Originally posted on 7th April 2015 on Blogger
Wow. It’s over. It feels like a whirlwind that swept us off our feet. We are sad leaving, looking forward to seeing everyone and little Loki, but could definitely have stayed longer.
We have thoroughly enjoyed exploring this country. It is a pleasure to travel around. The people are gentle and polite, and everything is efficient and effective.
We ended our stay on a bang. Our pre-trip preparation included watching “Lost in Translation”. The kids loved it and wanted to swim in THAT pool. So we spent two nights at the Park Hyatt Tokyo. What an experience. Our room was a suite, with a television in the bathroom and a bar and a desk…. Oh, and an amazing view over Tokyo. It was spectacular. We checked in on Monday. Went out for some lunch and some shopping, and a desperate search for goggles, and came back to swim in the pool. The pool was magnificent. On the 47th floor of the building, with glass on all sides and a very interesting roof, it is subtly lit and very beautiful. Mya quickly made a friend, called Jane, from Chicago, and they played for an hour. As we left, Jane and her dad asked if we were staying on the following night. So, the girls arranged to meet at around 6, and we headed back to the room.
Upon our return, much to Mya’s delight, a platter of strawberries, on tall skewers with honey, chocolate, chilli and little sprinkle balls, had been placed in the room. Delightful, and she let me have one. We had intended to go out for dinner, but after getting back from the pool, we decided to order room service and stay in our robes. I had a lovely Skype chat with Shelley and Nola, and spent quite a lot of time staring out the window at the city.
Our last day whipped by so quickly. We headed to Harajuku, to Takeshita Dori, for some present shopping. Then onto Chicago Thrift to get Mum’s kimono. Then finally to Kiddy Land. This was one of the kids (and my) favourite shops in Japan. So much fun.
Back on a train, brief stop in Akihabara to acquire a power supply for Finn’s Super Famicom, then onto Kappabashi Dori (kitchen street). This was great, but very frustrating. I knew we were pushed for space and weight, and wanted to buy all the amazing ceramics! So, leaving a little disappointed, we raced back, through a covered market, where we saw a ninja, but only just, to meet Jane at the pool, as Mya was not going to miss out catching up again. Jane was with her mum, Sharon, a lovely nurse from Chicago, who had been detained in China the night before, with her 12 year old son, which made for a very interesting story, indeed. We talked for an hour and a half, and she asked me where my husband was. When I explained my situation, she looked surprised, and said she couldn’t believe I had done all that I had told her about, on my own, with two kids. It dawned on me that I had not really had any problems, had never felt unsafe or threatened or vulnerable and also made me think of how much I have changed in the past twenty months. It’s been a leap.
Given I was not going to sit indoors for my last night, we braved the cold, and jumped on a train to Odaiba, Tokyo Port, to see the giant Gundam. It was huge and impressive and we were freezing…. So we had some food. Sadly, we had wanted to try the maid cafe, but Finn was too embarrassed. We limped back to the room at midnight, kids went to bed, and I repacked all the bags, weighed them, and fell into bed around 1:30, with an impending early start, to catch a flight.
Up at 6:45, I opened the curtains (with a button on the wall, of course) to flurries of snow over Tokyo. We got dressed, did a quick checkout and jumped in a cab to Shinjuku station. Onto the NEX (Narita Express) and we were on our way home. Narita Airport was a buzzing hive of activity and camera crews and it occurred to me that this was why I could not web check-in. Terminal 3 opened that morning, to much fanfare and fluffy walking mascots…. And we received certificates acknowledging we flew out of the terminal on the opening day. Very Japanese.
An uneventful and pleasant flight home. Good food and guilt free hours of watching TV (Modern Family, Big Bang and Orange is the New Black)….. And a movie, The Theory of Everything…. And we were home. Lovely Gherk picked us up, at ungodly-o’clock and dropped us home.
Coming home was a little surreal. We were shocked at the darkness, the quiet and the space. Our house feels enormous and I feel lonely with so much personal space!!
Japan was a brilliant adventure, of discovery and self-discovery. A beautiful country of beautiful people and food and language and etiquette and aesthetic. I have promised myself we will return. It is my study carrot…. Dangling in front of my Advanced Diploma!!!!