After a nice 3 day trip in Togane, I went to Takayanagi to stay with my very good friend Kina! This stay was one of the greatest experiences I’ve had while in Japan. I went to Ueno Zoo, seen Sakura blooming at its fullest, experienced my first Hanami, and best of all, FINALLY got to go to a Disney Park!
This is Kina! As a student at Akita International University, she has the ability to speak both English, Japanese… and a little bit of Spanish. Talented in the arts of cooking, piano, and tea, I take lessons from her in everything except tea. haha!
The first day that I got to Kina’s place, we got to explore her neighborhood. I got to see her elementary school, middle school, and all the parks and places that she played at when she was little. Takayanagi is a beautiful town. It sort of reminded me of Mililani Mauka on Oahu. Many of the places looked very nice and the neighborhood seemed to be a pleasant looking place.
The second day we went to Disney Sea! It… was… AWESOME! I was so excited I couldn’t keep my kid self from exploding out and going crazy. I wanted to ride every single ride, see every single attraction, and just become a wild child again. There were all sorts of places in the park; there was the-journey-to-the- middle-of-the-earth place, Old-school-Italy-looking place, Medieval-pirate place, high-tech-place-that-reminded-me-of-Atlantis place, Mayan-Mexican-jungle place, Aladdin’s palace, and Little Mermaid’s Grotto! There was even Toy Story Land, but it was so crowded that we just went in for a look.
We went almost everywhere in the park… I think. Every single place had awesome, exhilarating rides, but the place I enjoyed and loved the most had to be the kiddy rides in Little Mermaid’s place. All the rides there had barely any lines, and we could get on any ride within a matter of minutes! We once waited in line for 3 hours to get thrown down the tower of terror.
For lunch, we ate at the most expensive place. Originally, Kina wanted to go to a more affordable place, but I told her, “We only live once!” And so we went! The restaurant was in the SS Columbia modeled boat. It was super luxurious! As soon as we walked in, we stood up straight and pretended to be like we were of high class. I’m horrible at using Etiquette while eating, especially when the food is so delicious. I just want to stuff myself!
When night came around, the park lit up and a little parade/performance thing broke out in the middle of the park. We watched for a couple minutes and dug out. I just couldn’t stand there. I had to go and have more fun!
On the third day, I ate ramen with Kina’s brothers and visited her ridiculously nice high school. The ramen was extra extra delicious! Just thinking about it now, I want to go back there and eat some more! Her brothers were really nice and friendly! The brothers looked very fashionable as the younger brother fashioned his high school suit, while the older brother’s style reminded me of the Korean Drama “I’m sorry, I love you.”
The high school was beautiful. It reminded me of a town. They had their own park, store, gate, living residence, and gas station. They even made a university, middle school, and elementary as extensions of the school. It turns out that the school was originally the emperor’s land and was designated as land for the purpose of studying students… kind of like Kamehameha schools!
The next day we went to Ueno Zoo, rowed a boat in a lake, viewed Sakura, and did something Japanese like to call a Hanami! The Ueno Zoo was full of animals. Hahaha! My favorite animal visit would have to be the gorillas as I got to bond with them and become a part of their pack.
After the zoo, we visited the lake and rented a boat! For my first time rowing a boat, it was a lot of fun! I just wanted to row it all day. The only thing that was stopping me was the sheer cold wind that hit us as we went around the lake. The atmosphere on the lake was super romantic! You could tell as you saw all the couples in their boats talking about the birds and the bees.
After a nice row, we did a Hanami! Now “What is Hanami?”, you may be asking. A Hanami is when you eat and drink below the Sakura trees while they are in full bloom. That is exactly what we did. And as it turns out, that is exactly what the rest of Tokyo was thinking too. The food was delicious, the drinks were “Oishii!”, and the Sakura was epic! Every single person at the park was having lots of fun that by the end of the night, there were drunken people everywhere. It was a sight to see!
Thank you to Kina and her family, I had a spectacular time in Chiba. Her mother was very hospitable, her father was full of enthusiasm, and her brothers were as curious and interesting as I thought they would be. That being said, my stay was as dandy as this song. Thank you Kina! Your family is awesome!