Christine’s Tokyo Disney Blog!

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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!

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fried tofu = yummy in my tummy

fried tofu = yummy in my tummy

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fried skewers

fried skewers

109 empty sticks...

109 empty sticks...

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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!

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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.

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‘Tis the Season for Sacura! April 11, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — petrie1784 @ 12:57 pm

Sacura Season, commonly known in english as Cherry Blossom season, is currently at it’s peak in Tokyo!  The annual cherry blossom festival, to put it mildly, is a HUGE deal in Japan.  Sacura viewing and hanami parties are said to date back as far as the 3rd century.  Basically, the Japanese have enjoyed festivites revolving around sacura trees FOREVER!

There are many popular spots to see cherry blossoms in full bloom.  At these locations, hanami parties are held where people picnic and drink while enjoying the view.  Food vendors line the streets selling traditional Japanese favorites.  It’s a carnival style celebration.  The weather is perfect, the tress are beautiful and the atmosphere is totally ideal — it’s an all around good time!

On Tuesday, I went to one of the famous sacura viewing locations, Kudanshita.  It was gorgeous — the perfect blend of relaxing while soaking in the beauty and experiencing the hanami parties!  The view of the sacura trees over the water  was my favorite.  From above the water, you could look down through the blossoms and see people riding paddle boats through the park.

Later, while doing some research, I learned that there are 305 varities of cherry blossom trees!  Also, I learned the history of our own cherry blossom festival in the U.S., which dates back nearly 100 years.  In 1912, the mayor of Tokyo gave 3,000 cherry blossom trees to Washington, D.C. to signify the friendship between Japan and the U.S.  3,800 more trees were given to D.C. in 1965.  110122111114120118

 

Cape Cod Photos! April 5, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — petrie1784 @ 1:42 pm

cape-cod-christinecape-cod-yukiyocape-cod-hirocape-cod-hajimeOpening Day, April 3, 2009 – Performing at Tokyo DisneySea!  Top Left:  Me!  Top Center:  Yukiyo playing the violin;  Top Right:  Hiro playing the guitar;  Bottom Right:  Hajime playing the whistle

 

Cape Cod Step Out Opens Tomorrow! April 2, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — petrie1784 @ 11:43 am

My rehearsal process is over!  Tomorrow is the beginning of my new routine — 5 days a week, 6 shows a day.  Our director, Charlie-san and our music director, Ozaki-san, seem pleased with the show!  They have given us the freedom to select songs for each set and to move about the terrace based on where guests are seated in the Cape Cod restaurant.  Since were are an atmosphere show, we perform amongst the guests, as opposed to a formal stage setting. In between songs, we speak to the guests (this is unscripted).  Hopefully, these small freedoms will add variety to the show — keeping it new over the next 9 months.

This morning, the band and I got a VERY early start.  Our dress rehearsal call was at 5:30 am.  The band spent the night at E-Village (the apartment complex where the foreigners live).  Since the trains do not run at 5 am, we took a cab to Disney in the morning.  By 7am, I was singing for a crowd of Tokyo Disney Resort artistic and technical employees.  It was a cold, windy morning (far from ideal for singing outdoors); however, we danced, stayed in motion and forgot about the cold!!  Dress rehearsals at Tokyo Disney take place late at night or early in the morning while the park is closed to guests.

Our dressing room is complete with coffee, sweets and snacks thanks to the musician’s agents!  The musicians at Tokyo Disney Resort are represented by an agency.  The agents are extremely generous.  After rehearsals, they often treat us to lunch or dinner at the cafeteria.  On Tuesday night, they treated the cast, the director, and my translator  to dinner at a Chinese restaurant.  It was soooo delicious!

I cannot get over how fortunate I am to have an awesome group of musicians to work with at Disney.  They are incredibly talented, driven musicians and really wonderful people.  We have been spending time together outside of rehearsal which is great; hopefully, we will talk over many more glasses of wine!  Everyone does their best to express themselves in English.  I am studying Japanese everyday and the musicians willingly help me to learn the language.

And SO, tomorrow ends my time as a paid tourist….it’s time to work a full week and to keep the Disney magic alive…Irish style.

 

The Grocery Store Experience March 30, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — petrie1784 @ 12:20 pm

There are 3 major differences about grocery shopping in Japan…

1.  EVERYTHING is SMALL (except for the grocery stores themselves)

2. 85% of the meat section is fish

3. Grocery store employees shout about sales/featured items in a song-like fashion!

At a Japanese supermarket, you cannot buy a gallon of milk or a half gallon of of ice cream.  A big bag of chips would qualify as a small bag in the U.S.  A large section of the store smells fishy since most of the meat is fish (sushi, octopus, salmon, tuna, etc).  If you don’t like fish….avoid the supermarket when visiting Japan.  In addition to fish, there is a small beef, pork and chicken section.  Most of the boneless chicken breast are not skinless.  Also, chicken is typically packaged as 1 or 2 boneless breast.  A package of wings might have 3 or 4 wings.  There are no United States style family packs of chicken!  Beef is sold in paper-thin strips, ready for a stir fry, soy soup or miso soup.  And, yes, yes, specials are heard in song.  Sales associates walk through the produce or meat section announcing featured grocery items.