Monday, August 9, 2010

Weekend 22 of 52: Japan.



Tokyo, Gundam Cafe, Yodobashi-Akiba, Harajuku, Yoyogi Park, Meiji Shrine, Tokyo DisneySea, Kyoto, Fushimi Inari Shrine, Osaka, Osaka Castle, Universal Citywalk

We spent the bulk of our time in Japan in Tokyo, which is probably true of most tourists to Japan. We did some heavy video game browsing/shopping at Yodobashi-Akiba. We got to walk around Harajuku, keeping our eyes peeled for Harajuku girls. We had an evening stroll through nearby Yoyogi Park, culminating in a trip to the Meiji Shrine therein.

And the next day we went to Tokyo DisneySea. And it was the happiest place on earth, for sure. I think Dan read that it is considered maybe the best of the Disney parks, and I think I agree. The atmosphere was unreal. When we lived in central Florida, we were able to sort of frequent Disney World, which made it so strange for us to be at Disney in Tokyo. Everything felt familiar but new. Do you know what I mean?

The park is arranged around seven ports and is itself built on the coast. It was rainy and windy all day, and it was perfect. It broke the intense summer heat, and we got to see everybody's Mickey ponchos. We ducked into the shows to escape from the rain. They were total quality, you guys. Two had Cirque du Soleil style gymnastics and puppetry. We saw the "Under the Sea" show in which a harnessed Ariel swims and flips her way up to the ceiling. It was like seeing the Little Mermaid in real life. But for real. We loved it all. We were sad we hadn't opted to spend the next day at Tokyo Disneyland.

Then on to Kyoto where we saw the very famous Fushimi Inari Shrine. Osaka was our final destination. We checked out the Osaka Castle and meandered around Universal Japan's Citywalk.

Japan was hot and it was awesome. I will give this one piece of advice to America's newer generations, though, Japan does not yet favor the credit card. Do not plan on using it most places. It was a stress for us, and it should not be one for you. We brought cash, but we weren't able to bring enough (because things happen as they do), so we thought we could survive on Western restaurants or larger Japanese restaurants, saving cash for transportation. We never found a McDonald's that took credit cards. I must admit that we developed an appreciation for Starbucks with their proclivity for plastic payments, their soy milk, and their sweet, sweet air conditioning.



Road and sky in Tokyo.


A peacock down our street.


The Starbucks stores in Japan kept giving us this soy milk card to hold and then return to the drink maker. It had a note about milk allergies, and I felt cared for. Thanks, Starbucks!


Dan taking a picture in front of the Gundam Cafe to show his students. They are very into Gundam. We were going to eat there, but, futuristic as it looks, they don't take credit cards.


Yodobashi-Akiba. It's famous or something. Dan got video games.


We saw Becca there (but not Becca Reed, sadly) and a wall of coin toy machines.


Takeshita Street in the Harajuku area.


Waiting for a train.


Spider webs in Yoyogi Park.


Wall of donated drums.


Dan at the entrance to the Meiji Shrine.



Inside.


Wishes. Ingrid the hottie hopes to: 1. Get into a good college. 2. Get a hot body! 3. Get a hot boyfriend. 4. Earn lots of money. 5. Always happy. Ingrid seems very deep.


Trees.


Back to the train.


The next day we went to Tokyo DisneySea. Donald greeted us at the station.


Dan and the watery world.


The volcano and the villas. Some of the villas comprise a hotel within the park's limits in which you can spend your nights if you are among the luckiest people in the universe.


On our journey to the earth's center.


New York on the left. Something from Atlantis on the right? I have only seen Atlantis once.


Dan in a photo zone.


Making use of our $4 ponchos.


Stitch is driving that submarine. Can you see him? They really love Stitch in Japan.


So many umbrellas were broken on this day. The wind got really strong late in the day and flipped them inside out. Ponchos were definitely the way to go.


And ironically, we rode this ride with a weather controlling machine. I don't think it works, really.


Popcorn where dreams come true.


Mystic Rhythms.


In the Lost River Delta.


Bridges and boats.


A family of Minnies along the American Waterfront.


Lots of wind.


The real sea. This is like the end of the Truman Show.


Dan's poncho didn't fit. He is not Asian sized.


Snake eyes for the 3D magic show with Genie.



Sindbad's Storybook Voyage, like It's a Small World, complete with catchy song.


Ariel's Playground, a huge indoor playground for kids.


Curry Popcorn. The park is very near an airport.


Hidden Mickey in the Indiana Jones queue. Tower of Terror.


Mermaid Lagoon.


And then there was no more Disney and no more Tokyo for us. Headed to Kyoto with a Geisha.


A bucking dragony animal.


A fine lunch at a hopping place, Mumokuteki Cafe.


I had a banana and black sesame seed milkshake. Turns out I really like black sesame seed paste.


No smoking on the street in Kyoto.


The Fushimi Inari Shrine.


There are 10,000 gates.


Inari is the Shinto god of rice. Foxes are his messengers. He seems important.


Overwhelming. It takes two hours to walk the length of the gates.


Candles at the main shrine building.


It was so green. The only thing summer's good for.


Growing things.


I think Dan saw that this was a Chinese restaurant.


Dan and the aptly dressed Colonel.


Cicadas in Osaka.


Osaka Castle. It is a reconstruction.


This guy played songs for yen. It was sort of lame.


Up close.


This moat is faulty.


We were trying to find a coffee shop, but we found this instead. Fair trade.


Japan had lots of ferris wheels.


Dan and more Gundam.


We were trying to get to the Osaka harbor. It's like Chicago's Navy Pier. We were stuck on the wrong side of the river.


So we hung out at Universal Studios Japan's Citywalk.


Dan with a Takoyaki. Us with a weird little photo zone.


A magician/juggler magicking/juggling.


Citywalk shops.


Our final taste of Osaka. We think this is Japanese Power Rangers soda. It tasted like cotton candy.


One more harbor shot.


Here's the rest of our Japan Loot. We bought a cookie tin at Universal. And Dan got a souvenir cup at Disney. Summer Splash 2K10.


I got some JSocks. They were much costlier than KSocks, but I had to get at least a couple.


Especially since they have such good toe socks.


Little Matryoshka ladies.

So that's it for Japan. I'm going to try and get back on schedule with the weekends and have the most recent weekend posted mid-week. Dan's mom and her friend Sharon are here right now, so we've been trying to show them all the sites and eats and treats.

-Serenity

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