Wednesday, May 09, 2007

golden week part two: Ikea and Lalaport

The next day, Tuesday, the weather was supposed to be cloudy with some rain so we decided to go to Ikea. I had really been looking forward to this day. Again, there wasn't much traffic and we were there within 40 minutes. I had found out before that they have a free play area for kids who are between 100-135cm and potty-trained so I asked Emi & Misaki if they wanted to go in. Misaki was all ready to go but at the end Emi decided she didn't want to go. She's a bit of a chicken sometimes (reminds me of me!) so we decided to have lunch first and see how she felt after. We had some yummy Ikea food (not hotdogs though!) and then after that Emi decided she would try it. They played in there for an hour while we walked around and looked at all the stuff.
I mentioned it before but I was really hoping to buy a bed. I didn't think Ikea would deliver it to Osaka but I was even willing to pay to have it delivered by another service if I found one I liked. Those of you who have been to the Ikea in Funabashi know that the second floor starts with living room ideas and then works around to bedrooms eventually. When we got to the bedroom showroom I looked around but I didn't see anything I really liked or could even settle for. I want to buy a bedroom set that is in dark wood but they didn't really have anything like that. Chikara thought everything was great which started getting on my nerves when we went to the mattress department.

I will stop here to give you a little background of the beds we've slept on since we got married. When we started shopping for our first bed almost 10 years ago, I really wanted Chikara to be comfortable so we went to our local Futon Factory. They made their own bedframes there and had a lot of choices for the thickness and size of futons. We settled on a fabulous pine bed frame and a medium thickness of futon mattress in a queen size. I wasn't sure how I would like it but it turned out to be the most comfortable bed I'd ever slept on. Plus it turns out that Chikara moves around a lot at night so it was better that we had a futon than a spring mattress because then his constant motion didn't wake me up. For our first anniversary we went to the stay at The Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia. It was the first time since we'd been married that we'd slept on a spring mattress and I didn't get much sleep. At all. Especially after this incident I was glad that we'd bought a futon.

When we moved to Japan we were planning to live with Chikara's parents for a bit while he looked for a job and we didn't know how long it would take for us to get into our own place so we decided to leave our bed in the States in my sister's apartment. At the time, I didn't think much about it because I was going to Japan, the land of futons, right?! Chikara's parents had bought a double futon for us and we have used it for the last 5-1/2 years and it has served us well. I haven't had any complaints until my last pregnancy and it has just become too uncomfortable. Even now I'd rather sleep on the couch than in our bed and I don't think that's too good for our marriage!!

So now you know what we're looking for and I really want to buy something that's gonna last us for awhile so I am on the hunt for the "perfect bed". In other words, I'm being picky, but with this type of stuff, Chikara's not picky at all (since he can fall asleep *anywhere*) so every bedframe he saw and every mattress he tried out was, to him, perfect. Finally, I just gave up, much to the frustration of Chikara and probably the amazement of our friends. Sorry, I just can't decide in that kind of environment.

So no bed, but I did find cutting boards, a cheese slicer, a new whisk, bed sheets for the girls, kid's cups, a round mirror to hang on the wall, hooks for coats for the entrace of our house, cute storage boxes, cheap pillow covers, and some other miscellaneous stuff. Also, they had salted licorice, which is probably going to gross a lot of you out, but my dad gave it to us when we were kids and I really like it now. Probably reminds me of hanging out with my dad, who I miss a lot.

Our friends watched the kids for us while they ate ice cream so we could run through one more time to make sure I didn't miss anything and I found a collapsable laundry basket that I can take with me as I go around the house picking up dirty laundry. I'm always trying to carry everything in my hands and I inevitably end up dropping socks along the way. After the wonderfulness of Ikea, I didn't think I could take anymore shopping, but just across the street is Lalaport. And here I have to say sorry to Lily because I didn't know there was more than one Lalaport and were in the one in Tokyo, not Yokohama (thanks for the info, Gina!). They have an awesome playland that is 500yen ($5) for each kid and they can play as long as they want on the weekdays. The pictures say it all.

For dinner we ate at Wendy's because I didn't want to take my cranky, tired kids to a real restaurant. As soon as we arrived Emi started crying for some reason so I knew I had made the right decision. We had cheeseburgers, chili-cheese fries and Frostys. It was awesome. When I was pregnant with Emi, whenever I had 99 cents in the car I would drive through Wendy's and buy a small Frosty. That was an awesome time! After Wendy's, we got some Starbucks and wandered around for a little bit but soon it was obvious that we should take all of our kids home and put them in bed. Again Natsuki slept very well (hallelujah!). Once all the kids were settled down, Chikara and Kenji promptly fell asleep on the couch and the floor, so Sachiko and I talked until about 1 in the morning. We had such a great time gabbing without interuptions! But finally we were tired too so we woke up our husbands and went to bed.

The next morning we woke up, got ourselves ready and packed up our things because it was time to leave. I have to say that we really didn't to go. Kenji & Sachiko, thank you so much for your hospitality. You guys handled having six other people in your house very graciously and we appreciated that so much. Thanks for treating us to such a wonderful weekend.

One our way out of Tokyo, we experienced the only real stop-and-go traffic of the whole week. I just kept throwing food at the girls to keep them calm but after an hour we were on our way to Nagoya. On the way we were really hoping to see Mt. Fuji. Neither of us have seen it before but it was a little bit cloudy so we weren't sure if it was going to possible. From the freeway we got a great view of it in between the clouds. It was so beautiful. There was the ocean on one side and the mountain on the other with the sun shining down on us. At the Fujigawa rest stop you can see the mountain from a different angle but unfortunately the clouds were blocking it this time. I took a picture anyways and if you look really carefully at the left side of the pictures above the hill that's in front, you can see the where the bottom of the mountain sloping up. It was a little disappointing but at least we did see it from the freeway even if we were flying by.

At the rest stop they also had a blown-up play area that kids can go inside of and jump (what are those things called?). It was set up for Golden Week and it was free. Also, and this is very amazing, there is a Starbucks at that rest area. Chikara and I got a coffee and the kids got to jump and release some of their energy and Natsuki was released from her car seat. After about 15 minutes we were back on the road.

to be continued...


cara said...

IKEA and Wendy's? i'm so jealous. and Starbucks at a rest stop?! now, i'm insanely jealous. we don't even have rest stops here. can you imagine trekking your little girls out to go pee behind a tree? yeah, that was lots of fun when i was pregnant. not looking forward to when ayva is bigger. it's too bad you didn't find a bed frame/mattress. or do i have to wait for the next installment when you say you found the most wonderful futon ever?

Gina said...

Your trip sounds so amazing! I'm so glad you enjoyed Chiba. Sarah, did you get the kids futon covers/duvet covers? Blanket covers basically. They have cute ones huh? Both Noah and Branden have them. Branden has the map one and Noah has the bright fish one, lol. And the prices are cheap. You mentioned cheese slicer. What about a cheese grater, the 2 set one. With rubber on the bottom that prevents slippage, lol. The red and black ones. I have that one, lol. I shoulda looked for a cheese slicerr too though. I could use one. Ha ha. Now you make me wanna go in there again. See what you did? LOL j/k, wink wink : )

That is a bummer about the bed!

Your collapsable laundry basket sounds very useful. I don't have one, but I've seen them and they are really cool!!! I always think they look so neat! : )

I'm glad you got your Wendy's. I love their 105 yen frosties, too, he he.

coarse gold girl said...

You know, I absolutely never, ever, not even a teensy tiny bit miss Osaka until people start talking about stores and restaurants. Then I get all sentimental remembering mornings in my local Starbucks in Hirakata, or Diamond City mall, or the Disney Store, Kinokunia, L.L. Bean, The Gap, The Body Works, Bath and Body. . . Wendy's, Subway, Tengu (for the plum sours--it's a nostalgia thing from my first two years working as a single 20 somthing in Yokohama). . .

The big news here? They just opened a cafeteria style restaurant down the road (a 20 minute walk from my house.) It's okay.

sigh. I better go take a morning walk. A few remaining cherry blossoms, a pheasant (if I'm lucky) a few ducks, a couple of beautiful soaring hawks, all the wild flowers that are simply exploding all over. . . and I should recover.

Lily said...

No need to apologize- you actually tipped me off on another place to take the kids. SOunds like a great trip!