Wabi-Sabi Sole

Finding Beauty with Imperfection

Tag: Tokyo

Family Day

On Monday, 10/15, I had the wonderful opportunity to greet my Uncle and Aunts and their friend during the Yokohama port visit of their cruise. Their ship docked at Osanbashi Pier in Yokohama. I took an early train up to meet them. Even on a cloudy day, it wasn’t hard to spot the ship!

After joining up, we set out for a one-day Julia Tour of Tokyo. Here is a picture of me with my Aunt Merrily, Aunt Eileen, and Uncle Jay. Throughout the day, we attempted to recall the last time we saw each other. It’s been at least 20 years since I saw my Aunt Merrily and probably closer to 30 since I saw my Uncle Jay and Aunt Eileen. Regardless of the time, it didn’t take long to quickly fall into step and reminisce of days past.

The cute blue elephants at the Yokohama pier were too cute to pass up a picture opportunity. Pictured here are my Aunts and Uncle and their friend, Nan, who was cruising with them.

Our first stop in Tokyo was the Tokyo Metropolitan Building. It provides a great birds eye view of Tokyo. The best part, it’s free! I joked that by taking them to the top of the building, I could show them ALL of Tokyo!

On one of our numerous train rides, Aunt Merrily asked me to take a picture of the Tokyo Subway map. It looks like a big bowl of colorful ramen.

After our trip to the top of the Tokyo Metropolitan Building, we took a break for lunch. A delicious bowl of ramen filled our bellies and fueled us for the rest of the afternoon. I know I’ve mentioned how much I love Japanese eggs. The ones in ramen are smoked. Oishi desu!

After lunch, we headed to Harajuku. We walked and shopped our way down Takeshita Street. It’s one of my favorites in Tokyo. As long as it’s not too crowded!!

During our shopping, we stopped for a break. We thought we were just getting flavored tea. To our surprise, it had little balls of tapioca at the bottom. Needless to say, the first sip was quite a surprise. We all had different strategies for enjoying the drink. It provided a humorous highlight to our tour. Sometimes you just don’t know. Now that I do, I might not stop there again.

After a little more shopping, we took the train one stop to Shibuya. First stop in Shibuya is always at the Hachiko Statue. Hachiko is remembered for his loyalty. He walked everyday with his person to Shibuya Station. One day his person never came back. He had died of a heart attack. Hachiko lived the rest of his life at Shibuya Station waiting for his person to return.

No trip to Tokyo is complete without walking through Shibuya Crossing several times.

We stopped for an afternoon coffee at Starbucks for a chance to watch the scramble. We were lucky to see an almost poo brown bus pass through.

By this point, it was time to return my family to the cruise ship. One last train ride!

It wasn’t without a little bit of humor at the end. Nan’s train card didn’t have sufficient funds to exit. Unfortunately, I had already exited. She had to request the assistance of the station master. We were laughing so hard when he popped out of the wall!!

It was a a great day filled with laughs and adventure. It was great to share one of my favorite cities with my family. Simultaneously, it was really fun to reconnect and reminisce. Hearing stories of their travels and retelling stories about my grandparents warmed my heart. It was such a grand and special day. I couldn’t have asked for more – well, maybe a little bit more time together!

Tokyo Disneyland 

Sonia and I took the ITT bus to Tokyo Disneyland on Wednesday. Tokyo Disney is on the southeast side of Tokyo. It is very near the Narita airport. The bus ride was a little over an hour. We left the main base at 7:30 am and arrived shortly after the park opened. Our timing was good. We went on a weekday during the week when school resumed after a long break for most local children. Honestly, I would describe the park as having an average sized crowd.

To prepare for our visit, we both downloaded a couple apps to help us track the wait times at each ride. Most importantly the rides with the Fast Pass option. Throughout the day, I relied on the “Wait Time 100” app to check the status of various rides. It was nice because it also told you the ticketing time for the Fast Pass. We were able to four of the seven open Fast Pass available rides. (Pooh’s Hunny Hunt was closed.) We rode: Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Star Tours, and the Haunted House. 

The Fast Pass option allows you to skip the line and on average made each ride experience only about 20 minutes compared to the 180-minute line. It was well worth it. Knowing the park a lot better now and the demand for different rides, I could plan my next visit a lot better. For one, Splash Mountain has a single rider option. If you tell the Cast Members you are a single rider, they will let you go through the Fast Pass line. We did this and ended up being able to sit together anyways. Obviously, this wouldn’t work if you have young kids or a large party. We rode Splash Mountain first and before we grabbed a Fast Pass from another ride. This cost us some valuable time (haha). In the end, we rode plenty of rides. Including Pirates of the Caribbean, Alice’s Tea Party, and Mickey’s PhilharMagic. Plus, we walked around Tom Sawyer Island and the Swiss family Treehouse. I set my expectation to only ride two of the major rides and as a result, I was pleased with my Tokyo Disneyland ride experience.

Food is another issue within the park. There are several sit down style restaurants and typically a long wait to be seated. We decided to pack snacks and grab food at the various “street vendors” throughout the pack. After visiting Tom Sawyer Island, we arrived at Camp Woodchuck. 

There was no line for the food and so we decided to eat. It was about 11:45, putting us ahead of the lunch rush. We went to the “Camp Woodchuck Kitchen” for lunch. 

I ordered a maple chicken sandwich on waffles set. A set is the Japanese way of saying meal deal. The set included fries and a drink. The sandwich was messy and delicious. 

For dinner, we made a quick stop for a Mickey Mouse steam bun. Yum and kawaii! 

The other must have with respect to food is the popcorn. There are a variety of flavors and containers. A different container is sold with each flavor. Sonia went with the R2D2 container with soy sauce popcorn. 

I finally decided on a Mr. Potato Head. Mainly because I love the commercial of Mr. Potato Head discovering Mrs. Potato Head in the pantry eating potato chips. “But, you’re a potato!” Haha anyways, it took us forever to find the Mr. Potato Head container and when we did, the cart was serving chocolate popcorn. Yuck. I decided to ask for just the container and I would go to another spot to buy the flavor I wanted, curry. Turns out, they will give you a popcorn voucher! Perfect! Curry it is! 

The container has a strap to hang around your neck enabling you to snack and still walk around. Brilliant. 

I must also address my Mickey Mouse sweatshirt. Long story short, I got really cold and needed another layer. And who doesn’t want a sweatshirt with Mickey ears? 

The park was decorated for Easter. There were cute eggs everywhere. 

The castle didn’t disappoint either. 

The funniest part was hearing the tune to so many songs we know and yet not knowing the words because it was being sung in Japanese. Probably my favorite was on the Star Tours ride, hearing Yoda speak in Japanese. I couldn’t stop giggling. 

Finally, I must address how cute so many people dressed to come to the park. Matching outfits were everywhere! Kawaii!! 

The park is a lot smaller than the U.S. Disney parks. None the less, we walked over 22,000 steps according to the “health” app on my iPhone. Not too shabby for a full day of fun at the happiest place on Earth! 

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