Fun Weekend – Fireworks and Pool

What a great weekend we just had. I think it’ll take me a fair amount of the day to get everything cleaned up and put away.

On Saturday, we went to the Itabashi Fireworks. Now this doesn’t just mean going in the evening. I always go in the early afternoon to lay out a huge sheet and get a spot for everyone. Otherwise, you end up watching from some cramped spot on a steep slope. We always go down to this big field and set up there around noon or so. I borrowed a small pop-up tent from Mizuho so we had some shade during the afternoon. Before going I made edamame, corn on the cob and Coca Cola chicken to take. Tak made a whole bunch of onigiri. Then we stopped at a convenience store on the way to load up on drinks and ice. We got there around 1:00. The day before I had bought a really small kite at Tokyu Hands. Before we had even completely finished setting up, Tak had it out and was trying it out. For the first hour, there wasn’t quite enough wind, but then it picked up just a bit. Gaku had a great time with the kite. Then Tak and Gaku went off in search of cicadas, something they do almost every morning, early before Gaku goes to daycare. I was quite surprised when they came back with over 30 shells. Tak couldn’t carry any more. Gaku had his hands and pockets full of them. (I wasn’t very happy about the pockets when I had to pick the broken off legs out before washing the shorts. Yuck!) Then they went off for a walk in the buggy and Gaku fell asleep, which was the main point of the walk. Then while they hung out on the sheet, Hana and I went off for a walk using one of the slings. She was sleepy too, but couldn’t sleep, so the walk sent her off to sleep. It was a pretty hot afternoon.

Usually, the Mukai family comes to join us in the evening, but this year they didn’t go because they were planning to leave at 5 am on Sunday to go to the ocean down on the Izu penninsula. Instead, I asked one of Gaku’s friends from daycare if they were going and would like to join us. They were planning to arrive around 6. At about 5 Gaku started saying he wanted to go to Miku’s house. We told him that we weren’t going to Miku’s house because she was meeting us there. He started getting a bit bored and fussy. Once Miku and her family arrived, Gaku was back in fine form, running around and entertaining everyone. The fireworks started at a little after 7. Who do you think watched them the most? Certainly not Gaku – Hana! She was so fascinated by them. She didn’t like the noise at first when she was being held by Miku’s sister. But once she was sitting in my lap, she just sat there watching them, so quiet and still, completely enraptured.

I don’t mind going early in the afternoon and setting up for the fireworks, but I always dread getting home after them. It’s such a hassle with the kids, buggies and other gear. The trains are more packed than rush hour and it’s impossible to find a taxi. We always have debates about what’s the best way to get home. We still haven’t really found a good way; there probably isn’t one. This year we walked about an hour to Nakasendo and started walking along it in the direction of our house. Every taxi that came by was either done for the night or had a passenger. So I was looking at taxis going the other way. I saw a guy catch one and saw three more empty ones go by. So I told Tak we should cross the street and catch one going the wrong way. We crossed the street and there were 3 empty taxis waiting at the light. Yay!

Gaku was already out. He slept the whole way home. When we got to the bottom of the steps at our place, Tak picked Gaku up out of the buggy. He started kicking and crying that he wanted to go home and he wanted to sleep. I was laughing because that’s just what we wanted too! Tak laid him on the futon and he didn’t move at all! I was so tired, but so hot and sweaty that I had a serious debate. But in the end, I decided to take Hana down for a bath. When I got undressed, I realized that I had the funkiest sunburn on my back. I got burned just in the time we were walking from the station to the field. The reason I know this is when I got burned is I had a big, wide X on my back from the Babybjorn carrier.

So, Tak took off on Saturday to go to the fireworks early with us. Instead he worked on Sunday. But on Sunday I had plans to go meet some women at Edogawa Pool Garden. We were pretty tired and I debated whether or not we should cancel. But I really wanted to go and figured if we stayed home all day, I’d probably have to kill Gaku since he was being a bit fussy and ornery. So I got everything ready and took both kids to the pool by myself. The train transfer is a bit of a pain in the butt (lots of steps, no elevator or escalators). On the way home, Gaku was sleeping in the buggy and Hana was in a sling. I figured I might be able to take an elevator up to ground-level, go outside and take another elevator back down to the other line. I asked the station guy and he made a couple of phone calls. Two station employees escorted me through Otemachi station from the Tozai line to the Mita line, carrying Gaku in the buggy up and down the steps. What service! Sometimes it pays to just ask nicely.

The pool itself is great. I was thinking we would just stay a couple of hours but Gaku didn’t want to leave so we stayed until after 4:00. The great thing is the entrance fee is only 500 yen for me (the kids are young enough to be free) and Hana can go in. There are so many pools in Tokyo that I can’t even take her poolside since she’s not potty trained. At this place I can not only take her poolside, but she can actually go in all of the pools as long as she has a pool diaper and a proper bathing suit. The “lazy river” pool was lots and lots of fun. Gaku had his water wings on and he just loved it. He would stick his head under the water and come up just laughing and laughing. About three times throughout the day he complained about his stomach hurting. I think it’s because he ended up swallowing too much pool water. We borrowed a small boat from one of the women and Hana just loved sitting in that. I so wished I could have gotten a picture of her! Everyone was commenting on what a little princess she looked like, just sitting back resting against the back. At one point it looked like she was resting her head on her hand. I was saying she was like a little Cleopatra on the Nile. I plan to go to this pool every week for the rest of the summer!

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