DAY 4: Katsushima, Shinagawa and Itabashi, Tokyo
My aunt drove us to the Shinagawa Aquarium where Bruce got to see stingrays, his favorite! The landscaping was so pretty right outside the aquarium.
We found Nemo and penguins too!
After we walked through a couple times, we headed to Saya No Yudokoro, a Japanese hot spring bath house. I think everyone was mostly concerned with how Brandon was going to react to being surrounded by naked bodies (men and women separated, of course) but he wasn't at all bothered, shocked, or uncomfortable. In fact, he disrobed and fit right in. :) I, on the other hand, was so embarrassed. I'd been in bath houses in Japan a couple times but that was when I was a kid when you don't care about body image. I reluctantly took off my clothes and immediately tried to cover as much of myself up with a small towel. Bruce came with my aunt and me the first round and he was so confused and laughed, asking why there's so many boobies! Thank goodness he spoke in English. Haha! Once I got over the initial awkwardness, I was able to relax and enjoy each bath. There were so many different types, each one with their own benefits. After an hour, we met up with Brandon and my dad and ate a little snack. Then we went back for round 2 and Bruce went over to the men's side. My aunt and I finally got to enjoy the steam room. You rub salt all over your body and take a seat. As you're sitting there, you start sweating which dissolves the salt. When I got out, my skin was ever so smooth like a baby's. This was the most relaxed I've ever felt in years! Not a thought of worry or stress crossed my mind until the next morning. It was pure bliss!
DAY 5: Minato, Tokyo
This day was quite special for Bruce because he got to spend it with my cousin Yasuharu's family, including 3 of their cute little ones. The trains weren't crowded so we got to ride in the first car and check out the conductor's view. Pretty neat!
We checked out Kyu Shiba Rikyu Garden which was built over 330 years ago. Yasuharu's wife use to work here and I learned that the Ishii house koi (carp) were donated to their pond. (I'll post pictures of the koi from the house later.) How neat is that? :)
We then walked up to the Zojoji Temple. It was such a hot day so the kids all enjoyed some ice cream before we trekked up to the Tokyo Tower.
It was Kodomo No Hi (Children's Day) so there was a beautiful rainbow of koinobori (carp streamers).
Brandon and Bruce stopped by my cousin's home to check out their pet turtles! They're so huge! :)
DAY 6: Adachi, Tokyo
I don't have any non food photos from this day. I wasn't feeling very well so I rested most of the time and then went shopping at the local mall, Ario.
DAY 7: Chuo, Chiyoda, Katsushika, Tokyo
My aunt and uncle took my dad, Brandon, and Bruce to the Tsukiji Fish Market. (I stayed home resting.) They got to eat so many delicious food and it happened to be Tsukiji's semi annual sale so everything was cheaper than usual. Score!
Then they stopped by Akihabara so Brandon can see some real life otakus. Haha! He got a little glimpse of the perverted side of Japan. My aunt suggested my dad and Brandon go in one of the maid cafes while she watched Bruce but they turned down the offer. Next time!
To end the afternoon, I had some Darumado coffee with two of my lady cousins. I miss them so much, I wish I had more time with them. They're such hard working mothers and I've always looked up to them ever since we were all kids. We laughed about random memories from the past and dreamt of what they'd do if they could come visit the states again. One day, I hope!
Darumado itself is such a unique cafe. There's a huge collection of cups and saucers. My cousin said that the waiters use to take your order, maybe have a little chat, and then choose a cup that they think represents your personality. Such a interesting concept, right? :) And all the cups are pretty so no hurt feelings, I think.