I can just let the pictures do the talking here. Luckily, we’re no longer reliant on film. I would have run out in a day.
Disneyland was not at the top of my sightseeing list, but as I was expecting two little girls to be dragged along to the rest of the cultural sights, it was a sweetener. Boy, that was as much of a sweetener as a mouth full of sour grapes.
I’ve seen Saving Mr. Banks, and I had started to warm towards Mr. Disney and his romantic ideals. I could picture us hanging out in “the happiest place on earth”, sprinkled with fairy dust. I haven’t been to other Disney parks, but Disneyland Tokyo doesn’t just rub up again dubious trade descriptions: there is little resemblance between the real thing and the hype.
Relaxing, fun, family time was spent rushing from attraction to attraction, or queuing. Some queues were more than three hours long. Bearing in mind the expensive entrance fee, I dread to think of the cost per ride. Even the queue for popcorn stretched more than 100 metres.
Yes, the architecture is impressive, but it was very much pink candy floss – completely lacking in substance.
The observations you make about a place, seen for the first time, are often the idiosyncrasies that turn into brilliant memories. I will never forget:
· The feeling that you’re in a clean and respectful country full of civilised people. Even the train attendants bow when they leave the carriage;
· The law-abiding nature of society. We saw road subways decorated with framed posters hanging on nails. How long would those pictures have stayed there is any other city before sticky fingers whisked them away? The shelters with benches were even used for sitting. They were clean! No sign of graffiti and not a hint of Eau de Urine;
· Woe betides anyone who doesn’t form an orderly queue when waiting for the green man. And you must wait for the green man. My husband has now been banished from polite society;
· The tilt of the Shinkensun bullet train, which distorts the view out of the window, making everything look like it’s leaning and sliding off the world;
· The strange taste for freeform jazz wherever we went. Not the soundtrack I’d imagine. And why is there a Beatles-themed café in Hiroshima?
· The pedestrian cyclist dynamic when bikes are tolerated on pavements. Some even had special umbrella clips on the handlebars as if they have escaped from a weird merry-go-round.
· The toilet. Thumbs up for everything being clean. But why is there the sound of running water to mask the sounds of...er...running water. And do I pulsate or oscillate? I’m still not sure, but I enjoyed trying to work it out.
Have you been to Japan? We’d love to hear about your first impressions.
For a full insight into our itinerary, click here.