Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Revisiting Family in Tokyo

We began our 2-year adventure in July 2007 with a visit to Japan to attend the wedding of Jeff's son Matt to Akiko, and we're now about to complete the circle with a visit to Matt, Akiko and Tyler, their 1-year-old son!

We were a little worried about getting a train during the weekend of Golden Week, a series of holidays around May 1 that provide many Japanese with a 5-day weekend, which many use to travel to see distant family. But there are five bullet trains, or Shinkansen, an hour, and we were able to get tickets for one leaving less than 90 minutes later, plenty of time to pick up bento boxes for lunch and for Jeff a new sudoku book
at a newsstand. The train was comfortable and extremely fast, averaging 135 mph to Tokyo even including three stops along the way! Hostesses walked down the aisle regularly selling food and drink, and we picked up iced coffees to go with our lunches. This is travelling in style!

It was a low-key two days centered around getting to know little Tyler, or Tai-chan as he's nicknamed in Japanese. Our only expedition was a mile walk into the nearby business area for lunch, walking along a canal that runs much of the way between their apartment and our destination.

All too soon it was time to return to the boat, but we had a special treat in store for Matt, Akiko, Tyler and Aki's parents: a visit to the Volendam with lunch on the Lido Deck!
So up came the car from its underground parking spot, and off we sped -- well, not exactly sped, this is Tokyo so it was more of a moderate crawl covering 25 km in 75 minutes, and that was on a so-called expressway. We had a grand time at lunch, and Tai-chan even did a kiwi bird imitation to match his new bib (guess who gave him that one?)

We were all charmed by Tyler's easy smile, even though we couldn't get him to show it for our Boys' Day photo -- our visit was actually one day early for this traditional Japanese holiday. It was certainly quite a treat to have three generations of boys in the Davis/Yuasa clan together for it!

After a terrific two days' visit, we said goodbye for now and off we sailed, leaving behind the bright lights of our cruise ship terminal and downtown Tokyo, including the Eiffel Tower look-alike Tokyo Tower, at 333m (1091') the tallest self-supported structure on earth. We'll see Matt, Aki and Tai-chan soon when they come to Seattle in July, but unfortunately we'll miss the Yuasas when they come to Seattle to take a cruise to Alaska, as we'll be off on another adventure by then. Too bad, because we feel we have a vested share of the fun they'll have by reason of having introduced them to the idea of taking a cruise on Holland America.

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