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Tokyo Day 12 (Sunday)


Karaoke
Originally uploaded by Katherine Donaldson
Probably my last daily entry, since tomorrow will be packing, maybe briefly visiting somewhere close, taking the bus to the airport, a really long flight, getting back home before we left here, and then maybe working for 4-6 hours since I'm out of vacation. And dealing with a cranky jet-lagged baby.

Today was our last full day in Tokyo. It started with lazily getting ready and watching Japanese cartoons and live action kids shows, some variation of Power Rangers and Pokemon-knock-offs. Took a nice bath with Rebecca, the tubs in Japan are much deeper than in America, since it is a culture of bathers good soaking tubs are important. In America I think you can only get the water about 8in deep before it hits the overflow drain, three or so inches below the top of the tub. Here the overflow drain is something over a foot, practically enough to make a good swimming pool for Rebecca, certainly enough to get the water up to her shoulders when she's sitting down.

What did we do this morning? Hmm. We couldn't really figure out what to do, but eventually settled on planning to go to the Moomin Cafe, and then take the Marunouchi Line to Ochanomizu and walk through the musical instruments district, and meet Deanna at some point, hang out, have lunch, do something, and have dinner and Karaoke for my late birthday, which we mostly did. You know, we should have done "It's My Party" or something, but we didn't think of it.

So we actually hung out at La Qua for way longer than we meant to, we had breakfast at the Moomin Bakery & Cafe, which is really a good bakery, even aside from all the awesome moomins. And then I finally got to go on the "Thunder Dolphin" rollercoaster, which took a long time to figure out how to get tickets, and get through the line, and board the coaster. Their boarding procedure needs to be streamlined, there are two trains, and the one that goes through the ride first waits for the people in the station to go through the whole boarding procedure before it can pull into the station, partly because you have to wait for everyone to go through the train and out the other side to put their stuff in the locker corresponding to their train car, and then get back in and have their belt checked, and then there is this long okay 'cheese' procedure where they are taking your picture, which I didn't really figure out until afterwards, but is super-dorky. One of the things I found was interesting was that there was no attempt to pack people into the coaster, in the States if there were two singles they would be expected to sit together, but here they directed you to your own row whether you were single or paired, when you came out of the line they told you the number of your row, and that was where you went, it wasn't first person out of the gate chooses their seat or anything. I guess that is another application of the general rule of personal choice being king in America vs following directions/expectations prevailing in Japan.

And the coaster was great, well, going through the center of the ferris wheel and going through a hole in the building facade were gimmicky, but the first hill and drop were great, it was a great gut-wrenching true free-fall drop. Excellent.

After that we got an iced mocha, and then since we wouldn't let Rebecca drink the coffee and we were walking by a Godiva I got some chocolate ice-cream, and since Deanna had told us about the Chocolixer drink we had to get one of those. For some reason I thought it was a mocha too, but it was just a frozen blended chocolate drink. I thought it was pretty good, but Jesse is a mocha man.

We walked through the mall part of La Qua, and went to a toy/book/stuff store on the 4th floor that was fun. I was tempted by "The Dictionary of Fashion Dolls", a Dolly*Dolly book, but didn't get anything. Jesse was tempted by a 18" tall Mario figure, but didn't get that either. On the way down the escalators to Korakuen Station we got sucked into another plushie store, where they had white baby seals in small, medium, large and enormous, dressed up in costumes as a bunny, bumble-bee, ladybug, turtle, dolphin, adult seal, it was really really cute and they were nice and soft and squishy and awesome. There were too many to choose from though, so we didn't get any of them.

Then we took the train two stops to Ochanomizu, and walked down through the musical instrument region, but it seemed to be mostly guitars with one woodwind shop, and a couple of places that sold violins. All western instruments, and although there may have been some interesting traditional instruments hidden in there somewhere we didn't see them, and Deanna was skeptical that there would be any when she showed up later. We actually ended up spending more time in the bookstore region, which was more what I wanted to do, although I only ended up getting one book, Japanese Dollhouses. Oddly, in the book floor in Yodobashi, and in the bookstore near Sunshine City I instantly gravitated to the craft book section, both times next to the food books, and they both had the sorts of books I was interested in. The bookstores I went in today were larger, and geared towards different things I guess, so they weren't as interesting. I'd like to go back to the bookstore near Sunshine City, Libro, again if I come back to Japan, and they'll have a whole new crop of craft books! Yay! And I'll probably be into different sorts of things than I am now - which are clothes for little girls and things made out of felt.

Anyway, we cased a bookstore that was full of manga and porn and sports magazines, then walked back to the station and met Deanna, and Rebecca fell conveniently asleep, and then we had yummy kaiten sushi and I ate way too much and it was really cheep, and then we walked back through the musical instrument district and then I cased another bookstore which had a great art section with a couple craft books mixed in where I got that Japanese Dollhouses book. Great paragraph-sentence, I know, I know.

After that we sat around trying to figure out what to do, go to a craft museum, go to another museum, or what we ended up doing, going to Kimuraya, the place that invented anpan (buns filled with sweet bean paste), and then the Hakuhinkan Toy Park for toys. Kimuraya was a bakery and not a coffee shop, so we ended up getting some coffee at AMPM since I needed to get Rebecca some milk, and just eating them on the curb, almost on seats in the middle of the closed street, but they were packing them up just when we wanted to sit down.

It was nice being able to walk through the middle of the street in Ginza that was closed to traffic which happens every Sunday. Taking over car-space for pedestrians always feels a little bit forbidden and exciting to me. It certainly changes the feel of a space.

At Hakuhinkan I was forced, literally forced, to buy three more stamps. Well, maybe not forced exactly... anyway Jesse found some puzzle boxes from the numbered Karakuri series that he hadn't been able to get online, so that was an unexpected win. And then we walked an annoying distance to a train station and then an annoying distance underground to the line we wanted to get back to Suidobashi in order to go to the Karaoke place near our hotel that Jesse had found. Not that there are any shortage of Karaoke places in Tokyo. On the way there we picked up some Japanese donut hole things from a street vendor, that I don't remember the proper name for.

Unfortunately we only had an hour at the Karaoke place, and we were just starting to get into it, but Rebecca wanted to leave, she'd climbed over all the furniture several times, and it was really time for her to go to bed. It was harder than I had been expecting, to sing songs I didn't really know without the provided melody of the artist singing. Next time I'll have to think a little about songs that I know that are mainstream enough to be in the catalog, and look up the names of anime theme songs, since I had no idea what they were and no way to figure it out. Anyway, it was fun.

Then I brought Rebecca up to the hotel and put her to sleep, and my adorable husband brought me some togo tempura and some birthday cake.