Monday, August 31, 2009

The Container

Jack and I were at dinner at a little tapas place in Roppongi. I was bothered by the empty wine box resting between us at the bottom of the table. I had nowhere for my feet to rest. Jack tells me the box is for my purse. I forgot about this. I said, "But how would you know that is for my purse?" He said he looked under all the other tables and saw women's purses and man bags sitting in the baskets and boxes. Duh.

They do that here. They provide a special container to set your purse/bag in at a restaurant, instead of placing it on the 'dirty' floor or on the back of your chair. Last year I was out with 4 girlfriends at a restaurant at the Grand Hyatt. Instead of a basket, they gathered all of our purses set them on a chair and then covered them with a napkin?!?!?!? And at my house, my girlfriend was over, my American girlfriend, and I noticed her purse was sitting in our newspaper basket. I questioned her why it was there and she said she just assumed it was the Japanese bag holder. She has been here a bit longer than us.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Connor's Birthday Outing

Connor was so confused about when his actual birthday was because he had his kid party on Saturday and his birthday was on Sunday. He kept asking us, 'Am I 5 yet?' We didn't have anything planned for the birth DAY. In the morning he repeatedly came into my room while I was sleeping and asked for more presents and when they were all opened he wasn't happy. Hmmmm...did the other two act like this at 5?

So I decided we should take the train to see this 18 meter tall 'Gundam' in Odiba. Odiba is a man made island by the Tokyo Bay. It has it's own list of things to do including shopping, museums, an aquarium, water/onsen park and a giant Ferris wheel. It also has a Statue of Liberty which was fun for the kids to see out the window of the train because we were just at the 'real' one two weeks earlier while visiting my sister in NY. This Gundam reminded me of a transformer and Connor has been obsessed with transformers for quite some time. It was supposed to move it's head and blow smoke - which it did, and it was pretty funny to here the ooohhhh and ahhhhh's of the Japanese upon these highlights.

As we approached Shiokaze Park where the towering Gundam stood there were also hundreds of other people heading in the same direction. Ugh. All the pictures I saw online were of an empty park with a few spectators. But of course we happened to go on the day that there was some sort of Green Tokyo festival surrounding this Gundam guy. It wasn't so bad/crowded at the park, we only lost Connor once. It was the dreaded train ride home with lines and lines of people waiting to get on a train and then the wonderful packed cars with our kids still managing to fight and pinch and cry and I am pretty sure I said, more than once, this is our tourist event for the month. I'm done. Happy Birthday Connor!

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Tonight I am recovering from Connor's 5th birthday party and decided to buy the kids McDonald's for dinner. Another thing I missed - the 2 minute walk to McD's when I'm too tired to cook for my children. So I am standing in line watching this young guy place an order when he flipped open his phone. I thought, 'Hmm, a bit rude,' then he said something to the cashier and I thought, 'Okay, maybe someone is texting him their order.' THEN he places the bottom half of his phone on some disk thing in front of the register which then lit up and apparently that paid for his food! George Jetson , your order is ready.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Part 2

We are back. It's day 3 and unfortunately the jet lag only seems to be getting worse before it's getting any better, for the kids anyway. I have my sleeping pills.

I had two brief conversations with friends long before we left for the summer. The first one was about how I should mentally prepare myself for that 'first' comeback to Tokyo after a summer in the states, that it might be difficult. The second friend said she couldn't wait to get back to Tokyo, and at that time I couldn't imagine that and I remember saying to her, 'Really?' As it turns out for me, for us, we loved seeing everyone back in the states; had a great, great time, but I was more than ready to return to Tokyo - and I believe anyone in close contact with me the last couple of weeks knew this to be true.

Upon stepping foot back onto the 'island' I was happy to be surrounded by people carrying on conversations around me and not understanding anything they said. I realized that I missed being in the minority. I missed the grocery store across the street. I missed the 5 o'clock curfew bell-sort-of-tone that is heard every night across the park. I missed Japanese service. I missed NOT having a car. I missed carrying around a boatload of Yen. I missed our doormen. I missed the vegetable/fruit guy even though all we say is konichiwa and domo. I missed the silly dressed dogs. I missed the view of the park out our apartment window. I missed my bed. I missed more than I thought I would. It feels good to be back.