Feeling Listless

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I realized that I am an avid list-maker. From to-do lists to listing goals, wishes, and what to pack for my next trip, I write it all down on random pieces of paper all over the house.
On one of the lists, I’m sure I have “recycle scrap papers.”
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Toddling Around Tokyo

I’ve been dying to write this post, but every time I start, it spins out of control. There were so many cool things we experienced in the city that I want to share them ALL.
But I’m going to try and contain this post to “The Unofficial Committed Survival Guide to Playing Tourist in Tokyo with a Toddler.” Or something more concise and eloquent.

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Tokyo by Design

I’m blogging from the road today. Well, more like from the hotel while the kiddo naps. We’ve only been in Tokyo about half a day, but I’m already getting a feel for the place. So far, it’s been easy to navigate, everyone has been exceedingly friendly and helpful, and I was able to get lunch without any common language between myself and the shop! (And no picture menus to boot!)

I really wanted to cover the experience of visiting this city with a toddler, which may happen later, but I was immediately struck by the little design details around the neighborhood. So let’s start there, shall we?

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Even the sewer or water drains are pretty.

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I really loved the geometric floral pattern on this grate.

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This illustration style reminded me of children’s books from the 1960’s. Plus I’m a sucker for graphic illustration and primary colors.

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Everything is so cute, even the sides of busses. I don’t know if these kewpies were selling anything or merely decoration, but I had to snap them.

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I wish I’d gotten a better pic of this gent. He must have been in his 60s or 70s and was the hippest guy I’ve probably ever seen.

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Skinny building. Probably 12 feet wide. I’m noticing a distinct discord in architectural styles and functions.

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Our first adventure was to the Institute of Nature Study near Meguro station. It’s a really affordable (300Y) and quiet retreat from the city noise. Its basically a forest with lovely bird calls in the middle of the city. I really wanted to visit the adjacent Teien Art Museum, but it was closed for renovations.

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I think this was a stamp for some kind of passport system for kids. Regardless, I thought it was pretty.

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Even pork is kawaii! And it’s named after my cat!

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I loved these antique packages I saw in the window of a teddy bear shop.

All in all, I have a great feeling about this trip. All the little old ladies love my daughter, and the language barrier isn’t a barrier at all. Like I said, we stopped in a back alley noodle joint for lunch. All I knew to say was “Soba.” We had a delicious cheap messy lunch (still learning how to feed noodles to a toddler with chopsticks). It was 600Y (about $7), and the lady held my daughter while I picked up noodles and paid the check! She even carried her out and helped me set up the stroller for the rain. I don’t know if I’d get the same treatment if I was traveling alone, but I’m grateful that people are so kind to both of us.

So far, so good!

An Even Bonnier Voyage

Let’s face it. Flying sucks. Unless you’re going private or first class. In which case, I’m sure it’s all foot massages and carrying on as much liquid as you desire.

Anyway, I have to say that on my most recent flight from Seattle to San Francisco I noticed a few new airport conveniences.

1) Power-hungry Virgin America gate in SeaTac:

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Outlets in the bench! Brilliant!

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I remember the early 00’s when I used to squat on the floor next to an outlet, usually next to a trash can, and often under the curious looks of landline-using passengers. It was embarrassing, but necessary. In recent years, it’s become a Charge to the Chargers Battle Royale. Power-hungry smartphone, tablet, and laptop users vie for precious outlets. Bodies sprawl on the floor like some post-apocalyptic movie scene, all in the hope of maintaining full charge during the inevitable airline delays.

But I digress. Thanks to Virgin America, charging has dignity and distinction. Just plug in at your seat and save the passenger-on-passenger aggression for overhead bin space.

2) Be kind, unwind

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Enjoy your Nama-stay in SFO

3) SFO Cribz
I’m sure there aren’t actual cribs and nannies in this nursery, but the fact they have this and not just a family restroom is pretty impressive.

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Rocking chairs, express manicures, wine bars…what else have you noticed lately that improved your airport experience?

Free Music in the Key of (Vitamin) D

Seattle is an incredible city in the summer months. Between the long daylight hours (5am-10pm at the longest), gorgeous mild weather, and endless natural beauty, it’s hard to ever leave town.

Compound that with several free outdoor concert series. Free! They’re all kid- and dog-friendly, you can bring or buy food, and best of all, they’re outside.
Here are a few more excuses to stick around and fill your Vitamin D quotient:

UVillage Summer Concert Series

Free Concerts at UVillage: Every Wednesday, UVillage ropes off a large section of the parking lot and put on a free concert. This one is pretty cool–kid and dog friendly, food for purchase, beer for purchase, and activities for kids. Last year, I even got a free full-size Aveda lotion!

 
Free Concerts at Seattle City Hall

Free Concerts at City Hall Plaza: Every Thursday at noon, Seattle artists provide lunchtime entertainment in the sun.

 

 

Concerts at the Mural

Free Concerts at the Mural: Seattle Center puts on several Friday concerts in August. It’s a great location when the weather starts to get really warm. Great shaded area, beer garden, several bands, and you can bring a nice picnic or buy a light dinner. Last year we saw some quality musicians.

So bring your chair, a blanket, a picnic basket, and SPF, and stay in Seattle for the summer!

Keeping up with the Kidless

My husband and I are social folk, and we agreed before our daughter was born that we’d do our best to keep our friends! Parenthood has a reputation for decimating a social life, and that wasn’t an option for us!

Sleeping at last

I get it–new parents don’t go out because they are so. damn. tired.

While we have playdates, take Stroller Strides classes, and we have a wonderful PEPS group, I have an amazing group of friends who do not have children.

Luckily, they have created a few recurring gatherings over the years that successfully get the 2 (or 3!) of us out of the house. Here are a few of the outings. Most are free or cheap, and a great excuse to get together! Continue reading

Happy Caturday 4

Caturday punching me in the neck

Hey, if it’s comfy for me, it must be comfy for you.

BooBoo likes to park himself wherever is least convenient for the rest of us. This week, it was my neck. Smelly and inconvenient, but I let him stay long enough to get some photographic evidence.

Happy weekend, everyone!