Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Friday, June 4 – Tuesday, June 8, 2010-

Allow me a quick note back to my dear Northfield, Minnesota. Maria & all of you NHS Seniors, congrats on a successful graduation from high school. I wish I could be there for all of your grad parties, but hey, maybe you’ll just have to freeze me a piece of sheet cake and buy me some raspberry ginger ale once I get back home this July!! I mean that’s all I really need =)

Second quick note: Samantha Roma, congratulations to you, mi amor. I can’t believe your Rotary exchange to Spain is already complete. I know how exciting and sad it was for you to be returning home, walking back into your old life but having to loose some of your new one in order to do so. I can’t wait for our epic reunion next month. We’ll have more than just a little bit of catching up to do. And who knows, maybe you’ll even write once more in that blog of yours one of these days. I know my grandma estenson is waiting for another entry ;) Haha (http://samantharomaweaver.blogspot.com)

Samantha and the Grandmas at Maria's Graduation Party
Maria and my Skype graduation photos
I think I was coaching her on appropriate Japanese peace signs to throw up for all of her graduation photographs in this one
Mom, Mia and Pops

But back to Japan for a little bit. I don’t have too much to report from the weekend, but yesterday, Monday, was quite blog worthy if I do say so myself. A full day in Tokyo Disneyland with Yasu and Rumi proved to be just the ticket for keeping my mind off of what I was missing back in Northfield, or at least to make me think, “Haha those suckers back home are missing out on this!” So that was nice.

This was an adventure we’d been planning since the first ten minutes the three of us met back in April. Rumi absolutely loves Disneyland, especially because that is where her all-time favorite character is: Stitch from “Lilo & Stitch”!! Therefore she and Yasu have gone each year for as long as they’ve been together. Besides being a big children’s attraction here in Japan, it is probably also Tokyo’s most popular dating local! Anyone who says Japan’s population is in recession ought to spend a full day at Disneyland, what with a morning full of screaming children and a nighttime rush of Tokyo’s youngest couples, you would never know that Japan’s population is actually beginning to drop off!!

But that’s off topic, so I will return back to my wonderful day at the land of Disney. Yasu, Rumi and I left our house at – get this – 5 am in the morning, driving all the way to Disneyland two and a half hours south of here. That put us at the park right around 7:30, giving us plenty of time to do exactly what Japanese people love to do: wait in lines!! I have never seen such patient, line-loving people as those at Disneyland. I swear sometimes they just got in lines because other people where in line, not even knowing what they were waiting for. The park didn’t open until 9 but by 7 or so there were already people planting tarps and chairs out in front, beginning a line that would prove to file out of the park for hundreds of meters…and there were about a dozen of these lines. Haha, I was in shock, it was a Monday morning in mid-June, hardly a major attraction day, albeit the weather was fantastic. I don’t even want to imagine this place on Christmas, New Years, or Golden Week!! Yikes!!

But it wasn’t over yet. Upon opening the gates, so began the “dash.” It’s exactly what you think it is, everyone sprinting to get into line (again) for their favorite rides. We made a beeline for the Monsters Inc. attraction, opting for the fast pass track rather than the already 90 minute long line!! Basically we spent the whole day, enjoying the great weather, walking around, eating an abundance of Disney-themed fair foods, catching a handful of attractions and roller coasters, watching a handful of parades including the unreal nighttime illuminations, and laughing at how much Japanese people love their Disneyland. What I would call a full, fun, and very Japanese-style way to enjoy the day in an amusement park.

Yasu, Rumi and I in front of the Disney Castle at night

For those of you who can remember back to one of my entries last January, I’m sure you’re thinking, “Well Sam’s already been to Disneyland.” Not quite, that was Disney Sea…and yes there is a difference. 1) They’re separate spaces, albeit adjacent, 2) The attractions are different, and 3) Most importantly for Rumi, Disney Sea does not have any Stitch characters! (Gasp and look of horror inserted here)

Well, I have more than enough photos to fill in any gaps I’ve left out, so I’ll let them do the rest of the talking. As you can tell we were there the whole day, meaning opening at 9am to closing at 10pm. Basically we made as much of the day as we could and I was happy to have experienced the park so fully and especially to have done it with two fun-loving, laid-back friends like Yasu and Rumi. I really lucked out with them, didn’t I? =)

Standing in line for the opening
Our "dash" to get to the Monsters Inc ride as quickly as possible
Yasu in line
It's a Small World
In line at the Pirates of the Caribbean ride
Captain Jack Sparrow
Us being dumb, trying to copy the Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse statue behind us, haha - fail!
Pooh's "Hunny Hunt"
Rumi to the rescue!
The beginning of the nighttime parade!
If you actually look really closely here you can see the first star of the night glowing in the sky behind
Literally millions of lights
The turtle from Finding Nemo
Yasu and I rode Splash Mountain together (Rumi said it was impossible for her)
This is the drop off for Splash Mountain. You can see a little boat about to go overboard in the center
The Disney Castle
Reflected in the lake below
Peace, my friends
Rumi and Yasu on our way out of the park

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