Shopping in Tokyo

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One thing on Tim’s bucket list for Tokyo was the Gundam storefront at Diver City so we decided to spend Christmas Eve in Odaiba by the waterfront.

We took our normal train from Shinagawa to Shimbashi and then switched to the Yurikamome line and got off at Daiba Street.

The first thing we saw when we got off the elevator was a display of toys from one of Clarissa’s favorite shows, Chuggington. She spent a long time deciding but finally ended up with her Koko train. She was so excited about her new train that she didn’t care about the Hello Kitty store or the Disney Store.

We walked through each of the seven floors of the mall before lunch. Clarissa had been asking for pizza all morning so we got a pizza for take out and Tim got subway and we ate together in the food court.

After lunch we headed to the Gundam store. They had a museum for 1200 yen with a movie. They also had hundreds of different Gundam models built. Tim thought it was great to walk around and took pictures of everything.

They had a special where you could color in a box and get a model to build. Clarissa and I each colored our box. Tim will enjoy putting his model together. I think Clarissa will too when she gets a little older.

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We then went outside to see the massive Gundam statue outside. It was several stories high.

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After Diver City, we walked around Aqua City. Clarissa’s favorite was the display of kittens and also the puppies at the pet store. I was excited to find my name written in Japanese on a stamp.

We spent some time in the Decks building. They have another mall there as well as an amusement park, a wax museum, and Legoland. We decided on Legoland. Tim and I cost 2200 yen and Clarissa was free. She was too short for the two rides. But she had a great time in the play area.

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We enjoyed the model of different sections of Tokyo. Clarissa also really enjoyed building with Legos. She made a giraffe. Clarissa enjoyed her time, but I honestly expected more from Legoland for the price.

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We took some pictures of the waterfront and the lights before heading back to Diver City for dinner.

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We ended up at a burger and steak place called Hiro. The food was good. My favorite part was the warmer. If your steak wasn’t done enough, you could put a piece on the warmer and it would sizzle a bit until it was the way you like it. I thought it was genius because if the chef over cooks your steak, it gets dried out. But this way, I could make every bite perfect.

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We tried the Hello Kitty cafe for dessert. Clarissa was excited about the Hello Kitty shaped pancakes. Tim liked the green tea ice cream. Mine was milk flavor. I guess I expected it to taste like vanilla so I was disappointed.

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We thought that it might be fun to take Clarissa to Disney for Christmas. She loves Minnie Mouse, but she is not tall enough for the rides and probably won’t remember much about this trip when she is older. We read that Ikspiari was the Japanese equivalent of Downtown Disney so we thought that would be a good compromise.

Clarissa got to “see” Minnie Mouse because there was a small Disney Store, so she was thrilled. But Tim and I were very disappointed. There were only three stores in the whole mall that even carried Disney merchandise. It was basically a mall with three floors. No characters whatsoever. We were there less than an hour.

We hopped back on our train and headed back to Akihabara for lunch. Tim found a list of anime and retro gaming stores that looked promising so we decided to check them out. The only one worth mentioning is Super Potato. They had some really cool games and accessories for atari and the original Nintendo among other things. The other store that Tim likes is Sofmap. It is like Fry’s but better.

We then made our way to two different shrines. The first was easy to miss. Kyobu Inari was very small and between buildings under construction.

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The other was the Kanda Myojin, the oldest shrine in Japan built in 730. It is actually a collective shrine for 108 neighborhoods in Tokyo and so it is very popular to visit.

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I learned a lot today. There were several people there taking pictures and a few praying. One woman in particular kept being where I wanted to take pictures. But she was praying and I wanted to be respectful so I didn’t take pictures while she was praying. She explained the process to me, mostly in Japanese.

Before you enter a gate, you bow once. Then when you get up to the shrine itself you bow, clap twice, then bow again, thanking god. Some shrines you put coins in. You must do so gently. Then when you leave you must bow again, hold your hand over your heart and then bow with your hands in front like you are praying and thank god again. It was interesting. When I bowed, I thanked God for Jesus and Christmas.

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We went back to Shinagawa for dinner and had TGIFridays. It is interesting to see which parts of a kids meal Clarissa will actually eat. Usually it is just the french fries or rice. But I am hoping that one day she will surprise me.

Today was the earliest we came back to our hotel. For our first Christmas together, we were on our honeymoon and NOTHING was open. So we did 17 mile drive and then watched Jingle all the Way. Every Christmas since, we have watched a Christmas movie. Christmas in Japan NOTHING was closed but we kept the tradition alive and introduced Clarissa to Home Alone . She loved it!

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