Well we are safely ensconsed in our new pad. It’s small but everything is tiny in Tokyo and after our tiny (but lovely) hotel room, it feels like a football pitch…it’s amazing what you get used to. We are all internetted up – I was surprised at how uncomfortable I was without internet, not just for blogging etc but for being in contact with the world. I am dependent, I regret to tell you.
I also regret to tell you that our flat does not have a heated toilet seat.
Here is our new place.
Our new place is a few miles from the hotel but the differences are palpable. More residential, less restauranty. It is really close to Ueno Park which is partly why we chose it. And on Thursday morning (we were awake at 4am again), once it was a decent hour, I left my boys in the house and went for an exploratory run.
It didn’t take long. Ueno Park is relatively small…I think I ran about four miles in 36 minutes. Maybe I ran 3 1/2. This park didn’t have many joggers – instead I passed lots of older people in tracksuits out walking in the morning. The park is split into two halves. The lower half is a big lake, with enormous lotus pads (alas dead) covering half of it, they are amazing. There is also a mini boating lake with swan boats, and a shrine in the middle. Then there’s the hilly, wooded side to the park which was beautiful. I ran up two flights of steps to get there (cue Rocky music). On the second flight, I happened to be running up parallel to an older Japanese gentleman. What started as coincidence became a friendly race to the top. We got to the top, he burst out laughing and I gave him a high five. And then
he had a heart attack we ran on. We passed each other later and waved. It was most pally.
I cruised around the wood paths for a while, they were lovely, and then came down to ground level. One more loop of the lotus pads and a dash home to relieve my babysitter. Not a bad run. Need to work out how to stretch it a little longer.
What else have we been doing in Tokyo in the past few days?
Things that have struck me in the past few days.
* Bare skin is in. Despite the cold, many girls wear tiny skirts, knee-length socks…and bare legs. I have no idea how they do it.
* Vending machines…they’re everywhere but they don’t sell the right things. They sell sweetened coffee drinks, soft drinks, beer, cigarerettes…but no wine and no tampons. Thanks, Japan.
* Children are beautiful, beautifully dressed, beautifully behaved and VERY quiet. My son is beautiful but none of the others. He’s a good boy, don’t get me wrong, but he seems very loud. No children sing as they walk along with their mums either.
* Numbers are shown in our numbering system…ie…not kanji. I am deeply grateful for this.
This place continues to blow me away. The immediate culture shock has faded a little but it’s just so different to anything I’ve ever seen before. It’s not a pretty city – the buildings aren’t attractive and there’s no particular style of architecture that I’ve seen. But it has a vibe and a buzz that is really exciting. Today (Friday) had some trials that left me tense, grumpy and maybe a tad snappy…but this opportunity to spend time in this amazing place is something I’m making the most of.