Disney for kids AND adults! – Magic in Tokyo Disney Sea

No matter what some Danes say, I believe that Disney is truly for both kids and adults. And our greatest recent news is that we have been to DISNEY SEA in Tokyo!

Disney gives little Victor a baby smile!

We left home at 6 in the morning to catch a bus which we unfortunately could not get in because it was full. Instead we took the first train we could, and – despite the abundance of people who were evidently eager to go to Disneyland as well – we had a painless trip and arrived 30 minutes early.  Despite of the lack of sleep, we were fully charged with adrenaline as soon as the gate opened. Victor ran like a horse to get a FASTPASS ticket to Toy Story Mania!

The FASTPASS ticketing system is a very smart and efficient system which allows excited park-goers to pick up a pass that allows them to try rides much faster every two hours. And it is completely FREE. We picked up a ticket every two hours and used this for all the popular attractions we tried except Tower of Terror which we were fortunate enough to enter before the queue grew more terrifying than the attraction itself. Thanks to this system, we did not wait more than 30 minutes for any rides. I definitely think that all amusement parks should introduce this system.

A 25 year-old boy

Surprisingly, it was Victor’s first time in Disney land. I understand that Danes are proud of their Tivoli, but still! I would go back in time and take little Victor to the Disneyland in Paris if I could. Visiting the one in Paris costs as much as visiting Tokyo Disneyland from Kobe would cost me, I think. Anyway, as he missed this special excitement in his childhood, this new experience turned Victor into”lille Vigge” (little Victor).

I would study much more efficiently on this desk

He liked how detailed the things are in Disneyland and went to great lengths to take many nice pictures, providing keen competition for the Japanese girls.

Place where lille Vigge comes back

Especially this area was Victor’s childhood dream. The theme of this area was apparently the books written by one of the authors from his childhood, Jules Verne.

Victor says “Fandme cool!” (Damn cool)

I never actually knew on what Disney movies this area is based. And to be completely honest behind Victor’s back, I don’t really know that author, but it is very cool indeed.

We are toys!

We tried almost all the attractions that day. I enjoyed all the attractions but I would say that my favorite was Toy Story Mania! Probably also because it was my first time trying it. It is basically a shooting ride in which you have to shoot cute targets with your toy gun. The targets award different points, so a target at the back might give you twice or even five times as many points as one in the front. Although I was frustrated that Victor beat me in the end, it was so much fun to be a toy and play with Woody’s friends. I could have tried it dozen more times, but the waiting time without a FASTPASS ticket was more than 3 hours and the FASTPASS tickets sold out quickly. Sooo, you can try this only one time in a day by running like a horse for the FASTPASS ticket just after the opening.

“Off with his head!”
“Poor unfortunate soooooooouls♪”
Hidden Mickey!

Cute looking food is also something you cannot miss in Disneyland. Since it was Halloween season, some food had been changed little bit for the theme. Everything is so cute in Disney land…

Yum yum

And this is how it tastes. We could sit and enjoy nice meal at a restaurant as well, but we had enough snacks before lunch and could not really eat more. Besides, we did not have time either.

Scary Naan

For dinner, we swallowed this curry in a matter of seconds just so we had a proper meal just before the night show. This halloween version curry was quite good though we had little time to actually taste it.

Grateful to see how casts are devoted in their acts despite dripping with sweats

As for shows, we do not really have many pictures. Actually none for the night show. The Halloween show featuring villains was quite entertaining and the one at night was super beautiful. There were many people, but we somehow managed to get a nice view anyway. Definitely an advantage to be a Dane so all the black-haired heads do not bother you when you are behind them.

I would trade my voice for fins.

If I were to tell everything about this fun day and share all the pictures we took, it would take forever. So before it gets too boring, I will wrap this up by saying “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.”

Danish tourists in Tokyo!

We recently had visitors from Denmark at our apartment. Besides our daily routine of playing Dominion at night, we also did a bunch of tourist activities together.

They arrived in Tokyo Monday Oct. 8th. As we also had to manage our job and school stuff, we spent time together only on the 9th, 10th and 12th. Although they only had less than a week in Tokyo, they managed to do all the most touristy stuff before heading to the Kansai area, and apparently they enjoyed it very much.

Why do Danes always sleep naked?

On 9th, Victor showed them the Imperial Palace in the morning until I met them later at Tokyo station. After that, we headed to Akihabara where we had the pleasure of going to a maid cafe and  a game center.

At the game center, it was unfortunately proven that a true Dane is better at Japanese games than a Japanized Dane.

Touch to the music!

Maid cafe which they described as “only in Japan” was apparently quite shocking for them. While they found it interesting, they also said that it was “lige over grænsen” (meaning a bit too much). We saw a few foreign visitors who were quite stunned by its… extreme cuteness. For example, as Victor experienced, they make you become a cat and say “にゃんにゃん (Nyan Nyan – Meow Meow in Japanese)” to let the maid know she has poured enough beer.

Look how cute this hedgehog our maid drew is!

To end this unique experience, we took a photo with maids. At the maid cafe, everything was special. Even the water! It wasn’t just water. It was Moe water from Moe Fountain (Moe is a Japanese term used to describe the utmost cute or adorable). And all the food and beverages were spiced as we performed a magic act with the maids by saying “萌え萌えきゅん(Moe Moe Kyun)”.

If you are interested, here’s the link to the maid cafe we went to; http://www.cafe-athome.com/

Moe Moe Kyun!

In the evening, we went to see the Tokyo tower to chill after this exciting day. Though we have seen it many times, it still IS quite beautiful in the dark.

Looks like it’s saying “How dare you build the Skytree!”

On 10th, we were in the Shibuya and Shinjuku area. We of course saw the unique street, Takeshitadori, where we met a Norwegian woman working at a shop. You really will be surprised to see how many Danes and their fellow Scandinavians are in Tokyo. If you are Scandinavian, you won’t feel alone at least.

No, it doesn’t taste any different from normal cotton candy. But it IS cuter.
Again… It’s CUUUTE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also took a Purikura. Anyone feeling ugly? No problem. Purikura can make your skin glow, your eyes bigger, your legs longer and your face skinnier. You can adjust pretty much everything as you want.

And it makes you look pretty much like a cute alien

After dinner, we sang Karaoke because this is the must-do in Japan. Because they had enough alcohol at dinner, they were ready to go crazy.

Who said Danes are shy? Definitely not when they are drunk

On 12th, Victor took them to his Shamisen lesson . They tried Shamisen and 篠笛(Shinobue – traditional Japanese transverse flute). They liked it so much that one of them even bought a Shinobue.

Japanese flute!
Kind Makoto-san always welcomes visitors

 

 

 

 

 

After that, we went to 明治神宮(Meijijingu) and an 浮世絵(Ukiyoe) museum. It was quite interesting to see how Ukiyoe is made. You chisels the design on a wooden block and color it so that you can put a paper on and rub over it. And you use one wooden block for every single color! It must be super difficult to make. To be honest, I’m still wondering why they didn’t just paint the design directly on the paper.

As for meal, we had lots of Japanese food including Sushi, Tempura and etc. They really enjoyed Teppanyaki in Kabukicho. At many Teppanyaki restaurants, there is a Teppan (hot plate) and a chef cooking in front of you. It is not the cheapest food here, but they say that “Det er lækkert” (meaning it’s delicious) and that “It’s much better than having a steak in Denmark for the same price. Here, you get the course meal with a delicious steak  and performance”.

Many of our friends, mostly Danes, love Teppanyaki. So give it a try when you are here, but make sure to avoid the most touristy place.

Kingyo museum: Museum of the man-made fish

Kingyo (金魚) is a summer characteristic of Japan. This summer, there was an exibition of beautiful goldfish. And we couldn’t resist going.

When we first got in, there were many goldfish stuffed into small tanks in the ceiling.

How’s your flashy home?

Is this beautiful? Yes. But we weren’t really sure if the fish were doing fine in those small shiny boxes. The fish might be living in Japan, but that does not mean their homes have to be as cramped as Japanese homes!

Aren’t they carps?

There was a huge variety of goldfish. I wonder if those in the picture above are considered goldfish. But well, I’m not a zoologist.

Goldfish with bubble cheek

Some have intriguing looks. Like the bubble cheek goldfish pictured above or the tennis ball-like goldfish below.

Tennis ball-like goldfish

While enjoying all those beautiful and interesting goldfish displayed aesthetically, we still couldn’t get rid of the concern about how those fish feel about living in those small tanks with a crowd staring at them.

A bit too jammed?

The highlight was probably the goldfish folding screen (Byobu-屏風). It looks like the one you find at a rich samurai’s house, except the goldfish here are not a painting but real.

Modern Japanese design

 

 

 

 

 

During the stay at this museum, we learned that goldfish are completely artificial fish and they would go extinct if we let them out in the nature. If they were able to survive and reproduce, they would eventually turn back into crucian carps.

The fact that goldfish exist solely for entertaining people with their beauty left us with mixed feeling. We genuinely hope that this is not stressful for the goldfish and that they are taken good care of, also after this temporary museum is shut down.

Delicious Kaiseki in the rich city, Ginza

On our anniversary day in September, we enjoyed Kaiseki-ryori (会席料理) at Michiba in Ginza. The food was absolutely fabulous and we were super full after the dinner, though the each serving was actually quite small.

For those who are wondering What is Kaiseki?”, Kaiseki was served for haiku poets during a Haiku gathering in the old days and refers now to the Japanese course meal served for a banquet. Kaiseki usually consists of an appetizer (Sakizuke-先付け), soup (Wanmono-椀物), Sashimi (Mukouzuke-向付),  grilled dish (Hachizakana-鉢肴), simmered dish (Shiizakana-強肴), rice (Shokuji-食事) and dessert (Mizugashi-水菓子). This is of course just a template and the menu really depends on the chef. It could for example have pickled dish or fried dish as well.

Now, let me go through what we had at Michiba!

Appetizer – With an appetizer like this, who wouldn’t be excited to see what’s next?

We were served this beautiful plate as an appetizer. It tasted as good as it looks! I am generally not much fan of salmon eggs (the one in the middle), but apparently it tastes nice when served in a steamed egg custard (Chawanmushi-茶碗蒸し).

Soup- Hmm. What’s in those?

We had two choices for the next dish. So we decided to take one each.

Soup with a soft-shelled turtle dumpling

Victor tried turtle for the first time. He was excited to learn that it gives you an energy boost.

Dobin Mushi-土瓶蒸し (Matsutake mushrooms and Japanese broth steamed in a teapot)

When you eat Dobin-Mushi, you first pour the soup into a small cup, which looks like a sake cup, and drink the soup like a cup of tea. Afterwards, you open the tea pot and finish the ingredients. I very much enjoyed the nice scent of Matsutake. But be aware that some of those who are unfamiliar with Matsutake say that it smells like used socks.

Sashimi – This is as fresh as fish gets

Well, I guess there is no need to explain how delicious fresh sashimi is. And if you wonder what kind of fish those are, I will simply tell you that being a Japanese does not equal being a fish expert.

Grilled dish – Yes. I also wondered what this strange-looking dish might be

The next dish was super interesting. This is a tofu with shrimp and scallop on seaweed grilled on a stone. I know many westerners are not fan of tofu because of its texture and tastelessness, but this is nothing like the tofu you know of. It is filled with great savor.

Simmered dish – A small fish with a big taste

As we are on the half way of the course, we had a nice break with a little piece of sea bream wrapped in tofu skin.

MEEEEEAT!

For the next dish, we had five choices and I chose to have a stone-steamed Japanese beef.

No. I am not afraid of salmonella poisoning.

Victor says that he would never dare to eat a meat this raw outside of Japan. As Japanese cherish the taste of ingredients, many prefer to eat everything as raw as it can be. Especially when it comes to a good beef, chefs always recommend it raw because, well, it is how you taste the REAL taste of beef. I know that some of you might be afraid of food poisoning, but I humbly request that you risk your life to really respect the life of the cow.

A guillotined fish

Victor chose to have a whole head of fish. Eating a whole head could be challenging mentally and PHYSICALLY for those who are not familiar. It is really hard to remove bones and pick meat with chopsticks sometimes even for a Japanese. When you finally finish the hard part, you get to appreciate the fish (Well, the head of it).

Congee – Nice and healthy

For the last dish before dessert, I chose this healthy congee out of 5 choices. It really warms up your abused stomach.

Curry udon – Represents diversity of Udon

Victor chose curry udon with an excitement to see how the usually cheap food will be served at this luxurious restaurant. The udon noodle was Sanuki udon which is much thinner than usual udon. The fact that my grandpa only eats Sanuki udon and never a usual udon proves its savor.

Dessert – Simple, yet sofisticated

To finish up the course, we’ve got a chestnut sweet and fig jelly served with yogurt source. This dessert is honestly nothing special, but this light dessert is fitting after such a huge course menu. When you calm yourself with a sip of Matcha , you are through with this delicious journey. Though it’s no fun when you have to pay in the end, the journey toward the end is full of experiences.

Sake in an iceberg

If you are fan of Sake like Victor, they also have wide range of Sake for you to try.

For those interested in Japanese cuisine, here’s a little trivia.  There are three types of Japanese authentic cuisine; Kaiseki-ryori (懐石料理), Kaiseki-ryori (会席料理) and Honzen-ryori (本膳料理). They all use seasonal ingredients and similar in many ways, but they are indeed all different. Honzen-ryori is the oldest style which started during Muromachi period (1336-1573) and is very formal with many rules to follow, but it is nearly obsolete and found only at weddings and funerals. Both Kaiseki have developed from Hozen-ryori for different purposes. Kaiseki written as 懐石 is for tea ceremony and the main purpose is to avoid drinking strong Matcha tea with empty stomach because it might make you feel sick. Therefore, the menu starts with little rice and the overall quantity is small. Kaiseki-ryori written as 会席 is the one we had at Michiba. This one is basically for enjoying Sake. If you still cannot stop confusing the two Kaiseki-ryori, dont worry: many Japanese confuse them too. Whats important is that some smart Japanese has created delicious healthy cuisine for you to enjoy.

As you can see from the pictures above, Kaiseki includes many dishes which are super uncommon in the West. You get for example the entire head of a fish which might be creepy for some westerners. The seasoning is also quite simple because it focuses on the taste of ingredients and you might find it tasteless if you are used to dishes with gravy and the like. To be honest, I know quite a few westerners who didnt really enjoy the food. Besides, Kaiseki is usually quite pricy. However, if you are willing to try something very unfamiliar or you are tired of greasy hamburgers, Kaiseki is definitely worth a try.

In case you are interested, here’s a link to the restaurant presented above: http://www.kaishoku-michiba.jp