Tag Archives: disney

The Happiness Year

15 Apr

Tokyo Disneyland opened on 1983 April 15th … thirty years ago today.

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I can’t believe how fast time flies!
When I first came to Japan, Tokyo Disneyland was only seven years old.

Tokyo Disneyland is calling this year, 2013, the “Happiness Year”.

Have you ever been to Tokyo Disneyland or any of the world’s Disney parks?

All in one weekend

22 Oct

I had a busy couple of days this past weekend.
First of all, my family and I went to Tokyo Disneyland together. My kids like the Disney Halloween that is done during the month of October at Tokyo Disneyland.

I also got my driver’s license renewed since it was going to expire next month.

When I was a teenager in Florida I had a U.S. (Florida) driver’s license but I didn’t live in America long enough to need to have it renewed…so I’m not sure where it is easier, America or Japan, to renew a license.
And, actually, my Florida driver license has expired years ago…I have had a Japanese driver’s license for many years but not a U.S. one!

Anyways, I have a “gold license“…so it is the easiest (and least expensive) of the Japanese driver’s licenses to renew.

“What is a gold license“, you ask?

In Japan, driver’s licenses have a stripe that is one of three colors…either green, blue or gold.
A “green license” is a “beginner driver”. These drivers must have a special decal on their car that identifies them as a beginner driver. This license is valid of three years (my oldest daughter has this one now).

A “blue license” is a regular “operator’s license”.

And a “gold license” is a “safe driver“. This license, as I mentioned, is the quickest, easiest and least expensive to renew. It only takes about one hour from the time I walk in the driver license office til I exit with my renewed license.
Also, a “gold driver” pays less for automobile insurance.

As a sidenote, in Japan, if you take a driver license exam with an automatic-transmission car, then that’s the only type you’ll be licensed to drive.
I took my exam years ago with a standard transmission (“stick shift”) car…so I can legally drive both a manual transmission or an automatic. My license also allows me to drive an eight-ton truck.

While I was in the driver’s license office I noticed a poster advertising Tokyo’s bid for the 2020 Olympics.

It says “The 2020 Olympics / Paralympics in Japan!”

I wrote a post about Tokyo’s bid for the 2016 Olympics (that was ultimately unsuccessful).
Click here to read it…it has the official promotion video for the bid campaign.

And finally, my wife and I went to a festival.

There were lumberjacks at this festival that put on a log-rolling show.
Very entertaining!

They also put on a “strong man demonstration“.
At one point they put heavy hay stacks, barrels and a small boat on a man’s chest…and then three other men climbed onto the boat while it was on the man’s chest!

Ultraman was there too!

Disneyland for half-price

28 May

From 2011 July 8 until August 31, 「東京ディズニーリゾート」 (Tokyo Disney Resort), which is the collective name for Tokyo Disneyland and it’s neighboring Tokyo Disney Sea together, will offer their one-day passport tickets for children between the ages of four to eleven for half-price (children under four are always admitted for free).

This is the first time Tokyo Disney has cut their prices like this. The reason they’re offering this special bargain is to help raise the spirits of children in Japan since the devastating earthquake last March.

Tokyo Disney Resort‘s “one-day passport” is valid for one park or the other (not both) for one entire day.

The price for the “one-day passport” is normally ¥6,200 (about US$76.68) for ages 18-59, ¥5,500 (about US$68.02) for ages 60 and over, ¥5,300 (about US$65.55) for ages 12-17, and ¥4,100 (about US$50.70) for kids aged 4-11.

But from July 8 – August 31, the kids “one-day passport” will be reduced to ¥2,050 (about US$25.35).

This doesn’t affect me since my kids are all too old for the reduced ticket price…but if you have young kids and you’ll be in the Tokyo area in July or August of this year, you should consider taking advantage of this half-price ticket.

東京ディズニーランドの写真

25 Apr

Last weekend, my daughters went to 東京ディズニーランド (Tokyo Disneyland) together. They took their young six-year-old cousin with them.

While the four of them were at the amusement park, my wife and I went to IKEA (I wrote about that last week. Click here to read it.)

Here are some of the photos that my daughters took (I’m not posting any of the photographs that have my kids or niece in them):

The Tokyo Disney Resort bus

The Tokyo Disney Resort bus

"Daisy Duck"

"Daisy Duck"

"Pooh-san"

"Pooh-san"

A statue of Walt Disney and Mickey with Cinderella's Castle in the background.

A statue of Walt Disney and Mickey with Cinderella's Castle in the background.

"Buzz Lightyear"

"Buzz Lightyear"

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I’m sure you’ve heard in the news about the recent outbreak of a new epidemic in Mexico that has spread to America.
It’s a 豚インフルエンザ (Swine (Pig) Flu)!

First, there was “Mad Cow“, then the “Bird Flu“…and now it’s pigs. Will fish be next?

Japan did a pretty good job of keeping the mad cow and bird flu out of this country. Hoping this new swine flu won’t spread here either!

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Anyways, “Golden Week” has officially started today. Students still have school and most people still have to work until Thursday…but some people get to begin their holidays today.
As with most people though, my family all have our Golden Week holidays from next Saturday (May 2) until Wednesday (April 6)…plus this Wednesday (April 29) is off too (But, Thursday (April 30) and Friday (May 1) are work days).

Wednesday, April 29 is 昭和の日 (Showa Day). (It used to be 緑の日 (Greenery Day)).
Sunday, May 3 is 憲法記念日 (Constitution Day).
Monday, May 4 is now 緑の日 (Greenery Day). (It used to be 国民記念日 (Residents Day).
And Tuesday, May 5 is 子供の日 (Children’s Day).

Because 憲法記念日 (Constitution Day) is on a Sunday this year, it’s observed on Tuesday, May 6.
So most people’s Golden Week is from Saturday May 2 – Tuesday May 6.

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Click here to read my FAQ about the Golden Week holidays.

Also, this year (2009) in Japan, there will be a second Golden Week in September!
This is because 敬老の日 (Respect For The Aged Day) is on the third Monday of September…and 秋分の日 (Autumn Equinox) is on September 23.

This year, the third Monday of September will be on September 21. So since September 21 and 23 will be off…the government made September 22 between them a day-off too.
So, many people will have Saturday, September 19 until Wednesday, September 23 off…a second Golden Week.

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Western Stores in Tokyo

14 Feb

Many overseas companies want to open shops in Japan.
The Japanese market is very lucrative…for companies that prove to be popular here. But the Japanese consumer is very finicky. Companies that don’t meet Japanese expectations are doomed to fail.

For example, the American donut company, Dunkin’ Donuts, is popular in America. But when they opened stores in Japan, the Japanese people found their donuts too sweet…and Dunkin’ Donuts was  unable to stay in Japan.

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On the other hand, the less-sweet American donut chain Mister Donuts is very popular in Japan. (Ironically, Mister Donuts isn’t very popular in America).

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"Mister Donut" in Tokyo

Krispy Kreme Donuts set up shops in Tokyo recently, too.

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Some American chains have been bought by a Japanese company and were brought here by their new Japanese owners. For example, the convenience store chain 7-Eleven was bought by the Japanese department store Ito-Yokado. (A couple years ago Ito-Yokado changed the signs on their department stores to reflect their connection with the popular convenience store they own…their signs now say “Seven & i Holdings” on the Ito-Yokado stores.)

7-Eleven (and other convenience stores) are very popular in Japan. Japan is a small country, but there are almost twice as many 7-Eleven stores here than in all of the U.S., Canada, and Mexico combined!

Convenience stores in Japan are very different from their counterparts in America. Japanese convenience stores are great!

7-11

7 & i Holdings, the Japanese company that owns 7-Eleven also owns the restaurant chain Denny’s. Denny’s in Japan have a different menu than Denny’s in America. I like Denny’s Japan better (but that may be because I’ve been in Japan for awhile now, and I’m more used to Japanese style food).

デニーズ・レストラン「セブン&アイ HLDGS」 (Denny's Restaurant (Seven & i Holdings)

デニーズ・レストラン「セブン&アイ HLDGS」 (Denny

The American bakery Vie de France is in Japan, too. But it’s not American anymore either…Yamazaki Bread owns this company. I like Vie de France. Their bread is excellent.

vie-de-france

Of course, American fast-food chains are here…

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ケンタッ�ー (KFC) in Japan.

ケンタッキー (KFC) in Japan.

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pizza-hut

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dominos

I have wrote a post about Domino’s Pizza in Japan. Click here to see it.

I like Subway sandwich shop, alot. The Japanese Subway sandwich shop. The menu is much better at Subway Japan than the U.S. branches.

subway

There are Japanese fast-food restaurants, too.  These include MOS Burger, First Kitchen, and Freshness Burger (which has beer on the menu! 🙂 ). Occasionally you can still find a  Dom-Dom Burger, and there used to be a chain called Love Hamburger. Love Hamburger went out-of -business about 12 years ago and the U.S. chain Burger King bought all of the Love Burger shops and opened Burger King in Japan in the late ’90s…but they made the ill-fated decision to offer only a limited menu to test the Japanese market. That didn’t go over well and soon they went out-of-business in Japan, too.

But recently, Burger King decided to re-try the Japanese market…and I guess they learned from their past mistakes—they seem to be doing well in Japan now.

burger-king

There are also branches of Sizzler, Outback, and Tony Romas in Japan.

sizzleroutback

romas

All of these foreign companies that have stores in Tokyo (How many of these have stores in your town? Do you shop at any of these?):

bubba

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red_lobster

el-torito

hrc

"Shell" Gas
"Mobil" Gas harley-japan1

citibank

starbucks "HMV" CD / DVD store "Tower Records" in 渋谷 (Shibuya, Tokyo)
"Disney Store", Tokyo gap hilton

prada

chanel

vuitton

"The Body Shop" in Tokyo

"The Body Shop" in Tokyo

"Godiva Chocolate" in Tokyo

"Godiva Chocolate" in Tokyo

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Toys "Я" Us

Toys "Я" Us

There are other foreign companies here, too…but you get the idea.

All of these foreign companies have to keep on their toes and provide the service and products that the Japanese expect…and for each of these foreign stores in Japan, there are Japanese companies that provide similar products that they have to compete with.  But if the effort is worth it…Japan is the most profitable market for most of these companies.

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Anyways, today is Valentine’s Day.
My wife and daughters made delicious chocolate for me.
(Click here to read a post I wrote about Valentines Day in Japan).

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Tokyo Disneyland

8 Jan

On Tuesday (January 6), my second daughter went with four of her friends to 東京ディズニーランド (Tokyo Disneyland).

They left early in the morning so that the could get in line at 東京ディズニーランド (Tokyo Disneyland) to get tickets before the line got too long.

The went in the park when it opened and stayed until closing. They’re teenage girls…so they love Disneyland!

Here are the pictures that she took (minus the ones that she and her friends are in):

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They had a good time, of course.

(By the way, as I mentioned in an earlier post (click here), last year was the 25th anniversary of the opening of 東京ディズニーランド (Tokyo Disneyland). When I came to Japan, 東京ディズニーランド (Tokyo Disneyland) was only seven years old!)

Mickey is 80

21 Nov

It’s probably safe to say that nearly everyone knows who Mickey Mouse® is.
The world-famous American cartoon character was created by Walt Disney and made his movie debut in the cartoon titled “Steamboat Willie” on November 18, 1928. Eighty years ago last Tuesday.

Have you ever been to any of the Disneyland® amusement parks?

I believe there are Disney parks in five cities.
Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California USA.
Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida USA.
Tokyo Disney Resort (includes Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea) in Maihama, Chiba Japan (near Tokyo).
Disneyland Resort Paris in Paris, France.
and
Hong Kong Disneyland Resort in Hong Kong, China.

I have been to Disney World® in Orlando, Florida and, of course, 東京ディズニーランド (Tokyo Disneyland) and 東京ディズニーシー (Tokyo DisneySea)® in Japan…but none of the others.

My kids love ディズニーランド (Disneyland)…so we’ve been to 東京ディズニーランド (Tokyo Disneyland) a number of times.

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Speaking of 東京ディズニーランド (Tokyo Disneyland), not only is this year Mickey Mouse’s 80th birthday…but it’s also the 25th anniversary of 東京ディズニーランド (Tokyo Disneyland). The park opened in 1983.
(東京ディズニーシー (Tokyo DisneySea) opened in 2001).
When I came to Japan, 東京ディズニーランド (Tokyo Disneyland) was only seven years old…now 東京ディズニーシー (Tokyo DisneySea) is that old!