Tokyo highlights

It was springtime and we expected Tokyo to feel cool and comfortable. But freak weather meant March 17, our first day in the Japanese capital, was hot enough for us to be just in jeans and a single top and still perspire.

We started the day with a visit to Tsukiji Outer Market, with Titus strapped to me. The numerous small alleyways and large crowds made putting baby in a stroller a silly idea.

It was nice being able to be in contact with baby like this. Finally I was able to catch up on all those time being apart from him due to work commitments. šŸ™‚

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Tsukiji Outer Market was within walking distance from our hotel, Tokyu Stay Ginza, a lovely new hotel that opened just a week before we arrived.

The market was busy at 10am, full of foreigners eager to have a taste of the morning’sĀ  harvests that were sold fresh or cooked at small stores and eateries.

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We came across a few sushi shops with snaking queues. We skipped those and picked our way through the casual food stalls selling soft mochi buns with bean fillings, raw oysters and barbequed seafood. They are cheap and good enough.

It wasn’t easy trying to eat my way through the market with Titus strapped to me because he wanted a bite of everything I was having! While I could share the bean fillings of my mochi with him (sticky foods are a choking hazard), the raw oyster I had was a no-go and boy, was he upset!

 

After more than an hour at the market, Titus finally grew drowsy (it was time for his usual nap!) and fell asleep on me. Right away we dashed into a restaurant, sat down and ordered ourselves a seafood bowl and beers!

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I had to sit sideways to eat and it hurt my back, but heck. The fresh uni and icy-cold Asahi made up for the discomfort!

We made time in the afternoon to visit Victoria, a multi-level store specialising in ski gear and winter wear at affordable prices. Although I had bought Titus an OshKosh snow suit for this trip months ago, it was still too big for him and we needed essentials to keep him warm in the Yuzawa snow resorts.

Victoria is truly awesome. We found him a colourful one-piece snowsuit for just 5,000 yen (S$62) and a pair of Phenix snow boots for 4,400 yen. And they were duty-free with a flash of our passports. Awesome sauce.

 

The weather was a lot kinder – and normal – the next day. Finally, springtime’s chill was back! We took a train out to Noborito Station to get to Fujiko F. Fujio Museum, a facility that celebrated the works of the creator of Doraemon.

Although it was a museum featuring the popular cartoon, it wasn’t something that Titus was familiar with. This attraction was really for us. šŸ™‚

The museum has halls showcasing the artist’s works and drawings and told his life story, as well as an indoor toddler play area, a library with his comics, and a large outdoor space with some Doraemon fixtures for great photo ops.

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But all Titus cared for was the open space outside. He found such delight running around unsteadily! So there we spent 40 minutes, letting him run around and crawl here and there, while we adults snacked on dorayaki, Doraemon’s favourite red bean snack.

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Again, we took things slow for the rest of the afternoon, even returning to the hotel to dress Titus in warmer clothes. It really was so chilly that the poor boy’s teeth chattered while we waited for the train back to Ginza. But he loved it. He thought it was funny.

Later that evening, we went to Palette Town in Odaiba. A very touristy place packed with shops, restaurants and entertainment facilities. We were really there for the 115-meter tall ferris wheel that promises pretty views of Tokyo Bay and Odaiba. We loved it because we were the only ones there and had one cabin all to ourselves. For 920 yen per person (baby’s free, whee!), we bought ourselves 16 glorious minutes of silence.

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At Palette Town we also had our best meal in Tokyo, at an Italian restaurant called Al Forno. Who’d have guessed?

Anyway, we aren’t city folks and prefer the quiet of the outskirts. Tokyo was too busy for us and we were glad to bid the city goodbye the next morning, bound for Echigo-Yuzawa.

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