Sunday, June 17, 2007

Tokyo Day 4...

Good morning from Tokyo (actually day 5, but I've given up trying to post at the end of the day, since my brain & body are completely fried by that then). The above picture is one of Tokyo's many beautiful manhole covers :) We used photo-documentation of these beauties as a tic-buster today...

Once again we were all awake at 4:00 am-ish. Sigh. We're going to try taking naps this afternoon, to give us the energy to stay up later, so that we might sleep later in the morning. We were up for good at 6:00 am. This couple of quiet hours in the morning has been perfect for quiet reading for Brendan, something he disdains when there are other activities present, so there's some lemonade being made from the early-waking lemons :) We had japanese english muffins for breakfast- quite a different (finer) texture than we're used to, but delicious. The japanese take on bread is quite different than what we have in the US. It's like they took the concept of bread & thought outside the box, but we've been enjoying it very much :) I also decided to do some laundry in the teeny-tiny washer-dryer that I discovered in the kitchen (it hit me a couple of days ago that there appeared to be 2 dishwashers, one of which turned out to be a clothes-washer). This is not the only multi-purpose unit in the kitchen, since the microwave is actually a microwave-range-toaster. (These multi-use appliances seem to be pretty common, not just for afficiency apartments like this one.) There is a big binder with the directions to use everything in the apartment, but most of the instructions are in japanese (someone has scrawled strategically in english, which helps some :). This is one place where reading the phonetic japanese alphabets is really coming in handy... Either way, the washer-dryer goes right from the wash cycle to the dry cycle & took a bit of getting used to. So did the tiny amount of laundry that actually fits in the unit (I maxxed it out yesterday & festooned the apaato with semi-dry laundry). Many adventures :)

The day's plan was to hop 3 subways on 2 different lines (requiring different tickets) to get to Odaiba, the entertainment area of Tokyo (all built on an island in Tokyo Harbour made from landfill), to visit the Miraikan science centre. This sounds like a lot, but it really only took about 40 minutes- when we finally got on the "road", that is. We left about 9:30, armed with our tic-busters, & as we headed down the steep access drive to the street, Brendan (who has been doing a little skippy thing to deal with tics) tripped & landed hard on one knee. His poor knee was an oozing, bloody mess, so we headed right back to our apaato to clean him up. Even the big boo-boo bandaids I'd brought wouldn't cover it, but luckily the gauze pads (when unfolded) would. I slathered healing salve on, after washing it all with soap & then clear water & then taped the gauze on. We gave him tylenol & put an ice pack on for good measure. Then we put in the "Deoxys" Pokemon movie & waited until Brendan was feeling better to restart our trip. Charlie went off to do some grocery shopping while we watched the movie. About 11:00 we were ready to go again.

The tics hit just about as soon as we left the building. Sigh. Nothing we'd brainstormed was working, but I convinced him to get to the next beverage vending machine & the minute he had a cold Fanta grape in his hand he was fine. He held it until we got to the station, then sucked it down quickly. The train rides were pretty uneventful. Even the ticket machine for the subway to Odaiba had a button for english instructions. The original idea had been to visit the Miraikan in the morning, have lunch, & go home in the early afternoon, but we were late enough that lunch was the first stop. We'd picked out a good sushi place for lunch, thinking that Brendan would find something there to suit him (he's been experimenting with sushi at home), but we were also counting on him being a bit more energetic/adventurous at that time of day, not recovering from a bloody fall :( He was not a happy camper at the restaurant. We managed to get seated before the tics started in, but he didn't want anything on the menu, even miso soup (his ultimate comfort food). We were at a sushi counter & our chef seemed to be matching Brendan mood for mood (I think that the minute he realised we weren't going for the "set meal" he decided we were a lost cause). We did make ourselves understood quite well & the sushi Charlie & I had was delicious- just not the right atmosphere to enjoy it. I asked for the cheque in japanese & said something flowery to thank the chef for serving us (so there! :) & then we got Brendan to a place that served potato fries & ice cream. :)

By the time we got back on the train heading for the Miraikan we were fading, but we were so darn close we decided to go for it. At least we might find some interesting things in the gift shop... I'm so glad we kept going. It was the most fun we had all day! It was extremely accessible to non-japanese speakers. A docent apporoached us with english-language maps of the place & talked us through purchasing our tickets. All of the exhibits were labelled in english as well as japanese & many of the docents spoke english, too. Brendan did his usual scoot from thing to thing, but that's how he enjoys these places, so he was in heaven :)

We stopped at this display- a heat-representation of our bodies! We displayed our sweaty armpits, bright red on the monitor, to much giggling. Then a docent handed Brendan a frozen water bottle & he proceded to "paint" himself with splashes of green by holding the bottle to different parts of his body. He gave himself a mustache... We howled with laughter. The bottle was so cold it showed as dark blue on the monitor. (Really "way cool" hee-hee)

Brendan also found a deep-sea submersible to hang out in. Not far away was part of the international space station (retired) that had been autographed by various astronauts, from the US & Russia, including Buzz Aldrin. The docent told us he'd met Buzz- very thrilling :) After about an hour at Miraikan we decided to stop for cold beverages in the cafe & then head for home. The tics reappeared (fatigue, I suspect) but we promised ourselves a stop at a mini-mart for cokes & that kept all of us going. It was just 10 more minutes from the mini-mart to the apaato, & Brendan decided to take manhole pictures to distract himself from the tics, which worked very well. When we got home we put the Deoxys movie back in & watched the rest to decompress. Brendan was in & out of "moods" for the rest of the day. Charlie told me later he thinks that some of it must be adolescent hormones kicking-in, too. And the ever-present jet-lag. Oy...

We have been enjoying the NHK educational channel on tv & that was a nice distraction this evening. There was a show based on the "Wallace & Gromit" character "Shawn the Sheep" that had Brendan giggling so hard he quit his Dragon Fable game & watched tv instead. We also managed to get the cable working & found the Disney Channel- all dubbed in japanese, of course! That was a hoot & I can't wait to catch Kim Possible in japanese... Brendan was so out of sorts that he couldn't eat dinner, so the tv was a very good distraction. Charlie had remembered that it was Father's Day (we are so goofed-up, time-wise) & I desperately looked for the cards we'd made him, but I packed them so well that I couldn't find them :( I finally showed him the originals on my computer :) I changed Brendan's knee dressing before bed & he was in by 7:00 pm. Charlie & I talked about what to plan for day 5- it's so hard to know how ambitious to be. It depends just as much on our energy levels as Brendan's... We decided that we'd like to visit the Senso-ji temple before we leave Tokyo- the guide book says there's a lot there to see, including a whole street of kiosks to buy omiyage gifts. So- off to Asakusa (the area of Tokyo where the temple is) & new adventures!

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At 8:43 AM, Blogger Sharon said...

So glad to hear you are all having a good time, despite bloody knees and sushi grumps.


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