Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Why I love Japan

I will admit that I was a little reluctant to go to Japan for my brother in law's 2nd destination reception while I am pregnant. Japan has never been high up on my list of travel destinations, but if you are going to be invited to a Japanese wedding, you have to go! Plus, it is family.
But I don't like rice. I also don't like my meats uncooked. I do enjoy teriyaki, but that is the extent of my Japanese cuisine, and frankly I'm not even sure if that isn't an American food anyway. So with morning sickness still in full swing, and a positive attitude to try new things, I packed my suitcase full of granola bars, dried fruits, and snack foods and we flew off to Japan.
At the Narita airport we met up with Mr. W's parents and his sister and her husband, Mr. & Mrs. L. From there we were to take a train into Tokyo and then walk to our hotel where we'd meet up with his brother and his wife, Mr. & Mrs. WW, and her parents, Mr. & Mrs. S. I hope it will come as no surprise that this was a recipe for disaster. I'm not saying the idea didn't have merit, but with a toddler who never slept on the 10 hour flight until 10 minutes before we landed and then took an hour and a half train ride, we were unable to carry out the plan. The problem was we were tired, we were hungry, and everyone was staring at the subway map trying to figure out which direction to go for our "10 minute walk" to the hotel. Also there was a rumor that there was an underground passageway that would lead us straight there. Yeah, we had no idea where that was. So we headed off in the dark and rain only to discover that we were going the wrong way. At this point, with our luggage and the littlest W not in the best of moods, I told Mr. W that we were taking a cab and the rest of his family could do as they pleased if they were really determined to walk and find it on their own. A tad bitchy, perhaps, but I need to take care of my family.
Once we arrived at the hotel, which was very close, but in the opposite direction of where the family was heading, we met with Mr. WW and told him he needed to find his family while we checked in. I was so tired at this point that I told Mr. W that the boy and I would go to bed and he could join the others, once they finally arrived, at dinner. We unpacked a little so I could get into the snack food and get our jams. The room was very tiny, which I was kind of expecting, but yikes, the room was as wide as the bed was long. Unpacking proved to be slightly challenging and I couldn't find bear blanket. We searched high and low in that tiny room and I realized that I had left it in the cab. I was furious with myself! This trip was going to be a horrible, horrible nightmare because I left bear blanket, our most prized belonging that we brought with us to Japan, in the G_D cab. On the first G_D day! Poor little W. He was so tired and wanted to go to sleep so bad and wanted his bear blanket. I felt like the worst mother ever. The room was so tiny that all 3 of us would be sharing the same queen sized bed because there is no way a cot or crib would have fit in there, so I hoped that snuggling with Momma for the night would be an acceptable alternative for him.
Mr. W joined his family for dinner and came back tot he room, but I must have been sleeping pretty soundly because I don't remember that. At some point in the night though I had to get up to pee (thank you, pregnancy) The tiny little bathroom compartment had a light system that I couldn't quite figure out, so Mr. W turned on a small light near the bed. As I crawled back to bed, I couldn't believe my eyes! There was bear blanket wrapped around it's rightful owner! How did this miracle happen?
Apparently at some point the Japanese cab driver realized we'd left this fuzzy square of fabric in the back of his cab and took it upon himself to come back to the hotel. He also somehow managed to reconnect with the cab in which the rest of the family decided to take, having given up their quest to walk to the hotel. How he managed to do this I will never know. All I can assume is that the cab driver was an angel sent from heaven to save us from misery. I lived in NYC for 3 years. Never in all my cab rides did a driver ever return anything, certainly not a child's blanket! You'd be lucky if you left your phone in a cab to have the driver answer it and return it to you for a large fee. For this driver to realize the importance of a bear blanket and take his time to return it was beyond comprehension. Surely we had arrived in the most civilized country on the planet. It set the tone for the rest of our vacation in Japan.

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