Tokyobling's Blog

Disney Sea – The Shows

Posted in Places by tokyobling on September 3, 2015

Although theme parks are traditionally for children and families I have found the Tokyo Disney Sea park to be far more friendly to the older crowd (people over twenty years of age) than any other theme parks I have visited. Not only is the atmosphere in the park surprisingly laid back, they even put on the two things the older crowd is likely to be most interested in: alcohol and spectacular song and dance numbers! While beer is available at a few select points throughout the park there real gourmands head for the house wines at the Zanbini Brothers, or better yet, the cocktail bar at SS Colombia, preferably before or after taking in one of the great song and dance shows held at the stage just below the big cruise liner. These are photos from the last night show of last year’s Halloween, when the theme was food and the great dancers wore the most amazing costumes you can imagine. The Disney Sea costume designers are truly an amazing collection of masters of their craft!

If you are a mom or dad with kids large enough to let roam free, I recommend this show as well, to get a bit of a rest while being entertained. I saw this show three times I think and I was never bored. There are just so many characters, each one doing their best to maximize their performance. Tokyo Disney Sea might be quite expensive, but is excellent value for money, over all, at least compared to other theme park experiences.







Tokyo Disney Sea – Mermaid Lagoon

Posted in Uncategorized by tokyobling on September 1, 2015

You can tell that Disney is popular in Japan, by the fact that there are two, independent Disney attractions near Tokyo: Tokyo Disney Land and Tokyo Disney Sea. Tokyo Disney Sea opened in 2001 and currently has the world record in reaching the 10 million customer fastest, it took them only 307 days! It is currently the fourth most popular theme park in the world. Unlike Disneyland, Tokyo Disney Sea is owned and developed by a Japanese company, which explains its slightly different feel, as all Disney characters and themes are merely licensed by the Oriental Land company.

One the many interesting place in the theme park is the Mermaid Lagoon, which has a few outdoor rides but most of the fun takes place indoors (there are eight rides and attractions in total in this area), under the water in Triton’s Kingdom, which is set up to look like how Triton would entertain human guests in the big wedding of his daughter Ariel the mermaid and Prince Eric. If you look up, you can see that the roof is made to look like the underside of the ocean surface and if you look carefully enough you can just about make up the underside of a big ship. The setting works beautifully in real life, more so than in any photos I managed to take. Mermaid Lagoon is mostly popular with the youngest visitors and their parents, but still worth a stroll through for older visitors. There are so many details and hidden gems in this part of Disney Sea!

I have been here a few times but still not seen half Mermaid Lagoon. More exploration is necessary!










Sawara City Grand Festival

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on August 5, 2015

Like other festivals in the Kanto area, Sawara city has the brightly dressed local girls parading in front of the giant Dashi. If you think they look angry it is probably because they have very solemnly and slowly paraded for the better half of an hour, looking into the merciless summer sun! The dolls and decorations on top of the Dashi here in Sawara are really something to see. Some of them are made of hemp rope, like this carp (the mouth opens of course) and the two dolls, one of which are very realistic. I saw one of these on the ground as they prepared it earlier in the day, and it was quite well made, even close up it looked fantastic! The Dashi are manned up on top by young men of the neighborhood armed with staffs to fend of low hanging wires and the odd red-light that needs to be pushed aside.

The doll on top of the Dashi in the last photo is Takemikazuchi, the God of Thunder, Swords and also the first ever Sumo wrestler. His sword was one of the tools presented to the first Emperor of Japan, Jimmu (660 BC – 585 BC). It was quite helpful to him when he conquered the country!









Sawara no Taisai – Festival Wagons

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on August 4, 2015

The festival floats at the annual summer festival in Sawara City in northern Chiba is something special, famous for their huge top decorations, some lifelike images of Gods and heroes, others are more stylistic (and moving!) representations of animals and spirits. There are two major festivals in Sawara City, both drawing thousands of tourists and participants. Each of the two festivals are sponsored by one of the two shrines separated by the Onogawa River. The summer festival is traditionally under the domain of the eastern Yasaka Shrine, in the Honjuku part of town. Note the solid wooden wheels of the wagons, or dashi, as they are called, and the painted poles used to maneuver them. The pole in the close up looks almost unused, which you can tell from the fact that the end looks flat and neat. When the wagons have been maneuvered around the narrow streets and bridges of the town the poles look more like massive and badly sharpened pencils and there are splinters all over town! More photos of this fantastic festival to come!








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