Riding Japan's Bullet Train

The Bullet Train is a great way to see Japan (on a clear day).

Like a futuristic spaceship, the bullet train glides silently and smoothly at speeds of over 177 mph. On a clear day, you can see Mt. Fuji heading to Osaka from Tokyo. Unfortunately, today was not a clear day.


There's plenty of room to spread out and relax.


And be tickled!



At times the world buzzes by really quickly. At other times, it seems to move slowly.





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Touring Osaka? Visit the Museum of Housing and Living

One of the coolest museums I’ve ever been to is the Osaka Museum of Housing and  Living. When it comes to interactive historical and cultural fun, this is one museum that does not disappoint.


It’s like stepping through time! I always loved the life-sized dioramas of native people at natural history museums when I was a child. At the Osaka Museum of Housing and Living, they take it one step further. The glass is removed and you are allowed to become part of the exhibit as you learn about the history of Japan from the ancient Edo period to the more contemporary Showa period.


There are no “Don’t Touch” signs, you get to touch and interact and experience Japanese culture first hand. You even get to play dress-up! It was kind of like playing in a life-sized doll house set in ancient Japan. It really was the coolest experience.

Even Mr. Cool Austere Jazz musician can't help but smile.

No kimono for Ohm. He was too little. They do carry toddler and children's sizes though.

If you find yourself in Osaka, you've got to visit this museum!


6-4-20 Tenjinbashi Kita-ku


admission ¥600


10am-5pm Wed-Mon



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The Hep Five Ferris Wheel of Osaka Japan

Who doesn’t love a giant bright red ferris wheel in the center of a busy shopping center? Instant fun. Instant serenity. An instant glimpse of a magnificent city from a vantage point usually reserved for the birds. The Hep Five Ferris Wheel was one mighty red machine.


Ohm decided that he'd rather take a nap than join in on the fun.

Osaka was very hazy that day.

But you get the main idea.

The view on the Hep Five Ferris Wheel was pretty amazing.

Still sleeping

You could even see the mountains far in the distance.

Awake to enjoy the last five minutes!

*Note: There is a Bose i-phone dock attached to the window, so you can spend your twenty minutes in air being serenaded by your music of choice. The Japanese, truly think of everything when it comes to comfort.

The Hep Fiver Ferris Wheel is a wonderful way to see Osaka!

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Visiting Osaka, Japan

After being in Tokyo for three weeks, I must admit, Osaka was a breath of fresh air. Osaka just seemed to fit. The city felt down to earth, it was tangible, it possessed the refreshing quality of feeling, for lack of a better word- real. People moved slower, the large neon chain stores of Tokyo made way for smaller, more traditional quaint ones, the prices were much more reasonable, the food options vast and delicious, and for the first time, in a long time, I saw children and babies and couples; balance it seemed, had been restored.

  Ohm was charmed by all of the bright colors.

I thought this was so beautiful. It's a menu. There were so many signs and posts written on wood in black ink. Some had illustrations, others were plain. Simply lovely.

Lanterns lit the night. Okay, lanterns and street lamps and signs. But the lanterns are a wonderful touch.

                                                  Saki barrels

                   Ohm, all dressed up and ready for the Imperial court

                                My kimono looks lovely- no?

                          And yes, poor Mark was coerced into participating in this lovely family photo shoot. Say SAKI!

                         This restaurant building made me smile.

Octopus balls, also known as Takoyaki  - the delicacy of Osaka

                                  Learning to walk in the park

           This was a large indoor marketplace. It had so many twists and turns.

                                 The HEP Five Ferris Wheel!


                                Osaka was very rainy.

                I spent a lot of time seeking shelter under bridges and overpasses.

                   Mark and Ohm meandering in the rain.

         A traditional food stall, where a group of elderly locals sat eating food and playing games.

So many restaurants to choose from. This restaurant was tasty, but the menu was not in English. We sat, pointed and hoped for the best. It was a win!

*Side note: Osaka has AMAZING street food! Point and chew. Get on in there!


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Magical Kyoto and the Rokun-ji Temple

SONY DSC There is a place set deep in the mountains, where temples are illuminated by the low golden glow of the descending sun. A place where locust songs mark the opening and closing of each day. Here bicycles glide over quiet narrow streets. Machiya homes line long snakelike streets; polished and proud, they seem to whisper "we were here first, remember."

This is Kyoto:






Kyoto, Japan is home to over 100 temples and shrines. Around every corner, a temple or shrine seems to quietly appear.

The most resplendent of them all, in my opinion, is the Rokun-ji Temple, also known as the Golden Temple.



Originally built  as a villa by a wealthy statesman , the property was later converted into a temple and built up to represent the "Pure Land of Buddha in this world."

Wrapped in gold foil, the temple incorporates the styles of 11th-century imperial aristocracy, the buke style of warrior aristocracy and the Chinese zenshu-butsuden architectural style. It's truly a  magnificent sight to behold first hand.


In 1994, the sprawling Rokun-ji Temple complex which contains the Golden Pavilion, the Sekka-tei Tea House, the Fudo-do statue, footpaths, a pond and gardens was named a World Cultural Heritage Sight.

If you find yourself in Kyoto, visiting Rokun-ji is well worth the trek.



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Tokyo, Japan: Photo Essay

Tokyo has such a distinct and multi-layered personality. From the hustle and bustle of Shibuya , to the wacky off-beat Harajuku girls, to the seedy strip clubs and escort services in Roppongi, to the quite dignified air of the Imperial Palace, and the electric lights and gadgets in Akihabara, Tokyo is a city like no other. It is a city where:

- subways sing

-people worship in beautiful temples and shrines

-tradition is time-honored

-civility and a stiff upper lip are a must

-toilets have bidets, seat warmers and sound settings (babbling brook or Chopin?)

-service is impeccable even though you're not expected to tip

-elderly people walk the streets with the agility of forty-year olds

-gangs and organized crime are quite prominent (though you'd probably never notice it)

-order is observed impeccably

-almost everyone smokes everywhere

-office workers dress in color code according to rank and position

-in terms of fashion, anything goes

-men take pleasure in accessorizing and aren't afraid to carry a murse or two

-women are fond of wearing socks with their high heals

-homeless people sleep in elaborate cardboard box tunnels beneath bridges

-it's easier to find a box of depends than a bag of diapers

-you'll find an amazing selection of food






Thanks for a great time Tokyo! I leave a few pounds heavier and several yen poorer :)


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The Tokyo Zoo at Ueno

It was a beautiful afternoon. We were nearing the end of our stay in Tokyo, and wanted to go somewhere different, someplace that would engage (hopefully) our little Ohm.

We'd gone shopping, we'd visited temples and shrines, we'd climbed the tower of Tokyo, we'd visited museums, we'd sampled all sorts of foods and found ourselves in a variety of situations, but we hadn't really done anything kid friendly.

Where did the parents, of the few kids who lived in Tokyo take them on the weekends?

Why to the zoo. The Ueno Zoo.


Tokyo's Ueno Zoo is located inside Ueno Park. The Park reminded me of Central Park at Columbus Circle. There were street vendors, performers and people enjoying the afternoon.

                                                                    Here we had two men playing "Hey Jude" on wind pipes.

               These large magnificent crows were all over the park. They were loud and shook the branches of trees when they landed.

                                  Before you reach the entrance to the zoo, you'll find this carousel. Kid friendly Tokyo was emerging at last!

                                      The landscaped trees are so artful. Ueno Zoo is immaculate. It's modern, it's clean, it's edgy.

This bird looked like a mythical creature out of a Harry Potter movie. I had never seen one of these suckers before. They don't have these in the zoos in New York! I couldn't stop staring as it stalked back and forth bopping its head and snapping its beak.



                                                                                                   Well he is!

                                                                         This little guy groomed his mamma to perfection.

                    And often a zoo is a depressing place. This owl was not enjoying his time behind bars. Who could blame him?

                  The giant panda display was a zoo feature. Unfortunately he looked mournful. The ethics surrounding zoos, very tricky.

                                                                                     Elephants are my favorite!

                                                                                     Ohm liked the polar bear.

More than the polar bear, he enjoyed his ice cream break. As with most zoos, there is a large food court area where you can purchase all sorts of treats and goodies.

The Ueno Zoo is a great day trip. It definitely presents a different side of Tokyo, a slower, more family friendly energy that you're hard pressed to find elsewhere.

Ueno holds an impressive variety of animals, some of which you're not likely to find in zoos in the U.S. lending to an exotic appeal.

If it is Spring or Summer, make sure to plan extra time to hang out in Ueno Park. For a full day trip to Ueno, it's good to note that the Tokyo Museum is across from the zoo.

So all in all, we were successful. Ohm was happy, he got to see some animals and we were happy to leave the hustle and bustle of central Tokyo, if only for a few hours.


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The Hunt for Diapers in Tokyo

It is a desperate feeling. You’re down to your final three diapers and despite your efforts; you can’t find a place to purchase another pack.


Tokyo isn’t a city that I would deem child friendly. Babies are not a common sight. People seem to have other priorities in Tokyo, where the mantra seems to be “work really hard play harder, repeat”.


When I packed for our month in Japan, there was no way I’d have enough room in my suitcase to pack enough diapers for the duration of the trip. In fact, I thought nothing of packing a weeks supply thinking, I’ll just pick up a pack when we run out - after all, you can find everything in Tokyo.


If only it were that simple. With three diapers left, I began my quest to buy a new. I started with grocery stores. They seemed a likely place to purchase pampers. After combing through aisles I was turned away from not one, not two, but four different grocery stores. “Where can I buy diapers?” I’d patiently implore cashier after cashier, pulling a diaper from my purse to ensure my question was understood. Worriedly, store clerks would look at the diapers, at each other, then at me. Some would simply shrug, other offered meek apologies. With two diapers left, I was getting desperate.


I took my search to 7-11s and other convenience stores, once again, seemingly likely targets- nope. No diapers and no leads as to where to purchase them.


At the hotel concierge desk, with one diaper to go, I asked the woman to please point me in the direction of diapers. And where did she advise that I go?- A local department store. Department store?!? That didn’t sound right, but I wasn’t in a position to argue. Off we went to the department store, where between the glassware section and the fine china section sat a small collection of baby clothes, supplies and three packs of diapers. Relief!


Not knowing Ohm’s weight in kilograms caused a bit of confusion, but after the assistance of some friendly clerks, we were able to narrow in on the right pack.


*Ironic Side Note: Tokyo may have a miniscule baby population, but its elderly population is thriving. We found shelves stocked high with Depends in the grocery stores as well as the convenience stores.


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Ohm's Debut at the Blue Note Tokyo

There are some who work their whole lives to grace prestigious stages like the Blue Note; and there are those, who need little more than a cute face, a bubbly personality, and charm. My little Ohm, falls under the latter category.

We came to the Blue Note to hear the Count Basie Orchestra. Mark's a part of the orchestra, but since he was working the "Come Fly Away" tour and had a sub, he was afforded the rare opportunity to be a Basie spectator.

"They sound good." He marveled as we sat on our stools, passing an active Ohm between us.

Ohm handled himself like a pro, for the first few songs, bopping and swaying to the beat, clapping on cue. He went downhill fast though, as things with one-year-olds go, forcing me to retreat to the green-room.

It was there, in the green room, where Ohm met Keiko Lee, the featured singer for that evening and one of Japan's most noted Jazz singers. What happened next, could only be described as love at first sight. Ohm and Keiko babbled, smiled, and cooed at each other.

After her first set, when she entered the green-room, Ohm stood up and applauded causing her to blush.

"May I take him on stage with me?" She asked before returning for her second set.

"Um...sure?!?" I sputtered, not certain what I was agreeing to.

Into Keiko's arms Ohm crawled, and onto the main stage they strolled. Ohm grinned at the audience, loving his new-found attention. The audience roared.

Keiko sang her songs with Ohm in her arms. He smiled and waved at the crowd. He didn't make a peep. When their set was over, Ohm received quite an ovation.

As the patrons of the Blue Note headed out, a long line formed in front of Ohm and I. Confused at first, I didn't get what was happening, people had lined up to see Ohm.

Ohm greeted his admirers with smiles and waves. He was a true professional. I'm almost certain that I have a little performer in the making on my hands.


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Tokyo Food Show

I had found my zone. Before me lay rows of delectable glossy French pastries, fine teas, sushi, escargot, puddings, warm breads and savory cheeses. Welcome to the Tokyo Food Show, the sign read. My lips spread into a grin. I could feel my jeans getting tighter from mere suggestion.


Leaving Mark and Ohm behind in a cream puff scented trail of imaginary dust, I set off  in search of lunch- if you can call a tray of flaky warm pastries lunch (I personally have no qualms with this).


Located next to the Shibuya metro station in Mark City, the Tokyo Food Show is exactly what the name implies an elaborate show of the best of Tokyo’s food.


Dozens of vendors and fine confectioners line the showroom. Some of the best restaurants and hotels in Tokyo have stalls where you can sample their coveted culinary highlights.


I came for the baked goods. The Japanese have mastered the art of French baking. If you love macrons, éclairs, croissants, cream puffs, then you will not be disappointed.


Be warned, the food is quite pricy. The conversion rate from the dollar to the yen is not pretty. Luckily there are plenty of samples available to help you make the right choices.

In the end, I settled on this guy below.

It was as if he was speaking to me, "eat me Sojourner. Eat me in all of my rich butter cream, almond goodness..."

So I did, and it was so worth the tight jeans.


The Shrines of Tokyo

Very much ingrained in Japanese life and culture, Shinto, the ancient original religion of Japan has millions of devotees.


Placing heavy value on harmony with nature, the serene philosophy of the Shinto religion resonates through the open spaces of the shrines which allow one to revel in nature while being inspired by the divine. Shrines in Tokyo are both simple and ornate, placid and stimulating.


One is struck by an overwhelming sense of peace, the distinct impression that you are entering a sacred space. Architectural marvels, I was struck  by the immaculate attention to detail, the feeling of age and might.



Crossing through the main arch of a shrine, you have many paths to choose before reaching the main altar. You may find a water fountain containing holy water in which to cleanse your hands and face before approaching the featured altar. Often your nose will be seduced by the ethereal aroma of spicy incense, simultaneously grounding and uplifting. There may be nooks with statues and mini altars, or perhaps you will be rewarded with wide open forested paths.


Whichever the case may be, each shrine is unique. Each structure holds its own recipe for peace, for re-connecting with one’s self. Be still, allow each shrine reveal itself to you, to slowly disarm you with its gifts.


Not sure if you’ve encountered a shrine or a temple? Here’s an easy formula. All of the shrines that you will encounter in Japan are Shinto, just as all temples are Buddhist. If you are surrounded by statues of Buddha, chances are you’ve found a temple (my temple post is coming soon).


The following three shrines left a great impression on me.




  1. Togo Shrine- Located in Harajuku, this compact shrine is nestled in an unobtrusive nook between two buildings. A quick retreat from the hustle and bustle of the busy electric streets of Harajuku, the Togo Shrine, dedicated to Admiral Tōgō Heihachirō is unexpected and lovely.






  1. Meiji Shrine- One of Tokyo’s most famous and elaborate shrines, I couldn’t get enough of this woodsy retreat. Located in the middle of acres of green forest, it’s hard to believe once inside that you are still in Tokyo. Visiting the Meiji Shrine is like stepping into another world. The rambling footpaths are ideal for engaging in a walking meditation. The forest smells different, feels wonderfully vibrant. In the summer you’ll be lulled by a symphony of locusts, cicadas, birds, and frogs. As you ramble over the stony path towards the shrine, sunlight cascades downwards casting iridescent cocoons of light. The Meiji Shrine, built in 1920 in honor of Emperor and Empress Meiji is my favorite Tokyo shrine (I tried to not pick favorites, but I couldn’t help it!).


  1. Toshogu Shrine in Ueno Park- Built in 1616, in dedication to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Edo Shogunate, this woodsy open shrine feels very much like a playful tree house. Located in the center of busy Ueno park, the shrine is elevated slightly so that you are on level with the leaves of the trees around its periphery. This shrine radiates energy and offers great views of the park.


With dozens to choose from, the shrines of Tokyo, offer a unique glimpse into the culture and traditions of Japan. A visit to Tokyo isn't complete without a visit to at least one shrine.

The Tokyo Metro: One smooth ride, almost

Once you get past the somewhat unintelligible twists and turns of the many lines taking you to and from. Once you are able to discern a path through the throngs of people snaking around (and at times into) each other, and once you grasp the concept of checking the maps to see which exit to use (less you be sent off miles from your intended destination), the Tokyo metro can be quite a pleasing experience.


Almost everything about the metro is designed for your comfort and convenience. The trains glide gracefully into the station without the typical grinding squeaking clamor. When the doors open, a brief classical music tune can be heard. Each station has a song, this is to assist the blind and young school children who ride the metro to school find their stops.


Many of the stations have gates surrounding the platform, you do not have to worry about a crazy person pushing you into the tracks, or fainting before an oncoming train in the humid heat of August.


Before boarding the train, awaiting passengers on the platform form civilized queues. There is often a conductor, with white gloves, to help ensure all passengers make it into their cars.

Each train can be tracked. You know exactly when your chariot is scheduled to arrive. If you are in for a long wait, no worries. You can help yourself to a coffee, a beer, or a soda, from one of the many vending machines. Or perhaps you’d like to patron the waiting station, an enclosed  (in case it is winter) area with seats.


Once you’ve boarded your train, upholstered seats await you. The trains are clean, as are the stations; you will not see roaches or rats.


Are you pregnant, elderly, on crutches or riding with a small child? No worries. There is a designated seating area just for you. Usually people will move aside so that you can take a seat.


Darn, couldn’t grab a seat and you’ve got a purse and a grocery bag, perhaps a brief case and a suit jacket? No problem. There are ledges above the seats where you may place your items, nobody will take your belongings, and you are free to relax. In fact, feel free to pull out your I-phone without worrying about it being snatched from your hands by a gang of teenagers.


Halfway into your commute and suddenly have to use the restroom? Well you’re in luck; every few cars are equipped with a bathroom (yes they’re clean). Transitioning from car to car is easy, most trains are open, and the doors separating the cars remain unhinged to allow for smooth passage.


Sound too good to be true? There are no catches here, this is more than a commuter’s fantasy, it is real. Welcome to Tokyo, where the metro is designed for your comfort- almost. The metro is, to be fair, a navigational nightmare if you don’t speak Japanese and are unable to decipher characters.


And warning to the night owls, the trains completely stop running at one am. Wherever you are in your commute, at one, even if you are on a train and are halfway to your destination, the service will shut down. Luckily taxis are lined up outside of the stations but they are very expensive, very, very expensive. Many a late-night club-hopper can be found sound asleep on the sidewalks near the train stations on weekend mornings.

Shibuya Crossing

Waiting to cross, I see my mark. I’m thrilled I have the option to cross diagonally. I don't have to cross the intersection twice, how efficient I gleam to myself. I wait eagerly. The funny thing about Tokyo is despite its size, there is order. Rules are for the most part strictly adhered to. If the light says do not cross, people wait, even when there are no cars coming. So we stand and wait. A large crowd quickly amasses.

The light turns green, the white outline of a person is illuminated, the sound of chirping birds serenades sweetly, a cue for the blind. I step forth onto the cross walk pushing Ohm in his stroller. All is well. I’m making my way along the diagonal strip thinking to myself how handy one of these would be in New York.

Suddenly there is a whiz on my right and then a whoosh on my left. I'm caught off-guard as bicycles barrel through the foot traffic, pedestrians scurry and push. Caught in a frenzy, I'm disoriented in a sea of people. I can no longer see my diagonal cross walk path. I can no longer see the building I am trying to walk towards. People jostle each other about. Legs and bags bump into Ohm’s stroller. Ohm looks up at me . His enormous brown eyes form question marks. His little knuckles bulge from the tight fists he's formed as he grasps his seat for dear life. I'm dizzy. I'm being pushed along by the momentum of the crowd. I have no idea what direction I'm being moved towards.  I thought I was accustomed to crowds, I'm a New Yorker.

The light begins to flash. People sprint and thrash banging into each other, into cyclists and into me.  Racing towards a curb, any curb, I make it just in time. The cross walk once again belongs to the motorists. The morning traffic hums into action. The curbs emerge again, serene, as if nothing has happened. As if hundreds of people hadn’t stampeded seconds ago.


Shibuya crossing is one of the busiest intersections in the world.


It is quite the experience, but it's not for the meek. My advice: know your mark, run-walk, keep your eye out for cyclists who cross aggressively with pedestrians and don’t push a stroller!


I was able to capture the madness from my hotel window in this video.



Shibuya Crossing at night. I don't even know where to begin!



What is the busiest cross walk or area  you’ve encountered on your travels?

Akihabara: Electric City

Imagine for a moment, the hustle and bustle of New York’s Time Square. The seemingly endless wall-to-wall parade of people, the constant flash of bright neon lights. Feel the energy, the constant go..go…go…

Now multiply the frenzy, the clamor and the flash by ten and you will have Tokyo’s Akihabara, also known as Electric City.


“This place is like New York on crack!” – Mark Williams aka "The Hubby" on Akihabara



If Electric is what you want, electric is what you will get. Everything glows, everything flashes. The noise is loud and intense. People scurry and crowd.


Akihabara has earned fame as the place to go to purchase the latest and most innovative electronics in the world. If you can dream it, you can probably find it here.


This is also the place for cheap (albeit somewhat tacky) souvenirs. Whatever your motivation, whatever your pleasure, Akihabara hosts some of the most intense window shopping and people watching in Tokyo.


Elbows out, chin-up, forge forth!


Tokyo's Tsukiji Fish Market

It’s best to go early. It’s wise to be fully caffeinated and alert. Do not, as we learned the hard way wear flip-flops. Come to accept the fact that your olfactory nerves will be wildly over-stimulated. Have an open mind. Prepare to be over-stimulated and dazzled.


If you’re a lover of flavors, texture, colors, culture and local goods, Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market will be a unique and charming delight. The largest of its kind in the world, a trip to the market is a full event.



Simply stated, Tsukiji is a fish market; fisherman catch a mind boggling variety of fish and sea creatures and then they sell them.


Walking up and down the congested aisles, dodging men on mopeds, bicycles, trucks and rolling flats, I saw the most astonishing variety of fish and sea creatures. Some were dead, some were alive, and some were being butchered. Some I recognized, others looked like beasts from science fiction movies. I’d never seen so many tentacles. My senses were in overdrive. There was yelling and bargaining, there was blood and guts; around every turn a bike raced this way, a truck backed up that way.  The concrete floor is coated in a thick layer of fish-gut-goo. One must concentrate hard not to wipe out. The fish market, which seems to extend for miles, is an aquatic zoo of organized chaos. I use the term organized lightly.



The fish market proper doesn’t open to the public until 9am (there is an auction at 5 for businesses). It’s best to arrive early because it gets congested quickly. Having arrived around 7:30, we strolled the central market before entering the fish market. There is a large and vibrant central market right outside of the fish market gates where you can find everything from fresh produce, cosmetic grade rice paper, sake and calculators.



As is the case with most central markets, the restaurants and food stalls within its confines are delectable. Lines rolled down the street and around corners for some of the sushi establishments. We stepped into one sushi bar and enjoyed some of the best tuna rolls I’ve ever tasted. The tuna was warm and soft, and tasted of the ocean. It was the fresh catch from earlier in the morning. We noticed some of the prawns, at the sushi counter were still alive. Check out this video.


The Tsukiji Fish Market and the surrounding central market and food stalls are a must if you visit Tokyo, but there are some rules:

Land of the Rising Sun

The mattress is thin, very firm. Lying awake, I imagine the filling is a sea of buckwheat. The support is amazing. The stage has been set for a perfect night’s rest. Only it is not perfect. At home in New York it is three in the afternoon. My mind and my body are not in sync. Ohm, also awake, crawls over my lifeless limbs, giggling and squealing with delight. Despite the darkness, he is ready to play.


“Go to sleep.” I croak. My voice is horse. I’ve been awake now for 36 hours.


He takes a series of enthusiastic laps around the bed then collapses, head to one side. He’s quiet.


Satisfied I roll over preparing for attempt number 25 of sleep for the night, but something goes terribly wrong. A bright ball of hazy white begins to flood in through the parted curtains. I sit bolt-up, thinking perhaps in my delirium that we have come under nuclear attack.


I look at the glowing red numbers to my left. The alarm clock confirms that its 4:15 am.


“Mark!” I shake the still lump that is my husband. My hand is swatted away.


“Mark. M-a-r-k! Something’s wrong. Look.” I point accusingly towards the window. The white glow grows increasingly intense. The baby is on all fours again. We are all squinting in the direction of the window now, writhing beneath the supernaturally bright glow.


“What’s happening?”


Mark gets up. He staggers towards the window to close the curtains.


“The sun.” He grumbles.


“At four in the morning?” I do a double take at the alarm clock.


“This is the east, land of the rising sun.”



The Imperial Palace and Gardens

Sweet Makiko, who I met while training to go to Mozambique lives in Tokyo and we met up a few times. She took me around and showed me the ins and outs of Tokyo. Well, she showed me what she knew, she had just moved to Tokyo from Osaka and was almost a tourist herself. But Makiko was Japanese and spoke Japanese, that means she was able to translate and explain bits and pieces of the culture to help me better understand the complex hub that Tokyo is.

After meeting me at Hotel Okura, where I am staying with my now fiance (that's right ;) I got engaged last night :0)  ) we traveled via the subway in search of the Imperial Palace and Gardens.

The Palace, home to Japans emperor and his family was quite the sight. Surrounded by a moat filled with swans and giant gold-fish, the palace and gardens are hidden behind a giant wall. Open to the public, complete with a museum, the palace is a major tourist destination.