Contrary to what my Disney loving self may think, there is more to see in Tokyo than just Disney, which brings us to day 2 of Japan! But first, a quick moment to marvel at our hotel:
Sigh. Okay, onward.
First on the agenda: the Imperial Palace. Being the money conscious tourists that we are, the three of us hopped onto one of the Disney Resort’s free shuttles and headed to Disneyland, which is oh-so-conviently right by the train station. And can I just get a quick round of applause for actually walking AWAY from Disneyland instead of storming the gates with the rest of the crowd? I didn’t even turn back when the ticket guy glared at us and basically refused to help us because we spoke English, leaving us to muddle through using the machine to buy tickets by ourselves, even though his desk was clearly labeled IN ENGLISH that it was the ticket counter.
Nope, not bitter about it at all.
A quick note about Tokyo’s rail system: it’s a masterpiece of lines. Seriously, take a load of this:
Uh huh. That was my reaction too. Part of me wonders why it’s so convoluted when half the population rides bikes, but there you have it. And we managed to not only get on the right line, but get off at the right stop, aka the Imperial Palace. Good luck trying to find it on this map! 😉
Now, the Imperial Palace is actually closed to visitors (boo), but the gardens are free for you to explore (yay!). It took us a while to find the right gate, but after hiking around half the circumference of the outer perimeter we found it (but not before I scandalized someone by making a joke of drinking the moat water to quench my raging thirst – American sarcasm does not apparently translate well to the average Japanese eavesdropper). We spend the next hour meandering through the paths, marveling at the centuries-old walls that can still withstand earthquakes, eagerly marching to view the bamboo garden which turned out to just be some bamboo lining the walkway, and cringing away from humongous spiders – it’s beautiful out there, especially on a nice fall day…despite the humongous spiders.
Our feet were getting a little tired, so we sought out the Starbucks by the famous Shibuya Crossing, hailed as the busiest pedestrian intersection in Japan and possibly in the world.
We came, we saw, we were disappointed; we equated busiest with largest, which it definitely is not. But that’s okay, because not only was it by a CoCo Curry restaurant, which serves heaping bowls of curry and rice and everything else that is yummy in this world; it is also right by the Disney store!!!! #allroadstoDisney
I won’t bore you with all the little things that added up to one heck of a bill, but needless to say I left feeling like I had finally gotten my Disney shopping fulfilled…just in time for our final stop of the day: The Lion King Broadway show. IN JAPANESE!!!
All I can say is that you have not lived until you’ve heard a Japanese Timon explain Hakuna Matata to Simba with a Japanese Pumba nodding along in the background. It’s a surreal experience; you know the general plot, can even pick out key lines, but everything else in between just goes completely over your head. The audience was very restrained, keeping the clapping to a polite minimum throughout the play…until the end. They didn’t cheer at the end, didn’t wahoo – just clapped. And clapped and clapped and clapped. There were eight curtain calls. Eight! Our hands were red and swollen by the time the cast had had enough and waved us away. They were still smarting by the time we arrived back at our hotel and crawled into bed, but it was oh so worth it.
And thus concludes my non-Disney day in Tokyo…which technically had Disney in it…but whatever. On to the next destination because, as we all know, “ADVENTURE IS OUT THERE!”
And oh look, more yellow bumper lines from hell. -_-