Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Pregnant Pause...

Wow, there are some serious cobwebs on this blog.  Sorry about that!  I know it's been a looonnngg time since I last posted.  There's probably not anyone out there even reading this anymore, oh well, I've dusted off the keyboard and am writing once again.

The whole time we were in Japan, I felt a little off.  I attributed it at first to being in anew country and then experiencing a major natural disaster.  But neither of those things should have contributed to my clothes feeling just a teensy bit tighter than normal or feeling a little out of breath holding Price.  So, the first thing I did on our very first morning back home was take a pregnancy test, and lo and behold- two pink lines appeared- immediately!

I immediately told Don and we were both a little bit shocked (we had been trying for a while) and a little scared due to some previous experiences.  And then because I know how the Air Force works, went to get blood work done so they could confirm that I was in fact preggo.  Once they confirmed it, we had a little secret that we only shared with our parents because it was so early.

At first I didn't really feel pregnant, just kind of bloated, but at about week 7 or 8, I was more exhausted than I ever remember feeling and randomly sick- especially when I got hot.  Of course, it was about this time that we kept having random hours long power outages.  Those days went kind of like this: eat, power out, pass out in heat induced coma, wake up, puke, listen to Price sing a song a about Mommy puking, evacuate to nearest beach with bag of pretzels and large bottle of water.  We had still only told a handful of people, those here in Guam who would need to know why I was such a zombie puke head and no longer drinking.

During my 12 week appointment (when I thought I was 12 weeks and 6 days, and thinking how close I was to hitting the end of the first trimester), the doctor told me, either I wasn't as far as long as I thought or there was something seriously wrong with the baby.  He said I was probably only 8 weeks, and I cried, because I was thinking if had to do another 4-6 weeks of the no energy, random puking thing I wasn't gonna make it!  Luckily, I had an ultrasound and I was more like 10 weeks and everything looked good.

But I was too tired to cook dinner, much less blog about any of this. I'm entering my 28th week and feel really good.  I'm being monitored because just like with Price, my blood pressure spikes when I go to the doctor.  Being pregnant here in Guam is different than in the States.  Since we have no seasons, I'm not having to adjust to the heat, my body has just accepted the fact that it's hot ALL.THE.TIME!!

So, here I am.  27 weeks pregnant, feeling the baby (it's a boy, which excites me to no end) move more and more every day.  Price is fascinated with the baby, who he calls Peaches or Boonie Baby, and talks to it and tries to hear if it's crying in my belly.  And he told me that he'd kick the baby back the next time it kicked me. My boobs are more out of control than I ever thought possible, but luckily my hormones don't seem to be as kooky this time around- far less irrational crying fits.

But as the time to meet the new man in our life draws closer, and I think about how hard the first few months of Price's life were for me, I get a little worried.  Luckily, Don will be here this time around and I have a great support system full of awesome women who will help me not beat up on myself too much.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Post Traumatic Stress??

I've been intending to write posts from the three days preceding the earthquake and back date them so they'd show up for the date we explored that part of Tokyo.  So, my post about Tokyo Disney would be dated Wednesday, March 9, the date we were actually there.  I've tried to get these posts written, but it's been hard to write about what happened before the earthquake after the fact.  Things have changed so much in Japan since we were there, it seems almost pointless to share my tips/insights about the places we visited.  Some of the places, like Tokyo Disney were damaged fairly badly and aren't even open.  And while Price doesn't remember (or talk about) the eq, but he does remember and talk frequently about Disney.  I shouldn't ignore our fun time there, and should document our good times.

I can't stop thinking about Japan.  Not even subconsciously.  I've had at least one dream about Japan and/or the eq every night for the past week.  They aren't nightmares or even scary, the last one I had I was admiring the beauty of the country.

A social worker friend of mine asked me shortly after I got home if I was having any post traumatic stress issues.  I told her that I definitely was while we still in Japan thanks mostly to the aftershocks and the nuclear problems, but that every day I was back in Guam and in my routine and with no shaking of the ground I was doing better.  And I feel fine, it's just the dreams.  Even though they're not scary, they are like a constant reminder of what we went through, and what we went through wasn't really all that bad.  It was big and it was scary and it caused a little discomfort, but we got out of it with an exciting travel adventure.

So, I am committing to write about the fun we had the few days before and even most of the day of the earthquake.  Check back for "earlier" posts, just know they are being written now, in a post eq state of mind.

PS- I don't think this charity has been screened by Charity Navigator (where you can find a list of other great charities that are helping with relief efforts in Japan), but tomorrow P and I are heading to the BX to send socks to Japan.  We could just write a check to the Red Cross, but I like how they are asking donors to include letters with the socks, and I want to tell the people who receive socks from us how much we enjoyed visiting their country even in the midst of such a tragic event.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


We have been home for a little more than 24 hours now.  My body and brain are finally adapting to being still, although every once in a while, I experience a phantom aftershock.  It's like after being on a boat for a while and when you are finally back on land, you still feel the sway.  Only in my case, I feel a shake or a roll.  

We began making arrangements to leave Japan on Saturday with hopes of leaving on Sunday.  And while there was room on the planes that were leaving, there was no way for us to get the 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the hotel to the airport.  Trains were maybe running, but with 6 pieces of luggage, a two year old and a newly harbored fear of riding trains in an aftershock prone region, I wasn't up for attempting an hour long train ride.  The Airport Limousine buses were not running at all.  And a taxi was a last resort because the fare was going to be ridiculously expensive.  Luckily, Don's brother has many work contacts in Tokyo and he got us in touch with someone who tried to help us by investigating other shuttles and even volunteering to drive us to the airport.

With our flight changed (by the time we felt like we had a way to get to the airport, there were no more seats on Sunday's flights) to Monday, I felt better.  But Saturday night and again on Sunday morning we had two pretty strong aftershocks.  On Saturday, Don did a good thing and made me get out of the hotel and walk around and see that life was going on.  It was better for my psyche to be outside as I felt like if another big one hit, we wouldn't be trapped anywhere.  I don't know what it was, but I was just so afraid of being trapped.  Although I stayed calm the whole time, Don stayed logical.  And we enjoyed some great walks around the hotel's neighborhood.  Price loved it because we always ended up at one of the playgrounds that seems to anchor every neighborhood in Tokyo.  He loved playing with all the other children and I loved how unaware they were.  By watching them, I was able to let go of so much of my fear.

I didn't sleep well Sunday night.  I was woken up by a large aftershock around 2:00 in the morning.  I couldn't fall back asleep because my brain turned on.  But I knew that we had a shuttle to catch in the morning, I just prayed we would get to the airport.  We confirmed our shuttle around 7 and knew we needed to be downstairs by 10:20 to catch it.  When the bellman came to get our bags, he told us that he didn't think the shuttles were running anymore.  As I walked up to the concierge  I had a bad feeling, and it came to fruition when she told me that she was glad I was there because she needed to tell me they had just canceled all of the shuttles to the airport and also that there were no trains running due to the impending rolling blackouts that would start that day to help conserve energy.  At this point, we had five hours to get to the airport and catch our flight.  But then we were told it could take 3 hours to get to the airport and 3 hours to get checked in.  Don was not with me when I found all of this out, and it was at this point I felt like I had finally hit my wall.  I felt a complete loss, and like I had been punched in the stomach.  I started second guessing everything.  Should we check out of the hotel?  should we try to get to the airport?  Should we get a cab to take us to a bus station where we'd have to wait for a seat on a bus that could take 3 hours to get us where we needed to be?  I just didn't know what to do.  

Don joined me at the desk and I delivered the bad news, and we started trying to decide what to do.  I had to step away for a moment and go have my first cry of the whole ordeal.  And then I felt bad for feeling bad for myself since we were safe and comfortable and only being inconvenienced trying to leave.  As Don and I were standing and discussing our options, God intervened and the desk phone rang.  It was someone scheduled on our shuttle, who also HAD to get to the airport.  He was interested in possibly taking a taxi, and the concierge asked if he would share with our family.  And he did!  We had heard several stories about why the shuttles stopped running, but the main theme was the horrendous traffic, so we were still a little concerned that we were going to cut it close.  But there was hardly any traffic at all, we made it to the airport in about an hour.  The man we shared the cab with wouldn't let us pay our half, he took care of the whole thing, and it was an expensive ride- almost $300.

After getting to the airport with plenty of time, we were finally able to do some souvenir shopping (our intended shopping days were interrupted).  And grab something to eat.  Once again at McDonalds.  But the menu was very limited- Teriyaki Burger or Shrimp patties (SPAM made out of shrimp).  The lines everywhere were crazy long.  We queued up to check in at 12:30, we did not finish with check in, security and immigration until 2:30.  There were so many people wanting to leave.  And several people we spoke with had only been in the city a day or two before the earthquake and were cutting their trips short to get home.  We even ran into one of the Americans who we met at the museum.  It had taken them two and a half hours to walk to their hotel, but she said they were treated graciously along the way.

Once we were checked in, we boarded our flight and made it home.  So, now we're home.  Back in the comfort of our house.  Enjoying the stability.  Not worrying about nuclear meltdowns.  Thinking about all of those in Japan who are still dealing with all that is going on there.  When I compare my problems to theirs, I almost feel guilty for feeling scared and anxious.  As I retell the story to friends, I am constantly reminded about how blessed we were throughout the whole experience. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Night at the Museum

Sorry for the length and the un-polishedness of this post.  I'm just spilling out everything we experienced in the past 24 hours or so....

We spent yesterday visiting Uneo, I'll post more about Uneo later.  We were having a nice day exploring the parks, and letting Price ride Thomas rides.

After the Thomas pit stop, we headed over to the Tokyo National Museum. It's a massive campus, with several large, imposing buildings.

We headed immediately down to the basement so we could use the restroom and change P's diaper.  I wonder if I knew what would happen within the next 5 minutes if I would have taken these pictures-
The awesome potty chair, to keep the little ones secure so mommies can go in (practical) peace.  And then the control, not to launch a space ship, just to flush the potty.

And then, because God is good, there was no changing table, so we had to leave the bathroom before I could change P's diaper.  As I walked out of the bathroom, Don said, "I think there's an earthquake."  And I said, "Really, I think it's just the elevator."  Then it started rolling, big waves and shaking.  We started to move to an out of the way place and then saw several employees ushering everyone up a short flight of stairs and outside.  So we quickly followed.  Looking up, the chandeliers were swaying like crazy. By the time we got up and out, several minutes had passed and the earth was still moving.  It was huge.  And Guammies- to give you a sense of how different this one was to the small ones we've felt- the ones we've felt in Guam are like a large truck driving fast up a street and shaking the house.  The one we experienced yesterday felt like a truck being dropped on a trampoline and being rolled around from the ripples.

Everyone was so calm though.  They didn't seem as rattled (pardon the pun) as I felt.  You could tell it was bigger and stronger than what they were used to.  Everyone just kind of stood around, and it was a good thing because then the after shocks started.  The pond in front of the museum had waves.  One of the aftershocks (we just heard it was a 7.1) was so big it was hard to stand up and the trees were swaying.

I was consistently amazed with how orderly everyone was.  As non-Japanese speaking Americans, information was initially hard to come by.  we picked up pieces here and there.  It was cold, and there was aftershock followed by aftershock.  To me, that was the worst part.  When something so big has happened, you just want it to be over, but the aftershocks coming so frequently and randomly was very unnerving (still is, as we just had one.  we are now all dressed and our bag is packed if we have to evacuate quickly from the hotel.  how i wish we were on a lower floor).  The museum staff allowed us to stay inside the grounds as more information came about.  They just asked us to move away from the buildings (which had no noticeable damage to the facades) and the trees. So, we all moved in an orderly fashion and all of us non-Japanese speakers kind of flocked together.  Announcements continued to play over the loud speaker, in Japanese, but no one seemed overly concerned, so we remained calm and I prayed for serenity and safety.  And I also thanked God for letting us be in the safest place of every where we had visited when this happened.

After about 30 minutes or so, several English speaking museum staff members sought us out to tell us what had happened, where and that the museum was closing for the day.  But the encouraged us to stay on the grounds where we were safe, had access to restrooms (Of course it was a squatty potty, and I used it and had the reverse experience with the one I had when we were in Asakusa) and limited access to information.  By this time, most of the Japanese were watching the news on their phones.  Our phones don't work here and outside of the hotel we can only access the internet via wi-fi, so we had no way to contact anyone or find out what was going on.

As the afternoon wore on, it began to colder and dark.  We learned that the trains and metro had stopped running and best case wouldn't be back up until much later in the evening.  Luckily, the vending machines here carry hot drinks, so we were able to get a coffee, hot apple cider and once very nice lady bought Price a can of corn soup (tasted like a watery creamed corn).  The museum staff realized how many of us were stranded and decided that the strongest aftershocks had probably occurred and invited everyone into one of the newer buildings, which had a very large, comfortable lounge area.

It was nice to get out of the cold and spread out.  Price made friends with everyone in the room, his favorite was the baby girl sitting across from us.

Once inside, the staff turned on a TV and we were able to see the extent of the damage and were as shocked and saddened as all of those around us.  By this time we were 3 of about 7 non-Japanese.  There were about 60 people total.  At 6:00, the staff came and told us that the trains would not be running at all and invited everyone to stay and spend the night.  They told us we had one hour to go to a local shop and buy provisions (which remarkably, there were still plenty of- it didn't seem like hoarding or panic was going on, several restaurants were even open) for the night. At this point, Don wanted to leave, hoping we could walk back to our hotel and catch a cab somewhere along the way.  But it was going to be a 3-4 hour walk at night, in the cold, through very unfamiliar territory.  And the museum staff didn't recommend us trying it, especially with Price.  So, after much discussion and Don realizing it wouldn't be good for our marriage
my mental health, we decided to just stock for the night and spend the night at the museum.

The museum staff was FABULOUS!!  They checked on us throughout the evening, they provided futon type cots for me and Price and the other mother and baby.  They also gave everyone blankets since the heat would not be on throughout the night.  There were aftershocks off and on all night.  Nothing to large and we could usually tell they were coming because an alert would go off on the tv and several cell phones.  Also the large windows, that had been secured by metal gates, would rattle as one would come through.

Price slept the best of the three of us.  Don and I grabbed winks whenever we could.  This morning, they provided a simple breakfast of bread and butter, instant coffee and hot tea.  And as usual, the staff checking on us and inviting us to stay as long as we needed.  We decided to try to get back to the hotel so we could have better communication (although, I truly appreciate the fact that Japan makes pay phones free, even for international calls during an event such as this).  I, however, had serious reservations about being on a subway for 40 minutes.  So, we decided to take a cab (if one could be found).  We are so fortunate that one of the museum staff volunteered to walk us to the train station, helped us locate a taxi and arranged for us to share a cab to get back.  And then because our cup overflows with generosity from the kindness of Japanese strangers, the man we shared our cab with refused to let us pay our share of the fare.

We are doing ok.  We are tired.  I will admit to being (again pardon the pun) shaken up.  I just want it to be over and for us to be out.  I am afraid of trains, I am afraid of elevators.  Tokyo seems to be ok, from what we've seen.  The trains are running, there is street traffic, we have electricity, cable and internet.  I am sad for how much devastation has occurred.  I am overwhelmed by the generosity that we have been shown here and also by the concern from our family and friends who we have heard from.  And know that we are blessed beyond words to be here.

Please continue to pray for us and for the people of Japan.  We will

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

It's a Small World

We took our boy to meet The Mouse!  For months, Price had been asking to fly to Japan and go to Tokyo Disney.  Don and I were both surprised with how patiently he waited once we arrived in Japan  (4 whole days) before we actually made it there.  Although, he asked daily if we were going.  I think riding the subway every day helped divert his attention a little.

Once he realized we were there, his face lit up with such a huge smile!  He ran ahead of us, not knowing we'd have to stand in line for almost an hour to buy our tickets.
Can't Wait to Get In!!
The thing about Tokyo Disney, it's almost exactly like the Magic Kingdom in Orlando.  The same lands, the same rides, the same crowds, pretty close to the same expenses.  The same Magic, just most of it is in Japanese, and some of the food is a little strange.  Like the pizza with corn and onions or the meat steak which was really a thick slice of grilled bologna.

Price enjoyed the chicken nuggets, and since he's a ketchup fanatic, he was intrigued with the ketchup packet.

Both boys were super happy about the popcorn obsession at the park.  In fact, Don remarked after seeing all of the people wearing buckets of popcorn around their necks like feed bags, "I think I was born in the wrong country, I really feel like I am supposed to be Japanese."

Because two of the three of us totally dig popcorn, we got ourselves a bucket of caramel corn. Our other choices were chocolate, curry or buttered soy sauce.

Our first line of the day
The park was very crowded and all the fast pass tickets were distributed before 1:00, so we were only able to use the fast pass once.  But it was worth it and many of the lines for the more juvenile rides in Fantasyland were fairly short only 30 minutes or so.  

We were at the park for almost 11 hours and got to ride:  

The Tea Cups,

Haunted Mansion, It's a Small World (twice, it was Price's favorite and both of my parents said it was retribution for it being my favorite when I was his age and insisting on riding it 20 times in a row), the Race Cars, Jungle Cruise, and the Train (of course, we can't go anywhere and not ride a train).  Our boy is fearless, he liked every ride he rode.  His least favorite was probably Haunted Mansion, which was narrated entirely in Japanese, so Don and I just made up non-scary stuff to tell him.

We also got to watch both parades.  This face,

Was a result of this float,

Although he didn't get up close and personal with too many of the characters (we couldn't find them, but we weren't looking too hard) he did get to hug Goofy and Pinocchio tried to take him with him to be in the parade.

And because he saw Mickey and Minnie and Donald and all the others during the parade he felt like he saw them.

We had a good day!  And we left with one tired little boy.

If you get the chance to go, prices are similar to the US.  It seemed more crowded to me than the Magic Kingdom even though we were there on a weekday.  There is another park, Disney Sea, that we did not visit.  I was pleasantly surprised that Price would have been able to ride on almost every ride, there were only a few rides with an age limit or height limit.  If you want to ride the super popular rides, go early and get fast passes. We missed out on riding Buzz Light Year, although Price thought these guys were cool. 
I love the pic on the far right, Price posed as if he were an alien for a group of girls.
All of the rides we went on were narrated in Japanese (except It's a Small World), but it didn't affect our enjoyment of the rides- fun is universal.  we didn't watch any shows because people line up for them far in advance and we didn't want to spend our time in line for a show we wouldn't understand.  Both of the parades were excellent!  We left before the fireworks started, but got to see part of the show from the train station.

Post EQ Info-
The area around Tokyo Disney was significantly damaged (apparently the parks were built on a landfill so a lot of water came up as did some liquid earth).  However, the structures inside the parks were reportedly ok.  The parks have not reopened yet and no opening date has been released.  This is probably more about the services that are required to run the parks and transportation than anything else.   Also, I have seen several YouTube videos of the eq at Tokyo Disney and although most of the rides and shows are in Japanese, the emergency alert system is in English.  That wasn't something I even thought about while we were there...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

On the Loosa in Asakusa

Today was much different than yesterday.  Mainly in the fact that we were greeted by sunshine and not snow.  And also because we knew how to get on and off the metro without making too many people mad.

It was somewhat a typical day as I made a major airhead move and left the SD card for the camera in my computer.  Which was back at the hotel.  An hour train ride away.  But we figured in one of the most technologically savvy cities in the world, it would be no problem finding a store that sold memory cards.  Of course, we forgot that we were in one of the oldest parts of the city, dedicated to the ancient times.  But after walking around looking lost and doing our best (via sign language and the always effective point and look method) to ask people where to find camera memory, we finally were able to get busy documenting our day.  I would also like to go on the record and state that my husband didn't even lose his cool with me when he realized what I had done... 

I was really excited about today's destination: Asakusa.  All the guide books I read somehow made me think we'd be visiting a quiet, small, off the beaten path type of place.  With narrow streets lined with ancient shops.  Well, there were narrow streets.

Although I knew there was a major temple, the Senso-ji, somehow it didn't click in my head that thinking this place was off the beaten path would be like thinking people would only know about the Vatican if they read it in a guide book.  The whole area was quite charming and felt more like what I thought Tokyo would feel like- crowded, bustling, old, imperfect- than what we experienced yesterday.  It was very interesting, a little touristy, but enjoyable.  

The Kaminarimon.  Large gate that is the entrance to the temple.
Nakamise-dori, the shopping lane leading up to the temple (think Chamorro Village or French Market type wares)

Before entering the temple, many worshipers drink water from the fountain pictured  above and also inhale the smoke and rub it over their bodies from the fire pictured below.  They believe this will heal what ails them and make them wiser.

The inside of the temple

The temple grounds were quite lovely.  Price enjoyed chasing the pigeons.  Everyone enjoyed watching him.  In fact, he is on several videos, camera phones, etc.  Don and I are pretty sure we're going to see him on a commercial here pretty soon.

He even tried to make a new friend, but she and her family were in a hurry to be somewhere.

Pretty sure this will be my favorite picture from the trip.
There are some neat things to see around the Nakamise-dori.  We enjoyed wandering up the narrow streets, getting away from the tourists.  

We saw noodles being made here.  I wish I could tell you we ate here, but to avoid a colossal meltdown a few hours after this picture was taken, we ate at Mc Donalds.  Foodies, I will accept your shuns.
Bicycles in front of a grocery store.

A button store.
After spending a good portion of the day in Asakusa, we decided to head back to the hotel via a water bus.  It was a really relaxing, 35 minute ride through the city by ferry.  

The ferry deposited us at Hamarikyu Gardens, which was once property owned by a Shogun family.  Several of the teahouses in the gardens date back to the family.  It was a nice walk and gave Price a chance to run off some energy before we got back on a train.  This field helps you imagine how beautiful the rest of the gardens must be in the spring when things are in bloom.

Bride & Groom
Ancient Tea House with modern Tokyo in the background
We probably walked 400 miles today, our legs are T-I-R-E-D!!  But we enjoyed just about every step.  And are off to bed because tomorrow we take the little man to the land of the mouse.  Yes, we're going to Tokyo Disney!

ps-  don't have any good pottys today, but I can tell you I had my first experience with a psuedo open air squatty potty.  If you are wondering what that is, well it's a public toilet that is open (literally) to the public. Like when I saw WAAAYYY more of an elderly woman than I EVER would want to, my initial reaction was, "poor thing, the door must have opened on her."  Until I tried to go into the "regular" stall (I originally was going to use the handicap one b/c I was going to try and change Price) and walked in on someone else.   Then I realized they were squatting.  And I was outta there.  Thankful that we stuck with super absorbent diapers for Price. (And both of these "rooms" were on a main walkway by the temple, and you didn't have to go into a main room and then pick a squatty potty. It was like two outside gas station restrooms without doors, just a little half wall).

pps- sorry about the title of this post, it's late, I'm tired.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Yeah, So I Probably Wouldn't Survive the Amazing Race

Today was a good day.  And even though I'm about 100% sure I wouldn't make it on the Amazing Race (I DEFINITELY wouldn't win it).  It started a little crazy as Mother Nature seems to have forgotten that we are visiting from Guam.  Where we wear flip-flops and shorts. Everyday.  Coming up with clothes that would keep us warm in 50 degree weather was a bit of a challenge, it's not like you can buy a ton of winter outfits on a tropical island.  But thanks to my mom and some amazing sales at the BX, we made it here with several long shirts, pants, socks, a jacket or two.  And now, thanks to the snow that we got to experience today, we also now own gloves, hats and scarves.  That we probably won't need again for at least 2 years.
Yes Mother, he had gloves.  At first he wore sock mittens until we found a pair of gloves for him.
We were prepared to brave the snow and were positive that ALL the museums we wanted to go to were closed, because that's what they do.  They close on Monday.  Which was PERFECT since we wanted to be outside as much as possible.  And brave the snow we did because we had to find a 7-11 to get money.  (Note to anyone with a MasterCard issued debit card, 7-11 is one of the only places that will accept MC in the ATM.)  And then continued our trek to the Metro station.

This is where going to a foreign country with someone who has been there before you would be helpful.  We knew what train to take and which stop to get off on, but knew nothing about buying tickets, or the amount of stairs required (with no elevator available) or how rushed people are to get into and out of the 4 turnstiles and how mad they get when you block two of them trying to get the kid out of the stroller and the stroller folded.  It was intimidating!  But we did it (although while trying to get on the subway and get out of the station, I knew I could never be successful at the Amazing Race), and we didn't even get cross with each other!!  We successfully found our way to Don's mecca- the Sony Store which just happens to be located in the heart of Tokyo's shopping district- Ginza.
Looking down the main thoroughfare in Ginza.  Shops include: Burberry, Van Cleef & Arpel, Ferragamo, Tiffany, Yamaha,  Gucci, Prada.  All my usuals.

I happily put up with an hour plus of browsing 6 (yes, that is a SIX) floors of Sony technology. Since there would be a trade off of window shopping and going into at least one of Tokyo's famous department stores.  But, after visiting the Sony Store, I would have happily gone there without the lure of all the other stores nearby.  It was free, it was full of hands-on computers, cameras, TVs and video games to try out.  Price was even entertained most of the time.  He especially loved the high-def touch screen computer.  He also loved flirting with all the showroom hostesses.  He is becoming quite fluent in saying ,"konichiwa" (hello), "sayanora" (good-bye), and "arrigato" (thank you).  He also tells everyone, "My name Pricey. I am 2."

After the Sony Store, we were hungry.  So we headed over to the Mitsukoshi Department Store (yes, for all you Disney fans, this is the same store that is in Japan at Epcot).  Oh my goodness!!!  This store was incredible. Beautiful, luxurious and EXPENSIVE!  Had it just been me, I would have spent hours wandering on each of the twelve, yes twelve, floors.  I had read that most department stores have to-go food in the basement and sit down restaurants on the upper floors.  We asked at our hotel and it was recommended we eat at one of the upstairs restaurants.  Of course, we ignored that and headed downstairs to see what was available.  And I'm so glad we didn't take the advice.  The selection was amazing, picture a football field worth of Central Market Cafes on the Run.  From very traditional Japanese food (picture the eight legs of an octopus with a hard boiled egg on top) to French pastry.  Price fell asleep as Don and I walked and gawked at all the choices (and again, I didn't take pictures), so we were able to look for over an hour before finally settling on some type of noodle, gyoza dumplings (potstickers) and the most amazing chocolate croissant I've ever eaten.  All the food was presented beautifully.  It was a feast for the eyes and a literal feast for the palate.
P enjoying our cold noodles.  I have no idea what kind they were.
After lunch, we went to the Apple Store and then took Price to Hakuhinkan Toy Park.  It's a neat toy store spread out over four floors.  It's very interesting to see how children every where like the same types of toys (and also that world wide marketing is effective).   He was instantly drawn to this toy.
It's a pig/dog looking creature that kind of rolls around on what we have termed "bumpy wheels."  They "like" to go around objects.  He was fascinated and watched this thing for many, many minutes.  So, that was his Japanese toy souvenir.  We are now the proud owners of "Pal, the Special Thing" (my kid has some creative naming skills doesn't he?)  The only way we were able to get him to quit playing with Pal was to have Price put Pal to bed.  He also got to play with trains, and race cars.

He started out racing a Mustang, but once he saw a Mario Kart, that was his car of choice.  There were two much older gentleman racing as well and they had fun slowing their cars to let "Mario" pass them and then speeding up to pass "Mario."  I couldn't tell who was having more fun.
After the toy store we headed back to the Metro station and navigated ourselves (and the stroller) much better!  My highlight of the day- the department store and looking at all the food.  I think Price's favorite thing was the subway and pretty sure Don's was Sony, but he really liked looking at all the food too.

Bathroom of the day- there's a tie!  Both at Mitsukoshi. 
1.  They have infant changing rooms (no, we are not agressively working on potty training while here in Japan.  I don't want to traumatize Price into  NEVER going to the bathroom).  It's an entire room, with 6 full size tables, each one with paper to put down, an adjoining table to place your bag AND diaper disposal systems that make Diaper Genies seem antiquated.  Oh, and they are clean.
2.   The ladies' room.  It was spacious, easy to get into and out of.  The toilet was self-flushing.  But my favorite thing....  The baby seat.  It was a booster seat attached to the wall.  I was able to plop Price in it and use the restroom without worrying about him pressing buttons and spraying me with warm bidet water.
Well, I'm off to bed!  Not sure what we're doing tomorrow, but I'm sure it will be an adventure.
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