Today was actually an unintended adventure that blessed us in so many ways. I offered to escort a good friend, and her husband, into Tokyo for some medical tests to be done at St. Luke's International Hospital. She was not familiar with the train system and was worried they would not make it to the appointment on time if mistakes were made. The girls, and I, got them to the hospital with minutes to spare, and decided to roam around outside during the appointment.
First stop, a coffee shop across the street for some iced tea. This nice man, Ichiro-san (the man in the hat) was sitting at the next table, and was delighted to practice his English with us. No sooner did we begin our conversation, did he pull out a personalized notepad (complete with watermarks) and started writing letters- to us!
This was my letter.
And each of the girls received this letter.
He gave me his card, (he is the CEO of a banking group, apparently) and insisted upon getting my address so he could mail the picture and a letter (no worries, everyone, we have a PO Box, I'll let you know if we get the letter). I think he will be added to my Christmas card list. He then directed us out the door and down some stairs to enjoy the river walk.
We really enjoyed walking along the Sumida River, watching boats, and talking.
We were trying to take a waterfront selfie, when a man came scurrying over to take the picture for us. This is the picture he took.
I just love ivy, and it is everywhere here. I guess that is what a humid climate will do for you.
Lunch was the next order of business. We just got a sandwich from the convenience store and sat in this courtyard to eat. This duo was practicing for a show later that evening, so we got to enjoy some beautiful music as we ate.
The girls love these sandwiches, and there are LOTS of flavors to choose from. Japanese convenience store food is totally kicked up a notch from back home.
Fruit and whipped cream? I'm not so sure about that one...
The wrapper even unfolds to become a handy plate, that you could hold in your lap. Genius!
Eva likes to make everything look like Mt. Fuji.
After lunch, we just wandered down the street next to the hospital and came to a park. They played for a few minutes.
This sand box was perfectly manicured, with some sort of pattern in the sand. No surprise!
This was the old St. Luke's hospital building that sat right next to the new modern building.
We saw a sign for the chapel, and decided to check it out. WOW!!!
We were met with this amazing, European style cathedral, complete with stained glass windows!
Where are we again? Downtown Tokyo?! Just seeing this chapel would be worth the trip, even without a need for the hospital!
The girls were excited to see a Bible and hymnal, in Japanese.
Next stop, the 7-11 for an ice cream cone. They are packaged in these amazing little holders, which make them so much easier to eat and less messy.
The rim even catches the drips. Again, genius!
At this point, several hours had passed, and the medical tests were still ongoing. After discussing with my friend, she thought she could manage the trains with some written instruction, so the girls and I could go on home. I sat down in the hospital lobby, furiously texting detailed instructions for the trip home, to include four transfers. In the meantime, the girls were being entertained (for over 30 minutes!) in this tiny gift shop by these two sweet ladies. They were teaching them the traditional Japanese girls game of otedama, which is similar to juggling, with these little beanbags called ojami. Traditionally, the game is taught from grandmothers to their granddaughters, isn't that nice? They also showed them how to make an origami cranes. Such kindness.
We bought the ojami, so they could continue practicing otedama. Ella is getting pretty good!
On the train ride home, we got to play with little Hiroka. Her mother knew just enough English and I knew just enough Japanese, that we had a truly wonderful visit. And we LOVED little Hiroka, who will turn one on Halloween.
So, for not really setting out to adventure today, (we didn't even leave the street of the hospital) we had such an amazing day! We were blessed by the kindness of so many different strangers, my friend successfully navigated her way home through the vast Tokyo train system, and her husband's medical tests came back 99.9%, nothing to worry about. God is so good!