I haven’t been blogging much. I haven’t been reading that many either.
This is in part due to a phenomenon I first started realising from book blogs. We have too many distractions. On the book blogs this was more about ebooks and pricing- the point was that ebooks aren’t just competing against physical books, they are competing against the games on our devices, the movies and TV shows we watch and all of the little stuff on the phones and tablets.
And that’s my problem with blogging. It’s having to compete for my time against the games I play (that’s a blog post I have been mentally writing for months), books, my 3ds and just spending time at home.
I want to find the time, but I am struggling. Not sure why now though
Just general thoughts. I read the Guardian article on miscarriages (in part a response to the Zuckerberg announcement) and it made me think about the things we do during pregnancy to keep it “safe”.
I just got back from Japan, where I ate sushi, drank a bit of alcohol and generally enjoyed myself. I am pretty sure that there is not a positive test in my immediate future (not that we didn’t try, but my most fertile hours were spent in a flying tin can). But what would I have done if I thought I was? Not sure.
After my miscarriages, I come to recognise that a lot of the safeguard activities don’t really make a difference if there is something fundamentally wrong. All the bed rest in the world didn’t stop the miscarriages. The acupuncture, the staying calm, the vitamin taking- none of it helped. The constant refrain of “it’s not your fault” is what I remember. The pregnancy that lasted the longest featured me walking quite a bit, being at an onsen in the early stages (hot bath) and sashimi (also early).
Yes, there are things that can actively cause damage, but most of us don’t sniff pennyroyal even when not pregnant.
Those of us in the TTC circle of hell spend so much time being told what to do and what to avoid, to the extent that it shrivels up some of our life. But how much of that is needed and how much of it is a form of bargaining? “If I give up coffee and wine and do thirty minutes of head standing a day, will I be rewarded with a baby?”
I have lost track of how many people I know who, based on their test results, should not have gotten pregnant, or struggled, but now have at least one child. And there is nothing in my test results to say I will have issues. But I do.
So maybe what I am saying here is that there is no magic factor- either for getting there or staying there. It is all a fluke. Appreciate the magic you received, but stop telling me that there is a ritual I must follow- I have been there and done that and it does not work.
So, Friday on our Tokyo trip was going to be shopping. G and M headed off to Akihabara, and I went to Nippori, aka fabric town. I noticed when I got off the train that there seemed to be a lot of shopping ladies heading the same direction, more than we have seen on previous visits. I had a plan. There is one Main Street with the shops, with a few scattered on side streets. There is a map showing where shops are. I was going to do one side of the street, then come back on the other. Super logical. I would also try to go to the side street shops, as we don’t often visit them. It started well, and I was being quite disciplined. Mostly notions, trimmings and useful pieces, rather than fabric.
While I was walking along, I spotted a huuuuge queue outside Tomato. Tomato is a well-known fabric shop, having several buildings in the area, the queue was outside the main one.
But I ignored it, tomato was in my plans for later. I was doing well, then I ventured into a cute shop with embroidered ribbon trims and cute kits. I bought something, then the shop lady asked me if I had been to Tomato. No, but planning to. She whipped out a flyer, Tomato was celebrating its 30th birthday by taking 30%off everything.
So, I walked the rest of the street, was making good time and thinking about my plans for after Nippori, when I made my fatal mistake. I went into tomato. I didn’t go to the first floor, I went up, to the floor with Japanese fabrics. I chose a couple, plus some off cut bundles and joined the queue. Each floor had a separate queue, for the cutting, then another (much shorter) queue for paying. The queue snaked the length of the floor and snaked back. It was very slow-moving and people in the queue it grabbing new bolts as they went. The people in front of me had a cart with 4 bolts of fabric when I joined, as I moved, the three (each a separate customer) added at least 12 bolts, to much discussion of how cute it was. Then one, as we approached the cutting table changed her mind and swapped about half of them out for new ones. But they were not the worst. The worst was that one of the three cutters was occupied for about 40 minutes cutting fabric for one woman and her son (who kept bringing new bolts), so the queue was super slow. And then bonus! She finished just as I was having fabric cut, so not only did she extend my cutting wait, the adding up of her fabric delayed my paying queue too. She spent over $400, even with the discount! Basically I spent an hour in the queue and was starving when I finished. So I left Nippori, and headed to Ueno, where I had a very nice lunch set at a place that seemed to be all about fresh and local produce. I had a tuna Katsu, which was a tuna steak schnitzel, with salad and rice. Yum
I then headed off to the other side of Tokyo, to a more suburban area, for some more crafty shopping. I went there last time we were in Tokyo, two years ago, but I didn’t see much. So it was raining when I got there, pretty heavily. I avoided the rain and went into the shop development next to the station. It had a craft shop I hadn’t visited, as well as some other nice shops. I bought what I wanted, looked around and was heading down when there was a crash of thunder and all the lights went out. The escalator I was on stopped. People screamed. I walked down, and then the lights came on, but the escalators didn’t start.
It was bucketing down outside, with lightning around.
But I wanted to go to some other stores so I went back through the station and to another department store. All under cover. That department store also had the escalators off, so I climbed up the stairs. I had been there before and there were two stores I wanted to visit and a third that was interesting. None of them was where I remembered. I re consulted my craft guide. Definitely the right floor. So I went down to information and asked about one shop. It had moved outside. She gave me directions (which I completely got wrong). And it had stopped raining so I went looking. I found another one, but not the one I wanted. And then I used google maps and it worked! This is unusual for me in japan. So I got the store I wanted, and bought a few things.
I was still disappointed about the other store, but I headed back to the department store for a restorative afternoon tea. At a cafe called afternoon tea. It was lovely, and then, as I was leaving, I noticed that the shop on the other side of the walkway was the one I was looking for! Yay!
Japanese department stores are not the same as western ones- each area is essentially its own shop- you cannot take an item from one area and pay in another. Sometimes they have their own bags, sometimes they will use the larger department store logo bag (and the logoed bags are very important)
Then I ended back to Shibuya to meet G and M and we went to the baseball. Summer school vacation had started by this point, and the stadium we went to is quite small, so we were a little concerned about the availability of seats. We went to a Yakult Swallows game at their home stain of Meiji Jingu. It’s an old stadium. We buy tickets for the outfield (cheap seats) where the fan club is. It was packed, full of families with little kids. Baseball is different in Japan- the fan clubs have a little band that plays on trumpets, there are specific fan routines (with the swallows it is umbrellas) and the beer girls with kegs On their back.
There were also cheerleaders, and around the sixth inning, a fireworks display! The mascot came out with a mat and they were the family watching fireworks on the grass. The swallows won, and there were at least three home run hits into the stands.
I highly recommend a baseball game to anyone visiting Japan, but check out the various teams- ticket prices vary. We were able to walk up and buy tickets on the day for under $20 each. By contrast, there is a company that buys tickets for tourists and delivers them to hotels with a service charge of $60. More than we paid for our tickets, although it may depend on where you want to sit and what teams.
Home safe, but not without dramas. At some point on the flight, after the dinner, I started feeling like I needed to throw up. Not really sick, just the feeling that I needed to vomit. So G stood up, and I went to get out ( I had the window, he had the aisle 2 seats next to each other.). Next thing I know, I am lying down, in the aisle. I remember hitting my back on the arm rest, but nothing else. I had passed out/fainted.
Luckily the toilets are not too far, and free, so I go there. No actual vomiting, thankfully. but very shaky. I come out and had apparently freaked out the steward, especially once he heard I had the fish dinner option. I end up back in our seats with an oxygen tank for a bit, which does help. Then I just conked out for the next few hours (core skill acquired in those student travel years- I can sleep on many forms of transport). No idea what happened, although a very irritating bruised section of spine.
The rest of the trip was ok- landed in Sydney, caught the plane to Brisbane. I have developed a cold, so my ears still haven’t popped, but otherwise ok. And one piece of luggage didn’t make it up. But will be delivered today
We are in Japan. The first couple of days were interesting.
We managed to catch the flight from Brisbane to Sydney fine, all good. Except for the girl in the middle seat next to me who was checking her FB, Instagram, something else social media until the last couple of minutes. Just an odd insight into what the young people are doing now (I felt old as she was doing this). Then she had two of the tiny wine bottles and got “drunk on the flight LOL”. A very quiet, not doing anything drunk.
Then we landed and I hurried G and M to the international terminal. There were some complaints about the speed, but we didn’t have much time before the next flight. And then the flight was delayed at least half an hour (increments of 15 minutes each time) because of a computer fault. Not what I wanted to hear, especially after a 99 percent podcast (I think it may also have been this American life) about the Air France crash a few years ago.
But the flight was fine, even if the other two didn’t get much sleep.
We landed on time, cleared immigration and the first two of our bags came through. I began to think we would make the first skylines train to the city. Ha, no. The third bag did not arrive. We had to report it, and there were a few being reported, so it appears that a few were left behind in Sydney!? Even though the baggage people had extra time. So, on that cheery note, we headed into Tokyo. And of course, it was M’s bag. If either of the other two had gone missing, G and I both had at least one outfit in the other bag. So we get into Ueno, shove the suitcases into a locker and have coffee at Starbucks. After coffee, we realise that key travel docs (our train cards) are in the said locker. Fun times. Did I mention it is hot and humid? We head over to Shinjuku and to the Tokyo metropolitan offices, where there are free observatories of the 40th floors (two towers, two observatories). This is where we find out there is a scout jamboree in town. We were in line a little behind the Swedish contingent.
The observatory was nice- we went to the one we didn’t see last time and it had a much smaller souvenir shop and a better-located cafe, so it was possible to look out over all sides.
Then back down to earth and a visit to Takashimaya.
We had a lovely sushi lunch there and then G and M went to Uniqlo in search of clothes and I went looking for Yuzawaya. I knew it was in the building, I have been there before, but I struggled to find it.
Once we were finished shopping, we headed to the hotel. Where the pre-loaded credit cards with the money for the room did not work. At all. We have used them before, so it was frustrating. In the end, I just put it on my credit card, and those cards became spending money. Which is both good and bad.
And G and M pretty much crashed at that point. I still had energy, so I looked around the neighbourhood.
Next day, we went to Hakone. I have been before, G has been once. So, it started looking less impressive when the ticket guy said the rope way to the volcanic valley was closed. No probs we’ll take the bus there. No, closed because the whole area is off-limits due to volcanic activity. So one thing gone but we went to the open-air museum. As always amazing!
We finished, rode up the funicular and back down, then went looking for the bus to the pirate ship (as the rope way wasn’t working) only to be told that because the weather was bad (and it was, windy and raining) no pirate ship either. Not so happy.
So we took the little train back down the mountain and the romance train back to Tokyo. A bit frustrating, as both the volcanic valley and the pirate ship are fun. Then we wandered around Shinjuku a bit. Then bag to the hotel, where the last bag had been delivered.
Tomorrow. For a week of sunshine. It’s a comfortable trip, a return to old haunts. But, I am someone who needs a certain amount of planning beforehand- to be sorted. I can wing it once we get there, but i need the prep to be done.
My husband. not so much. Which is why I currently want to strangle him. Things I asked about a week or two ago, that i thought were done? nope. They are not earth shatteringly important, but if I had realised I would have asked for different priorities.
So, he is at the laundromat, drying laundry. I am home, trying to sort out some fiddly bits. and trying to tidy. I will have to use my lunch break tomorrow to sort out more. And then we fly off in the evening.
I know that the trip should be good. but I have to get through the next 24 hours, which are not looking so great.