Friday, July 10, 2009

My Children Really Enjoy Drumming

We woke up around 7:00 and all was well. The kids had been awake and quietly reading since 6:30 - Yeah kids! It seems that putting my foot down at the souvenir shop and denying them the stuffed frog because of their less than ideal behavior had made an impression.

We went for breakfast at the Italian cafe. The kids had apple and chocolate croissants, Andrea had a bean bun, and I had a melon bun and an egg salad sandwich. In Joshua's eagerness to get at his half of one of the two sweet croissants he knocked his milk over -- most went into his lap but the Japanese woman sitting next to him on the bench was not immune. My Japanese studies proved useful; all twenty ways to beg apology that I have learned came in handy today. On the one hand we will never eat at that lovely cafe again; On the other I understand the concept of losing face much better now.

After breakfast we came back to the hotel to get Joshua new pants. The family gave me part two of my fathers day present (I asked for five things -- two down three to go) a Flip HD.

We then set off for Asakusa. Ari was tired so I carried him piggy back for a while. We wandered around a part of Tokyo not for the tourists: pachinko parlors and even a strip joint, along with a nice looking crepe stand, some omiyage (souvenir) shops, and even an Indian restaurant. Andrea whispered to me that it was tawdry. I whispered to her that we should ditch the kids and go to the strip joint. We ended up keeping the kids and going back to the Indian place for lunch. The buffet was reasonably priced (about $9/adult and $6/kid). The food was excellent but the chicken dish was way spicy. I had two helpings.

After lunch we were off to out drumming course. We walked the fifteen or twenty blocks to the meeting point quickly because we were running late. We started at the drum museum and the kids were having a blast, but I was hit with a case Hirohito's revenge. I thought that I would die. Sweat was rolling down my face. I managed not to puke, but I visited the bathroom in the drum museum three times in 30 minutes. I very much regretted that extra helping of spicy tandoori chicken.

On the way from the drum museum to the drum studio we passed one of the plentiful public toilets. After hastily conferring with Andrea I dropped out of the tour. I used the Japanese style (squatting) toilet and headed slowly back to the hotel. Don't tell my wife, but I wasn't even tempted to return to the strip joint.

You can not imagine how much I appreciate the fact that Tokyo has lots of clean public restrooms, even in the subways. I retraced my steps, since I had no map, having left the drumming abruptly. I was a little lost when I got out of the subway at a different exit a few blocks from where we entered in the morning. Eventually I figured it out by spotting a sign for a department store that I knew was near us. At the hotel, I showered, once again noticing that, just like our last hotel, a large area in the center of the mirror is heated (I swear I am not usually so fascinated by bathrooms) and sat down to read FaceBook. I played a few games of Scramble for Jodi (she was too busy paying bills to do it herself) and read the Times.

The family returned, Andrea tired and bitter about the difficulty of the subway system. The fact that the kids stopped behaving as soon as the enforcer left didn't help. We used wikitravel to find places to eat and headed off for the top three floors of MyLord depatment store, which are full of food shops. When we got there the kids decided that there was nothing that they could eat, without giving the chef instructions on which ingredients to leave out. After some time, Andrea picked a restaurant based largely on the fact that they had an English menu.

Allow me to digress here to explain how little difference the availability of a menu in english makes. I ordered something described as simply "chicken with pineapple". I got chicken nuggets, rice, raw leafy green vegetables (some of which I could identify), guacamole, and corn chip crumbs, all covered with a fried egg. Upon hearing the sad news that they were out of minestrone, Joshua almost lost it. Andrea ordered him spaghetti with clams and ate the clams for him.

Neither kid wanted to eat dinner, but Andrea had the foresight to choose a restaurant with fabulous deserts. We explained that desert was contingent on eating the nutritious portion of the meal with minimal fuss. The restaurant had ice cream sundaes so big and elaborate that one had 2 slices of cake which would have each sufficed as a desert in some restaurants on their own, Pokki sticks, an ice cream cone, a lit sparkler, and a cherry on top all as the GARNISH. The kids split a simpler sundae (only one slice of cake in the garnish) while Andrea and I split a crepe with tiramisu and ice cream.

After dinner Andrea used the bathroom and came out wondering why in addition to the usual shower, bidet, and stop buttons there was a flushing sound button complete with a volume control. My theory is for drowning out un-lady like sounds. Anyone have a better explanation?

No comments:

Post a Comment