Trip Start Apr 20, 2008
47Trip End Aug 29, 2008
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Rachel: After a long wait to get on the plane it was all worth it when all of our family got two seats each. We all got two pillows and at least one blanket. We all had a TV that we could watch movies on and play games. It was awesome because it came with a play station remote to play heaps of games on. I watched a movie called Juno.
I had dinner on the plane. My dinner was macaroni and cheese, apple juice, twisties and a cookie. Everybody on the plane got a little pack with an eye mask and some socks.
Tom: At 6:30 we arrived at Japan chirpy and happy exept Rachel beause she had a cold. When we were at the airport I was all confused beause I had no idea what the writing said. Neither did my mum and dad know.
So we had to deal with it. My dad said we could buy a novel but I couldn't find any because they weren't in English so we went to our hotel and had a bowling game.
Wednesday 23rd April
Tom: I woke up at six o'clock in the morning feeling quite tired from last night. Half an hour later we had breakfast my breakfast was PIKELETS, BUTTER and JAM! It filled me up a lot. After daddy did a little bit of work we went to the Tokyo station where we sorted out our JR rail pass (it felt like 2 hours!) Finally we went on a train to Asakusa. We went to this great restaurant and I had Tempura! it was fish and rice with lovely batter all over it.
Alison: After eating yummy tempura we then wandered around the temples of Asakusa
Thursday 24th April
Alison: While Michael did a bit of work he hadn't managed to finish before we got on the plane in the hotel room, I decided to go and find breakfast in town with the kids. We had planned to take the free shuttle but it was fully booked, so we walked through Shiba Park in the rain, having borrowed some umbrellas from the hotel, towards the district around the World Trade Centre and Railway Station where the shuttle would have dropped us.
After Michael was ready to venture out, we caught the train to Tokyo Station and the Imperial Palace. We had read in our guide of a nice restaurant near there and indeed it was a very nice smorgasbord with a mix of Western and Japanese food that kept the kids very happy. Rachel went back for the pasta 3 times! Suitably replete, we headed off for the Imperial Palace Gardens - vast and beautiful.
After such a long walk we caught a taxi back to the hotel rather than mucking around with changing subways etc. That night we ended up at a lovely Korean restaurant where we sat on the floor and ate more beautiful food.
Friday, 25th April
Alison: It is Anzac Day back in Australia, so with no-one at the office we were able to get away relatively early (well early for us at any rate) to the fish market. It was vast and finishing up by the time we got there at about 11.00, but there was still an amazing array of extraordinary sea creatures on display!. Unfortunately the kids were not really impressed by the smell, but put up with it pretty well and we then waited in line to go to one of the nearby sushi restaurants so that Michael could at long last have some raw fish!
Next we walked along the street trying to find something for the kids to eat for lunch and luckily found some superbly boxed strawberries. For roughly $6 the 2 boxes were a bargain and each strawberry was perfect - not a blemish on them, perfectly ripe and fragrant, sweet and delectable. It seemed almost a pity to guts them with such alacrity, but we did.
We next caught the train to Ueno, a lovely park and the site of the National Museum which was beautifully laid out and full of amazing objects. The kids and I were very excited to be looking at the oldest pottery in the world - up to 12,000 years old.
Mike: Al has given the blow by blow version, runny noses and all!!.. so I will keep mine to very brief observations and impressions. Loving it all, had aaaalways wanted to visit Japan.. and indeed it is sooo different to home, fascinating culture, place and people, and yummmmmmy food! Right at the core of the day's activity wherever we may be is of course planning lunch and dinner.. this is sacred!!
The people do their best to politely accommodate me!.. but a loud and boisterous, non-conforming rulebreaker is certainly not the norm in Japan! To a fault though they are lovely warm people who go soooo out of their way to help i.e. when you ask for directions they are as likely as not to personally escort you all the way, be that 5 blocks away! Am loving the variety of experiences, sights smells and sounds of Tokyo... but also can't wait to get into the countryside/mountains/traditional lifestyle too, away from the amaaaazing crowds, much as I do love the cityslickerlife.
Theeee highlight though for mine without doubt is the time spent with family, ie to use an americanism 24/7. To be with everyone all day long is a real treat and I can really feel the kids responding to this quality time and attention, and opening up to all the new experiences. Unlike at home where they can get bit ratty and in each other's face (as do the best of us!), since away they have been on the whole lovely warm people and really receptive to the whole thing. I can feel them happily lapping up the uninterrupted time in our company, as am I theirs, and I am can sense already that more generally this whole time will help to broaden their horizons, and help them grow into more rounded young people with an appreciation for the big wide world there is out there, beyond their playroom and dvd player!!
Al and I getting on well... to not argue at all would be asking tooooo much!.. but again the smorgasbord of new experiences certainly helps to keep us feeling alive, invigorated and appreciative for what we have, and clearly we both feel in our element out exploring new corners of the globe!
Quite enough from me, next off on a train to Kyoto!
xoxoxo from me and all of us
Where I stayed