Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tokyo trip Part 1

Our blog has been silent lately, because last Saturday we left on a five-night trip to Tokyo! I had to go there for an orientation for my grant. Since the hotel and two train tickets were already paid for, we decided to take the whole family. And it was like Christmas every day, I'm telling you!

Starting at the beginning. We got to take the Shinkansen (bullet train) for the first time. Here the boys are posing with their tickets.

Before we met the real thing, we studied the pictures. What will our train look like? (BTW, Arnold Schwarzenegger was in Tokyo the same week, testing out the bullet train himself on a high-tech tour of Asia.)

Heading up the escalata...

We had reserved seats on car 13. The tiles on the train platform show you where to stand. Would Americans do that?

The boys are watching our train come in to the station. The station master back there warned them not to hang on the fence. Abunai!

Here comes our train. It was a Nozomi (the fastest version!)

Once on board we unpacked our snacks!

We saw the silhouette of Mt. Fuji on the way.

After we arrived to Tokyo station we got on the metro, two stops to Shimbashi, where our hotel was. It looked like Tokyo, alright!

That night we went to an izakaya close to our hotel. We had our own room. Good thing--the boys were acting rather crazy. At this kind of place, you order lots of small plates--like tapas. You press the buzzer when you want the server to come take your order. Bonus--English menu. Helped us avoid the chicken skin dish.

We enjoyed tons of food. I'm sorry--did you want to see it before we ate it?

Great view from the 12th floor hotel room.

The next day, guess what? It was hot and humid.

We took a tour of Tokyo with a FB grad student from Princeton. Here we are in an historic garden. Great field of cosmos--these are for you, Mum Mum!

From the garden we took this water taxi for about 45 minutes.

This is what our boys look like when they are hot....
The water taxi stopped near the Asakusa area. This architecture in the background is nicknamed....can you guess?

We had a picnic on these steps after picking out bentos from the department store basement. The food was so beautiful down there! I had some spring rolls; Hugo had a cute chirashi with mixed fish, Alek had a chirashi with crabmeat and egg, and Max and Dad had tonkatsu.

After lunch, we went to Asakusa shrine. Very touristy here. We walked down this arcade with about 100,000 hot people and 1,000,000 trinkets.

The Asakusa gates show these huge mean kami-sama:

And a pagoda:
One of the features at this shrine (and others) is the fortune teller. First you drop 100 yen in a slot. Then you shake this metal box and draw out one stick. The stick has a number on it, and that tells you what drawer to take your fortune paper from. Max went first. He got a "regular fortune." The details are printed in English.

Hugo went next.
Our tourguide's son is helping us out.
Oops...Hugo got a "bad fortune." Here's what it said [sic].

You did not study yet, the way how to make those things perfect. Everything don't come out as you expected. All what you try, get too complicated, and then you suffered from them, and get annoyed. Everything come back to the beginning start and the progress turns around without any proceed.

And in case you needed more bad news, it added,

Your request will not be granted. The patient keeps bed long. The lost article will not be found. The person you wait for will not come over . Building a new house and removal are both bad. Marriage of any kind, to start a trip, employment are all bad.

Hugo was very upset about this. Truly, he suffered from them, and got annoyed. But the good part is, if you get a bad fortune, you can tie it to this set of strings and then the bad fortune doesn't go with you.

(Unless, of course, your mom takes it home when you aren't looking so she can post it on the blog.)

Alek got a bad fortune, too.....

Last stop on the tour was the Edo-Tokyo museum. Some very cool historical displays of old Tokyo. Alek and Hugo have been here, before they were born. Darrin and I visited in 2003.

Max is showing a little Edo kitchen.

Later that night, we went out for food at this English style pub. So many great restaurants in Ginza! It would have been hard to choose...but the boys were so whiny by now that we knew that all the coolest looking places were off the table.

Got some ice cream dessert at the combini and took it back to the hotel.

Took a well-deserved, hot shower/bath combo. Alek is modeling the hotel's PJ supply after his bath.

Next stop--Monday at the Emerging Science Museum!


  1. Amazing! I especially like the fortune telling thing, and even mores, the opportunity to give the bad fortunes away. Brilliant!

    P.S. Something about the miserably humid photos of your kids I find adorable. Not to mention the bathrobe/pajama modeling.

  2. Love the fortunes!! Ian liked the buzzer you can press at the restaurant to take your order. We are reading even though we are not always commenting!! Everything is so amazing.

  3. From Mira: What was the sculpture called?