get Rebecca to fall asleep in the stroller, if I stop she starts whining that she wants to get out and 'wa(l)k'. I started to walk around the block, thinking that she was almost asleep, but then I thought she wasn't really, and I was better off using the time to get to the hotel so I could make it somewhere interesting before she woke up again. So I just turned around and headed back to the hotel. I couldn't really see making it through a train station with this big package of diapers if we needed to take the stairs, so we had to hit the hotel before going anywhere far. Of course she did fall asleep in another block, so I could have just walked around the block we were on, and been somewhere interesting to browse while she was asleep. I was annoyed at myself, because I knew I would be annoyed at myself when I decided to continue on to the hotel, if that makes sense, or something.

So we went back to the hotel, and I used the annoyingly slow inter-magic to find book stores, and decided just to go to the used bookstore neighborhood near our hotel. It was a little bit surreal, because the first place I went in was full of craft books, which was what I was looking for, but they were all in English. It even took me a couple minutes to figure that out. I mean, great, they're in English, but that isn't really what I'm shopping in Japan for, books that I can pick up back home... But they did have some Japanese books, I picked up a magazine and a magazine-ish book full of emotional felt vegetables. Rebecca woke up after I'd only been there about 15 minutes, probably because it was so quiet, so I was glad I hadn't used the time trying to get somewhere further. She was hungry, or she said she was, and she should have been, but she wasn't really, and I was hungry, so we just picked up a suspicious looking bento from an old woman in a little hole in the wall across the street, that may or may not have been a week old, but probably wasn't. She hobbled out from behind her counter and flipped the light on above the bentos when we walked in the door. Err.

So I push and pushed the stroller up and up the hill to Kitanomaru Park, which is sort of a cast-off section of the Imperial Palace Grounds. We sat down on a nice bench in a shady path, but the mosquitoes came out and stared biting me, so we walked back out to a sunny patio where people were intermittently smoking, and ate there for a couple minutes. Rebecca had maybe five pieces of spaghetti, frustrating. Then we meandered through the park at Rebecca's painfully slow pace, stopping to say hi and flirt with random people, and dig up dirt and rocks, and try to climb over fences. The mosquitoes weren't too bad because we were mostly in the sun, but I think I got so over-bitten last week that every time I get a little bite now all the old bites reactivate. Too bad I forgot about mosquitoes when we were at the pharmacy. Eventually we made it to the Craft Gallery, a branch of the Modern Art Museum. Rebecca was amazingly well behaved, and we basically went through the whole place pointing at things and saying either bowl, box, table, or vase. It was a pretty pretentious and sparse display, and I wouldn't really recommend it. They did have a couple of magnificent modern-art baskets, they were swoopy with loopy curves and fans, not practical at all, but quite beautiful woven sculpture. The other thing they had was a gigantic red woven hand and wrist coming out of the wall, it was about 8 feet tall, with three foot, or more, fingers.

Next we went to the Science Museum, also in Kitanomaru Park, and Rebecca was less well behaved. We missed a robot show by 15 minutes, which was unfortunate, but they did have lots of robots displayed, and a smallish - 5ft tall - animatronic dinosaur that would wink, or maybe blink, you could only see one eye at a time, and open and close its mouth at you. Rebecca liked that, and the robotic pet seal of the future. We also watched two 3D movies, one at the beginning and one at the end. which I think she enjoyed, or at least was facinated by. She'd jump a bit every time something flew past us, but didn't move other than that, or make a sound, the entire time. Really she was way to young for the museum, but we made the best of it anyway.

After that it looked like it was about to start pouring, and we started to head back to the hotel. On the way we met two little Japanese boys and their mom looking at an amazing dragonfly on the pavement, so we joined them. It was black with a bright gold pattern. Sugoi! Beautiful and dramatic.

On our way back to the hotel we passed by the entrance to the controversial Yasukuni shrine, with its unconventional toriis, the first an enormous distressed steel structure that looks a little like an old ship hull, the next looks like greenish weathered copper, and the third and final torii is weathered grey uncoated wood that looks like bleached bones. You can tell that I had to keep walking just a little further in, can't you? The whole thing was really pretty dramatic and compelling from an artistic stand point.

Then we finished the walk to our hotel, past a gaggle of school girls emerging from a faceless building, and down a very steep hill.

Rebecca and I played for half an hour with Japanese kids shows with muppets and cartoons playing in the background, then met Jesse for dinner at a really nice and friendly little place. He and Jeff have eaten there several times, and just take the chef's choice menu since they can't read anything else, and that's what we had too. The chef made cute little bunny rabbit apple slices for Rebecca. And I can't say that the meal was remotely vegetarian, but whatever. Probably about five courses, two yummy lumps, then one lump of chicken in a sweet sauce, then half a grilled and falling apart eggplant in a sweet sesame and lemon zest sauce, a plate of sashimi, a basket of tempura, a box of soba, and a bowl of milk pudding, then a tiny cup of hot tea. It was all really really good. Jesse ordered a draft beer at the beginning, and they brought me one too. So I drank it. Rebecca was a little monkey, but spent most of the time distracted and flirting with the two traditionally dressed waitresses, my memory says they were wearing something with kimono sleaves and pants... huh... and they were really nice. By the end we were the only ones there, and one of them was carrying Rebecca around taking pictures of them together with her cell phone. Rebecca even ate a reasonable amount of chicken and apple.

We walked home giggling and trying to figure out what a good annoying drunk song was. And now I'm going to sleep. Just as soon as I sort out my pictures.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Oct. 12th, 2007 10:40 pm (UTC)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!
HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to You with lots of love from all of your family!!
(Anonymous)
Nov. 1st, 2007 07:21 am (UTC)
hello :)
hello :) I stumbled upon your blog as I was trying my luck to search for pharmacies that sell diapers in Tokyo :) I'm living in Singapore & will be going to Tokyo with my family, including my 20-months old daughter, in December. I'll be staying in Ueno. The staff of the hotel which I will be staying in wasn't so sure about where to get too. Well, hopefully I will be able to locate it when I'm there. Keeping my fingers crossed! :)

SM from Singapore
joyful-hands@hotmail.com
katharos
Nov. 1st, 2007 08:26 pm (UTC)
Re: hello :)
I think most actual pharmacies/drug stores sell diapers, but small grocery stores and convenience stores don't seem to, although one in Kyoto did last year, which is why I thought grocery stores might. The large grocery stores, like Max Value, might sell diapers, I'm not sure.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )