Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Asakusa and Shinjuku Through the Eyes of My Kids

We decided to take a trip with our pals into Tokyo on Tuesday to tour Asakusa and find a surprise in Shinjuku.  Once everyone was packed and ready to go, we made our way to Yokosuka Chuo and caught the 1047 train for Asakusa (a straight shot,  no transfers, Yay!).

When we got there I thought, Terra, we have been here many, many times.  How will you photograph this place in a different way this time?  Well, Terra, how about you give these little youngins a chance to do the picture-taking?  Hey, Terra, that's a great idea!  You are SO smart!

I handed my camera (not THE camera, but a smaller, older, cheaper camera) to the 6-year-old Boy and told him to have at it.  This is what I got...

This is the underside of the lantern above.  Not sure I've ever noticed the red detail under there.

Koinobori ~ Carp streamers, used to celebrate Children's Day, which is May 5.  I like how his picture is just of the streamers.  I took pictures of the streamers too, but in a way that had some sort of other feature in the background.  This is a simple view of the exact thing he was interested in.  The Streamers.  No fillers.  Perfect!

Awww...Boy found a heart somewhere

He tried to get a shot of the smoke from incense down there, but people kept walking in front of him so he got frustrated and gave up.  I guess he didn't have as much interference from up on Sensoji's steps.

I did steal the camera for a few shots...I just couldn't help myself.  I saw a few opportunities for good pictures and took them.  

At this point it was Kenz's turn to snap a few shots.  Here's what she found interesting...

This is her shot of Sky Tree

There were lots of lanterns in the area today.  I'm not sure if they are always there or not.  I don't remember seeing them any other time we've been here.  Maybe they are just up this time because Golden Week starts on Thursday.  

Golden Week is the time surrounding a bunch of Japenese holidays at the end of April/beginning of May.  It starts with Apr 29, the Emperor's birthday/Greenery Day/Showa Day.  May 3 is Constitutional Memorial Day.  May 4 is Citizen's Holiday.  May 5 is Children's Day.  Obviously, that is a BAD time to be exploring, hence the reason why we were heading out for three outings this week...for the next week we will be home.

Oh no...she found the knick knack store...

I'll spare you ALL of the knick knack pictures...she told me at one point she was taking pictures of the things she wanted to come back and buy.  Yikes!  She took a LOT of pictures in the shopping area.  Chopsticks, dolls, dolls, more dolls, fans, tea pots, koinobori....

**EDIT**  The following three pictures added:  both from Mackenzie.  I'm not sure how I could have missed these!

Totoro - she said this was for Mrs. Nina since it's her favorite.

What an awesome building!!!!  I have no idea where she even saw this.  Good eye, 8-year-old!

I'm not sure I've ever taken a picture of that part of Sky Tree.

At this point we decided we needed to get some food in our bellies.  We did a little search for a place to eat.  We found a building with food on each floor.  We found a place we liked on the 5th floor (there was a picture gallery on the first floor for us to make a lunch choice).  All seven of us hopped on the elevator and when the doors opened on the fifth floor we found the exit blocked off.  Hmm...must be closed.  Ok, we saw something on the 7th floor, so we punched that number in next.  Also gated off.  Gee...back to the 1st floor we go.  Regroup.  We decided we would try the open restaurant that was right there on the first floor.  We were escorted to our table, and we all took off our shoes and sat down.  After looking over the menus we settled on a few choices.  Sashimi, tomatoes and mozzarella, pizza, fried crispy chicken (one for each of my kids), and a fried plate (for me and the kids), and a fried oyster set.

When the kids' chicken plates arrived (oh, quick note...the menus were in Japanese so I ended up using my phone's translate app to figure out what everything was), the kids' fried crispy chicken plates arrived and I thought, "Hm...those are very tiny pieces of chicken."  I pick up one of the pieces from Boy's plate and taste it.  Uh's fried cartilage.  I wonder how this will go over.  Garytt ended up eating half of his plate while Mackenzie ate about three pieces before saying, "This is hard to chew."  It was at this point that Garytt thought the chicken wasn't good anymore.  At least he got through half of it.  So, the kids finished off my fried plate.  Meaning...they ate everything but the four small pieces of fish, those were left for me.

From here we jumped on the train at Asakusa Station and made our way to Shinjuku Station.  For some reason Boy was pouting about something.  Kacee and all the kids sat on the opposite side of the train from me.  When Garytt sat down and started pouting the man next to me kept laughing at him and saying, "Aww".  Garytt saw the man looking at him and laughed, which totally ruined whatever pouting session he was trying to display.  So, he pulled his hat down and pouted in seclusion.  On the right, this is how Emelie likes to ride the train...upside down.  I bet it offers a pretty interesting view!

A picture of the boys waiting on the moms to figure out which way to go for the surprise in Shinjuku

Like her sister, she had to take a selfie.  Unlike her sister, there was only one, not fifty.

She said she thought this lady was pretty.

Garytt took this picture.  He wanted a person picture to add to his collection.

Back to Mackenzie.  She liked this HUGE watch.

Now...on to our surprise!  

Another Gojira!  

That makes two this week!  This guy is climbing over part of the Gracery Hotel in Shinjuku.  Apparently, there is a room you can stay in with his giant face glaring through the window!

You can read all about the Godzilla $400 a night themed rooms here:

Looks pretty cool to me!  Expensive, but a fun experience!

Garytt was having some sort of melt down at this point.  He sat on a barrier column with his arms crossed and a scowl on his face.  So, these are all Kenz's pictures.

She was soo proud of these two close up shots...

 These were taken with my phone, since my 8 year old was having so much fun taking pictures.

A forced smile in the middle of yet another pouting sessions.  Perhaps three trips and 20 miles of walking in three days was a bit much for Boy.

So, another part of our excursion today was getting  pictures of Flat Stanley for a friend of Jeffrey and Kacee's back in the States.  At Asakusa we stuck him in a Sakura tree so he could be in front of Sky Tree and the pagoda at Sensoji.

When we put him in the tree in Shinjuku so he could get a picture with Gojira he turned into a huge sensation!  People were lining up to take pictures of him with Godzilla!

What a fun outing with great friends!  I'm glad we took the opportunity to head out in this beautiful weather before the craziness of Golden Week starts!  And, it was nice to spend the day looking with my eyes instead of through a camera lens.  Plus, the kids had a lot of fun trying to document the awesome day they had in The Big City!  

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