March 26, 2006 part 1 – Canadian parents on the loose in Japan

I showed up at my parent’s hotel in the morning, surprised to find that they were not only awake, but had already been out of the hotel and had some adventures on their own. This is not something that would have happened on their first trip to Japan!

My parents had woken up early due to jetlag and general excitement about their trip. Instead of hiding in the hotel room, they went and introduced themselves to the desk staff, who had already been told that Canadians were staying in the hotel. Instead of being intimidated, the staff were eager to practice their English with the friendly gaijins. Note to any of my students: do this! Practice English when you have the opportunity, especially with native speakers!

After having some breakfast, my dad started asking the hotel clerks about the parking lot. Hotel Miwa has an automated parking system, which is an awesome way to store a lot of cars in a small space. We had seen a demo of this kind of car storage at Toyota Mega Web in Odaiba on my parents’ first visit. My dad asked the clerk for a demo, and he happily retrieved and put away cars so my parents could watch. Customer service in Japan is generally exceptional, but taking the time to retrieve car after car to entertain a guest is really going above and beyond.

Car in an automatic parking system

Car in an automatic parking system

My parents had also wandered over to the nearby Ito-Yokado, a cool department store / grocery chain. My dad manged to order a coffee and got his picture taken with a female model who was standing near a car inside the store. I’m not sure the exact context of what happened, and I don’t think my dad really knew what was going on either. He just somehow ended up in this picture:

Car model

The first time my parents came to Japan I was their tour guide and never too far away from them. This time was already different, and I was looking forward to seeing what we would get up to!

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