January 28, 2008
I don’t have pictures of this yet, but I will get them: we went to Hello Kitty Place in a mall here in Tokyo. This is one of those “only in Tokyo” experiences.
The kids had the day off from school last Monday and I wanted to do something fun and special for them. Bailey had a birthday party to go to (brave parents – 10 boys and fishing rods at a local pond – of course Bailey was the one who got the hook in his finger. Don’t worry – he’s fine) so he was busy. But Sydney needed a little distraction.
My friend Amy is Japanese-American and has a daughter in Syd’s class. Malia and Syd are really great friends. We also had another little girl from the class – a Finnish girl named Aura. All three are five years old and clearly spend a lot of time together in the classroom. It is so interesting to see this Asian, European and American trio interacting with their different accents. It does not stop them from talking a mile a minute! Amy suggested this mall, La-La Port. Just the name is a little odd-sounding, I thought. It turns out that the mall is geared toward mothers and children – stores, restaurants, everything with mothers and kids in mind.
Amy drove and it took about 30 minutes to get there – it’s in Odaiba, near where they have that replica of the Statue of Liberty. There were some American stores – The Gap, Lands End, Claire’s, but most were Japanese brands of jewelry, clothes and shoes.
Lunch was an interesting affair. The restaurant we went to had a big red chandelier made of poufy balloons. Everything else in the place, from the tables to the chairs to the floor, was pink. The omelet Sydney ordered was heart-shaped, as was the mound of rice of my curry-rice dish. There was squeaky, clappy music playing in the background. The girls loved it!
After lunch we went to the Hello Kitty playground. I could not believe this place! You pay by the hour per person and they just mark your in-time. It’s so easy to say that you’re only going to be there 30 minutes – and then you end up staying an hour. Again, the girls just loved it. They got to dress in frilly costumes, put on make-up, serve tea, participate in a live Hello Kitty show (given by a woman in a blue puffy dress with multiple crinolines, chunky heels and high squeaky voice – think of every stereotype you know of cutesy.) and then jump in a ball pit. For the parents – presumably moms – there are massage chairs and a coffee bar – all of which cost extra. The girls changed outfits three times, spent as long as we’d let them in the ball pit (which had the advantage of a big ship in the back of it) and put makeup all over their faces - literally. Luckily there were wipes for afterward. Amy and I bought a throw-away camera. As soon as I have it developed (remember that???) I’ll get the pix up on the blog.
Our final destination in the mall was a chocolate shoppe. Again with the cutesy! Malia had a teddy-bear shaped cake-let, while Aura and Sydney had mini-parfaits. I had a coffee in a teeny tiny pink cup and saucer.
By then the girls were tired and I don’t blame them. They were pretty quiet in the back of the car on the way home.
By the time Sydney and I got home, Bailey was there. His friend Kalani and he had gone to the park with Minnie after the party and Sora had just picked up Kalani before I arrived. So both kids were pretty whipped. Dinner was a small affair of pasta that night before an early bedtime.
All-in-all it was an excellent day off. I’m just proud of myself because in the midst of all that pink and cute, I didn’t throw up once. I just have this crazy feeling that that’s not the last time I’ll be there…