Even though we went into this trip not really knowing what to expect, I think everyone involved is surprised with how difficult the adjustment has been.  But, considering that everything everyone is experiencing during this trip is brand new, I suppose it’s no surprise.  Yes, we’ve been to Japan before, but not to this city, nor to this apartment.  And we’ve never traveled with a kid before and especially one that is dealing with jet lag.  And this is all new to Aya’s parents as well.  They Skype with us every week, but they’ve never had Ellie over to their house.  It’s a brand spanking new experience for us all.  But they say that’s how you grow, right?  Through new experiences?  I think I’m going to grow a lot very quickly then.  Well, not knowing the best way to get adjusted, we figured the first thing to do would be to get acquainted with our surroundings.

Aya’s parents live in a town outside of Tokyo.  We figured it’s the Japanese equivalent to where we live back home.  It’s a smaller, older town by the river.  We are staying at a newly built apartment building (they call them “mansions” here).  From the balcony you can see the new Tokyo Sky Tree Tower off in the distance.  It’s supposed to be much larger than the current Tokyo Tower that was modeled after the Eiffel Tower from Paris, and is the world’s largest tower now.  It’s still under construction and is scheduled to open next spring.  Directly across the street from the apartment building is a sweet grocery store, various residential buildings, and then a High School. 

I do like this new city we are visiting, but part of me misses the other city we used to go visit.  A little city called Kuki.  It even had a cool name!  I did get very comfortable there and was able to navigate myself without too much trouble.  In the chaos and uneasiness of a whole new routine, or lack there of, and all the new surroundings, I’m grasping to find something familiar.  Something for my mind to relax and say, okay, you know this, you know where this is.  So while we hit the streets for a walk, I was gonna keep my eyes open to find myself a safe zone.  Right now, the grocery store across the street is the main contender.  It’s close, I can get there by myself, and they sell food.  And lucky for me, they are open until 10pm!

One thing I like about Japan is all the side streets and alley ways.  Everything is so narrow I can never tell what a road is and what an alley is.  Most often, what I think is a one way alley, is a two way street with no sidewalks.  It’s a good thing we brought a small stroller to maneuver these tight places.  I never tire of looking down these side streets and seeing the various houses and buildings.  It always peaks my curiosity to see what’s down these streets.

We went for a walk to the “downtown” area, as Aya’s dad called it, which consisted of a long covered street with all kinds of little shops and stores, and a KFC nearby.  Yes, KFC as in Kentucky Fried Chicken!  They are very popular here, especially for Christmas dinner.  You can order a very fancy KFC Christmas dinner to go.  I’ve never eaten at a KFC while in Japan, but maybe I’ll give it a go this trip.

After exploring through the downtown area, we all went out to lunch at a small organic bakery.  I love Japanese bread!  The regular white bread doesn’t sound like anything special, but it has the best texture and just a slight hint of sweetness to it.  But this bakery made all kinds of breads to accompany the lunch specials.  Heart-shaped sesame bread, white bread, wheat bread, sweet bread… mmm  bread… Aya and I ordered curry over rice with a few different breads on the side.  Ellie liked all of it!  She’ll sometimes reject a grilled cheese sandwich, but she always likes Japanese curry.  I guess she is Japanese after all.  And while we were there, she made friends with a very friendly five year old boy.

We could have easily roamed the streets for a few more hours, but eager to get Ellie on some sort of schedule, we wanted to hurry back to put Ellie down for a nap.  She barely slept the night before, so we figured a nap would be key to getting her back on track.  But just has everything else for this trip has been completely unpredictable, it ended up being a very bad idea.  Good thing my safe zone is close.


  1. The new surroundings are very nice! Hope you all get familiar with it soon, especially the time zone. Give Ellie a hug and kiss for me.

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