Where do I start?
1. The subway system, which is fast, comfortable (apart from the crush at rush hour), and will get you pretty much anywhere you need to go.
2. Heated toilet seats!
3. The vending machines, which are everywhere and sell hot drinks like cocoa, tea and corn soup in addition to sodas.
4. The people are extremely polite, friendly, and love kids.
5. Tokyo is clean, safe and has just the right amount of Asian exotic-ness. I loved my trip to China, but it felt a little bit like visiting another planet. Tokyo is much more like home but with a different alphabet.
Here we are at the airport, about to embark on the never-ending bus ride from hell (from the airport to our friends' apartment).
I was already a bit sick from the bumpy plane landing, and this bus trip through the streets of the city put me almost over the edge. Fortunately, all I had to do that evening was sit around and go to bed early. It didn't help that Owen was trying to get away from me so he could run down the bus aisle for pretty much the entire trip. This would be a recurring theme throughout the trip (bus aisle, subway aisle, sidewalk crowded with marathon spectators, crowded subway platform...you name it, and Owen was ready to run away from me on it!).
Saturday was spent trying to recover from jet lag with a short field trip to Tokyo Dome City so the guys could pick up their marathon packets. There is a small amusement park there with an insane roller coaster (which nobody rode, since the kids were too short and I'm too prone to motion sickness):
The kids had a fabulous time on the kiddie rides, including this thing which bounced them up and down:
And the teacups:
I had to ride with Owen due to his small stature. He spent most of the ride trying to climb out of the teacup, and I spent it trying not to barf. Fun stuff! After spinning ourselves silly, we went into a crazy arcade filled with wacky electronic games/rides/toys.
Most of them, like this little train thing, were a combination of all three. It rode back and forth along a track while playing music, flashing lights, and encouraging kiddos to push buttons to play some incomprehensible game. We liked these, since they were only 1-200 yen instead of the 1000+ yen that the bigger rides cost.
After we'd spent all of our 100 yen coins, we headed to Bubba Gump's to meet up with the boys for lunch.
I know, it's kind of silly to eat at an American restaurant chain on our first day in Japan, but I've never been a snob about only eating local food. I've eaten at McDonalds on three different continents (although not at all on this trip), and I was quite happy to find there was a Starbucks a block away from the Zeller's apartment in Tokyo. We did get our fair share of authentic Japanese food, but we ate Vietnamese, Indian and Korean as well. It's all good!
After lunch, we rode the gigantic ferris wheel called The Big O. It's kind of cool since it doesn't have a hub or spokes, and the roller coaster goes through the middle of it. I was a little uncomfortable for the first 1/4 of the ride or so since I'm deathly afraid of heights, but this thing is seriously built and I managed to actually enjoy myself for most of the ride. It didn't bother the kids in the least.
Here are the Zellers in the next car:
That's all I have energy for now, so the saga will continue in my next post. Also, I've got a great package from my SP9 which I've got pics of for next time as well as a big thank-you for my Sockret Pal. I've got the best pals!