Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tokyo Disney, the rainy version!


Jonny and the kids at the entrance of Tokyo Disney.

On Monday we had planned to take the kids to the 'Happiest Place on Earth!', unfortunately we looked at the forecast and it looked like the typhoon from Taiwan was heading our way in the form of a tropical storm and we were going to be rained out. We decided that since it was going to rain the remainder of our time in Tokyo we might as well give Tokyo Disney a chance besides, there would probably not be that many people there, right? WRONG!!!

We arrived at 11 am and it was sprinkling heavily. We had 3 umbrellas and the kids had their rain jackets on. We really thought there would be less people visiting the park today, but much to our surprise there were long lines and when we tried to get a fast pass at 11 am it told us to come back at 8:20 pm! We decided to make a go of it though as this would be our only chance to experience Tokyo Disney.


This park is almost exactly the way I remember Disneyland in Anaheim. Here is Walt and Mickey. Notice the park is all decked out for Halloween! I think the Japanese are just as mad about Halloween as we were in the America!


The Castle


I really loved all of the Halloween stuff! We just don't get a ton of stuff in Chengdu for Halloween, so this was a special treat!


The kids and me posing in the rain. Notice Angus and I are sporting our new rain coats. Angus was not happy about it at all!


Jonny and Gemma on one of the rides.


Toon Town decked out for Halloween.


Gemma and Angus posing with some of the Halloween decor.


The Toon Town was exactly like I remember it from Disneyland. I have a picture of Gemma when she was 2 in the same jail.


Here she is!


Angus really didn't mind the rain! It was his first trip to Disney and he was all about seeing Mickey Mouse!


We were able to get dry on the carousel.


Jonny and Gemma enjoying the carousel.


Next we were off the It's a Small World! Here is Scotland...


and Ireland....


and Vietnam...


and Japan...


and Africa.


Then we were off to Alice's Tea Party.


Lots of tea cups!


The kids and me in the cup.


Jonny and the kids in the cup.


We were in motion and Jonny took this picture. I love the expressions on their faces! Of course my face was probably very green as this was my least favorite ride.


I found this picture of Gemma in the teacup with Jonny and my Grandpa when she was 2.


We needed to get out of the rain so we went to have an early dinner in the Queen of Hearts restaurant. We actually sat inside in the warm to dry out for over a hour.


Then we decided to wait for 140 minutes to go into the Nightmare Before Christmas Holiday Haunted House.


I know, I am a bit over the top with the Halloween pictures, but you can imagine how I feel living in a country that hasn't caught on to the concept of Halloween yet!



Jack and Sally



Santa Jack


It was a really cool haunted house and not too scary for the kids.


The normal parade was cancelled due to in climate weather, which was an under statement! They did have a little something for us though and Angus was finally able to see Mickey Mouse!


We also went to a 4-D movie which was a bit stressful. I have gone to three 4-D movies in my life and I don't think I will go to anymore. I hate when things run under your chair! I loved this picture of Gemma in her 4-D glasses though. She maintains this smile through the entire rainy day!


Our last ride was the one we had the fast pass for which was a Buzz Lightyear ride which Jonny and Angus loved!


We walked out of the park at 10 pm, which was their official closing time.


Angus didn't even make it to the train! He was out for the count after we walked out of the exit and slept on Jonny's shoulders all the way to the train station which was about a half a mile walk.

Despite the rain we still managed to have a great time. I think it would take a lot to keep the Dallas children down, they are super troupers! As for Mom and Dad that may be questionable, but we put on our brave rain faces!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Our First Day in Tokyo!


A view from our hotel window.

After arriving quite late with a sick little girl we all had a nice sleep and woke up fairly late. The apartment we were renting was on the 24th floor so we had a fantastic view of the Shinjuku area of Tokyo which is west of central Tokyo. I picked this apartment due to the great reviews once again to Trip Advisor and once again the user reviews did not disappointment us. We have a kitchen in our room and it is really handy to roll out of bed and make toast.

Our first venture outside was to have lunch before we went exploring. We asked the front desk to recommend a Japanese restaurant close to the hotel. The woman at the front desk was great and she recommended a famous ramen restaurant called Musashi Ramen that was two blocks away from our apartment.

We were happy went we saw a line outside the restaurant because we knew it had to be good food if there was a line. When we finally reached the inside of the restaurant we noticed that people were putting coins into a machine and were receiving tickets in exchange for their money. We got a closer look at the machine and there was no English, so we just took a wild guess on what we were having for lunch.


Jonny and Angus waiting in line for our seats and watching the noodle pirates!


I called them the noodle pirates because they were dressed like pirates and they kept yelling things in Japanese from time to time.


Gemma getting her chopsticks ready for her noodles.


Angus prepping his spoon for his soup!

We were very impressed by our lunch and it tasted really great. Ramen noodles originated in China, but the Japanese tend to have them more regularly than the Chinese. We had ordered 3 bowls of noodles and they all looked similar. It was definitely a great start for a holiday.

We decided to hop on a train and go down to Harajuku and Meiji-jingu for the afternoon. I wanted to take a look at Harajuku because it is a very famous fashion area on Japan with so really wild styles. (You may have heard of the Harajuku Girls made famous by Gwen Stefani in the U.S.)


We walked from the train station down to Harajuku. The thing I noticed was that the Japanese seem to enjoy Halloween just as much as Americans as I was able to pick up a few things for Halloween while we were shopping.

After our shopping trip to Harajuku we went to see the Meiji-jingu Shrine. I couldn't believe our luck when we stumbled across the Rockabilly Club who is in the video above. I had the hugest smile on my face when I saw these guys dance. I couldn't believe that the music of my Dad's era was alive, well, and trendy in Tokyo!


They had great clothes, shoes, hair and their dance moves would put Elvis to shame!


This gang had girls in poodle skirts in on the fun!


There were actually 3 gangs of dancers and it appeared as if they were having a dance off! This was my favorite group, Rockabilly Club Harajuku City!


This guys wins the award for best hair by far!


Angus enjoyed his trip to the park.


And so did Gemma!


There were many people just sitting around blowing bubbles. This couple was in the park without kids, but of course my kids migrated towards them.


The kids popping the bubbles and the bubble blower and her boyfriend enjoyed the company.


Meiji-jingu was a really great park with people hanging out having picnics, exercising, having little jam sessions, tap dancing, blowing bubbles, juggling, playing the bagpipe, playing the trombone and you name it!


Here is Gemma watching a group of instrumentalists. I am not sure what instrument they are playing, but it looked like some kind of bow instrument.


There were a few tap dancers on hand too! I really loved watching these two!


Gemma and Angus kept finding things to play soccer with. In this instance it was an acorn.


When we were walking out we saw some of the Lolitas of the Harajuku area. This one seems to be of the Lady Boy sort.


There were quite a few =Goths on hand. Quite a few of them had 80's bank hair. I swear they look like Motley Crue from the "Shout at the Devil" Album!


I really enjoyed seeing all of the different fashion styles. The thing that was most amazing to me about our visit to Harajuku and Meiji-jingu was that no one seemed hung up about how people were dressed or what anyone was doing. I hope one day I have the chance to dance in public like the Rockabilly Club!