Innocent Toddler’s Abroad: A Three Year Old Boy’s “Mayoral” Perspective on Travel to Japan

Travelling is tough for a toddler like me. Foreign countries rarely have my favorite foods, like mac ‘n cheese or pancakes. Sometimes they don’t even have milk. I find this incomprehensible, since warm milk is one of life’s greatest pleasures. When Mom and Dad told me we were going to Japan, I didn’t know where they were talking about and was a bit skeptical, but when Dad explained that we were going to the country where ninjas came from, it all made sense. I wanted to see a ninja in real life. Dad mentioned that because ninjas are so stealthy I might not actually be able to spot one, but rest assured they were there. I decided to play the odds and endure the fourteen hour plane flight. Mighty agreeable of me, don’t you think?

Turns out life is good in Japan. At immigration, they pinch your cheeks, smile at you and welcome you in every single way imaginable. It’s like everybody wanted to talk to me. My mommy says I act like a Mayor at home and in restaurants, and here in Japan they treated me as such, appropriately I would say. I went to shake people’s hands and they shook it right back. The showered me with candy of all sorts everywhere I went. On the train, little old men, women and teenagers giggled when they saw me and rifled through their bags to give me lollipops. They were particularly impressed that I had learned to say “Konichi-Wa” (which is Japanese for “hello”). It was pretty cool treatment and I wanted to share this with other little kids, but I soon realized there were hardly any little kids around. That’s strange isn’t it? Maybe that’s why they treat the few young gentlemen such as me so nicely. I also noticed there were a ton of doggie stores that we didn’t go into because they made my mommy sad, but there were no baby stores –no clothing stores for me. I try to keep up with the latest toddler fashions, but it was rough there. There were tons and tons of toy stores, though. Hurrah! I got a ton of ninja and robot toys and erasers that looked like something they called sushi, which in my opinion makes a better toy than it does a food, but different strokes for different folks I guess.

My mommy gave me a camera to document the trip. She’s cool like that. At some point I suspected she gave it to me to encourage me to walk and not demand to be carried (I am a Mayor after all, and with my busy schedule and small legs, I think I deserve it) but I went with it. I stopped and took photos of people and they posed and made all sorts of funny noises and faces. See below for some of my favorite photos that I took.

I loved the Shinjuku area of Tokyo because of all the big TVs they had everywhere that were showing cartoons. How awesome is that? My mommy kept saying something about the awesomeness of Blade Runner, but it reminded me more of the cartoons they show late at night at home. I got to play under these cherry blossoms in this big park called Ueno where there were millions (or so it seemed to my little eyes) of people sleeping on blue plastic mats. It was just a sea of blue as far as I could see. I loved this place called Kyoto, namely because of our driver who was very patient with me and let me run through all these large buildings called temples. I even got to run around barefoot as they wanted us to take off our shoes everywhere. That was cool. It’s like what they say on Sesame Street “set your piggies free!” I also got to rings big bells and hang out with these tiny statues that were supposed to protect travelers and children like me! Our driver was a very smart guy named Machi-san, and he let me in on a secret when I asked him if we could see ninjas. He said that “you don’t want to see a ninja. If you see a ninja, it’s the last thing you see”. He said it’s better to look for Samurai. Good to know.

Early in the mornings, I would ride in my carriage as we headed out on our daily adventure. It was the oddest thing to see a sea of blue suits all marching towards me. It was like hundreds at a time. I tried to take photos but they walked so fast.

My mom learned to use me as a prop to get what she wanted like when we took the wrong bullet train called Shinkasens. I was a little scared when she yelled “OMG we are lost” but people took pity on me and we rode for free back to Tokyo. The Shinkansens was pretty cool. I had seen it beforehand on Little Einsteins, but didn’t realize until then how fast it really went. Now I think I know what bullet train means. The trains in NYC are not that fast nor that clean. Can we can some bullet trains here, Mr. Politician People? You can use me at campaign stops if need be. I’m very photogenic, and gosh darn it, people like me!

I came back to the United States with a lollipop addiction and a superhero complex. But that’s OK, because my mommy keeps me in the manner to which I have become accustomed. Daddy says I’m getting spoiled. He is sadly misinformed, but I cut him some slack.


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