Sunday Evening 3/26/2017

The view from our son’s apartment – we’re going to miss this busy, vibrant city!

It’s Sunday evening here in Tokyo. I almost can’t believe that this time tomorrow we’ll be on our way home to Kaua’i. What a great time we’ve had! We’ve thoroughly enjoyed each and every day, and seen and done everything we wanted to see and do. The only thing we could want more of is time with our son, daughter-in-law and beautiful grandchildren.

The view from our room at the New Sanno has been the French Embassy

The New Sanno Hotel has been an absolutely fantastic place to stay. Our room has been exceedingly comfortable, with every amenity imaginable, and we’ve loved being able to have our son and grandson come over to swim a few times this week. Having a Navy Exchange on the property has also helped us save, and let us indulge our son’s love of Diet Coke!

I’m ending our vacation with a trip to the local police station. It was raining this morning when we were walking to our grandson’s soccer practice, and as we walked along the street I saw something shining on the sidewalk and bent down to pick it up. It was a thin silver ring, like a wedding band, but as Brett and YaYu had gotten far ahead of me at that point I put the ring in my pocket and kept going. I thought about putting it back, but then couldn’t remember where on the street I had found it. But, as the day went on I was feeling badly about having it, and this evening looked inside and saw a very tiny ‘Chanel’ marked inside as well as some numbers. I plugged it all into Google and voilà – there was the ring on the Chanel site! It is made of platinum, and has a retail value of more than $1530!!! Yikes! So, after we check out of the hotel tomorrow morning my son and I are going over to the local police station to turn the ring into lost and found because I know someone here would do the same if I lost something, even if it was just a cheap plastic umbrella. You just don’t take things you find here and keep them.

There will be absolutely nothing to eat in our house when we get home to Kaua’i, so we plan to stop at Pono Market in Kapaa on the way home from the airport to pick up a few things to eat, as well as find something to put in YaYu’s lunch on Tuesday when she heads back to school. Brett and I will be heading to Costco, Walmart and Big Save on Tuesday to do our monthly ‘big shop’ and replenish our fridge, freezer and pantry for the month.

YaYu and our grandson enjoy Angel Heart crepes in Harajuku. Our daughter-in-law thought she would get to share with our grandson, but he ate the whole thing all by himself.

This evening I am:

  • Reading: I’m ashamed to say I haven’t picked up my book even once this week. We’ve come back to our room every evening and collapsed.
  • Listening to: We had our grandson here at the hotel with us this evening, but he’s gone home to bed because he has to be up early to go on a field trip tomorrow, and the room seems quiet and empty without him. Brett and YaYu have fallen asleep, and I’m about to drop off.
  • Watching: We haven’t watched very much TV here, although there are plenty of channels available. I’ve actually missed seeing any Japanese TV – it can be very wacky (along with completely unintelligible).

    You can take the girl out of China, but you can’t take the China out of the girl. YaYu was in heaven getting to have a huge bowl of spicy ramen and some fried rice. Chinese food in Japan is popular, delicious and very affordable.

  • Eating: Since last week’s visit to the curry restaurant, we’ve enjoyed tonkatsu (pork cutlets), Chinese food in Chinatown, shrimp & vegetable tempura for dinner one evening, as well as those only-in-Japan treats. YaYu was determined to have ramen here, and finally got to enjoy a big bowl of the stuff at a stand/restaurant when we visited Asakusa to see the Sensoji temple.

    Me and my guy at the Meiji Shrine

  • Happy I accomplished last week: We got to babysit our grandchildren not once, but twice, this past week, and we got to take our grandson out to lunch one day. He also spent this evening with us at the hotel, which was a delight. For fun we ordered from room service (very affordable at the hotel) which he thought was a lot of fun. This week we got to walk the Ginza in Tokyo and shop at Ito-Ya, the famous paper store; visit Tokyo Station and the surrounding area; spend a full day in Yokohama and tour the Cup Noodle Museum as well as visit Chinatown and the Takashimaya department store at Yokohama Station; visit the Meiji Shrine and Harajuku; and go to Nakamise and the Sensoji temple in Asakusa. In other words, we did everything on our list except visit Kamakura, which we decided would just be too much this time. We have one more task tomorrow morning besides the visit to the police station – a trip to the bakery to pick up some raisin bread to bring home. Otherwise we’re packed and ready to go. Our plane leaves at 7:00 p.m., so we will catch the express train at 3:30-ish to be out to Narita by 5:00.
  • Looking forward to next week: I’m feeling very sad about leaving Japan because I know it will be a couple of years before we can get back, and our grandchildren will grow and change so much before we can see them again, but at the same time I’m looking forward to being home on Kaua’i again, enjoying the memories we’ve made and some of the treats we’re bringing home with us. I’ll also be announcing the first of three Japan-related giveaways on the blog later this week!

    We had a fun visit to the Owl Cafe in Harajuku. After having some tea we got to interact with several owls, which ranged in size from huge to tiny.

  • Thinking of good things that happened: We enjoyed treating our son and family to the fabulous Sunday champagne brunch at the New Sanno this morning, and then having them stay for a swim this afternoon. We will actually be leaving Japan this time with money in our travel account. The only souvenirs we’ve bought for ourselves have been edible except for the omikuji (amulets) Brett and I bought ourselves for good fortune and luck at the Meiji Shrine, and a small Inu Hariko, my favorite Japanese folk character, that I found at a folk craft shop near Sensoji. He’ll go on my bedside table when we get home. We also found two more flavors of KitKats yesterday, raspberry and green tea, when we stopped in a couple of convenience stores on our way back to the hotel to look for something else – we’re now up to eleven different flavors this trip! Other than a couple of rainy days we’ve enjoyed great weather all week, although it’s been quite cold at times (for us).
  • Grateful for: Once again we have been so thankful for our son’s and daughter-in-law’s help with translations and getting us around all this past week. We could have managed on our own, but not as smoothly or easily as it’s been with their assistance. They’ve also bought many of our train/subway tickets, taken us out for several meals, and helped us experience things we would have otherwise missed.

    This vending machine sits outside a small cafe & bakery (which sells coffee and tea), and has a selection of water, hot and cold teas, and hot and cold coffee drinks – most cost around $1.20. The man wearing the sunglasses, in the picture with Tommy Lee Jones at the top of the machine, is Tamori. He’s a comedian and has been a star here since I first came to Japan in 1971 – the sunglasses have always been his trademark.

  • It’s so Japanese-y: Vending machines (jidō hanbaiki) are everywhere in Japan. Everywhere. You will find them on street corners in residential areas, in busy train or subway stations, outside convenience stores and supermarkets, inside department stores – everywhere. Most sell drinks such as hot or cold coffee, juices, energy drinks, or water and tea, but you can also find machines selling beer, whiskey, sake, magazines, cigarettes, umbrellas, neckties, hot noodles, books, ice cream (including ice cream cones), crepes, fruits and vegetables, eggs and well, just about anything you can think of. It’s just part of life in Japan. Many vending machines that sell drinks in plastic bottles and cans have a recycling center either built in, or right next to the machines. You’ll never see a bottle or can just thrown into the street.

That’s all for this week! It’s back to our regular routine next week, but even though we’ve had a wonderful trip I’m sort of looking forward to regular again (whatever that means). How was your week? What good things happened for you?

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8 thoughts on “Sunday Evening 3/26/2017

    • Laura says:

      Thank you! It’s been a fun trip, and just long enough. It’s Monday morning here now, and we are getting ready to check out of the hotel and head to our son’s apartment. It is going to very hard to say good-bye.

      But, it’s freezing cold here this morning with snow predicted, so it’s time for us to go. We are not prepared for this!

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    • Laura says:

      Your weeks are always productive!

      We have had a wonderful time. We wish we could stay longer, but we’re also feeling ready this time to head for home. We’ll be back in 2019 for a longer stay.

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  1. Vivian Gibson says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. I love all the pictures and information. i did go online to Amazon and found several flavors of kit kats including raspberry but not able to find the pistachio-raspberry one. Some were expensive but other were cheap enough so I can order samples for Mama. i was surprised that everything will be shipped from Japan. Thanks for letting me know. Have a safe journey home.

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    • Laura says:

      So glad you were able to find the KitKat flavors you liked (and for a reasonable price) from Amazon! The pistachio-raspberry is a “special” Tokyo-only flavor that’s part of a gift box. We had to buy the box to get it and the other flavors. I’m curious about the butter-flavored one.

      Just a little while more here and then we’re on our way home. It’s been a terrific vacation!

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  2. Janette says:

    That bowl of ramen has my mouth watering. What an incredible trip! We never ventured into the Japanese culture. My friends who did, loved it. I am really curious about the schools. Are they public or private or a mixture? Where does your grandchild go to school?
    Have a safe trip home.

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  3. Laurel says:

    Your trip posts have been wonderful and I’m so glad you had such a great time. It’s hard to leave family, but I also know what you mean about being “ready to go home.” I find the vending machine culture so interesting. They clearly have a lot more potential than those we have here…which now are mostly candy bars and pop.

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