I was really surprised at what we saw. I have to admit I have a very limited knowledge of Tokyo. Tokyo station, Shinbashi, Shinjuku, Harajuku and Asakusa pretty much covers it. Cassie lives in Fuchu and it is such a beautiful area (and I should know- we saw a lot of it before we even got to Cassie's!) that I was really surprised and kept thinking- this is Tokyo?
Monday we went to Kichijoji which is another amazing place. I mean this picture was taken in Tokyo:
The park was beautiful but Amy was incredibly unimpressed. The huge park, the pond, the ducks, the fish, the cherry blossom, the people rowing around in boats, the people watching opportunities (Tokyoites are so fashionable!), the tranquility, the miracle that all of this was in Tokyo?
Nope. Not impressed.
"Gaaahhh! Mummy! You said we were going to a park! This isn't a park! There's no swings!!"
We did find a slide and two rocking horses and Cassie and I flaked on a park bench for a while (Nana had had a broken night and Amy had woken up at 3:30am, realised it wasn't pitch country-style black, decided it was morning, and spent the next two hours trying to convince me to get up and make breakfast- aghhhh!) Well, it seems you can take the girls out of the country but you can't take the country out of the girls:
Meg teaching Nana how to get completely grubby and muddy before lunch. Extra points for being all dolled up at the time.
After a good play (and a restorative communal mummy zone out) we met up with Laura and baby Noah and headed to an amazing Thai Restaurant in the park. It was fabulous and I ate a green curry to die for. Wow. Yum... It was so nice to meet another Aussie, too. I'm in a bit of an American-centric area here. More Europeans than Aussies even. I got to say nappy, brekky, tiggy, flanny and deb and not have to explain. Yeah! And such a nice Aussie to boot. Great to put another face to a bloggy name, too.
We spent the afternoon hitting the department stores and speciality shops. I stocked up on corn meal, cream of tartar, maple syrup, pink pepper corns, crunchy french bread and other such essentials that I don't really miss when I don't have them (most of the time) but that I jump at the chance to buy when I can.
It was such fun and really opened up my mind to the mega-metropolis that is Tokyo. I get all riled up at people generalising about 'the country' and yet I had been guilty of doing the same about Tokyo!
It was a bit scary getting (another) reminder of how lacking in city smarts my kids are, though. Between walking in a straight line down footpaths forcing others to weave around them, ignoring the ringing of approaching bicycles, wandering off in crowded department stores, running off in crowded parks, and just wanting to skip and run rather than walk I did a whole lotta shouting out of warnings. I hate to be so negative but when it comes to safety you gotta do what you gotta do, right?
The girls had a fabulous time, are in love with 2 year old Nana, think a door bell that chimes electronically should be our next household purchase and even started getting good at changing trains.
Cassie's family's home language is English, we spoke English together, we spoke to Laura in English, Cassie made the most amazing spinach meatballs and penne gorgonzola for dinner and french toast for breakfast (not a bowl of rice or a pack of natto in sight!) we ate Thai for lunch, we bought a french stick.... it was so completely unlike our normal life!
So unlike it that when Meg heard the station announcement for Matsumoto on the way home she said "are we back in Japan, now Mummy?"
That about sums up our trip, I think!