Cody here as a guest poster on the blog. I'll let you all know when it's me posting from now on. Kristen says I always give too many details when I tell stories, so be prepared.
As you all know we got into Tokyo yesterday afternoon after flying all day from Atlanta. The flights were great and luckily on the leg from LAX to Tokyo the plane was only about 2/3 full so we had 3 seats to ourselves. We were able to somewhat sleep, but were still exhausted when we go to the hotel around 4:30. After unpacking and laying down (it was really nice to be able to lay horizontally for a few minutes) we decided to go out and explore a bit.
We are staying in part of town called Shinjuku, and are right across the street from Shinjuku Station which is the busiest railway station in the world!
Before dinner we went looking for baby formula and "Baby water." Apparently it OK to drink the tap water here, but it has too many minerals for babies so they make a special bottled water for babies with a lot of the minerals taken out. We walked around for a while and checked out several 7-11's, and a couple Family Markets (which are just like 7-11). We didn't have any luck so Kristen asked the lady working at 7-11 and she pointed us to a place across the street. It was a 7 story store that looked like it just sold electronics. After exploring about 4 floors, we showed someone a picture of the formula we needed and he directed us to the basement...we had no idea there even was a basement. We found the water and formula but Kristen wanted something for her heartburn so we spoke to a guy and tried to explain what we needed. He found us some sort of medicine that had a picture of a happy stomach. So we gave it a shot.
Once we got what we needed we decided to get some dinner. There are tons of restaurants around us from little hole in the wall noodle shops to McDonalds to pretty nice sit down places. We decided to go to a sit down restaurant for dinner and picked a place called Tavern S. It had a very American feel and smelled great, so we gave it a shot and were not disappointed. The food was fantastic and everyone there was very polite. Most people speak English but not incredibly well, so we usually end up playing a bit of charades. While at the restaurant our waitress seemed to speak pretty good English, so we showed her the medicine we just bought and asked if it was good for heartburn. Apparently "heartburn" is tough to translate. Luckily I had access to Wifi and Google Translated "heartburn" into Japanese and the waitress confirmed that our Happy Stomach medicine was indeed for heartburn. Crisis diverted.
Like I said, the food was great. I had a cheeseburger and Kristen had Chicken Carbonara. Who would have known this would be our first meals in Japan?!
After dinner we went back to our room and tried to stay awake as long as possible. It was only 7:30 but we were exhausted. After FaceTiming with the kids I passed out and woke up the next morning at 6:00 am. Perfect!
When I opened the binds in the morning, we were astounded at how beautiful the city looked. Our room overlooks Shinjuku Station and the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. The sunrise was amazing!
For breakfast we ate at the hotel and they had a very nice buffet. I was a little worried at first because all I saw was fruit, salad and something called Horse Mackerel. Luckily I spotted some waffles, french toast and pancakes. On the other side they had sausage (which ended up just being small hot dogs), crispy bacon (real bacon!) and something called "bacon" which looked like bacon that was just warmed up and not crispy. I've been referring to it as "trichinosis bacon." Overall we really enjoyed it.
After breakfast we decided to walk around outside for an hour or so to explore. This might not be very interesting to everyone else, but here are some of my observations.
First of all this place is C-L-E-A-N! It's hard to explain but everything is just orderly and clean. We walked outside for about 30 minutes before we saw a piece of trash on the ground. All of the cars here are clean, especially the taxi cabs. The cabs all look like late 80's model Nissans but look like they just rolled off of the assembly line. The guys that drive them all wear suits, white driving gloves and the seats have white lace covering them.
Secondly, this place is quiet. Again, this is hard to explain but people don't seem to talk much. It's Monday morning here so we were walking among everyone going to work. We walked for about 15 minutes before I realized that NO ONE was talking on their cell phone. Not a single person. I bet we walked by thousands of people and nobody had a phone out. After walking for an hour we saw TWO people walking and talking on their phone...they were both Americans.
Third, there is music almost everywhere. When we walk through our hotel we hear this very soft, very sweet music. I need to see if I can record it because it's hard to describe. It's just very pleasant and very light. Even when we go outside there is a similar music playing in most places.
We are loving this place!
Well it's 11:15 and Kenta is supposed to be here in 15 minutes! Stay tuned.