Wednesday, September 10, 2008

When Mom's away, the boys will play

Had breakfast served in our room at 6:30am this morning. Another Japanese breakfast feast with rice, pickles, miso soup, a very tasty roasted fish, some raw small-fishes' roe, pressed fish cakes, raw squid with shedded cabbage, poached eggs, salad, fried tofu & mushrooms, packages of nori seaweed, and a chinese tea. With breakfasts like this, you really don't have to eat much for many many hours. Again, Alden hoovered back most of the meal, and Elwyn enjoyed the soup and rice.
Karen headed out for her conference and wasn't seen again by the boys until 6pm. She came back stimulated andengaged from a day with people of her own ilk.
The boys got ourselves ready for a trip back to the massive mall at the Shin-Yokohama train station. We walked through our neighbourhood, passing a quiet school yard, and all of the local food shops (tofu makers, fish stores, moki (a kind of rice cracker) stores, etc etc, all opening up. I bought a nice cold can of coffee from a very old lady running a super-tiny convenience store (window?) She liked Alden and Elwyn and chatted with them in Japanese for a while, laughing all the time, as Alden performed his tongue-on-the-nose trick, and his snorting-like-a-pig. She gave them each little bags of seaweed flavour puffed corn-potato chips! Lucky kids.
Being up so early, we went to the municipal subway during the morning commute. Though it was busy, it was nothing like the legendary Tokyo sardine can experience. Something about the one blonde curly haired guy on the morning commute that seems to attract alot of attention though. The kids got seats and lots of friendly cross-cultural chatter from women commuting into work.
We got to the super-mall before it was open, so went for a walk in the area between the large JR station and the big baseball stadium. It was a mix of office buildings, massive apartment complexes (projects?), medical offices, pachinco parlours and restaurants. Everyone was taking their bicycles and scooters around to work.
We got back to Bic Camera and indulged for a couple of hours. Boys got some cool japanese train toys, dad got a new Gontiti CD and some books, and we bought mom a new piece of luggage (as she has been suffering with the full 70litre backpack this trip). I also signed up (using the Ryokan address) for the Bic Camera points card, giving me points worth 10% of the purchases. So on the way out I picked out a free toy surprise for the boys, being this very cool Japanese lego-like building toy called LAQ. They had played with a table of while I looked at books in the book stores. After a cheap lunch in a very high quality french patisserie, we headed back on the subway to the ryokan.
The late afternoon needed one more adventure before we were to meet up with mom. So, we decided to head back downtown Yokohama to ckeck out Japan's tallest building and the world's fastest elevator. On our way, we did a bit of exploring, checking out a school yard, where the grade ones (all in uniform) were practicing coordinated flag moves with their teacher. They looked amazing! Alden said that they were leaning to be jedi. Their blue flags, one in each hand, swished through the air as they did different moves, marching around the playground. As we left, we had a snack of yogart and canned coffee, the later of which was packaged with a small Deceptecon. We also befriended an elderly mono-lingual gentleman who worked as a flagman on a construction site. He thought they boys were funny enough that he gave them both little chocolates!
At the Landmark Tower, the elevator was indeed quick, getting us going up 70 stories in less than 40 seconds. The view was breath-taking over the whole city, giving some perspective on just how dense and huge an urban environment it is. Complete with huge developments in the bay on man-made islands, the city was a spectacular site.
We headed down and met mom, having a vegetarian supper of gnocci, pasta, pizza and salad at Italian restaurant with great harbour views, near the Landmark Tower. We ended the night with a few rides in Cosmo world, Elwyn going on a stomach dropping log-ride roller coaster (once with each parent) and Alden having another round with his mom at the Family Banana coaster.
Back at the Ryokan by 8:30pm, boys fell fast asleep, Karen sat on the deck looking at the japanese garden in the courtyard of this Inn and dad typing the blog into notepad, hoping to find Internet access sometime tomorrow, so the last three days can go online.


Anonymous said...

Boys are too cute! Alden lil eatin machine like Madison, and Elwyn w/ his soup n rice! I kinda have same appetite as Elwyn ;) Cant go wrong w/ soup/rice. I can't believe how many children-friendly attractions, restaurants, etc there are for the boys! That's too cool. I shall take Madison there sometime! ;) [Everyone's in Vic, EAB at the RBCM! :O lucky]

JAMES said...

HIHI.. i was searching high n low for the LAQ toy prior to chancing upon your blog! I had saw it on a japanese show but it was all in japanese and i couldn't even understand nor catch the name of the toy.. how do your boys like it? where did you get it?

Brian Thom said...

I bought the LAQ at Bic Camera in Yokohama. It is very cool and creative and a nice reprieve from Lego (which my boys are obsessed with). I think it may have limited appeal over time, however since it is virtually impossible to purchase outside of Japan -- even on ebay or (as far as I can call) on it does not seem to be available.

JAMES said...

hi brian, thanks for your reply: ) much appreciated! hmm.. will try to search for it if i've the chance!