Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Super Angie... lots of thoughts.

Being in Tokyo has touched me. Yes, I love shopping and yes, I think highend designers are fun, but I'm not all shallow...I do think about things other then fun fun fun. I do realize there is more to life then shopping and getting cute handbags and haircuts and traveling the world. I do think about things other then the cute Ralph Lauren Polo shirt, or what to buy a friend.

Living an everyday life (especially in Utah), I don't run into many people who aren't like me. Most people are in my same "social" class. Most people are healthy and happy in life. Most people even look a bit like me. Of course, I know not everyone fits this mold and that there is great poverty, even in my small suburan town. I know there are misfortuanes all around me. Maybe its because I'm busy with life, taking care of three kids and household duties. Maybe its because I'm busy with my rock climbing hobbies and working out. Maybe its because I "don't get out much" locally. I remember going to Russia for the first time, and seeing my dad's secretary and the way she lived. Her TINY apartment, with old wallpaper, that didn't match the carpet, that didn't match the bed spread, that didn't match the curtains. How could I complain that all the walls in my house are the same color and not trendy like my friend's? I get it...I am blessed!

Fast forward to coming to Tokyo. Population: 12 million people. Through the hussel and bussel, bright neon lights, blaring Pachinko parlars, subway stations, busy streets, traffic, and yes, designer stores, I see the down trodden, the poor, the injured, the lonely. I see the lady dressing to fit in with everyone else, but when she walks, her sideways turned foot makes her not fit in. I see the man living literally in the cardboard box next to the sidewalk as we walk under the train track overpass. I see the very old, hunched and crimpled, trying to fight their way through the mass of white shirts and business suits. I see the mom with the baby and the other mom with the little pokemon outfitted boy. I see the achne covered boy sleeping on the subway next to me, and hear the overly assorized teen girls giggle as they talk about him--probably thinking how funny it would be to kick him while he sleeps or something.

I see the "ugly" and the "beautiful". I see the dollar store shoppers and the Gucci ladies both not bat an eye at the dirty 20-something laying on the park bench.

And then I see my husband take a roll he wasn't going to eat, and lay it in an "obvious" spot where the homeless will find it. I see the museum employee take extra care to teach a small child about history. I see the the store clerk make extra effort to communicate with two crazy American tourists (us). And I see the huge smile and the 20 bows that the dock lady at the paddle boat place gave me when she realized we had docked our own boat and tied it up correctly so it wouldn't float away while she was busy with another customer.

I'm reading Mommywood by Tori Spelling right now. Yes, shes famous. Yes, you may have opinions about her from things your read or seen. But I personally like her. And she talks about how much love you have, as a mom for your baby. The second you lay your eyes on that baby, there is a love. No matter if you are famous TV star, or a lonely farmer girl, that love is the same. Rick and I were in a resturant a few days ago, and we heard the song I don't want to miss a thing, by Aerosmith. He told me a story about this song (which was have since found out might not be true), but about how Steven Tyler lived a life of sex, drugs and rock and roll, until he laid eyes on his baby Liv Tyler, and thats when he realized he needed to change his life and be a better person for his daughter. I know that each time I saw my babies for the first time, my heart melted and this rush of love came forth for them. I think most people see a new, fresh baby and they just love it. As it grows, starts crying, gets an attitude and what not, feelings may change. But when its a tiny little baby, sleeping in your arms, its lovely and sweet and perfect.

All these people I have seen...the ache boy, the cripple, the elderly, the lady with the limp. The man who "isn't all there", the lady with too much makeup, the gentleman in the Armani suit, the punk 20 something handing out porn fliers....they all have something in common. They were all once sweet and innocent. Most had mothers or fathers who loved and cared for them. Most were "perfect" for a while in at least one person's eyes.

But now, we pass by them on our way to work, the subway, the Chanel store. We ignore them on the train platform, or in line for a double cheeseburger. We don't think twice when we roll our eyes at them when they cut in line at AM/PM. But at one time, they were a little loved and so sweet. Somewhere deep inside, they are still that same baby.

And in our heavenly Father's eyes...they always will be.

--Super Angie

Super Angie...being buddhist

We visit Asakasa a few days ago and found the most delightful place for lunch. Its run by two old guys (not disrespect intended). Infact, we think one may be the father (like in his 80s) and the other is the son (in his 50s or 60s). They spoke very little English, but the service and food were fabulous. They even took this picture of us. :)
Rick looks funny in this pic, but he too was enjoying his lunch!
Asakasa has all these little shopping streets, like this one. They are JAM PACKED with tourist stores. Perfect place to find gifts for friends back home.
There is a gorgeous and very fun Buddhist temple here. This is the area where we saw the Geishas on our last trip (for those who have seen the pictures of them in our house). No luck this time. :(This is a good luck straw slipper. You're supposeed to get luck from it if you touch it. Problem is...the bottom of it is around 8 feet off the ground. I jumped and barely skimmed the bottom of it. But at least I'm lucky now. :)
I love the little details of this door handle.
There were lots of HUGE lanterns hanging around the Buddhist temple. These pictures are extreme close ups, but the lanterns are actually around 20 feet tall!

This was a very large pagoda
We love the area of Asakasa and even though we explored it a lot on our previous trip to Tokyo, we had to go back. Glad we did. Loads of fun!
--Super Angie

Super Angie...boat ride on the river

We wanted to visit the Odeiba area of Tokyo, which is a technology centered island. So, we took the subway to Asakasa and then took this awesome boat to the island. It rained most of the time, but we had a great time.
The boat was so futuristic and cool. We bought a toy (matchbox size) of it to give the boys. They'll dig it.
Heres Rick sitting inside the boat. We bought some drinks and enjoyed the hour ride.
We have no idea what these little card board stand up figures are, but everyone was having their picture taken with them, and well, I can't be left out!!!
There is a statue of liberty on the island. And behind it is the famous Friendship Bridge.
(awful looking can see now why I wanted a hair cut SO BADLY)
We aren't sure whats up with this blue dog, but he was everywhere on the island, so of course, we had to do the picture thing with him.

We mostly stayed in the mall on the island (Aqua City) because it was raining so hard, but next time we come, we think we could spend a few days exploring all the things on this island. The kids would LOVE this place!

--Super Angie

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Super glorious food

Super Angie... Manga hair

I have very little patience with most things in life, including my hair. When my hair starts bothering me, I know I should have cut it yesterday or the day before and I have been known to try cutting it myself or begging Rick at midnight to cut it. YIKES!

So, its that time of the month (hair cutting time) and I decided WHY NOT get my hair cut in a foreign country. Did it in Germany. Did it in China. I'll do it in Japan.

I'm really glad I did!Down on the street outside our hotel, we were handed a flier for a hair salon. It had a picture of a cute girl with short hair...I can be a cute girl with short hair, right? So we walked in and were greeted so warmly. LISTEN UP ALL AMERICAN GREAT CLIPS...take a lesson from the Japanese! I filled out a form with my name and birthday and saw how they wrote my name in Japanese...very cool. Then they lead me to a nice chair.

Luckily, because of the picture, they knew just what to do. I was moved over to get the shampoo. Everything about the chair was automated and VERY VERY cool. They laid blankets and towels all over me and went to work for about 10 minutes. Ahhh...ohhh...mmm.... felt good. Can I take a nap next time please?
My hairdresser dude was awesome. He looked JUST LIKE one of the guys from the 90s band DEE-LITE (went to their concert in 9th grade with my brother Jeff). Everyeone at the salon was hip and young and most had died their hair to be...MY NATURAL HAIR COLOR. I feel so special. They all want to look like me. (j/k)The finished me. I LOVE my hair. Totally hip and cute and flattering.
Me with Kikuchi Noriyoshi. So awesome. He gave me a "membership card"...I guess I'm now a member.

I've already decided that next time I come to Tokyo, I will get my hair cut there again...and this time bring them gifts from America!

--Super Angie

Super Angie...Sunday Sunday

On Sunday, we got up bright and early (5am) and headed out. We wanted to go out to the Imperial Palace in Tokyo because they close the streets on Sunday and allow joggers and bikers the right a way. Its 3 miles around the palace, so we decided to go walk a 5K and get some good exercise. But first stop...the bakery, where I fell in love with this bear roll....
And then I ate him!
I loved the trees that are in the Imperial Palace area.
Since we have been to the Imperial Palace before, we didn't go into the main section, but instead walked around the outer walls. Heres Rick in a gate thingy.
Here I am posing in a ANTM pose. Yes, I'm a dork!
The moat of the palace has HUGE fish, geese and even turtles!
I really liked all the decorative cement blocks we found periodicly on our walk.
Moat geese.
One thing we found very interesting was all the runners and bikers would leave their belongings on a park bench. Water, wallets, bags of food etc. PERFECTLY SAFE! No one touched other's stuff and it was perfectly safe for them to go do a lap or two of the palace and an hour later return to their stuff.My sweetie
Pretty flowers and plants along the walk.
Along the way, we found a small park that had stretching benches at it. I used the sit ups bench while Rick just enjoyed elevating his legs.
Where are our kids when we find a fun park? Its funny how even when your kids aren't with you, you still keep your eyes open for kid friendly places.
The moat around the palace. Isn't Rick so cute?
I don't know what this building is, but I think it looks neat. Its across the street from the Palace.
Rick standing outside one of the gates.
A jogger running through one of the Imperial Palace's gates.
A ground's keeper.

We thought this was so sweet. This guy is carrying the umberrla vAs we were leaving, we saw some rollerbladers speed skating by.
I kept thinking of all my running and bking friends. You guys would have been in heaven running and biking around this beautiful area.
Afterwards, we hopped aboard the Yamanoto subway line and went to Harajuku. Every Sunday, the streets of Harajuku are PACKED with young Japanese girls who come dressed in costume--most look like little bow peep and other "girlie" costumes. Last time we came, we saw A TON and I even had my pic taken with a few of them. So cute. But this year, we didn't see as many. :(
The streets of Harajuku are VERY narrow and there are A TON of people!

Mmmm...crepes with chocolate ice cream and strawberry slices in it. Mmmm... My favorite!
Heres Rick inside the cockpit of an airplane inside a VERY teen bopper store called PINK.
Right next to Harajuku street area is a very high-end shopping area. We first went into Dolce and Gabana (D&G). I have a bunch of fake D&G stuff and I thought I was a "fan", but the attitude of the people inside turned me off. It was still exciting to see the real clothes and bags and shoes, but its just not my thing. Next we went to Louis Vuitton. The store people were way more friendly and *GASP* didn't freak out if you wanted to touch a bag or scarf! LOL I actually had a lot of fun in the LV store and gained a lot of respect for the history and handman ship of the products. After LV, we went into Channel which surprisingly had a very party like atmosphere. I enjoyed "shopping" in these stores---
After Harajuku, we headed to Shibuya. We think everyone should go to Shibuya at least once to enjoy the craziness of crossing the street with 100,000 other people (no joking.) but Rick and I just don't like the vibe there. Here he is petting the statue of Hachiko the dog.
Heres ALL THE PEOPLE. Its totally crazy and people cross the street in all directions at the same time.
We found a cool grocery store in Shibuya and enjoyed seeing lots of new products.

It was a very long and hot day, and I got sunburned, but we had a blast. AND we calculate that in addition to the 3 miles we walked at the palace, we also walked a good 6 more miles. PHEW! Thats a lot of walking!
--Super Angie

On Belay

On Belay
Brennan Top Roping

Climb On!

Climb On!
Dallin top roping