i can stand!

wee G, doing his standing thing.

isn't he the cutest?



the national bird

is apparently the crow. They're everywhere - and very vocal. We could hear them chattering outside K&D's flat - very clearly about 5am. Rumor has it that the crow has some symbolic meaning in Japan, but I've forgotten what...


the imperial palace

is open to the public two days a year. That's it. No more. Two days. Amazingly enough, we were in Tokyo for both of them. Did we go, you ask? No. Not on your life. Everything in Japan shuts down the days that the palace is open. Everything. Even the 7-11. Everyone in Japan goes to the palace. Everyone. And they take their children, grandmother, great-grandmother, crazy cousin, and the dog. Maybe not the dog. We took this picture on a lovely day just before the madness...



the long lost duck-billed platypus

i found him. in the imperial palace moat. who knew?



blue tree land

Still in Shinjuku. Still not sure what holiday we're decorated for...


Shinjuku at night...

Shinjuku is a gloriously vibrant (and well-lit) section of town. Has the busiest train station in the world, tons of people, and no lack of shopping opportunities.

The wreaths are seasonal decorations, but we weren't sure if they were an attempt at Christmas, or actually for New Year's.

Note that New Year's is a national religious holiday - the whole country shuts down. Christmas is a romantic holiday. Date night in the land of Shintoism.



the dai-ichi hotel

this is the hotel that my grandfather lived in when he was first stationed in Tokyo. Once Grams moved over with Mom and the Uncle, they lived on base. But Gramps would take them to Sunday dinner in the hotel's dining room. Fun fact: the hotel is built on rockers so it won't collapse in an earthquake.

(that's mom in front of it. she was really excited to find it.)



Christmas morning...

This pretty much sums it up: adventures with wee G. This turned out to be a fantastic find... and it sings. (or not. which is the best feature. i have a new appreciation for toys with volume switches).



well, yesterday was an adventure into the world of japanese families. We went to a afternoon party of this Japanese mother`s group... Mostly foreign fathers. Interesting, but a bit exhausting. Wee G was *not* a fan of the crawling competition. On the upside, I did learn how to make a snail with my hands.

Mom and I wandered around, and then met K and Wee G at a lovely tempura restuarant in Shibuya. What`s interesting is that every department store has restaurants on the top floors and a grocery store in the basement. Generally, the grocery stores are very elegant affairs - kinda a Dean and Deluca. Although, D&D does exist here...

Off to a brunch. About to get in trouble for bewing slow.

Merry Christmas Eve from Tokyo...



tokyu hands

A lovely day of wandering around Tokyo... and a cab ride that went a bit astray. Picture me trying to give directions to a cab driver who speaks not a word of English. Lovely few moments of switching back and forth between the map and the phrasebook - all while Mom is saying, "what is he saying?" and "what are you telling him?". He was really quite nice about it, though. Didn`t even mutter under his breath in Japanese. Probably went to find the nearest bottle of shoshu, though.

Prior to the cab ride from hell, we toured Tokyu Hands. Have I mentioned that I love this store?? It`s a combination of painting/scrapbooking/artist store, stationary store, Sur le Table, crafty stuff, and Home Depot. They carry everything you could possibly need to make anything in the world. I love it. Seriously could spend hours wandering around.

We also ventured into the Takeshimaya department store. Department stores in Tokyo are totally an experience. Neimans is the closest thing I can think of, but that doesn`t come close. They`re fantastic. Wonderful service, beautiful things, and they wrap everything. Of course, when they label your items in Japanese, it makes the wrapping kinda pointless. We`re going to have to break into the boxes to figure out what is what. But the thought is great.

Wenders, you`d seriously *love* this store. I think of you whenever I go in...

Currently babysitting wee G while his parents are at the company party. Had a fantastic play time follwed by a bit of whining. Discovered that if you feed him two bottles, he starts snoring pretty quickly. Not qute sure if he`s allowed to have two bottles, but it seemed like a better option than an hour of screaming.

Tomorrow we go to a Japanese children`s Christmas party... if I haven`t poisoned wee G, that is. Mama Cate, just how much do one year olds actually eat?




safely arrived, and slowly recovering from the jet lag. spent yesterday wandering around the Meiji shrine with wee G. Kat rescued him as Mom and I headed off to lunch with D. Fiddled around K&D`s neighborhood yesterday afternoon before K took me on a late-night grocery run. Love the grocery store. Managed to identify the soymilk as the one with soybeans in the background instead of cows... lovely. The packaging is so helpful, especially as I don`t read Japanese!

Mom and I are heading off to the land of crafts today... Tokyu Hands. Epic poems could be written about this store.



garden party

Mom's Christmas present... a double lap quilt in the 'trip around the world' pattern.

the first picture is for design, the second for color. it's actually wider than it is long, but that picture didn't work out. clearly, i need to have a better relationship with my digital camera. maybe i'll buy it coffee sometime. or some fancy batteries or something.

let there be...


I have a fast internet connection and I'm a happy girl. In celebration, I submit a picture of my godson... it's from may, but the whole blog's out of date. no fear, there shall be more soon.


there is a man on top of our 60 foot tower, installing wireless broadband as I type! i could faint from joy! woo-hoo!

this means that there will be more posts soon - and with pictures!