travel

Tokyo 2017

For this trip, we spent 4 days in Tokyo city and 3 days in Disney Tokyo, followed by a week in Hokkaido.

As with all our trips, the itinerary was planned with a little something for everyone. The understanding is that we would all get to do something we enjoyed and when it was time for someone else’s favorite activity, we would all partake in the fun together even if it didn’t seem all that appealing to us. This basically means that no one gets to complain when mommy is shopping for boring things because I just spent 4 hours watching you guys play with toys.

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And since we had baby Hayley along, we ditched the usual commando style touring and took things nice and slow because there was no way I could cover 15-20km a day lugging this chubby chubbs around.

We would visit an attraction, have a coffee break, snack break, playground break, another snack break, have lunch, check out the next attraction, have more snacks, head for dinner.

Did I mention the snacks?? Tokyo is the land of anyhowly-choose-also-nice-snacks. I didn’t meet a snack I did not like in Tokyo. Also, the food. Sadly, there will be no photos of the food because they all ended up inside my mouth before the husband could even whip out his phone. All I can tell you is that and lo, it was very good.

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While there’s a lot to do in Tokyo, it’s also a beautiful place to just sit by the river and have a cheese tart + coffee. On our first day out and about, we even brought a kindle along hoping to get in some reading time but that’s just crazy talk because with 2 kids and a baby, ain’t nobody got time for that.

 

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As for the places we visited, here are some of the highlights.

//We stumbled upon the “It’s A Sony” exhibition at the Sony building in Ginza while trying to shop for a camera and it turned out to be a brilliant detour. For an 80’s kid, this was a surprisingly fun stroll down memory lane looking at all the Sony products we grew up with. The husband was so thrilled to show the kids his first dreamcast, the playstations, the classic walkman, and even the short-lived minidisc player.

The kids were mostly incredulous, like “You mean this thing only plays music? And it only stores 12 songs at one time? WHY????

Urgh, kids these days.

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//Another gem was the children’s museum in Yotsuya Sanchome, two stops from Shinjuku. It was a real hit with the kids, even baby Hayley. Calling it a museum is a bit of a misnomer because it was less of a stuffy museum with see-no-touch kind of exhibits and more of a super fun play area stocked with some really beautifully crafted old school toys.

Baby Hayley had such a great time at the infant play area.

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This is baby Hayley’s idea of playing with toys, also known as how many items I can fit into my mouth at one time? I looked around and all the babies were all doing the same thing – busy gnawing on all the toys (while all the moms were frantically wiping everything down with antibacterial wet tissues).

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Babies are so adorable, it doesn’t matter if the toys can beam laser and speak 27 languages, all they care about is how this tastes when I stuff it in my mouth.

Mmmm, this one’s got leftover pumpkin with a hint of fennel…nom nom nom…oooh is that chocolate?? Let’s eat it!!!

The highlight for Truett and Kirsten was this magic show by a very enthusiastic grandfatherly Japanese uncle who reminded me a lot of my dad. His eyes had a twinkle to them and it seemed like he was having more fun than all of the kids combined, which made it such a joy to watch. I think when the kids are all grown up, I’m definitely taking up a gig hosting a magic show or story time with kids.

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//10 minutes from the children’s museum was a fire museum, so we stopped by for a visit as well. It was ok, a more typical museum exhibit viewing sort of experience.

Although the fire engines were pretty cool, and they had a great time simulating a rescue mission in a stationary helicopter.

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//For food and shopping, we spent some time at the usual favourites like Shinjuku, Shibuya, Tsukiji Market, and Ginza. Oh, Daikanyama and Nakameguro were really nice too, in a trendy, hipster sort of way.

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The best part about traveling is that every time we visit a city, we get to know her a little more. With some places, you’re all like, “umm ok thanks for the memories, it’s been nice knowing you.” But then once in a while, you find a place that you can be really good friends with.

Which is to say that Japan, I think we’ll be seeing you again soon. :)

travel

Travelling with a baby

We’re back home after two lovely weeks of getting our bottoms frozen in Japan. It was amazing, I’d highly recommend the experience. If one has to get one’s bottom frozen, Japan is a most wonderful place to do it.

I’ll get to the trip soon but first, I feel like we need to talk about traveling with an infant.

You know all those articles about 20 tips to survive a trip with a baby with photos of a happy smiley baby on a flight like so?

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LIES. ALL LIES.

Here’s one tip from someone who has actually survived a trip with a baby: DON’T DO IT.

Unless you’re like me and you enjoy the finer things in life such as shovelling food frantically into your face in 15 seconds while standing next to your table rocking an angry baby in a cramped izakaya, or hoisting a squirmy sack of rice all day while strolling around the city, or spending your nights asking your baby repeatedly “Y U NO SLEEP, BABY???”, or feeling like you’re exhausted out of your mind every minute of the entire holiday, then go ahead and bring that baby along!! It’ll be a holiday you’ll never forget!

For starters, baby Hayley wasn’t too impressed with the cold. The big kids were like “woooo snow, awesome“, but the baby was all “WHY ARE YOU GUYS DOING THIS TO ME I’M JUST 8 MONTHS OLD I CANNOT DEAL WITH THIS!!” even though we dressed her in super warm thermals, fleece footed jammies and a poofy coat. Poor baby would look increasingly miserable as the temperature dipped and if we wanted to know how cold it was, we’d just need to look at her face. It was actually hilarious because she would start shouting like “ahhhhh ahhhhh aaarrgghhh” whenever it got too cold, which would be our cue to duck into a mall or somewhere indoors to warm up.

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What’s the temperature here? Misery.

Speaking of the cold, as you know, I’ve mastered the art of breastfeeding the baby on the go and it was super convenient to just latch on the baby whenever she got hungry. It worked really well until we got to Niseko when I decided to just feed her at a quiet corner out in the snow because it was too much of a hike uphill to make it back to the hotel. I didn’t realise how cold it would be to breastfeed a baby out in the snow. Let’s just say that having a -10 degree arctic blast hit me right in the boob is something I’ll remember for a long, long time.

During this trip, I also discovered that baby Hayley does not like sleeping anywhere that is not her home. As it is, she already does not like to sleep much at home but when we were away, it was much, much worse.

She would struggle for an hour to fall asleep every night only to wake up every 30 minutes throughout the night. She developed a new rule of sleeping, wherein I had to lie down very close beside her and not move an inch. If I so much as twitched a muscle, she would immediately wake up and cry. So brutal.

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I’m not gonna lie, it was exhausting and there was more shouting than I was prepared for. But I don’t know, if I could do it all over again, I think I’d still want to bring the baby along.

We were at Sapporo Beer Garden one night just watching the snow fall gently around us while trying to walk off a particularly tasty dinner. The big kids were rolling around in the snow making snow angels and I had baby Hayley nestled against my chest. She looked around at the snowflakes falling like tiny crystals in the night, at all the pretty lights dancing along the street, then back up at me and her face broke out into the widest, happiest grin.

That was so much joy in her squishy little face I cannot even.

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She’s probably not going to remember that moment but that’s ok because I will.

I got to see my baby experience snow falling on her nose for the first time. I got to watch her eyes light up on It’s A Small World ride in Disneyland. I got to feed her the first bite of creamy Hokkaido soft serve (she went completely insane right after, flapping away frantically in the direction of the delicious ice cream. When we were done, she spent several minutes trying to eat the leftover taste of soft serve from my mouth like “what?? No more ice cream? I will have to eat your face!!“).

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My philosophy for traveling used to be that we had to pack in as much fun and enjoyment into every moment of every day. EVERYONE NEEDED TO HAVE FUN AT ALL TIMES! I’d get bummed if things went wrong or kids got tired and grouchy. That’s just too much pressure for any trip.

These days, I’ve learnt to take it for what it is – a time to get away and hang out with the people who bring me joy.

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travel

Doing Tokyo with 3

After spending 2016 at home, we’re in Tokyo with kids 1, 2, and 5.

The plan is to eat up all of the food we can stuff into our faces, do a bit of Disney and then head to Hokkaido for some skiing. We briefly considered bringing all 5 kids along for this adventure but that would have been hardcore level masochistic and I’m only moderately masochistic so we’re here with just 3 kids.

How do we choose which kids get to travel? It involves a very scientific methodology called “How Many Can We Bring Without Killing Ourselves Or Losing Any Kids”.

At this point, baby Hayley = Finn + Theo in terms of high maintenance quotient, so we had to choose either the baby or the two boys and since baby Hayley needs her food delivery system in the form of my boobs, she gets dibs this round. We could probably have done kids 1, 2, 3, 5 or 1, 2, 4, 5 but that would mean leaving either Finn or Theo at home, which would be super sad and lonesome for the one who doesn’t get to go. This way, they will both be slightly less sad and not at all lonesome.

It’s like that riddle where the guy has to cross the river with the fox, chicken and corn, except instead of animals and food, we have babies.

Truett and Kirsten are thrilled to have each other for company and they’re having a blast. I was like “if you guys could pick only 1 sibling to travel with, who would it be?” and they immediately shouted “OF COURSE KOR KOR/KIRSTEN!!” They are usually very politically correct with these pick-a-favourite-sibling/parent dilemmas I like to dish out but this time, there was no hesitation.

If we go with the small kids, we will be so busy taking care of them, it’ll be like hard work. With each other, we can just relax and play,” they explained.

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Fair enough.

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More to come soon, but Tokyo has been a delight. I think Japan is becoming one of my favourite places to visit.

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