Day 29: Japanese music and Disneyland

Masaki-san and I spent the morning listening to Japanese music. I got to hear some Japanese classics and his favourite music. Here are youtube clips of two of my favourite Japanese songs.

The first one is called Linda Linda, by Blue Hearts. Its apparently a Karaoke favourite. Be patient for the chorus when you listen to it. If you’re in a hurry, skip to 0:47. That’s the best part!

The second one is called Nijiro, by Ayaka. Start listening at 0:40.

Japanese pasta once again: food in plastic has never tasted so good! 

Since Kaori-san wasn’t at home, and neither Masaki-san nor I can cook anything edible, we walked to a nearby 7/11 to pick up some delicious konbini food. On the way there, I saw many open spaces and stand alone houses. On asking what they were, I was told that they are farm lands. It was surprising to see farming so close to Tokyo. Masaki-san said that these were farms that had existed before Tokyo started getting populated. Since my host family’s house is in a suburb, which is officially in another prefecture (called Saitama), the farm land remains operational. I learnt that the property prices had been increasing ever since Tokyo’s suburbs came up in Saitama and many farming families have been renting or selling their houses to people who work in Tokyo and want to live in a suburb. My host parents sometimes go to the farmer’s market there on weekends to buy fresh vegetables, which happen to be cheaper. Kaori-san later told me that many of the vegetables being sold still have soil on them!

In the afternoon, the weather seemed kind. So I decided to spend the second half of my day at Disneyland. I didn’t really want to go, but I felt the need to check it off my list. At first I was a bit bored, since I was by myself and I didn’t want to spend an hour in line for rides alone. But soon, it started raining and getting dark, so the lines got significantly shorter. Suddenly, it felt like a great decision on my part to have come to Disney! I also watched some music and dance shows, which were of Disney characters but in Japanese. Not being able to understand the words made me realize how much I underestimate the value of words and lyrics when listening to music.

Enjoying Disneyland all by myself!

Many of the workers at Disney didn’t speak English and the instructions they gave before or after rides were incomprehensible to me. I had to concentrate on their gestures and facial expressions to understand what they were saying.
The rides were amazing as always. Being alone gave me the opportunity to observe them with greater detail. The timing of sounds and effects are impeccable. The rides successfully attempt to give each person on the ride a personalized experience wherein everyone receives the same impact no matter where you’re sitting.

A mickey shaped chicken deli sandwich at Tomorrow Land. Even though Disney food is expensive, the quality of it is amazing for mass produced fast food. 

This was my fourth disneyland, after California, Florida and Kong Kong. Hope to visit Shanghai and Paris disney soon!

Day 22: Tokyo Disney Sea

Another 18 hour day, this one was spent as a complete tourist. I went to Disney Sea, one of Disney’s theme parks. This was my fourth Disney theme park which is why most of what I saw wasn’t surprising. It was very much like its counterparts in Hong Kong, Florida and California. However, it was unique in its sea element. Disney Sea is unique and does not exist anywhere except Tokyo. Some of the rides it had were water based, and its parades and shows took place on a water body in the center of the park.

Mickey shaped windows and handles on the train towards Disney sea
Equipped with my regular (and only) Disney accessory-the Mini mouse hairband 

The iconic Disney globe near the entrance
 The tickets were cheaper than I expected (6400 Yen for a day which equals $64). There were also cheaper options available for people who wanted to spend half a day at the theme park. As of 8 a.m., the queue wasn’t too long either. 

In terms of size it was fairly large and had seven parks. My friends and I took advantage of the fast pass system which proved to be extremely useful. We got a fast pass for most of our rides and had to wait in line for only one. (The lines were typically about 60 to 90 minutes long).

Approaching the Mysterious Island

The Lost River Delta
The food was expensive but amazing. Some exceptional food items included milk tea popcorn, a scallop shaped sandwich and sea salt ice cream. The staff, who is always friendly at Disney, was even more friendlier here. Japanese politeness coupled with the Disney enthusiasm creates a great atmosphere. There were fewer Disney characters walking around here and the park in general was less Disney themed than the Disney lands, but it was great all the same. 
Mickey shaped raspberry ice cream

My delicious tiramisu ice cream sandwich 
On first guess, its just staff cleaning the railings. But if you stop and watch, its actually a show. The dustbin makes sounds with every action of the cleaner, be it scrubbing, dusting, wiping. Without a single dialogue, the cleaner put on a great show just through his actions and sound affects. 

All of us at the Mermaid Lagoon


Port Discovery

 The souvenir shops had merchandise much like the other disneys. Very few of them were specific to Tokyo Disney Sea. They are probably mass produced for the disney theme parks worldwide. Yet, there were souvenir shops in each of the seven areas of the park along with a big main one. They were all fairly crowded with shoppers. 

A very authentic looking building at Arabian Coast

A fountain of money at the American Waterfront-a flattering image of the US

One new thing I learnt about Disney was the difficulty of the employees in wearing costumes all day. Its awfully hot and sweaty to walk around as Mickey Mouse. Through an article that a friend later linked me to, I learnt that the people who dress up as characters go through a rigorous selection process and need to be able to act like the characters among other things. Unfortunately, I also learnt that visitors often misbehave with the characters by punching them to hear their sound or inappropriately touching them. But on a more positive notes, I read that Disney employees are happy to working there. 

Venetian Gondolas at the Mediterranean Harbor

The rides at Disney Sea were not super intense, but the effects were amazing as always. I caught a show in the afternoon and the night time parade. Apart from being on water, the show was quite different from the ones I had seen in other Disney lands. It had more fancy objects appearing out of nowhere and the technology was more enhanced. Over the years I have come to realize that Disney is constantly innovating with its shows as well as its rides. It makes sure that no two theme parks are identical. Looking forward to visiting the Disney parks in Shanghai and Paris!