Friday, March 30, 2018

Japan, Day 0: The Dog on the Plane Goes "Woof! Woof! Woof!"

It was at an uncharacteristically reasonable hour when we headed to the airport for our flight. We were astonished to discover that Air Canada flies direct from Calgary to Tokyo and for the first time in Adventure Baby's young travel history, we wouldn't have to make any international plane transfers. We tried to reassure ourselves that this meant the journey would be easy (while in the backs of our minds knowing that sleeping outside of her crib is a struggle for our child). Of the ten and a half hours we'd be on the plane, at least half of them would be during her normal sleep hours. We prepped and planned the best we could, boarded the plane separately so she could enjoy her last few moments of freedom running around the airport, and got off to a good start. We even thought we'd managed to lull her into a nice sleepy state at her regular nap time.

But then, her little body stiffened and her head perked up. "Dog!" she shouted excitedly. Then repeatedly for the whole plane to hear, "Dog! Dog! Dog!" She pointed furiously. I looked over my shoulder and sure enough, a woman - a GROWN WOMAN was holding a stuffed dog on her lap. This would be the end of Baby sleeping on this flight. Every time she'd relax, she'd catch a glimpse of that dog over my shoulder, or remember that it was there and that she needed to show it the new toys we'd brought out for her, or the little water bottle she'd gotten from the flight attendant, or take its owner books to barter with in the hopes of triumphantly carrying Dog back to her seat (one of us stood for much of the flight so that she could have a play space). To this lady's credit, she was generous in playing with Baby, pretending the dog was wagging its tail, etc, even if she clearly would rather be sleeping herself. But man, I think the flight would have gone a lot smoother for all of us if she'd just kept that stuffy in her luggage.

All in all, the flight went fine. We arrived, went through the least efficient customs process we've ever experienced, and found our way to the train. Craig had found us a great little Air BnB close to Ueno where things were accessible but not too bustling, and we settled in.

To avoid repeating ourselves in coming posts, let's just say that the next couple of days were rough as Adventure Baby was hit with the worst jet lag she's experienced thus far. But we'd built in the extra time to take it slow in Tokyo, wander our neighbourhood looking at cherry blossoms, and tour nearby playgrounds. But more on Tokyo sites in our next posts...