Monday, December 5, 2011

Day 15 – Kidzania!

            Two weeks in to this trip, and lets face it, Tavin has had limited chances to run around, and almost no chance at all to be away from me and play with other kids.
            Today was his day.  All right, I admit it, it was my day too.
            We had been in each other’s pockets for a solid two weeks, through time changes, language barriers, odd food, strange beds and occasional transportation snafus.
            Fortunately our friends the Leeks had pointed us in this direction (Stephen… I don’t know what we would have done… we could’a done it, but it would have been messier!).  Kidzania is like nothing I’ve seen in the US, and was nowhere in the guide books.  If I had gotten a “Tokyo with Kids” book or some such, it would probably have shown up. 

 How to explain Kidzania?  If you could have gone to the Sesame Street you held in your head when you were a kid,
Fire Truck, Hospital entrance & Garbage services

The street w/ pedestrians
& a rescue vehicle

The bus you pay to take a tour of the city
cinema & cafe to the left

Replica of the tallest tower in Tokyo
Kids get to pretend to help build it           
and gotten to try the jobs you wanted to try,
Engineer/Construction Worker
Window Washer 

Airplane Pilot
(E sticker - his first Job)

These were some things he spent money on:

Bus ride

Car Rental 

that’s about the best I can explain Kidzania.
            Kidzania is a town set up for kids to try out being a citizen.  They get play at different jobs and then get paid for doing the jobs.

They have a bank account and an ATM card.  
With that money they can also buy things, like driving lessons, 

and rent a car,  

or go for a bus ride.

Or get fancy pens and custom stationery.

Yeah, it’s utopian.  But the kids are given responsibilities and a part in a group without a parent anywhere in sight.  That’s right, the parents are pretty much banished, err, gently encouraged to go hang out in the “parent’s lounge.”  So that is what I did.  I worked on my writing about our trip, read some, people watched, drank tea, relaxed and only worried about entertaining myself.

Here are some pictures taken by Other People of some of the things Tavin did without me:

Would you trust him in the pilots seat? 

Tavin doesn't stand out as much as you think he would,
except he favors red over the more standard navy.

We were in much better shape after some hours apart.
            Kidzania works in two shifts – one during school – for field trips and I guess privately tutored or home school kids.  We were lucky because this shift is much less crowded, and there was never much of a wait.  The second shift, the after school shift, appeared to be much more crowded.  We saw the kids starting to line up as the early shift ended.  The announcements and the staff gently kicked us out (through the gift shop, of course).  Since Tavin and I had barely seen each other all day, he had lots to tell me when we stopped for ice cream.  It turned out to be a beautiful sunny day.  Chocolate green tea is my new favorite flavor of ice cream.  I’ll be keeping my eye out.

1 comment:

Enrique Mena - Global Communications Manager said...

Thanks for sharing! We're glad to know that you enjoyed your visit to KidZania Tokyo.