I bet you’re getting sick of hearing about Japan by now? I’m almost sick of talking about it. No, that’s totally stupid – I feel really grateful that people are interested enough and care enough to keep asking me about it, but it already feels like a lifetime ago. This new year has really energized me and I have so many little (and big) projects on the go right now that it feels odd to keep stepping back in time to something that feels so long ago now.
Anyway, this post is not strictly chronological, but I’m trying to organize all the little random things that happened into just one post as tiny step towards brevity. So here are some of the other things we got up to:
^^ Nathan fulfilled a lifelong dream and made us catch a train out of Kyoto so he could see the Nintendo HQ and development buildings. No museum, no gift shop, you could not even go in. He was just desperate to make this little pilgrimage so I indulged him. He was so happy to see those plain concrete buildings. I love Nintendo games, but this… I will never get this. Oh well!
^^ We caught the shinkansen back to Tokyo and spent a lot of time doing what could be best described as ‘urban roaming’. We saw puppies at a pet store in Shibuya and I actually died and was transported back to a time when Posie was that small. And suddenly I missed them so much. Sometimes it can be the most luxurious feeling in the world to wake up without a furry butt in your face or four little pointy paws digging into your back, but other times, it just hits like a train how much you would give to hug their tiny squirming bodies and let them cover you in kisses.
^^ We took a lot of photos of Christmas trees while we were there, because Japan does Christmas very well. I really wanted to see the illuminations that were dotted all over town, but we never came across any of the really impressive ones. And I had to throw in a #ShamelessRingSelfie, because really, it has been a year of so much trouble and distraction and depression and grief that I never really got to participate in that glowy, giddy period of time where you’re just showing it off any opportunity you get. I still have another eight or so months of being a ‘bride to be’, so expect me to be flashing that thing like crazy!
^^ We went to Studio Ghibli! No photos inside, so this will have to suffice, but it is really magical. The building itself reminds me of Howl’s castle, we got to sit inside a real plush life-size Cat Bus, and we saw an exclusive short at the mini cinema about a boy who grew a universe from a magic crystal. But the one thing that I wish so dearly is that certain museums and attractions would seriously think about having one childfree day a month or even a quarter for adults only. Not that (some) kids aren’t delightful in small doses – it would just be nice to be able to choose to enjoy things on occasion without running, pushing and screaming.
^^ We went to the Hilton for dinner. This will be a point of contention for the rest of our relationship, I’m sure! Full story: I really wanted to go to the Conservatory in Melbourne, because I love fancy hotel buffets, but it’s very expensive. Nathan has never wanted to go for that reason. I was determined to go to the Hilton for their buffet because I had somehow figured it out in my head to be cheaper than the Conservatory – it was not. By a long shot. And our days of prodigious eating seem to be past us anyway, so it was kind of a bust. But the food was great and hey, we can at least say we did it.
^^ Conversely, Nathan had much more fun at a mall food court restaurant called The French Toast Factory. We had, hands down, the best pancakes ever made – thick and fluffy like chiffon cake, with ice cream, whipped cream, maple syrup and cinnamon apples. Massive sugar coma and I couldn’t finish mine, but so worth it. The post-pancake fugue was real though, and so I retreated to the 5th floor of Yodobashi Camera to test drive their massage chairs while Nathan bought (yet more) toys for himself. This particular machine had rollers inside it that massaged your feet while inflating/deflating like a blood pressure cuff to stimulate circulation – I need one of these machines in my life!
We also went to Nippori textile town and I spent all my Christmas money on quilting fabric and patterns for dog Halloween costumes:
Other things we did included: fighting it out for seats upstairs at Starbucks so we could watch the world’s busiest crosswalk; we went to a games arcade and Nathan had serious second thoughts about marrying me when he saw how horrifically bad I was on the taiko drums; ate a truckload more sushi; convenience store food picnics in bed while watching crazy cartoons in Japanese (Goma chan!); and of course, one or two fights. I think it’s impossible to in such close proximity to somebody every single day with an exhausting itinerary and not lose it at some point. It’s hard in a hotel as well, because you have no option to just leave the room and cool off somewhere away from each other. But mostly, I think we traveled pretty well together. A lot of little stresses were ameliorated simply by the fact that I’d already faced them and knew what to do, but I think next time, we’ll have to schedule in a little more downtime to regroup and rest – any time we didn’t work well together, it was a combination of one or both of us being either overtired or over hungry. We were determined to see as much as we could while we were there, but a holiday should also feel like a holiday at least some of the time… lesson for next time!
Read my other posts about Japan here:
Part One – Getting There
Part Two – Fushimi Inari Shrine
Part Three – Hiroshima
Part Four – Nara
Part Six – DisneySea