sarahblack: (Smiling Jack)
Yesterday was probably one of the happiest days of my life. I got to live my childhood dream of Disney land. A dream that started with an Aladdin sticker book. There was this competition where you could win a trip to Disney land for your family if you collected all of the stickers and entered your book into a lottery. I was so sad when my masterful sticker-collecting plan failed. But it doesn't matter now. I went to Disney land and it was magical and amazing. ♥

The Disney experience begins as you walk from the train station to the park gates. The classic Disney music which can be heard, and the resort hotel, which looks like a beautiful palace, set the mood. But it's when you walk through the gates and see the quintessential Disney castle in the distance that you really know. Know that you're really in Disney land! ... I may have become slightly teary eyed.



The day was enjoyably spent. I went on some rides with Snaevar and his family, watched the parades, and ate too much ice cream. My favourite rides were Pirates of the Caribbean - which now includes cameos from some of the characters (Jack Sparrow!) from the movie - and the Space Mountain rollercoaster. Honorable mention goes to Captain EO for being hilariously 80s-tastic. Oh, Michael Jackson. ♥

The parades with all the characters and the shiny floats were so pretty. There were three parades, first the Jubilee parade, then the themed Easter parade, and lastly the electric lit up parade that they did after it got dark. I got some serious costume envy. What I wouldn't give for those princess dresses...

I was a bit sad that it was apparently too windy for the traditional firework display at the end of the day, but I've decided that it simply gives me an excuse to go again sometime!

The day before Disney land was quite busy as well. I went with Snaevar and his family into Tokyo to see the Harajuku and Shibuya districts, and we went to the top of Tokyo tower!

Harajuku wasn't all that busy, but I took some pictures and looked at some very interesting window displays. I didn't buy much, just a box of chocolate mochi. Mochi is a Japanese dessert. It's made out of rice, but it more like a marshmallow than anything else. A slightly less sweet marshmallow that can have different types of flavour. Really delicious!



Shibuya was bustling with people. I really liked watching when people crossed the street. Like an ocean of Japanese people! It was such a nice day to go for a walk, too. Sunny and warm, but with a breeze to keep you from melting.

Tokyo tower was a lot of fun. I loved seeing Tokyo city spread out in all directions. So many buildings! From the top of the tower I could see all the way to Mt. Fuji! But conditions weren't ideal, so it was a bit blurry. I also saw into a traditional old cemetery. Full of statues and things.

I took a lot of trains that day. The stations are always supplied with vending machines. I decided to try my vending machine skills and got a can of coke. But it wasn't really a can because it had a screw cap like a bottle. I'm calling it a canottle. Can-bottle. Very convenient for train travel!

Lastly, I want to tell you that shabu shabu is an awesome way to eat. I tried it on Tuesday. You basically go to a shabu shabu place and they give you raw meat and a boiling tasty broth of your choice. It is kept boiling because there is a hotplate on your table. You cook your strips of meat by dipping them in the boiling broth and swishing it around (shabu shabu is the noise that the swishing makes). It is so delicious and excellent fun!

Tonight I'm going to take my first overnight bus to Kyoto. I'll try to post something here or on Facebook when I arrive.

Hope you are all healthy and happy!

Japan

May. 21st, 2012 08:03 pm
sarahblack: (Princess and the Frog)
Hello Japan, indeed!

I arrived in Japan yesterday at around noon after an uneventful flight from Nanjing. Snaevar and his family were kind enough to pick me up at the airport, and after I had stashed my bag at their place they took me out for some delicious sushi!

It was so nice to see Snaevar. I have missed his company since he moved to Japan. Meeting his girlfriend Riya again was also really good. I hadn't seen her since 2008! But I was most excited to meet their 16 month old daughter, Elin. She is such a sweetheart! Beautiful brown eyes and happy disposition. Especially if you mention strawberries - her favourite. ♥

I got to spend some time with them in their home after our late sushi lunch. I was learning to use the tablet computer that Snaevar is generously going to lend to me during my stay in Japan. I have a feeling it's going to save my life! Especially since he is also lending me this pocket wifi device to go along with it. After a while of fiddling around with the tablet and watching Sesame Street episodes with Elin, Riya started bringing us all this amazing food! Salad, grilled chicken, and delicious little pieces of lamb (I think) which tasted just like the lamb that you get off the barbecue in the Icelandic summertime.

Later in the evening I went over to my couchsurfing host, an American girl called Tamitha. (She teaches Japanese.) I'm going to stay at her place until Friday. She is super nice and her apartment is clean and comfortable.

My first impression of Japan was the airport and then the quiet suburb where Snaevar lives. Everything seemed clean and organised and the buildings all looked brand new! The people were quiet, friendly and very polite.

Today I had my second impression. I walked from Tamitha's place to the train station near Snaevar's house where he was waiting for me. Together we went on a train adventure to downtown Tokyo! Mainly we saw Akihabara (Electric town) and Shinjuku station and its surrounding area.

So many people! Everything was very colourful and vibrant. Electric town was a lot of fun. It is basically geek paradise - I mean, the first thing I saw when I exited Akihabara train station was a giant SEGA logo! There were girls dressed up as anime characters handing out adverts, little shops devoted to once geeky niche or another, and we visited a sort of technology themed mall on six floors with an entire floor devoted to just games and toys! (I was able to pick up a gadget that enables you to charge your electric devices on the go. First you have the charge the charger, but then you can take it with you and use it to charge your device if it runs out of juice when you're on a bus or a train somewhere.)

It was a lot to take in, but my first impression of the Japanese people still stands. Even as a crowd the people are considerate and polite. Everyone proceeds to where they are going in a very orderly fashion. No pushing or yelling!

I am having a great time in Japan so far, and I'm very optimistic about my next three weeks.

I'll try to write more soon!

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Sarah Black

March 2015

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