We woke up early, although not nearly as early, and met Jeff around 5:30 am to go to the Tsukiji Fish Market. Once we navigated the subway (which didn't have enough elevators) and figured out which direction we were facing when we came up above ground, and got unsolicited direction from a nice old man who knew where all early morning gaijin were going, and braved the gauntlet of hurtling 'Mighty Cars' (mini cargo movers) and trucks through the warehouse/alley, we arrived at the outer-inner fish market. The 'Outer Market' is a couple blocks away, but we didn't penetrate the market as far as the giant fish auctions. It was pretty impossible to get around with the stroller, and it really was pretty dangerous with the mini cargo movers and trucks and bicycles and motor bikes hurtling in all directions carrying styrofoam boxes full of cold fish. We wound our way through the little alleys selling wader boots and mochi and vegetables and knives and plastic gloves and kimono-fabric bags. It was an odd mix of practical wholesale and tourist junk, which is perfectly understandable, since it is a working market pestered by tourists. We did the traditional thing, and had a sushi breakfast. It was incredibly overpriced, probably about twice as expensive as nice sushi in the states, and kind of mediocre. But the ambiance was good, and they had Toro, which is always good. (Okay, actually I think I have had mediocre Toro before, whatever.)
We tried to get a little deeper into the fish market after breakfast, but it isn't like anyone wants you to be there, and it really was a pretty dangerous place to be clueless. So I bought some rubber gloves, since I've been washing Rebecca's bottles, which she still demands and I'm not going to argue with her in a strange country, in really really hot water in the hotel sink with harsh soap. Gloves are awesome. These are really thick too, although they stink as all new ones do. Then we left through a slightly less scary alley, and got lucky enough to see a pallet covered in large frozen fish, looked like salmon by the color of the meat.
Jeff and Jesse took the subway back to the hotel, and then walked to work, while I sat on the edge of a planter and watched Rebecca do her Godzilla stompy walk, flirt with Japanese women, and eat those fun purple grapes that squeeze out of their skin. Then we walked through the Outer Fish Market, the whole day was pretty much a repeat of this, stop for 10 minutes, then force Rebecca in the stroller for 5-10 minutes so I could make some progress back in the direction of our hotel. We were going to go to the Fish Market Museum, which we must have found on a map-sign since I couldn't find it in any of my guide books later, so Rebecca could look at the fish, hopefully at least in interesting pictures, but she was falling asleep by the time we got there, so we went over to a bench in the park running along the Sumida river and nursed a bit before she was totally asleep.
The sun was coming out, and it was getting pretty hot, so I walked back up towards Ginza, bought a plastic imitation lacquer stacking bowl bento set at an interesting little shop, and stopped in at a Tulley's Coffee shop. There were some nice chairs in back, although the smokers room was a little leaky, and I ended up sitting there reading tour books and relaxing with my cheese cake and orange juice through Rebecca's nap. Then she woke up, and I got her a muffin and some milk, which she didn't actually want much of. Then another 5 minute walk up to a park, which turned out to be full of smokers, and traffic fumes, since it was over where the express way dove underground. Another nurse, some playing, and a half hidden changing, then we walked further towards Ginza, where we found a stuffed animal shop. (This post is getting way too long.) We got 4 animals, a Totoro neko-bus, a little luck-in-love lady bug doll which I thought was totally kawaii, and a squeeze-me cow and frog that Rebecca liked. One will probably go to Anya for her birthday when we get back from Japan, unless we find something else.
We walked through Ginza a bunch, through the Sony building which was lame, got some drinks at a Lawson, made it to the Hakuhinkan Toy Park, which was overpriced with crowded tiny elevators, but otherwise was a great place for Rebecca to play with floor displays of toys. I got Jesse some mugs and a little clap-controlled bug robot, and a mini JR train car and 2008 mini month calendar/planner for me, and a wind-up bath toy for Rebecca. She had a lot of fun playing with the construction toys and car tracks. She's really into toy cars right now. And we got some capsule toy mini-busy-box thingys.
Then Rebecca really wanted to go on a swing, so we went to Hibiya park, with a stop for leg stretching and soft serve ice-cream on the way. Looking at the map later I saw that we missed a Godzilla statue by a block! Bummer. We got to the park, and after looking up how to say playground in Japanese, asobiba, actually managed to find a swing set. All of the playgrounds in Japan that we've seen so far have been really dilapidated. So we played, I got more fricking mosquito bites, we played with a little Japanese boy, and then left to walk through the Imperial Palace grounds, since we still hadn't gotten more than half way to our hotel, and it was already 3pm. We made it eventually with progressively more and more breaks for Rebecca to play in gravel, and refuse to go in the correct direction, and I was getting tired and cranky too. Our phone finally managed to call Jesse, we'd tried several times through the day and gotten nothing but a nice voice in Japanese from SoftBank, which I think is voicemail or something, and agreed to meet for dinner at Johnathan's since I was really tired and just wanted easy food. It was smokey, as it seemed everywhere we went yesterday was. Rebecca at least enjoyed playing with the silverware basket for about 20 minutes. Then Rebecca and I went to the room, and Jesse went back to work for his 6pm-8pm meetings. Rebecca wanted to play in the bath, I tried to wash the squid ink out of her clothes in the tub, and then we both pretty much collapsed and went to sleep without doing any getting ready, no teeth brushing or vitamins or whatever.
So, funny tasting milk, too many mosquitos, too many smokers, too tired.