Saturday, July 6, 2013

Japan 2013: Momo & Aoi-chan visit Shinjuku

 Our excitement for today was a visit from Momo & Aoi-chan at our hotel!

Thanks to our badly-timed 5-hour nap yesterday afternoon, we were up pretty early, so we had breakfast at Starbucks (can't get enough of those soy matcha lattes!) & then came back to the room to batten down the hatches/baby-proof :)

They arrived at the hotel around 10:00 am & we met them in the lobby, which is on the 20th floor of a high-rise office building, & all took the elevator to the 26th floor & our room. Aoi-chan immediately made herself at home :)

 Charlie had brought out the finger puppets so Brendan entertained Aoi-chan while Momo & I chatted.

We had brought some classic kids' books from the US to Aoi-chan ("Goodnight Moon", "Pat the Bunny" & the like) so Brendan read "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" to her.

I got the cutest video of him reading, & if I ever figure out how to upload stuff to YouTube I'll post is someday :)

We had thought we might try going to a park so Aoi-chan could run around, but the sun decided to come out today, bringing temperatures of 100 F & 90% humidity!! (Charlie read in the paper this morning that tsuyu, the rainy season in Japan, is officially over as of yesterday, hence the sun coming out.) So we scrapped that idea, put on some music & ket her run & dance around the room while we visited. Then we went across the bridge to Takashimaya to have lunch.

We ended-up at the same soba shop as a couple of days ago. The hot mugi-cha there was soooo yummy I was glad to go back, because last time I'd noticed they had boxes of tea for sale at the register, so I picked up a box when we paid the bill :)

It was pretty kid-friendly, with long bench seats where we could keep her contained :) Momo brought a baby bentou for her & she ate quite a lot of it while we ate our yummy soba noodles & tempura.

When she was finished eating Charlie & Brendan helped keep her busy while Momo ate some lunch. The penguin finger puppet helped, too :)

Beanie decided to cosy-up in the box, too...

And then, when Aoi-chan got too fussy, Momo put her in the baby carrier & went for a very short walk, returning with a very asleep Aoi-chan.

Which allowed Momo to finish her lunch in peace :) Hanging with Momo & Aoi-chan reminds me soooo much of Brendan at the same age! It's hard to appreciate toddlers when you have them, because their energy is just so overwhelming, but it's such a short & amazing time of their lives. I really loved seeing Aoi-chan in full toddler-mode.

After lunch the guys decided to go shopping & Momo & I wanted to check-out the kids' floor of the department store, so we parted ways. The kid's fashions & all were gorgeous & incredibly expensive- reminding me that I was in Tokyo, not Rochester! They were fun to admire, though :) Since it was Saturday, the store was absolutely mobbed with families & moms with kids. I was struck by how many of the moms & kids were dressed like they were going to a tea party. Lacy dresses, matching dresses, starched linen dresses, all gorgeous & kind of over-the-top.

When we were done browsing, Momo & Aoi-chan- still sleeping, bless her!- headed to the train station to go home. We will see them (& Hiroshi-kun, too) next weekend in Kyoto, so it made saying goodbye much easier.

I went back to Yuzawaya to get more yarn for projects & then loaded-up with snacks & drinks in the basement & headed back to the hotel. With our bodies all turned-around from the travel, I find I wake up roaringly hungry (because my body thinks it's dinner time!) but then I'm not so hungry at dinner (breakfast) time. So daytime snacking has become rather important for our energy levels, & the snacks here are sublime, so it's not a hardship at all :)

After snacks, Charlie & Brendan played some card games for downtime.

And then I confess I took a nap while the guys read in the lobby :)

Afterward, we decided to head to Takashimaya's basement to buy dinner. We thought we could find some inari sushi for Brendan (one of his faves) & maybe bentou for us. We had given up on finding vegetarian corokke (potato croquettes) for Brendan, but one of the kiosks had edamame corokke & when we asked (thanks to are intensive prep with our Japanese teacher, these sorts of situations are so much easier to manage because we know how& what to ask for!), there was no meat in them, so we grabbed some, & some yummy cream corokke as well. (Cream corokke are the unimaginable combination of a white sauce & either seafood or veggies, that have been congealed & formed into patties, then breaded & deep fried- total yum!) I found a gorgeous bentou to share with Charlie & we also snagged the last inari sushi in one of the kiosks- some of what we bought was on discount because it was the end of the selling day there :)

Our dinner selections- inarizushi on the left, corokke on top, & the bentou on the bottom.

The bentou had 3 kinds of sekihan- special rice cooked with beans & other yummies, fish cakes, tamagoyaki (rolled omelet), & various veggies & pickles. I love bentou so much! I love the variety of foods & textures & colours & flavours! You'll hear more about bentou tomorrow because my very favorite kind is eki-ben, the kind you buy at train stations.

On the way back to our hotel I took some pictures of blue skies over Shinjuku :)

And my happy guys :)

And our hotel! It starts on the 20th floor of this high-rise office building, as I mentioned, & then you take another elevator to the room floors.

After dinner we lazed-around, then finally headed for bed at 8:30, properly tired & hoping for a full night's sleep!!

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