Christine’s Tokyo Disney Blog!

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Mobbed by School Children January 8, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — petrie1784 @ 5:43 pm

The girls came to visit (Amanda, Caitlin and Moser), so naturally, we did some sightseeing in and around Tokyo.  Looking more white and taller than ever before, we set out for a day in Kamakura (about one hour outside of Tokyo).  It was a beautiful mid-December day.  The air, although crisp and cold, was very comfortable for a day of outdoor walking.

Throughout the week, the Japanese cultural experiences were, of course, endless!  However, we enjoyed a unique experience in Kamakura — being “mobbed” by elementary aged school groups throughout the day!  There were very few foreigners sightseeing in Kamakura that day; therefore, we were continually questioned by “little school trippers”.  A group of four or five children would approach with a list of questions for their school assignment.  These were beginner English questions such as, hello my name is ________, what’s your name, what is your favorite food and what is your job.  At the end of their questions, we received a piece of paper explaining the project and thanking us for our time.  The final question was always, “can we take a picture with you?”.  I feel certain that on presentation day, we were in each groups project!

I think I can speak for all four girls when I say, we really enjoyed talking with these kids throughout our day trip!  It’s an experience that I will always remember!  It was so cute to watch the kids work together as they completed the questionnaire.  Every group was slightly different in their approach and confidence level.  Some children read the questions from a paper, while others had memorized the assignment.  On occasion, we would see the students nudge each other or whisper something in an effort to assist the group leader or because they were being shy.

One group sticks out in my mind because our paths continuously crossed throughout the day.  I told the children that my job was a singer at Tokyo DisneySea.  This created some excitement because they love the Disney parks.  For the remainder of the day, they remembered my name.  Periodically, we would hear, “Christine-san, Christine-san!”  We would turn and find our elementary friends just a few paces behind us!

It was a special treat to interact with these kids while we experience a historical area of Japan full of shrines, temples and, of course, the Great Buddha (Daibutsu).


Bullied by Hungry Deer December 7, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — petrie1784 @ 11:29 am

After a bit of hesitation, I committed myself to a bright and early morning and a day trip to Nara!  This  sightseeing destination had been on the top of my list for months.  I woke up at 5:15 am in order to catch an early Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo Station.  This was my first Shinkansen experience because Japan’s bullet trains put a pretty significant dent in your wallet.  I purchased a non-reserved seat.  This proved to be a big of a mistake on the return trip to Tokyo.  It was a national holiday at about 5:45 pm — it felt like every person on earth sought a seat on that train.  Apparently, non-reserved car number 3 on Shinkansen trains in the smoking car.  I mean, seriously?!?!  I never would have believed it if I hadn’t experienced it myself.  The train pulled up and sure enough, people were smoking inside a train car with all windows and doors closed.  I could have sworn I had experience time travel…was I really still in the year 2009?  Anyway, due to the crowds, I was forced to STAND in smoky, hazy car number 3.  Eventually, I moved to car number 2; however, that car was even more crowed than car #3 (for obvious reasons).  I endured the claustrophobic ride (packed like a sardene and sweating in my winter attire as the heat blasted).  I must admit, I would still opt for the Shinkansen over the overnight bus any day of the week.

Moving on to the actual trip – Nara was amazing, as was the fall weather!  I had the most perfect day; Nara has been moved to the top of my list of favorite places in Japan – it’s tied for #1 with Hakone.  Nara Park is gigantic, filled with temples, shrines, gardens and DEER (shika).  The deer roam freely through the park and mingle with tourists.  Deer that willing approach people – that was a first for me!  These friendly deer, however, appear to be interested in one thing…food.  Deer food is sold throughout Nara Park.  Of course, I bought some food.  I asked a Japanese girl to take my picture while I feed the deer.  It turns out the deer are totally aggressive!  The males (although their antlers have been cut) were head butting me with stubs that remained on their heads.  Mama deer must have skipped the lessons on patience and sharing.  Basically, I had so much fun playing with the deer and watching others interact with them as well!

The main site in Nara Park is Todaiji Temple.  It is the worlds largest wooden building and it houses Japan’s largest bronze buddha (Daibutsu).  Inside the temple there was a really long line.  It turns out that there is a round, wooden pillar with a hole that people (children) were crawling through.  The hole is said to be the same size as the Diabutsu’s nostril.  People who can fit through the hole believe they will achieve enlightenment in their next life.  At work, Yukiyo-san and I were talking.  She told me that she waited in line with the kids and went through the hole as an adult (she’s a tiny woman)!

Buddha (Daibutsu) at Todaiji TempleBuddha (Daibutsu) at Todaiji Temple

During my day trip, I also visited Kasuga Shrine.  In and around the shrine area, there were literally hundreds of lanterns.  Over the years, these lanterns were donated by Japanese people who worshipped at the shrine.

The day also included a special surprise – I watched two Japanese men make handmade mochi (used for making Japanese sweets).  On my way back to the train station, I stopped at the handmade mochi shop and got a hot and fresh Japanese treat!  (Over time, my taste buds have grown accustomed to Japanese sweets; I no longer shy away from red bean treats).

Handmade Mochi!

Todaiji Temple


Christine and Lana hang out with Fuji-san! November 30, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — petrie1784 @ 9:05 am

During Lana’s visit (November 7 -14, 2009), we took an overnight trip to Hakone.  We stayed in a Japanese style ryokan called Green Plaza Hotel.  The fall weather was perfect, the colorful trees were beautiful and the hotel offered a perfect getaway from the city and a unique Japanese experience!

Hakone offers many forms of sightseeing transportation.  You make a loop around the town by traveling on a train, cablecar, ropeway, boat and bus.  My personal favorite is the ropeway!  It gives you a view of Hakone from above and it travels over an active volcano that smells of sulfer.  There are a few stops along the ropeway.  One of the stops takes you to the sightseeing pirate boat on Lake Ashi.  If you continue on the ropeway, the Green Plaza Hotel is a one minute walk from the next stop.  Our hotel room was complete with tatami mats, yukatta robes, green tea and a Japanese style table.  While we were at dinner, hotel staff prepared our beds (Japanese futons).  Our dinner consisted of many courses of Japanese food.  In a lot of cases, I had no idea what I was eating, but it tasted good!  At one point, Lana picked up a piece of food and said “what’s this?”  I bit into it and said, “Oh, this is pork.”  She tried the same food and said, “Christine, this is  fish.”  Oops.  That being said, there were some things I had no problem identifying.  Our meal included sashimi, tofu, miso, some type of bacon wrapped salmon (suprising), a delicious fish and veggie stew that cooked at our table (the waitress lit a flame under the pot) and dessert, among some other things.

After dinner, Lana and I went to the hotel’s onsen.  This was Lana’s first onsen experience and I wasn’t sure how comfortable she would feel; however, she said “it seems totally normal to be naked because everybody’s doing it”.  When we were finished using the hotsprings, we used all the cleaning and pampering supplies at the onsen!  Lana said “it’s like a do it yourself spa!”  So true and so awesome.  You get to use all the good products for no extra fees!

When we woke up in the morning (crazy early, that is), the sky was completely clear and you could see Mt. Fuji from the sliding glass door in our hotel room!  AMAZING!  Then we had a buffet style breakfast before heading out of the hotel to enjoy a second day of Hakone.  The breakfast was both western style and Japanese.  Basically, you could have pancakes and eggs while also eating fish, rice and miso soup.

The view from our hotel room!

Yukata time!

Ban Gohan! The pretty flower box is the sashimi and the fire is cooking up our stew!

Pirate captain or I Dream of Genie?

Lake Ashi (Ashinoko)



Halloween Performance Photos!

Filed under: Uncategorized — petrie1784 @ 7:48 am

One of my stage managers took some great photos during Halloween season at DisneySea!  Thanks Yoda-chan!!!


Happy Halloween at Tokyo DisneySea September 29, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — petrie1784 @ 3:52 am

mousequeradeIt’s the Halloween season at Tokyo Disney and it is no joke – the special events, costumes, decorations, merchandise and music are amazing (I can’t even fathom the amount of money spent perfecting every last detail).  This year is DisneySea’s first Halloween celebration.  Previously, only Disneyland had a big celebration.

As most of you know, I am doing two show right now.  The children’s halloween extravaganza which consists of “1 little 2 little Pumpkins”, “I Need a Pumpkin” and the guest participation song, “Boo, Cackle, Trick or Treat”.   Also, I am the professional tambourine player/opera singing diva gypsy  for a special event, called Mousequerade.  The show is beautiful and loads of fun (and my costume is pretty cool I must say).   I recorded two of the female solos on the Mousequerade sound track.   Those female solo moments account for the opera diva part of my character!

I added two new links to my blog role.  One link is One Little Pumpkin!  The other link is part 1 of the Mousequerade.  My first “ah ah ah” solo comes at the beginning while Mickey and Minnie enter on the gondola. The second solo is at the end of the video when I walk onto the stage.  Check it out and listen for my voice! 🙂


Mommy & Daddy Petrini visit Japan August 18, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — petrie1784 @ 9:46 am
Mom and Dad acting like big kids at Tokyo Disney!

Mom and Dad acting like big kids at Tokyo Disney!

July 28, 2009 – August 4, 2009

It still remains  a shock to me that my parents came to Japan, BUT IT’S TRUE!  I think it’s safe for me to speak on their behalf — it was a super funtastic time!  The summer humidity was far from thrilling, but my mom had the best sweat towel system imaginable rigged up!  Mom and Dad managed to do as much as possible in a week’s time – good fun, good food, good family and friends.

The day my parents arrived was  also the day Sarah Williamson and I  had plans (she was in Japan with her bf, Mark).  Sarah and I went with my friend Steven to Tomoko-chan’s house.  We had a Japanese picnic!   Tomoko is a female singer in Steven’s show.  We had such a perfect day!  After picnicking, we went to karaoke!  Then we rushed home to meet my parents.  On my parent’s first night, Sarah joined us for Korean bbq (Yakiniku).

Day 1:  “Goodmorning, goodmorning! It’s great to stay up late!”  We began the day bright and early at Tsukiji fish market where 3,000 tons of fish (over 450 varieties) are handled every day.  Following the market, my parents spent the remainder of the day at Tokyo DisneySea!  They saw my show and at the end of my work day, I joined them at the park.

Day 2:  Tokyo Day!  While in Tokyo, my parents saw the GIANT Gundam (a famous Japanese anime character).  They took a river cruise across the Sumida River.  The docking point was Asakusa.  This is the location of the famous Senso-ji Temple.  Due to an evening of transporation chaos (a major line on the Tokyo train system was down), our plans were forced to change; however, my parents experienced Japan in a way that is unusual for tourists.

Day 3:  Tokyo Disneyland and Cirque du Soliel!  AMAZING!

Day 4:  Nikko – My parents took a trip outside of Tokyo to visit a mountanous area that is home to Japan’s most ornate shrine, Toshugu.

Day 5:  Kamakura and cast dinner!  My parents took a trip to see the Great Buddha in Kamakura, along with other temples and shrines.  In the evening, some of my cast members and Disney friends joined my family and I for dinner!!

Day 6:  Hakone!  My favorite day in Japan and I believe my parent’s would second that statement.  Although it was too cloudy to see Mt Fuji, we enjoyed the most beautiful views of nature (including an active volcano!) from a really exciting variety of transportation modes.

Day 7:  THE END.  Before heading to the airport, my parent’s and I went on a tour of Tokyo’s Imperial Palace.

Korean BBQ - Putting on our bibs!

Korean BBQ - Putting on our bibs!

Japan 7.28.2008 - 7.31.2009 120

Tokyo River Cruise

Japan 7.28.2008 - 7.31.2009 026

Giant frozen tuna - Tsukiji Market

Giant frozen tuna - Tsukiji Market


The Disney Gang

The Disney Gang

Hakone Ropeway

Hakone Ropeway


from above the active volcano!

from above the active volcano!


Boat ride on Lake Ashi in Hakone

Boat ride on Lake Ashi in Hakone

Mom and Christine in Hakone

Mom and Christine in Hakone


Factual Fun June 9, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — petrie1784 @ 6:10 am

Just a few more facts of interest…

1.  Taxi doors open automatically.  Also, taxi fares start at 710 yen (the equivalent of about $7.00….yikes!)

2.  ATM machines charge conveniece charges after hours and at rush hour (what!?!?!).  This includes ATM machines at your own bank.  What is the world coming to….is the machine really inconvienced if I get cash after bank hours?

3. Japanese manga (comic books)  – Often, Japanese men, dressed in work attire and riding the train during commuter hours, can be found reading “adult” comics.  It appears to be a widely accepted practice becuase these men don’t hide the comic pages from other passengers views.

4.  Cell phones – So, the U.S. needs to catch up with Japanese cell phone features.

First of all, every Japanese phone has text messaging and email.  If you are typing too many characters for a text, you convert to an email.  Just like with phone calls and texting, emails to other phones with the same service provider are free.  When you sign up for cell phone service, you get an email address specifically for your phone.

COOLEST FEATURE EVER = Infrared.  Japanese phones have infrared so that you can automatically transfer data to other phones.  You can send your contact information (including name, phone number email address, etc) by lining up the infrared panel of your phone to another phone.  Pretty nifty.


Kyoto in a day….now that’s some serious siteseeing June 8, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — petrie1784 @ 1:08 pm

Traveling Japan on a budget = overnight bus to Kyoto.  After a day full of Disney magic, Steven and I hopped on the bus to Kyoto.  About the first 3 hours of the 7 hour drive consisted of stopping to pick up passengers at various bus stops throughout Tokyo (an ideal stop and go situation for a good night’s sleep, haha).  We arrived a 5:30 am, ready for a full day of touristy fun!!!  AND WE GOT IT!

We started our day at the Fushimi Inari Shrine.  There are over 5,000 red torri gates.  If you have seen the movie Memoirs of a Geisha then you have seen this shrine on film (and the red gates).  To walk/hike the whole trail, along which the torri gates can be found, it takes a good couple of hours.  It’s truely amazing, especially on an early spring morning.

Throughout the day, we continued to see other famous historical landmarks of Kyoto.  The city is rich with history because it was the location of Japan’s government during the Samurai rule.  One of the most exciting and informative visits of the day was the Nijo Castle, once home to the Samurai.  We were able to tour inside.  All visitors walk through the castle bare foot.  The architecture, decor and furnishings are so different and unfamiliar to Americans.

Other pretty amazing stops included the Golden Pavilion and the Imperial Palace, although, visitors were not permitted inside the palace walls.

Our tummy’s were rumbling my mid-day so we headed to a great market called Nishiki Market.  While we were there, we tried all of the yummy speciallities including fried tofu, soy donuts and fresh fruit smoothies.  The market had endless outdoor stalls selling food that, for the most part, I was unable to identify.  There was fish, vegetables, dry goods, spices, sauces; you name it!!!

We finished our extravagant sightseeing day at a place called Kushiya Monogartari.  A kushiya restaurant serves all-you-can- eat  raw skewers of meat, vegetables and fish.  You fry the skewers at your table. Steven and I devoured 109 skewers of meat in our allotted 90 minutes of all-you-can eat and we concluded the meal with heaping bowls of ice cream…delicious!


fried tofu = yummy in my tummy

fried tofu = yummy in my tummy


fried skewers

fried skewers

109 empty sticks...

109 empty sticks...


Entrance of Nijo Castle

Entrance of Nijo Castle

With our, food baby tummy’s, we headed back to the bus station and boared the 11:30 pm overnight bus back to Tokyo!


Dwarfed by the Great Buddha of Kamakura May 16, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — petrie1784 @ 1:02 pm

092081085The Great Buddha of Kamakura (Kamakura Daibutsu) is the

2nd largest Buddha statue in Japan!

A few weeks ago, Shannon, Katy and I had ourselves a little trip to see what all the hype is about in Kamakura!  It turned out to be an amazing day trip, especially since it is only about an hour train ride from Tokyo.  Buddha stands tall, reaching an approximate height of 43 feet!  If you stack 8 of me on top of each other, that would equal the Great Buddha’s massive size.  As it turns out, when you visit Kamakura, you can go inside of the Great Buddha!  Once inside, there’s not much to see; however, it’s really cool to look around yourself and say, “wow, I’m standing inside of a gigantic  Buddha statue”!

After seeing the main attraction, we decided to follow a trail throughout Kamakura, stopping at shrines and temples along the way.  Prior to the trip, I had no idea to expect of day of uphill hiking.  Much to my suprise, the majority of our day was comprised of hiking through a dirt trail!  It was perfect spring weather for such an outdoor adventure!  Had it been a humid summer day, odds are that I wouldn’t have been quite as cheerful.108115After a full day of sightseeing, we treated ourselves to an evening at the onsen nearest to our apartment complex.  Onsens are very popular and very common throughout Japan.  For those of you who don’t know, an onsen is a Japanese hot spring (a.k.a. the most amazing thing ever created).  The hot springs are used as public bathing facilities.  Modern onsens have a spa/resort feel.  There are seperate male and female nude bathing areas.  Additionally, some onsen locations also have a communal area where bathing suits are required.  There are many different baths (both indoors and outdoors)— salt water, rose water, water with healing herbs, etc.  In addition to the baths, the onsen near EVillage has a sauna, restaurants, an arcade and massage/facial/Dr. Foot services.  Yes, yes, Dr. Foot is exactly what you think it is….where the little fishies eat the dead skin off your feet!  As you can imagine, a visit to the onsen is the perfect ending to the perfect day!


My trip to Tokyo Disneyland! April 27, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — petrie1784 @ 8:23 am

Tokyo Disneyland meets all of your expectations about a Disney park in its  traditional, original form.  Much like Magic Kingdom and Disneyland in California, it’s essentially guaranteed that you will Remember the Magic :-).  The park is beautiful, clean and welcoming.  All cast members wave, smile and gladly assist the guests.  Disneyland is designed to be an experience.  It is all about the spectacle, the entertainment, the customer service and the aesthetics.  Basically, Tokyo’s version of Disneyland does not disapoint.  The park mimics other Disney parks — Fantasyland, Adventureland, Tomorrowland, Pirates of the Carribbean, Star Tours, Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Peter Pan’s Flight, It’s A Small World.  Tokyo Disneyland has developed origional shows, it’s own day parade (Jubilation!), evening parade (Dreamlinghts) and fireworks presentation.

I visited the park during the last week of the 25th Anniversary celebration which concluded this month.