Tokyo cycling tour

The last time we went to Tokyo, I¬†was pregnant with Savanna and feeling very sick and miserable. There were certain things I enjoyed about Tokyo, but mostly I felt tired and ill. So we thought we’d try it again this year. And this time, I wanted to do something a little different.

One day, I googled “tokyo cycling tour” just to see what would pop up. Luckily for me, I found a company called “Tokyo Great Cycling Tour“. We booked their “Tokyo Bay Ride” tour, which is a 6-hour tour that takes you around Tokyo bay and over many bridges.

We booked two bikes for Cliff and I, and also a trailer to haul the kids. Thank goodness they hooked up the trailer to Cliff’s bike, because I am pretty sure I couldn’t have hauled both kids through the entire tour.

We have this same trailer at home, and we’re used to seeing this set-up in Vancouver. But in Tokyo this is a rare sight. So every pedestrian points to Cliff pulling the kids and comment on how cute it is (“kawaeeeee”, they’d say).

The tour overs 23 km of riding, which isn’t difficult. Most of the terrain was fairly flat except for when we go up the bridges. Still, there were enough sight seeing breaks that you never feel like you’re peddling forever. For 10 of us, there were 2 guides (Henna and Su). We stopped often while they explained history and new developments in the city to us.

These ladies were top notch with their services. They had a big book of pictures and timelines to help with explaining history, they pulled out ice cream filled puffs to feed us, they constantly filled our water bottles with icy cold water, they brought fish food so our kids can feed the fish in the ponds, they handed out homemade ginger ale, they bought us ice cream at the park, and ended the day with beer and snacks in their office. They were so attentive and considerate. They are the examples of what customer service is.

I would totally go back and do this again in a heart beat!

Welcome

Welcome

Getting ready to ride

Getting ready to ride

First stop on a bridge

First stop on a bridge

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Stopping at the fish market to get fresh tuna

Stopping at the fish market to get fresh tuna

Delicious, melt-in-your-mouth, tuna sashimi

Delicious, melt-in-your-mouth, tuna sashimi

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Ice cream puffs

Ice cream puffs

Somebody was a little tired

Somebody was a little tired

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Lunch break at the beach

Lunch break at the beach

Picnic lunch

Picnic lunch

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Boat ride over the bay

Boat ride over the bay

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Graveyard for babies :(

Graveyard for babies ūüė¶

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Tokyo Tower

Tokyo Tower

She slept through this stop and missed ice cream.

She slept through this stop and missed ice cream.

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A very satisfied customer

A very satisfied customer

 

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Hey, wanna see my vacation photos?

I’m always afraid of people asking me if I want to see their vacation photos for one reason: I have no interest in seeing 100 pictures of the same person standing and smiling in front of a monument or a landmark.¬† I guess I have something against the very generic “I’ve been here” photos.

Now that we’ve been back from our vacation for almost a week, I feel terrible not posting some pictures on this blog, but I also feel terrible if I’m making you look at my vacation photos. ¬†So I promise I won’t show you any “I’ve been here” photos.

I found that traveling with a wiggly toddler makes photo-making quite difficult.¬† I often passed on opportunities because either I was carrying Joshua, or he’s whining for me to carry him.¬† Why did we not use a stroller?¬† More on that later.

I’ve decided that I will post my favorite 5 pictures. ¬†Here they are:

At the biggest fish market in the world, a number of shops sell these dried fish flakes called benito flakes. ¬†I’ve used benito flakes for cooking before. ¬†You can make a very quick and simple fish stock from just boiling some of the flakes. ¬†However, I’ve never seen benito flakes in this massive quantity. ¬†You usually buy a small pouch of it from the supermarket and it lasts a long time. ¬†Here, you buy it by the kilograms. ¬†This vendor sells six different types of benito flakes. ¬†When you walk by the shop, the first thing that hits your senses is the strong fragrance of the flakes. ¬†These flakes are big, not like the tiny shredded stuff you get at supermarkets. ¬†And here you have choices of which mix of fish you want. ¬†We bought a very big bag that made our entire suite case smell like fish flakes.

When we visited the Meinji Temple, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. ¬†I’m not a temple-goer, and am not familiar with the history behind this place. ¬†My favorite part of the visit was the big structure on which people hung their wishes and prayers. ¬†Yes, you have to pay a fee to buy one of these tablets to write on. ¬†But the reason I really liked this, is that you get to see how real people can be in their wishes and prayers. ¬†Some people asked for blessings for their families, their health, careers, exams. ¬†Some people simply asked to be happy and fulfilled. ¬†It’s like reading people’s raw emotions and what’s truly on their minds without knowing who the person is.

This picture has nothing to do with our vacation, but it was taken during our vacation.  Joshua was sitting next to Cliff on a bench while sharing a serving of fries at a fast food joint.  I love how Joshua just loves to be with his daddy.

Tokyo is a very busy place. ¬†On our first morning there, we were up so early that we thought we’d go explore the city early. ¬†Big mistake. ¬†We were caught in early morning rush hour traffic, and we could barely get on the metro. ¬†People push and shove to get on and off the metro. ¬†Sometimes a train comes into the station, and you can see the people plastered against the window of the train. ¬†They almost fall right out of the train when the door opens. ¬†I wish I had pictures of the crazy train ride that morning, but I was too busy trying to hold onto Joshua without being pushed too far from Cliff. ¬†So here’s a picture of the busiest intersection in the world in Shibuya. ¬†It’s a 5-way intersection. ¬†When the light goes green for pedestrians, sometimes a thousand people rush through it. ¬†When we went, it wasn’t that busy, but you can still see from the picture that people fill up the intersection.

Lastly, we also visited my parents in Taiwan on our trip. ¬†Here’s a picture of a noodle dish my dad made. ¬†It was my favorite. ¬†He fries green onion for a long time at a very low temperature until it wilts, and add dried shrimp, soy sauce, and sugar. ¬†I call it green onion confit because it preserves the green onion for a long time. ¬†Essentially it becomes a savoury topping you can put on noodles or whatever you like. ¬†It keeps in the fridge for ever! ¬†He makes the noodle in a thick, homemade chicken and ham stock, tops it with the green onion confit, and the dish is to die for.

Yes, I’m alive

It’s been over 2 weeks since I posted on the blog.¬† That’s probably the longest break I have taken in over a¬† year.¬† Yes, I’m alive.¬† Barely.¬† Well, ok, I’m exaggerating a little.

The winter wasn’t as tough as I expected, but going into spring has been tougher than I thought.¬† After a series of flus, piling on the busy¬†season at work, I just felt exhausted.¬† Making it to the office for 7 am became harder, and keeping my eyes open at the dinner table sometimes became impossible.¬† I barely tried any new recipes worth mentioning.¬† Wah wah wah.

The good news is, all this is coming to an end this week.¬† Come hell or high water, we’re getting on a plane on Saturday morning to begin our vacation!¬† We are spending 4 days in Tokyo, and 8 days in Taipei.¬† I can barely wait to take my shoes off and throw them on the airport security conveyer belt, and yell, “So long, Sucker!” to my regular life in Vancouver.

Last time we flew with Joshua, he was just shy of 5 months old.¬† He sat in our laps, cuddled, drank milk, played with toys, cried for a few minutes, and slept.¬† This time he’ll be 17 months old.¬† I have no idea what to expect.¬† I’m bringing a cooler full of food, drinks, snacks, and everything I can think of to distract him–crayons, coloring book, iPod, iPad, and toys.¬† We’ll just have to wait and see how it goes!

Thank you for your patience with my absence.  I promise things will get a little more exciting here after this!