Wabi-Sabi Sole

Finding Beauty with Imperfection

Category: Hello Kitty

Chasing Rainbows 

When it rains, chase rainbows. Or maybe train stamps. Except if it involves Hello Kitty. Because the cutest train station in Tokyo may have amazing Sushi… but, it doesn’t have a train stamp. Seriously. Dina and I rode the train for an hour and forty-five minutes with additional delays to arrive at Tama Station. Hoping for Hello Kitty overload and at least a stamp. We did get a little kawaii but, no stamp.

The highlight of kawaii in the station was the stained glass. I went to the floor to get the perfect shot or five. Photo credit to Dina for the picture of me on the floor of the train station… 

Here were my shots from the floor. 

The day wasn’t a complete rain out. We enjoyed amazing Sushi and self squeezed lemon chu-hai.

Lesson learned. Train stamps aren’t always the pot of gold you seek. Instead, settle for tuna.

Hello Kitty World

On my “must do because I live in Japan list” is a trip to Sanrio Puroland aka Helly Kitty World. 

For obvious reasons, Dave expressed zero desire to go with me. I decided to use the time he was out of town for work to check this adventure off my must-do list. My friend Katie, her daughter, and I took the ITT tour on Sunday. 

Hello Kitty World is is about an hour and 15 minute drive from where we live. 

Hello Kitty World is an indoor amusement park with two main rides, several interactive exhibits, and numerous shows. There are 4 levels. The entrance and main gift shop are on the third floor. The fourth floor has several different restaurants. The first and second floor contain the main attractions. The exhibits and rides are all in Japanese. This however didn’t distract from all the Kawaii!! A few pictures from the Sanrio Character Boat Ride. It reminded me of Disney’s It’s a Small World. 

After the ride we were ready for a snack. We went to the Sanrio Rainbow World Restaurant. We opted for the crepes. Wow oh wow! Lots of whipped cream! 

After our sugary snack, we went to the other main ride, My Melody and Kuromi Mymeroad Drive. Kawaii! 

Our next attraction was Strawberry Hill. The interactive Gudetama Land. We researched Gudatama while waiting in line. It translates to English as lazy egg. We all thought he was sad and seeing him flattened we started calling him depressed egg. 

The characters were strategically placed near the entrance and rotated every 15 minutes. I was able to catch a couple in transition. 

We had about five hours to explore, eat, and shop. It was plenty. There were lines for each of the exhibits and attractions. I think the longest we waited was for about 45 minutes. Considering it was Sunday, it wasn’t unbearably crowded. Another interesting observation was how the crowd shifted. In the morning, most of the crowd consisted of young kids and parents. By the early afternoon, the crowd was full of teenagers decked out in their most Hello of Hello Kitty outfits. 

Overall, it was a fun day experiencing Hello Kitty with Katie and Virginia. Virginia did a great job of telling me who the different characters were because Hello Kitty has changed since 1980 something. When you visit, we can go… it will give me another chance to wear my Tokyo Marathon tshirt and ring the bell of happiness. Kitty kitty! 

Sole Adventures-Tokyo Marathon 

Tokyo Marathon 2017 set the bar high with respect to race amenities and organization. 

Before I get into how amazing it was, let’s start with a picture of Dave and me in our corral G waiting for the start. 

We had about an hour to kill, so we took a couple other pictures. A selfie of us and one of Hello Kitty. 

I couldn’t pass up a picture of Hello Kitty with Mt. Fuji. Kawaii! 

Now onto the details of the race. Going through security was painless. We could see the start line from our hotel room and also Mt. Fuji if you look closely into the haze. 

Security opened at 7am. There were approximately 36,000 runners and I knew it would be best to be ahead of the crowds. We left our room at 7:15. I expected it would take us about an hour to get out of the hotel (slow elevators from the 28th floor), walk to our Gate, pass through security, use the restroom and then finally make our way to our start corral. Actually it only took us about 45 minutes. Being early and ahead of the crowd helped. 

The race started promptly at 9:10. We were passing the start line about 8 minutes later. Again, I expected 9:20ish. 

After we started, I put my phone away. Sorry, no more pictures. I took off the case and was worried I would drop it and there were so many people I was worried I would trip fooling around with it. 

Here are some highlights. Being dressed at Hello Kitty made the race a blast. Running on the outside, near the spectators, drew lots of “kawaii” and “Hello Kitty” comments. I would wave and smile. I felt like a celebrity. Simultaneously, by mile six, I was getting tired of waving. Haha. I made Dave move us over to the middle! 

The amount of spectators was unreal. They were literally lining the streets the entire way! They were cheering and had a variety of different noise makers. Surprisingly, we never heard any cowbell! 

The aid stations were every 2-3km. Yes, the entire race was measured in kilometers. Pathetically, we enjoyed doing the math to convert the kilometers to miles to help pass the time. 🤓 Every aid station had water and every other station had Pocari Sweat, the Japanese equivalent to Gatorade. After the halfway point, certain aid stations had bananas, tangerines, tomatoes, and a bread with something in it. I thought it was bean paste. Dave tried the bread and said no, it was chocolate! He also enjoyed several free candies and chocolates from spectators. I stuck with my three honey stingers and a half of tangerine around 32km or mile 20. The last thing I thought my intestines would tolerate was chocolate. I was a little bit disappointed there were no rice balls. I had heard through the grapevine that rice balls were offered. Nope. Let me just squelch that rumor! 

That pretty much covers everything. As I mentioned, the experience was wonderful. So wonderful in fact, we both agreed that was our LAST full marathon. We don’t need to do another. Ever. Half marathons from here on out. As we were enjoying our Sushi celebration dinner I asked Dave if he would rather climb Mt. Fuji or run another marathon. His response, “I’ve done both in 6 months, I’m good.” Simultaneously, he said, he was ready to run Key West Half Marathon anytime!! I couldn’t agree more! 

Thank you for all of the FB cheers, messages, and blog comments. Your support and love was felt by us both halfway around the world. 

To finish lines! Kanpie! 

Sogo Yokohama

I went on a shopping trip today to the department store, Sogo, in Yokohama. My mission was to visit the Sanrio store for a Hello Kitty t-shirt to wear during the Tokyo Marathon. 

I didn’t find one. Turns out the Sanrio stores only stock kids stuff. However, I did find a whole new feature of Google Maps. 

Google Maps will show you the stores on each floor of a mall. Check out the first picture. It shows the B2 level or the second floor of the basement. It is at this level where you come out of the train station. The highlighted level on the side corresponds with the map layout. 

Next B1. 

As you scroll up the floor on the left side, the layout changes to match. Pretty amazing. Skipping ahead, level 2 & 3. 

When I first saw level 7, I got a little excited. It says LOFT. This was not the LOFT from the US. It was a cute store with a lot of Japan souvenirs. Just not cute clothes. 

Finally, on up to level 8 where the Sanrio was located. Lots of cute Hello Kitty toys and clothes for little kids. No t-shirt for me. I think I’m going to have to order from Amazon. 

With 10 levels plus a rooftop, this feature of Google Maps is essential! 

Google Maps proves yet again to be my favorite traveling partner for navigation! 

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