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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