Japan, Travel Photos

Mickey Mouse, A Giant Buddha and My Mom

My mom came to visit me a couple of weekends ago and it was really nice seeing her again. She brought me an entire suitcase filled with snacks from home as well as English language magazines and books. My fridge is now jam packed with a three month supply of everything needed to make Mexican food…including a pound of tortillas (impossible to find here!) and a Costco-sized container of salsa.
Our fridge is the size of the ones found in college dorm rooms, (tiny!) so the jumbo sized American products are just too big to fit. In Japan, everything is packaged into small containers, (just enough to last a few servings) which is a sharp contrast to America, where even jars of peanut butter are super-sized to last months.
As I’m writing this I’m working my way through some Oreos smothered in peanut butter. I’m in American junk food heaven right now…Mmmm. Thanks mom!
We went to Disney Sea together, (which is a one of the two parks in Tokyo Disneyland). It was cheesy and cutesy but then what else can ya expect? It’s Disneyland in Japan. A lot of foreigners look down their noses at Tokyo Disney, as in “I’d never waste my valuable time and money going there“, but I liked it. I’m not a huge Disney fan, but I used to work at Disney World in Florida, so it was fun to compare the two. Although, we lucked out because we went on a weekday during a typhoon, so there were no lines. I don’t think any of the rides would have been worth it if we’d had to wait.
The highlight of the day was watching Minnie Mouse get mulled by camera wielding Japanese grown ups. They all vied for Minnie’s attention, shouting “Minnie! Minnie” like they were paparazzi. You would of thought she was Britney Spears and not a little person in a mouse costume, for all the attention she got. Funny enough, the children didn’t seem quite as excited. They, by contrast, stood in the background and patiently waited their turn to give her a hug.
Another funny moment was when we watched a show that featured dancing french fries and hot dogs as well as acrobatic cheeseburgers. Guess where this show was performed? In the American section of the park, in front of a giant set designed to look like New York city.

Looks a lot like NYC, doesn’t it?

My favorite ride was the tower of terror, (an elevator drop) as well as the Journey to the Center of the Earth ride. The Journey ride was a surprise because we had no idea what to expect. The descriptions on our maps didn’t provide much more than the title, so I assumed we were getting on one of those 3D documentary rides. But it turned out it was more like Splash Mountain…a fast paced ride with a vertical drop at the end.

The Tower of Terror Ride

This is a photo taken during the ride. It was one of those photos which you’re encouraged to purchase after the ride, but interestingly enough, no one did. Everyone just lined up in front of the display and snapped photos of their photos using their digital cameras or cell phones. No one said anything to stop them…so I did the same. Look at the facial expression of the woman sitting in front of me.

I also found it interesting that many people came to Disneyland dressed as their favorite characters. And not just children, but adults too! Nearly every other girl had on a Minnie Mouse or Lilo and Stitch costume on, so my mom and I decided to join in on the trend.

We also went to Kamakura….which is a touristy beach town near Tokyo. It was very quaint and cute and it really felt like we were a world away from Tokyo (although we were in actuality only an hour or so outside). I would have loved to have spent the night there…but there were only a handful of hotels and all of them were booked! Here’s some advice for anyone looking to stay overnight in Kamakura, reserve a hotel room in advance if you plan on visiting on a weekend because they’re almost always full!

People come to visit the giant buddha, but really the town, (with it’s craft shops, souvenir shops and cafes) is worth a trip in itself.

The beach was gray and grimy…but I was just so grateful to be away from the wall to wall concrete and crowds, I didn’t care.

Traveling tip: When you arrive at the station in Kamakura, you’ll still be about a 30 minute walk from the Buddha. Don’t take the bus because the walk takes you through the town and along the beach and it’s pretty much a flat and direct path, so you won’t have to worry about getting lost!

Make sure to get a map at the tourist information booth in the train station (they speak English!). But they’ll try to convince you to take a path which cuts through the suburbs and along this busy highway. It’s probably the least complicated route, but it certainly isn’t the most scenic. Trust me and just follow the path that heads to the beach.

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