July 24, 2005

Quick notes from Japan

It's been harder to post here than I suspected, but believe me, the material's piling up. Here are some bullet points:

  • the kid's been eating very little and drinking 2-2.5x normal the first week, anyway. We've been going through almost a liter of milk a day. We were/are a little concerned, but she seems fine. But she does love the tofu, though. So creamy she eats it with a spoon.
  • Despite advance calls and confirmations, the hotel didn't have a crib, and made it clear they weren't jumping to get one after we asked where the kid was supposed to sleep. My search for a portable crib (note: if you can't carry it home, the train station dept. stores usually don't have it in stock.) ended, amusingly, with the Graco Contour Electra travel cot in a very decent red and blue--which I found at Babies R Us (kind of a schlepp, but they delivered the next day).
  • Next to Babies R Us, in what must be the diplomatic zone for American retailing, was Costco, one of three in Japan. Obviously, I had to go. The place was eerily familiar, from the layout to the imported merchandise (including coolers bigger than some Japanese cars and those ridiculous inflatable playhouses), to the swarms of larger-than-average people reveling in the joys of bulk food. They had the 2004 Maclaren Techno XT for 21,000 yen (about $US195) and the good-looking, well-reviewed-but-discontinued Mac 3 for 27,000, which didn't seem like a bargain to me. (It's $299 at Joggingstroller.com). The hot dogs were pork and not as good; instead of the random chicken bake, they had a more random bulgogi bake (Korean beef stew, I guess). The place was teeming with kids.
  • Japanese strollers always look like flimsy little plastic toys to me, but after hauling the Bugaboo up and down subways stairs a few days, I have a newfound respect for them. (<50% of stations have elevators, and not the ones you'd think.)
  • Earlier in the week, the kid had a jet lag-fueled meltdown within five minutes of sitting down at a conveyor belt sushi place--we didn't want to risk going to any place nice/normal. So we were nervous when we took her to The French Kitchen in the Grand Hyatt last night. But she rocked, and even ate the baby carrots. They had a high chair, and eagerly brought out a Sesame St. place setting (or maybe it's THE Sesame St place setting; we didn't see another kid in the whole hotel.), and even turned down the music a bit for us. [Yes, we were that square.]
  • Almost no changing tables anywhere, except, of course, in the dedicated family/wheelchair restrooms in the larger train stations and at, say the Mall At Roppongi Hills (which is so outrageously overpowering, it makes the Time Warner Center look like a quaint experiment in contextual development).

  • 5 Comments

    Wow, I've been reading your site for a year now and it sounds like you just went to the Babies r Us about 2 minutes by bicycle from my house! :o0

    Ah, no, different one. The one at Shin Urayasu. Just down the road from Makuhari Costco, which is why I thought you meant that one.

    Just say no" to the Pong... That's where you go to find white people you don't like.

    Yeah, I'm wondering how it will be with the baby girl coming in Nov. I'm young at 22...all the advice in the world would be helpful! Things like what I need to buy NOW as opposed to later like around 6 months or so??? Any ideas?

    See ya' around!

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