Friday, February 23, 2007


Mike and I arrived in Hong Kong last Friday and so far it has been a week full of grey skies, cleaning products and catching up with friends.

It's great to be back, although a little strange at the same time since it barely feels like we ever left. The laundry lady still remembers us and still tries her hardest to get everything done on the same day for us. It's been super busy because of Lunar New Year this week and on Wednesday she told me the washing wouldn't be ready till Friday .. and then called me up at 9.30 that night and said it was done!!

I've had coffee from eat right more times than I can count already .. what a great cafe! Also rediscovered Cafe O ... fantastic food, although a bit further to go from Kowloon. This Saturday Mike and I are having lunch with Kiki and Larry - yay!

Tonight I am meeting Jenny and another Aussie girl for a few drinks, so that should be a blast. The blue skies have finally appeared today so I want to get out and enjoy it ASAP .. not sure what I'll do though.

Well, I'm no longer in Tokyo but for the next few months I really WILL be a tai tai. Stay tuned for a revamped "tai tai in tokyo" and all our adventures in Hong Kong (and Singapore).


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!

Doing it Tokyo Style ...

Yesterday Mike and I went to Tokyo DisneySea, which is right next door to Tokyo Disneyland (funnily enough). What an experience! It was my first time at any Disneyland/world/whatever although Mike visited the one in LA when he was a kid. DisneySea is more aimed at Big Kids with scarier rides and a major Valentine's Week programme. The rides were the main reason we chose DisneySea over the "original" as Space Mountain is closed till March - how crap is that?!

Mike came home at midday and we took the train out to the Disney Resort. Even the JR Station gets you in the mood with the door-closing-music sounding like a tinny Japanese version of Zippidy-doo-da. Freaky. We took the monorail round to the gate which seemed silly but turned out to be a good way to get a glimpse of what we were missing out on at Disneyland.

The first thing we did after going through the gates was check out the rides and which ones we could get Fastpass tickets for. The Tower of Terror was already out, but we went and got a ticket for Journey to the Centre of the Earth before trying out our first ride, 20 000 Leagues Under the Sea. Six people to a "submarine" and we were off. It really did seem like we were under water, although Mike worked out the "trick" which was a double layer of perspex with bubbly water running through it for windows. Very clever, if not very thrilling.

Next event: staking out a spot to watch the daily show, the Legend of Mythica. The show, which took place on the water in the "Mediterranean Harbour" was absolutely amazing. Jetskis, huge life-like creatures on boats, dancers, drums, kites, fireworks and of course, Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Pluto, Chip & Dale and Minnie at the top of an enormous tower on top of a float in the middle of the harbour!

After the show we headed over to Port Discovery and tried out the Stormrider. Very cool simulator-type ride where you fly into the eye of a storm. The one problem we had on nearly all the rides was the fact that all the "commentary" (fairly important with Disney rides as they all have a theme) was in Japanese so we didn't always know what was going on. Still, it wasn't too hard to figure out what was going on in this one!

Throughout the afternoon the biggest attraction was checking out all the other punters. Disneyland and DisneySea are pretty popular date destinations here and with Valentine's Day being today, it was packed with couples .. and groups of school girls. Mike got a fair few "Hi!"s and plenty of stares. We saw only two other groups of "white" foreigners all day, so I guess we did stand out a bit. I thought perhaps everyone else was intrigued by our LACK of character ears or mickey mouse gloves?!

People just really get into here - every couple had Mickey and Minnie (matching theme) ears either on headbands or hairclips or full headgear. Plus the lanyard with cardholder to look after your fastpass tickets and Disney Passport and possibly a matching handbag. Nearly all girls had souvenir buckets of popcorn ..different bucket depending on which stall you bought your popcorn from. And not just any old popcorn .. there was chocolate, strawberry, cappucino and even black pepper flavour!!! I don't know what else people were buying at McDuck's Department Store but almost everyone left with at least one shopping bag stuffed to the brim. Mike got into the fun and presented me with some Minnie ears of my own. Awww...

Monday, February 12, 2007

Bye Kids!

So as you know, last Friday was my final day at Hiroo International Kindergarten. It really didn't feel like it though! I had been preparing the kids for me not coming back for the past 2 weeks, telling them I was going to Singapore on an aeroplane, showing them Singapore on a map .. we even made "postcards" to give to our friends far away (they all chose their mums or dads to give them to LOL). And now I'm moving to Hong Kong.

Well, I didn't bother trying to explain that to my darling 3 year olds but the point is they were all pretty aware of the fact that tomorrow I won't be there. Except perhaps Sho who will probably be running round for weeks looking for "Wee-wa"!

All of the kids were really sweet and gave me big hugs, cute drawings and even a pack of mint slices from Mum and Dad! (a few of our kids' parents work at embassies and they get food from 'home' .. great for pressies for the teachers!) The staff gave me a beautiful bunch of flowers at the end of the day and played a Wiggles song just for me! I think Keith is relieved he won't have to listen to "Stop at the Lights" every morning from now on ... although the kids are pretty into it, I'm sure they will continue to request anything by the Wiggles. Excellent ....

And here is the project my kids were working on this week - a great big Elmer the Patchwork Elephant! Aren't they great?!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Where in the World .. Part II

Just an update on our move since my last post ...

We are definitely leaving Tokyo on Friday February 16. Flights booked for Friday morning so we will arrive in Hong Kong at just after 3pm. The real news is that our one week trip back to Honkers to pack up and leave has now become a 3 month stopover!

At this stage we will still be moving on to Singapore at the end of May. But don't go booking your holidays to visit us yet ... who would know when it comes to this move!

Next thing Mike and I need to organise is cancelling our flights to NZ ex Singapore in March and rebook from Hong Kong. Typical.

I finished up at HIK yesterday so once again am a kept woman. Guess I'm going to be a real Honky tai tai in the not too distant future! Looking forward to the trips up to China for lunch, girls!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Cabin Fever

One of the things I love about HIK is that the kids have outside play every day. Like many kindies within Tokyo the school doesn't have its own outdoor play area (we're on Level 3) but each class visits the park for 20 minutes or so EVERY DAY. Plus we get to enjoy the walk there, which often takes about 15 minutes in itself when you have 8 three year olds to get there! (Thank goodness for that 2:1 ratio!!)

This week however, we have been indoors. Not because of rain or snow or even the cool winter temperatures. In fact, this week has been fairly mild and still very sunny. And generally we take the kids out even when it's freezing .. as long as it's not raining we visit the park.

Nope, the reason we've been staying indoors is that "safe Tokyo" hasn't been very safe this week. Our school is in the Azabu-Juban area which is very residential and pretty swanky - lots of embassies and rich Japanese families. All of that has been disturbed by fighting between two rival gang families in Japan. On Monday in Nishi-Azabu, the head of one gang was shot in broad daylight, around 10am. On Tuesday there were two more shootings in other areas of Tokyo.

We were hoping to get back outside today but of course the school's parents have heard the news and have been frantically calling the school to ask whether their children are in danger. So we stayed inside again today. Better safe than sorry.

For a more in-depth look at what happened visit Stippy.

Monday, February 05, 2007

More games...

Board games this time.

Many of you know how I am a little addicted to Monopoly despite the fact that I'm not all that good at it. I even bought the Hong Kong version of the game ... although I didn't think it was worth getting the Japanese one since there are no English chance cards. (I guess I could substitute my NZ ones since they're not specific to the game ...)

Well is letting YOU choose what's hot (or not) in the new New Zealand edition of Monopoly. You're allowed to vote once a day in each region/category till February 10. Start voting guys!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Fun and Games

Mike and I went to Yokohama for the day today. Mainly just to say we'd been there since we've been meaning to go for ages and this weekend was our last chance. Yokohama is Japan's second largest city (after Tokyo) and has a population of 3.6 million. It is pretty hard to see where Tokyo ends and Yokohama begins and it was only 40 minutes away by train from our place anyway!

After a quick trip up the world's second fastest elevator** (750m/minute) to the top of Japan's tallest building, Landmark Tower, we took the ferry over to Yamashita Koen and Chinatown. As far as Japanese Chinatowns go it was a pretty good one with loads of restaurants and enormous shu mai buns being sold from every street corner. But, as a friend said to me earlier in the week, China towns in Japan are a little disappointing because they are so orderly and the people are so polite! Not quite the same.

Our final stop before getting the train home was "Las Vegas" - one of many games arcades ....

I can't believe this is a video game that people pay money to play. But it is ...

Mike and I wish we were this good at this game ....

**The world's fastest elevator is now in Taipei 101

Sarah Munday
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