Monday, November 9, 2015

Wrapping up Tokyo

We flew home from Tokyo on Saturday and spent the weekend unpacking, working around Bowie's jet lag. Sleep is such a skill. Over the years, Dave and I have developed practices that allow us to barely feel the aftereffects of time travel, but the little guy is an innocent. He stayed up till two in the morning on Saturday night, and then on Sunday slept until three in the afternoon. Sunday night was rougher: having gone to bed at midnight, up again at two, wanting to play, which we did for two hours. Today, I'm planning to wake him at one in the afternoon, and expecting crankiness. The baby will sleep!

Yesterday Dave posted his round up of the remaining photos and stories about Tokyo; I have some, too. First of all, a series of photographs from the efficiency apartment.
The main room, with the view to the kitchenette and the front door. Observe the ladder that would lead to the alcove (and additional bed) in the attic had it been moved to the ledge over the door.
The main room (picture taken from the same spot at a 180 degree angle to the one above), with the view towards the crib, the bed, and the bathtub behind the glass wall. 
The all-important feet warming pool by the bathtub.
Every efficiency apartment needs a balcony -- for drying clothes on warm days or, say, growing plants.
This is how clothes drying happens on wet days -- in the closet.
The front door of the unit. The closet with the washing machine, next to which (not pictures) the clothes closet above, with the drying rack. Bowie's stroller fit nicely into the walk-through space.
The large sink in the kitchenette with all the wrapping from one afternoon's lunch (see story below).
Every day, after nap, Dave, Bowie, and I picnicked on the floor of our room for lunch. We made cucumber and tomato salads, fruit salads, finished leftover noodles, bought take out sashimi at the grocery stores, pastry from the local cafes. Each of these lunches generated a heap of packaging, as pictured on the photo of the sink above. San Francisco outlawed plastic bags a few years ago, and we've forgotten what it's like elsewhere. The packaging felt overwhelming. Often, individual fruit, say, pears and apples, came individually wrapped. (Postcards I bought at a corner store too came individually wrapped). Grapes came in plastic boxes. At the supermarkets, if I bought two bento boxes at different stalls, each vendor would give me a new bag, regardless of how many bags I already held in my hands. I habitually carry a cloth tote with me; showing it to the cashiers helped little. (Of course, there was also the language barrier.) Each pastry was wrapped thrice: first in paper, then in a tiny plastic baggy, then in a thicker to-go bag, especially when two or three pastries were purchased at once. At the end of the trip, I brought all the extra plastic bags home--Dave takes regular trips to Safeway, where they collect and claim to recycle plastic bags.

By the way, the perfect tool to clean an efficiency apartment? That's right, a lint brush. Our apartment came equipped with one. I watched the lint brushes in use at an indoor playground at the Tokyo Dome. At closing time, employees scrubbed all the play structures with different appropriate solutions, including the carpeting with lint brushes. That's the way to keep a place clean.


  1. Wait, you brought the used plastic bags home??? :)

    1. Yes. I did. It seemed easier than trying to figure out recycling situation there.

  2. the marital communication via blog comment is a huge bonus here!