Posted by: aitzko | December 18, 2009

Japan was pretty much the best thing ever.

So, the onsen was so much fun we ended up staying for most of the evening.  When we got back, we scavenged in the supermarket and had a fun night in – Cait and I introduced Moser and Petrie to Modern Family.  Awesome!  We were rolling.

The next day we took a day trip to Kamakura, an area outside Tokyo known for its shrines.  We took the train, and once we got there, headed for a really gorgeous shrine, the name of which I can’t remember.  Everything was really picturesque, and we took tons of pictures.  One of the best parts about this trip was that there were a ton of school groups visiting as well, and most of them had the assignment of “Talk to a Foreigner in English in Kamakura.”  THEY WERE SO ADORABLE!!!  We got stopped at least six times by shy, giggling groups of kids wanting to ask us questions like “What is your name?” and “What is your favorite food from your country?”  One group had Christine sign their paper and their eyes almost fell out of their heads with how pretty her handwriting is.  They were the epitome of cute.  They kept pushing one another forward to ask the questions, and they all wanted pictures with us.  Half of the classroom is going to come back with photos of the four of us.  🙂  Such a great time!

We got lunch at a tempura and noodle place (I forget the actual word for this), but it was another interesting transaction – no English menu!  This time we had Christine with us, though, and we made it through.  It was delicious, and I even tried (and liked!) the crab tempura, although I’m pretty sure almost anything fried tastes good.  At least the Japanese fry things like seafood and vegetables, whereas we Americans fry things like oreos (Had one at the MD RennFest, it was simultaneously awesome and revolting).  Post-lunch, we headed to see the Giant Buddha, or Daibutsu, or as Petrie calls it, “Buddhabuddhabuddhabuddha rockin everywhere!”  Seriously cool!  And it was built in 1252!!  Can you imagine??  It’s huge!  Anyway, we had a fantastic day there, then headed back to Tokyo.

We made a quick stop in Ginza, where we saw a cute lady from the Salvation Army singing with a man playing the trumpet.  What?!  In the States, they just ring their little bell!  This was far cooler.  We all donated, then headed to Akihabara.  In Cait’s TimeOut Tokyo book, there was a section about maid cafes.  These are little establishments where the waitresses dress up like, well, maids.  It’s this bizarre thing, and you can even hire the maids to come play games with you at your table.  Weird, right?  Well, Cait was desperate to go.  So we headed into Akihabara to look for the specific cafes listed in the book, but once we got there, we saw that there are TONS of them!  Girls dressed like maids stand around in the street, handing out flyers for their respective maid cafes.  So, we randomly picked one, and lo and behold:  IT’S THE ONE IN THE BACKSTREET BOYS VIDEO!  YouTube it, the song is called “Bigger,” and you will come close to understanding the ridiculousness of the maid cafes.  We had such a blast there, laughing over the whole thing.  Anime was playing while we ate, and we had a great time trying to figure out what the hell was going on in this ridiculous cartoon.  The whole thing was far less weird than we had imagined, but so much fun.

Finally, we were ready for Korean Barbecue back in Maihama, near Disney.  By this point we were also pretty tired from our day, so we were a bit punchy.  It was delicious, and it was another cook-it-yourself dealie, although this time, we almost burned down the restaurant with our barbecue. 🙂  I think Cait got some good pictures of the craziness.  All in all, this was probably my favorite day in Japan.

The next day was Disney!  We went with Petrie to work, then made our way to the park entrance for DisneySea.  This day was such a blast.  First, let me say that the Japanese are the biggest fans of cuteness I have ever seen, and the men are incredibly comfortable in their sexuality, because they all wear the cutesy stuff right along with the girls.  Honestly, one of the best parts of this day was just people watching – I have pictures of men wearing pink leopard print, fluffy earmuffs.  No joke!  Anyway, the girls and I decided that we needed to be a part of this, so Cait got those earmuffs, I got this big white Mickey-ears winter hat, and Moser got a Duffy Bear.  Duffy Bear is a Tokyo Disney phenomenon, you can’t find it anywhere else.  He’s just a teddy bear, but the lighter part of his face is actually a Mickey Mouse.  The Japanese will carry him EVERYWHERE around the park – everyone has one, and the store was mobbed.  You can buy outfits for your Duffy Bear, but a lot of people make their own.  Yes.  They make their own outfits for a stuffed bear.  They also have photo points throughout the park where you can sit your Duffy Bear to take pictures of them.

So once we blended in, we wandered around the park and watched the shows, and rode a few rides.  My favorite part of the day was watching Christine’s show!  We went three times, and she was AWESOME! Her band was so cute, and they were all so good.  It was so much fun to watch her perform and to see all the people who stopped to watch them.  After Christine’s shift was over, we met her outside the park for Tim Tam Slams – you take this Australian cookie called a Tim Tam, which is basically two cookies covered in chocolate, with caramel between them.  You bite off the corners, and then put it in your coffee/hot chocolate/other hot drink, and slurp it through the cookie!  It’s gooey and delicious and messy and fantastic.  Post-TimTam Slams, we went back into the park, and watched another show, which was my absolute second favorite part of the day – it’s just a show in Japanese about two kids who stow away on a boat and interact with all the characters on the cruise, but it was hilarious, and I could not stop laughing the entire time.  Disney was a fantastic day, and experiencing it the Japanese way was awesome.  We topped off the day with an ice cream cake for Christine’s birthday, and more Modern Family.  Sweet!

And then, all too soon, my Japan trip was over!  I got up early the next day to come to Bangkok.  I had such an incredible time in Tokyo, and I was too too sad to leave.

Tomorrow I’ll update on my first day in Bangkok! 🙂

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