I have officially turned 24 and I did so in style. Being 24 also signifies that I have become a 年女 (toshi onna) in Japan which means that my zodiac sign corresponds to the year’s sign (aka my age is a multiple of 12). My host dad told me that it was fitting for me to be born in the year of the ox – especially since I am a teacher. People born in the year of the Ox are patient, mentally alert and when required to speak are skillful. They have a gift for inspiring confidence in others. This allows them to achieve a great deal of success. Japanese (although I am not so sure how this is holding up with the younger generations) believe that people who are born in the same animal year share similar personality and character. People born in the year of the Ox are patient, mentally alert and when required to speak are skillful. They have a gift for inspiring confidence in others. This allows them to achieve a great deal of success. I’ll take that.
Anyway, to celebrate my birthday, Jun and I went to Tokyo Disney Sea wearing yukata.
The theme for August was BonFire Dance which is a pun off of holiday known as Obon in Japan. The other theme was “Chip and Dale’s Cool Service” which sounds a lot more exciting than it really was – which was due to Jun and mine’s lack of receiving any water during the event despite have front row seats.
I intended to wake up at 4:30 so I could take my time getting ready, especially since putting on a yukata and tying an obi properly can be a challenge, but I overslept and woke up at 5 instead. Jun had to work his part time job until around 2 am, so he was not really awake to wake me up either. Still, I was able to shower, put on my yukata and obi, do my rather complicated hair style, and me ready in no more than 20 minutes. We road the train (several to be exact) until we arrived at Tokyo Disney Sea a little after 7:30 am. The website said that the park opened at 8, so we wanted to make sure we were there before 8 so we could enjoy a full day (from open to close) at the park – which is something that we always do. Once we arrived, their was an announcement made that the park was opening at 8:30. Well…glad that we got there in plenty of time then, eh? We ventured into guest services before the park opened to tell the staff that it was my birthday. Cue the entire staff clapping and saying “Happy Birthday!” to me. I was then given a sticker with my name on it to wear on my clothing during the day.
Wearing this little sticker was actually a little more eventful than I expected it would be. The part I expected was that staff members were required to say “Happy Birthday” to me whenever I saw them (this usually also included claps and HUGE smiles), but I also got some small services when I would order food. Jun and I have a bucket that is used for the flavored popcorn at Disney Land and Disney Sea. When I bought a refill (half the price of a normal bucket worth), the man working gave me two extra scoops of popcorn as a “birthday service.” I was happy, but I could not close the lid on the bucket and had to stuff a few hand fulls of curry popcorn in my mouth.
Since it was/is the Obon season in Japan, everyone has vacation time, so Disney Sea was crowded. Jun and I were expecting this, so we did not have high hopes for riding any rides. Even the less popular rides had waits of over an hour. It was also really hot and the power of the sun was a little overpowering at times as there was not a single cloud in the sky.
There were two significant highlights of the day. One was when we went to dinner at a restaurant in Port Discovery where Disney characters walk around and
harass greet you while you are eating. Minnie and Mickey noticed my sticker and made a big deal out of it (cue mouse kisses) and also enjoyed teasing Jun a little.
The BonFire Dance was by far one of the more exciting shows that I have participated in during all my visits to Tokyo Disney Land and Tokyo Disney Sea. Granted, this may have been because I was in an unusually goofy (no pun intended) mood because it was my birthday. Still, the night before I went to the Tokyo Disney Sea website to learn the dance and practice it so I was all ready to dance. The actually event took place in Arabian Coast which tends to be one of the lesser visited areas of Tokyo Disney Sea (at least in my experience) and to be able to participate in the dance you need to get there at least an hour early because of limited space. The area had a big stage in the middle and then two circular seating areas surrounding the stage. The innermost area was for the dancers (aka people like me who want to dance in the 98% humidity with Mickey) and the outer was for the regular audience. It was too dark for me to be able to take any good pictures, but I took video of the entire thing for you to enjoy. All the videos are on my youtube account, so I will just link to the actually BonFire dance here and let you check out the others on your own.
Mickey was just too cool for me to handle and I cannot get this song out of my head. The only downfall was that I started cracking up every time everyone shouted “We are dancing!” It is shows like this that make me want to work at Tokyo Disney Land/Sea as one of their characters…I think I would make a better Little Mermaid than the girl I saw that day.
It was a great day and I think one of the better birthday’s I have had in a long time. Not to mention I think it may have been one of my best visits to Tokyo Disney Sea to date.