* I hate the Tokyo subway system. Yesterday went so well, but today was awful.
* After being denied a practical exit from the station I got off at, and taking the line further to a random station, when I got to ground level I found myself humming "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life."
* While I had a pretty difficult day, from Rebecca's perspective I think it was pretty good. She slept through the miles of rain, and when she finally woke up in a random and unplanned part of Tokyo, we were right next to a playground with a swing. On the other hand, ever since we saw Asimo, her day has been hell, because I can't give him back to her. Oh, hey, youtube.
So breakfast at least went reasonably well, Jesse reminded me that there were phrases like "I'd like that without X" in our phrase book, and so I got my egg-cheese-and-ham sandwich without ham quite easily. But then Rebecca ate all the egg out of the center, and half of the cheese bread. Good and bad. I got another one, and she ate some of that too.
We went back to the hotel for a while, then headed out to Nishi-Nippori, with the goal of going fabric shopping, which was an utter failure. The subway station we had to transfer at was an utter boondoggle with up and down and up and down staircases. Once we got there the map I had turned out to be really bad, and even after I matched it up as best I could with the U-R-Here map on a street next to the JR station, I never found any of the stores on it. I ended up walking a couple of miles in the drizzle without finding anything. I eventually came to another subway stop, and got on and went back to the starting point, but there were no elevators out of that station, or escalators even, and Rebecca had fallen asleep. The first time out I had carried the stroller up a long flight of stairs while holding her hand and walking her up, (and a nice man helped me up the last third) but it really isn't safe to go up the stairs with her in the stroller, if it trips me, we'd both end up at the bottom. So with no way out I just got back on the train and tried to figure out where we should go instead. I settled on Nogizaka Station for Jingu Gaien, which turned out to be a private park, no admittance, strike three. (Although we did stop briefly in Nogi-Jinja Shrine, which was just outside the station and full of stone steps, but nice.) The guards at a gated entrance to Jingu Gaien, who turned me away, pointed me across the street to the other half that I'd seen on the map, which was soccer fields and stadiums and didn't look very pretty.
I asked the guards if there was a playground somewhere, and they said yes and waved around arguing so I just went over there. When I got to the information map it was amusing, because it said that the playground was right behind me, and it was. At this point Rebecca woke up, and I dried off the swing for her to play on. We swung, we ate yogurt and Pocky, we didn't eat noodles or red plums or triangle onigiri. We also played in the wet sand, and I took a picture of a graphic sign telling parents to replace the net over the sandbox (which wasn't in place) and not to let dogs or cats use it as a bathroom.
After I'd had as much as I could take of the wet playground we walked back to the nearest subway line that went to our hotel stop, and just as we'd found the elevator down saw that we were next to a Honda exhibition room with a dancing Asimo! It was fun, and we got our picture taken when it was done showing off. The downside of this, was that although I didn't think Rebecca had been that into it, she spent the next three hours constantly saying 'robot' and crying when I told her we couldn't go back and see it. We walked in a big circle, through Aoyama Cemetery, and then back up Aoyama-dori (I think) back to the Honda showcase, so Rebecca could see that the robot wasn't there, and I bought her a stuffed Asimo, which turned out to be not helpful, since it wasn't really what she wanted, but was a nice constant reminder of what she wasn't getting. Note to self, don't do that again.
Then we took the elevator down to the station, but it turned out that there were no elevators down to the line that I wanted, or if there were the station attendant was really unhelpful. I ended up burning a ticket going into and out of the gated section of the station trying to figure that out. I walked around for a bit being angry at the world, then compacted the stroller as best I could and prepared to drag it through yet another stupid three line subway station. Luckily when I came to a long up stair a nice English speaking Japanese man carried my stroller up that staircase, and down the next one. Clearly I need a map of the handicapped accessible subway stations. Why don't any of my guide books talk about this? It is ridiculous, the things that we have had to go through just to get to a subway platform.
So then Rebecca and I hung out in the hotel for a while, watched videos of Asimo on YouTube while Rebecca was alternately engrossed or trying to pry open her Asimo's stuffed head, for some reason I don't comprehend.
Things turned up a bit after that, I was going to stay in, but I needed to get Rebecca out and distracted, and reading 'Dizzy 1-2-3' and 'Hand Hand Fingers Thumb' was only going to get me so far, so I called Jesse and went out to dinner with him and his coworkers. We went and had oden, and it was nice that we had someone to order for us, it was fun and good, with lots of little bowls. Rebecca wasn't exactly an angel, she kept trying to chew on the lacquered paper chopstick holders, and trying to throw things, and she spit iced tea out on the table... god... was she really that bad? But she was also flirting with the waitress who seemed to really like her, so I survived and didn't melt completely under the table. I can take Rebecca out to lunch usually, but by dinner time she can't keep it together. Jesse said they were going to grab a quick bite, not have a 40 dish meal, so I figured we'd be in a ramen shop she could run around in, but oh well. On the way out they gave us little bags of spiced dried banana (I think) sticks, and Rebecca crammed her mouth full of them, so they must be good... And I walked and carried her home, totally past her expiration date.