Thursday, December 22, 2011

I went to Japan and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.

If only that were true. In fact, I had to pay extra to cart all my goodies home. Six kilos of bento boxes, Hello Kitty hairbrushes and four hundred and seventy-five pieces of cute stationery. Seriously, the place is a shopping mecca. Everything screams "buy me! now!" and the stores are packed. I went to a shopping centre that was only for teenage girls and there was eight levels! It was intense... and full of fake eyelashes. 

The Japanese, from what I saw, are phenomenally well-dressed. Hair perfect, pretty bows on shoes, a serious addiction to eye makeup and gorgeous coats. Men were looking sharp in suits and little kids were straight out of catalogues. It made me re-think my devotion to hoodies in winter!

The foliage was breathtaking, and filled the beautiful parks we went to.

We definitely do not get this in Queensland! Trees are either green or brown. Or greenish-brown.

Shibuya was a sensory overload - no wonder they call it the Times Square of Tokyo! The thickest crowds, the brightest lights, the loudest TV billboards. I was invited to buy the latest single from Sexy Zone, and Afterschool Xmas, and some Pocky, among other things. The scramble crossing was insane, at some points I had to hang on to Veggie Dad's bag so I didn't get carried away by the tide. Lots of people going in lots of different directions!  

The statue of Hachiko was so sweet. I love the story - he was the much-loved dog of a Tokyo University professor, and would meet after work at the station every day when the train was due to walk his owner home. One day in 1925, the professor did not appear, having died from a brain haemorrhage. Hachiko continued to wait at the train station faithfully at the end of each day until he too died nine years later.


Tokyo DisneySea was super-fun. Seven ports, all very different, all very well-recreated. Mediterranean Harbour, American Waterfront, Lost River Delta, Port Discovery, Mermaid Lagoon, Arabian Coast and Mysterious Island were all so much fun to walk through and explore. We had the best time in King Triton's cave, where everything was The Little Mermaid-themed and aimed at the younger kiddies. Veggie Baby had her first theme park ride and was nonplussed. Dad and I, however, were loving it.

I wanted to go on the Tower of Terror ride so bad, and climb all over the S.S. Columbia, but the wait times were in excess of 70 minutes... so I consoled myself with some popcorn - one batch was black pepper-flavoured, and another was milk tea. Weird, but good!

Shinjuku Golden Gai blew our minds and made us wish we had a babysitter! six tiny alleyways packed to the brim with even tinier bars for 4-6 people. I'm reliably informed you can order a beer and some metal music on the same menu and you can rock out in your cramped quarters. The doors looked like tiny fairy doors from an Enid Blyton book, only they were painted black and brown and had graffiti and stickers all over them. Punk fairy doors?

 Even normal streets were terribly narrow and sidewalks even more so. If they hadn't been so incredibly polite, I swear we would have been abused for daring to take a small stroller anywhere outdoors. As it was, we were restricted to the larger family-style eateries as most places were very small and compact. If you're claustrophobic, I suggest you holiday elsewhere! I love cosy spaces so I was right at home. Even if Veggie Dad and I had to walk through the hallway in our room separately, never both at once... in fact, the only place we could both be in the same vicinity was the double bed! A crying baby seems eighty times louder in such confines. Still cute, though. The baby, not the crying.

Sunset over Mt Fuji from the 45th floor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building was pretty special. The city stretches out for ever in every direction.

Sadly we couldn't eat a lot of Japanese food, as there is meat and fish in everything. I figured we could eat tempura and just ask for veggies (yasai) instead of whatever they had. I learned how to say "I don't eat meat" the last time we went to Japan in 2008, but they don't see seafood as meat. (As an aside, that is usually the first question I get when people find out I'm vegetarian - "do you eat fish?" Why is this? Fish is an animal, no? If I'm vegetarian, why would I eat fish? Please explain!) After this dish was brought out with prawns and whitefish along with the veggies, I went home and learned how to say "I don't eat meat or fish"!

 And last but not least, Harajuku, Yoyogi Park and some serious shopping. We watched the rockabilly/Elvis dancers we first saw in this film clip a while ago (they are awesome!), lots of people wandering around looking cool, practicing their musical instruments, jogging, yoga-ing, hula hooping, rehearsing plays and several Japanese boy bands going through their moves. I went nuts in the Kiddyland toy store, bought two crazy cool vintage dresses and wondered if I'd ever get out of the streets alive... it's a hectic place and the one that was most filled with foreigners.

Oh and Americans abroad? You are loud, rude and ignorant. Most of you, anyway... sad.

 There was still so much we didn't see... just going to have to go again, I guess...

Wanna come too?


  1. You sound like you had such a Fab the photos, feel free to take me next time.. I will be happy to babysit the gorgeous Abby Lee x x

  2. GGGAAAAHHHHH!!! I can't wait till I have fast internet again so I can lurk your pics over and over! I've always wanted to go to Japan... I started saving about 5 years ago and then BAM! I got pregnant and had hypermesis for 5 months and couldn't even leave my bed let alone the country. So alas, I will live vicariously through your photos until Josh and I decide we can finally start saving to go there. :) 

    ps. So glad you had a fabulous time. 

  3. save! do it! It is an excellent place for kids. 

    And hyperemesis? damn... you poor thing! Damn!

  4. VB's beanie is gorgeous.
    That sunset is gorgeous.Nest time smuggle me away too. You make me ache to see the world.

  5. The world is begging to be seen... I love to motivate! 

  6. Amazing! So glad you had a great time, even if there was lots of fish

  7. I tell you, even mention Hachiko and I start to tear up!

    Next time you go I am SO coming with you.

    Can I have Veggie Baby pleeeeeease?

  8. I would be insulted by the Americans abroad statement, but i actually feel the same way a lot of the time haha!  (I'm pretty sure i don't fall into the "most of you" category)
    And yeah, the fish thing.. sadly i've had to resign to pescaterianism when i'm not cooking for myself because otherwise i think i'd starve! 
    Thanks for the amazing pictures!  :)

  9. Fussy Eater's MumDecember 23, 2011 at 8:02 AM

    Do you see why I hide behind things when I hear a fellow American speaking like a fog horn in a shop? Anyhow, that looks like an amazing trip. Thank you for sharing.
    Sadly, no mm linkers, but I did my best :)
    Next week!

  10. I visited Japan in 2007 and loved every minute of it. I would love to visit there again. Like yourself, I learnt how to say "I don't eat meat" and even had a lovely Japanese girl help me. It truly is amazing how beautiful and perfect everyone looks in Tokyo. Something that is probably made even more apparent when I was slumming it backpacker style! Ha! And the shopping… oh my… I lost count of the number of shopping centres I got lost in! ;)

  11. Looks like you had a fab trip, Tokyo is such fun. We always stop to say hello to Hachiko when we visit...

  12. Oh my god, you are such a beautiful family. I teared up reading this, excited for you at all the sights and sounds and exotic shit you would have seen and felt, to light your Spirits up. Well DONE Mama, that's what life is all about!

    Have never had the slightest hankering to see Japan, but you make it look very tempting.


  13. Beautiful. Japan is at the top of my vacation wishlist. I am so showing hubby this post!

    Fabulous photos Stacey, looks amazing! xo

  14. Packing my bag right now.  Fabulous recap and makes me want to go all the more!


  15. The Americans comment is funny. I swear, while in Japan, they over exaggerated their accents and spoke extra loud so people know where they come from, maybe. I'm glad I'm not alone in thinking this.

  16. Your photographs transport me to a land that is not on my list, but now it is.

    Loving the beanie hat.

    Happy New year to you and your family.

  17. Yes and yes! come be our holiday nanny :)

  18. Isn't it strange how someone else's experiences can do that?

    I hope your new year was the best it could be. I had a lemonade for you xx

  19. I have found it in a lot of places, actually. And it pains me to say, because I'm a huge fan of America and Americans xx

  20. super-exotic! Just not of the dancer variety! Although if you look at Veggie Dad's blog, you will find a picture of Club Tits in Roppongi...

    Japan is awesome x

  21. He's such a precious little thing! Can't wait to see more of Japan itself :)

  22. I was so scared to go into actual shopping centres! There's so many! We braved Tokyu Hands and even then we lost each other quite a bit. Sooooo many people!

  23. foghorn... excellent description!

  24. I have a deep and abiding love for America and her inhabitants... it's almost unhealthy! I always wish I was born American instead of Australian. So it pained me greatly to write that! xx

  25. I'm. So. JEL! Ah! Too much amazing for my eye-sticles! I may actually explode.