Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tokyo Disney and Disney Sea

I have to admit I was most excited about Disneyland and Disney Sea...I know, how uncultured of me! But it was as close to home as I can get in Japan....but still SO different! We took the subway on Friday to Disneyland to get the Twilight ticket at 6pm (much cheaper so we could get a taste of both parks! no park hopper tickets here)

Subway stop for Disney!
Walking up to the entrance...hey we have visas too!

Disneyland entrance
We're standing in line with the 100's of people that came for a Friday night and we see these little ears all over...they're clips instead of hats or headbands - I was fascinated!

I wanted Adrienne to pretend I was taking her picture so I didn't look like a stalker, she got in the way of the ears though...

Christmas at favorite (I've never seen it indoors before though!)

Even Autopia is very Japanese with the steering wheel STILL on the wrong side :( I was disappointed

Stitch is HUGE in Japan...only here would you have the Tiki room in one of those buildings...
The castle all dressed for Christmas (sorry it's so dark!)

I LOVE to try on the funny hats and Japan has WAY more funny choices - you can make a complete costume practically - Adrienne even was convinced to try on ONE...just one though
SERIOUSLY??? A hat, a tail, and a collar - TOO MUCH Cheshire Cat!!

A sight you NEVER see in the States...don't worry the 160 minutes for The Journey to the Center of the Earth at Disney Sea made up for it...
The 2nd day we went to Disney Sea (they have all the big Disneyland rides split between 2 parks with more shops in both and a few different rides added in the mix) We got off the subway and had to pay for our monorail ticket, but it was SO cute so that kind of made up for it! Where else can you see out the Mickey window and look at the ocean?
The castle from the monorail
Disney was HUGE, couldn't even fit half of it in the picture!

How cute are these subway holders????
The inside of Disney Sea...each part was a different country - this was the Mediterranean Harbor
The volcano was part of the journey to the center of the earth ride (fun! but LONG line)

The beginning of Disney Sea

The Christmas show was VERY cool...wish I could have seen it a little better, the downfall of not getting a good spot and being short...even in Japan!
Apparently each park has it's own "thing" I had no idea, but there was a whole store selling Duffy the Disney Bear...apparently Mickey was going on a long trip and Minnie made him so he wouldn't be lonely
FINALLY inside the elevator for the journey to the center of the earth
outside 20,000 leagues under the sea and the journey to the center of the earth - I have to admit the outside of things were WAY cooler than home :)
This HUGE group of people are pointing and taking pictures so we stood there trying to figure out what was happening...finally found the hidden Mickey (who knew that was so big in Japan?) Can you find it??

All in all a fun trip - Disneyland had great lines and we got on all the rides we wanted to go on, Disney Sea was a bit crazy, but still fun :) Pros for Disney Tokyo: most of the lines were shorter, Thunder Mountain was WAY more fun Cons: Popcorn was the only a variety of flavors...honey, soda (we tried that one...not bad), chocolate, curry, strawberry, coconut, caramel, I think I'm forgetting one, but all of them were a little plain! Shopping was terrifying, THE PUSHING, oh my! Sorry these pictures are so random in order...I had so many to sort through :) One more blog for Tokyo to go!

Tokyo Day 1 (tour book day!)

Tokyo...not sure what I expected, but it's really not that different than Okinawa...ok, it's bigger, and busier, and taller, and everybody wears a suit...but it feels the same. It's strange to go to a brand new place and not feel entirely like a tourist, apparently that's what happens when you live in Japan long enough :) Does that mean I'll feel like a tourist when I get home to CA? I'm sure I won't, but I'll enjoy whatever feeling I have going home!! :) Being somewhere new put me back into missing home. Anyway, the 3 of us went to the airport on Wednesday after school and caught the 7:05 flight - now let me tell you, Okinawa has NO security, my id was not checked once...the most I had to do was put my bag through the x-ray and walk through the metal detector. But I could have been some weirdo as far as they knew...STRANGE! Flight was fine and we landed, got our bags and headed to the subway. Pastor Wes had promised if we stood looking lost we'd have offers to help within 30 seconds - OH YEAH! 30 seconds later someone offered to help us and we were off! The subway was filled with black suits...and us and our bags - it was a pretty funny sight, but we made it to our stop without too much trouble. Then we proceeded to roll our bags down the sidewalk - asked a couple of people how to get to the hotel and FINALLY made it! We went to bed quickly because we had to be up for our tour in the morning by 6:30 so we could all be ready by 8! I'm going to cover the tour in this blog and the rest of the visit in separate blogs so I can keep all the pictures straight...yea right!

We woke up and Adrienne and I needed breakfast...we had missed dinner the night before :) We found a YUMMY coffee shop down the block from the Marriott (where we got a great deal thanks to Adrienne's brother Mark!) called Tully's - I had a bagel breakfast sandwich and a tiramisu latte - yummy! The three of us then waited in the lobby for our tour. A bus picked us up to take us to the bus depot to meet the rest of the tour.

The first stop was Tokyo Tower which is 13 meters taller than the Eiffel tower and used as a broadcast tower and for tourists ;) it used to be the tallest building in Tokyo but now that's the building the Ritz Carlton is in (which we stayed in...but I'll get there!) The view from the observation deck was amazing - it had started to rain, but we could still see a lot. I was fascinated by how many of the buildings utilized their roofs for parks!

Tokyo actually has fall...

Yes, I know, we were THOSE Americans, but they had this little viewing window so of course we needed a picture of ourselves

There's another little window looking down...

We were trying to get us and the view...oh well the fog works too...
Downstairs in front of the Christmas decorations

Next stop was a traditional tea ceremony and the viewing of the bonsai trees. Apparently the Tea Master studies for 10 years in order to be a professional tea pourer...CRAZY! That's like becoming a dr. or something...anyway, she goes through this whole thing with the water and the green tea powder (it's supposed to be better than the leaves...I didn't really like it though) and then the tea is served to the person sitting by the alcove...the spot of honor...and then everyone else is served after we eat our sweet (kind of like eating a sugar cube before the bitter tea)

He was the first person served, that's the alcove

The outside of the tea house
The grounds were GORGEOUS! I was so excited about all the colors!
This is my postcard picture - I think it's pretty good!
We weren't big fans of the tea, but the tea bowls are fun :) The green color and the foamyness was a little much - she whipped it with this bamboo wisk thing

The inside of the real tea room (we got the tourist version)
AWWW, my Japan mate is so cute! She told me I was a weirdo picture taker, but it doesn't count when you're on vacation

After the tea ceremony we walked over to the bonsai trees - they were really interesting, there were plum trees, apple trees, pomegranates and the typical evergreen - I had no idea how many kinds there were and they were all so cute and small.
This is the oldest one they have - it's over 500 years old...looks better than some of my plants :)

This is me with the 300+ tree out in the rain

Next stop was in front of the palace - you can see the gates and the government building, but not the palace from ANYWHERE! Even the buildings across the street don't have windows at the about good security.

This is apparently THE most popular picture we took a picture ;)

Next it was lunch time!!! Thank goodness...I was getting hungry! We went to the Four Seasons for the BBQ lunch. We all sat down and all of the sudden this woman was putting an apron on me...wasn't sure if we were going to be messy or if I was cooking the meal! Turns out they were giant bibs...I didn't make a mess, but the girls' bibs didn't fare quite as well :) After lunch we trekked around on the grounds looking at the beautiful gardens.

Ok, I understand I have a weird fascination with the trashcans and toilets here, but this was an automatic girly trashcan...with a special slot for the trash, no touching required!

After lunch we boarded a boat to go down the waterway to our last stop...we went under 16 different bridges - Adrienne thought I would take pictures of all of them, but I didn't...just one :)

Inside the boat
Adrienne, my gold star napper

Last stop was a Buddhist temple...same ole same ole at this point - but there were all these little booths/shops as we walked down to the actual temple so that was fun to explore!

The gate to the temple

Apparently if you pat the smoke on you it brings you good luck and heals whatever hurts where you pat...we passed on the experience

All the shops...on busy days I guess you can barely move
By the end of the day we were SO tired (and cold and wet) so we headed home to warm up and then went to H&M and the rest of Ginza street for a little retail therapy :) Didn't buy much, but it was nice to go shopping for the first time in months! After dinner at Quiznos (so not as good as home) we headed back to the hotel to crash....more to come....