Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Fuji from the Shinkansen!

I had read, years ago, that by sitting n the left side of the Shinkansen going south, that you could see Mount Fuji as you pass it. Plus, over the weekend I saw a beautiful photo of the Shinkansen in front of the mountain. So as we passed, I managed to get this photo, even at 375 miles per hour! And it only took me two attempts!

The Kawachi Family

I spent the evening and the next morning at Risa's house in Yokohama. What is so great about it, is that it is super close to Tokyo. And super cheap to get there. It was so nice to see her brother all grown up, and her parents again, but especially her grandparents, who I met last time in about...2000, when they came to sports day in England! They were so adorable!

More Christmas Trees!

Risa and I had originally planned to go to Disney way back for Halloween because we really wanted to see the park all decorated, So we agreed that we wouldn't go untill the Christmas decorations were all up! The decorations were immense, and I particularly liked this American country tree, complete with stars and red, white and blue!

We can see Mt. Fuji!

Tokyo Disney is about 3 prefectures away from Mount Fuji, and an insanely massive distance, but because the weather was clear enough, we could see all the way to Mount Fuji. It is the most beautiful mountain, and actually the most photographed mountain in the world. It is famous for it's nice symmetrical shape and beautiful snow on the top!

Shellie-May and her travels at Disney Sea

Japan does nothing by halves. Risa introduced me to Duffy and Shelly May, the Disney bears. They are only sold at Disney Sea, not at Tokyo Disney, and are a mega seller. You can even buy clothes for them! Everyone seems to have one, or even two of them and everything is. Duffy related. There are all sorts of places all over the park for you to sit Duffy or Shellie May, like little wooden seats with signs saying "Photo spot for Shellie May" and so Risa and I went all over the park for photos!

Disney Dance to the Spice Girls

Because there were massive lines at the rides, we decided we should try and go to as many shows as we could. There was one called "Be our guest" which was a dining based one with all the characters. We got good places to stand in the sun even, and the best part was certainly the music! There were all different costumes from all around the globe, with Minnie in a French puff outfit and Goofy in a pak choi costume! Daisy Duck was dancing along to the Spice Girls! It was great because they were so popular when Risa and I went to elementary school together! Such great music!

Big Band Show!

We waited for two hours, in the freezing cold, but the Japanese are very reasonable about things, and let you leave the line to get coffee or go to the loo. The show was so worth the wait though. It was a jazz kind of show, and they had special jazz Christmas songs! There were tons of Westerners in the show too! We wished we could have stayed and listened to them sing for ages! The theatre was exceptionally beautiful too, and we were lucky enough to be right up near the front of the stage!

Waiting for Big Band!

Risa really wanted to see the Big Band's a jazz show, but for Christmas the show is really special. We decided since we couldn't ride many rides, we would go see the show....and we were willing to wait two hours! The area was so nice, with lights and it looked just like a city street! It was so unbelevieably cold, but it was so worth it!

Tokyo Disney Sea: American Waterfront

Instead of Main Street USA, they have a little street in the New York area, which has this beautiful departed end store all decked out with garlands and ribbons! It was so beautiful and full of people going Chrismtas shopping (but only for Disney presents!)

Duffy is Kawaii!

There is a little restaurant in Duffy land which has these deserts where you can keep your cute little cup, so Risa and I waited in line for forever, and then found out we were waiting in line for a show insnead! Oops! In the end we got our cute little lemon yogurts with Shelly May mugs! And they were themed for Christmas!

Duffy Land

Duffy land, is part of the American Waterfront. It is really made up of the New York shipping harbour and this old school fishing village. It's a really big area that just kind of all runs together and takes up the majority of the park. It's home of Duffy the bear, Mickey's stuffed bear. He is insanely popular here. They have clothes for him, shops jus for him, shows and everything. It was my favourite part, because it was such a quaint little place. And everything Duffy was super cute! Hey even had Duffy food and even men were carrying Duffy things! Risa and I got matching Duffy and Shelly May ( his girlfriend) fast pass holders! They were super cute too!

Tokyo Disney Sea: Mysterious Island

Mysterious Island is the home of the big mountain which is the symbol of the park. Turns out, it is exactly the same height as Cindereellas Caslte at Tokyo Disney. This areas is home to three big roller coasters, but the lines were so bad that we couldn't get to ride them. But there is this massive crater area and it is pretty cool!

A beautiful tree

When we first arrived at the park, I noticed these trees. But it wasn't mtill much later that I got back to the entrance to take the photo of them. They were really pretty and there were so man of them. I think the red and gold is a really nice colour combination. But all parts of the park were decorated in different colours. The Christmas decorations a the park must have cost a fortune. I just love themed Christmas trees so. Thout this ne was exceptionally beautiful! Each year the pull off something new, so. Wonder what it will be next Christmas?

Tokyo Disney Sea: Mediterranean Harbour

The main entrance way in Disney Sea is decorated like Venice. Not just decorated like Venice with fronts, but actual buildings, and actual hotels. It's pretty funky and unbelievably beautiful. I was bus with people and just made me want to go back to Italy so bad.

With the Big Kitty!

Risa loves this character, which is outside the newest ride here, Jasmine's flying carpets. It is kind of like the Dumbo ride. The great thing about Disney in Japan is that they have a person whose job it is to stand and take people's photo in front of this big cat all day! So we both got to be in the picture!

Tokyo Disney Sea: Arabian Coast

The Arabian Coast was perhaps even prettier than Mermaid Lagoon, as it looked like it was right out of the Middle East. There weremt very many rides, but there were lots of little arcade games and also some restaurants. Right in the central plaza they had this cool tree made from Genies! There was also a two story merry go round which had the most amazing roof. Looking across the lake was pret impressive and it was super sparkly too with lots of pretty gold lampposts!

Tokyo Disney Sea: Lost River Delta

The Lost River Delta is Donald Ducks domain and really, we didn't spend much time there but we did go to a good Mexican restaurant! It was actually really good...we just seemed to eat our way across Disney! There also was a super cool Mayan waterfall, complete with stone dragons!

Tokyo Disney Sea: Port Discovery

This is the Port Discovery area which is home to Chip and Dale. It's all sci-fi and full of fun buildings and random techno music. We went on a cool Storm Rider ride which simulates being caught in a tornado! In each part of Disney there is a 10th Anniversary Mickey hat! The one here was all robotic!

Monday, 19 December 2011

Playing with the Dolphins

In Japan you take photos of everything, and later on in the afternoon, we went back to take some photos and to go to the cool whale store. These cute dolphins were outside the water play place for little kids, they have these giant turtles which spurt water! Risa was such a good sport and let me take her photo everywhere!

More of the Lagoon

There is a big underground section in Mermaid Lagoon called Tritons Kingdom. It's full of spinning teacup rides, arcade games and play places for kids, as well as this cool whale shop and the Ariel show. We went and saw it and the actress was Western! It was such a good place because everything was fluorescent and under the black lights, just popped!I took a photo across the water of the massive palace. It really sparkled at night and the lights were really fun. Even the Christmas tree was lit up with lights! We had our lunch/dinner here too, where Risa had a cute shell shaped sandwich!

Tokyo Disney Sea: Mermaid Lagoon

I got up absurdly early on Saturday and took the train to meet Risa at Tokyo Disney Sea. It was super absurd how packed the trains were, I really could barely breathe. But eventually we got there, before it opened too people were running for the gates still though! We eventually got there, and it was amazing! Tokyo Disney Sea is the worlds most expensive theme park, and it certainly shows. The attention to detail is unbelievable! The park is split into six or seven sections, and this one is Mermaid Lagoon, where Ariel lives. It's all pretty underwater palaces, sea horses and whatnot. Even the Christmas tree is made of pretty pink coral and decorated with shells. I think this area was my favourite, there were so many cute things there.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Independence in Ueno

My last weekend in Japan was probably my biggest adventure yet. I rushed up to Tokyo and got myself to Ueno. Well, near there. It was the firs time I've gone somewhere and not had anyone to meet me. I found my hotel, but usually I would have just stayed and gone to bed, but it was too exciting to stay in. I wandered just a few blocks, but it was full of people going t izakaiwas, and little restaurants and people out with their colleagues.It was really fun, and something I should do more often. I just wish I got more time in Tokyo. I loved the little panda flags which were everywhere, Ueno Zoo has some of the most famous pandas in the world. It was just full of people everywhere, and I liked that the trains were so busy and everyone was about because it just felt so busy and cosmopolitan, but most of all, safe!

A very merry ALT Xmas party!

I am thankfull that Courtney doesn't work Mondays, as I am always home for her amazing parties! She had food galore, and we played Pictionary and all sorts! It was lots of fun, especially because I had my Santa hat and we played the white elephant Secret Santa game! We also took some super funny Family Style photos....the ALTs are so much fun!

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Along the coast

Sunday, after lunch with the boys at Joyfull, I caught the train back to Hagi. I have never taken the train in the day time, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that the train goes along the coast! It was really beautiful with the waves, and I wasn't the only one who was taking photos in the train!

Shimonoseki at night

Every time that I go to Shimonoseki, I want to see the YouMe tower, all lit up. I love towers, and they are so much prettier at night. We didn't have time to go up the tower, but near the station, I could see it all lit up, so I had to snap a photo! I also got this photo of the one strange European building by the station...not sure what it is, but it was pretty with the lit up trees!