We had fun at Tokyo Disneyland. It was threatening to rain the whole time, but it didn’t, so we knew we had gotten away clean. As told in the post below, we went on a Monday, on the 21st, assuming that the really big crowds would be there on the 23rd, which is the Emperor’s Birthday and hence a holiday. The best time to go to Tokyo Disneyland, if you’re wondering, is the non-holiday after a 3-day holiday, e.g. a Monday after a 3 day weekend. Then you’ll have the whole place to yourself.
Today’s post is below. It was cool sharing about a Dog of Flanders, which is a really cool movie. By all means, please go to Amazon and get this great anime. The link is here.
The Japanese believe a person’s blood type foretells a lot about his personality, and Japan is having a “blood type boom” right now, with regular variety shows that report on what characteristics each blood type group share. In one recent show, they placed hidden cameras and watched a group of people eating all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue, in which you cook your food together on a big grill in the center of the table. A type people tend to be organized and neat, and the A types took just enough food and cooked it in a small corner of the grill. Type B people, who are “going my way” (a word the Japanese use for anyone who is in their own little world, like me), took too much food and hoarded it from everyone else. AB types, known for doing things differently from others, chose things like vegetables when everyone else was eating meat. In another experiment, they showed the last episode of one of the most moving anime shows of all time, A Dog of Flanders, based on a famous Belgian children’s story, to rooms full of people separated by blood type. In the last minutes of the show, as young Mello goes into the St. James’s Church to see the three famous Rubens paintings uncovered, allowing him to gaze at them for the first time, he finally knows happiness. As angels come to take him and his faithful dog Patrache up to heaven, the camera cuts back to the roomful of people who were watching the scene. 7 out of 8 of the type O people were bawling over the touching scene, while only 2 out of 8 of the type A and type AB people were in tears. For most of my life I didn’t know my own blood type, something which is unthinkable in Japan, where the address book functions on cell phones have a place to record the blood type of the people you’re calling.
We wanted to do something special for the kids this winter, so we took them down to Tokyo Disneyland. Tokyo Disneyland has been one of the most successful amusement parks in the world since it opened in 1983, raking in tons of money for the Disney empire. It recreates the original Disneyland in almost every way, although there’s no Matterhorn and there actually seems to be more room to walk than at the California park. Knowing how bad the crowds can be during weekends and holidays, we went on a Monday, and were rewarded with a moderately pleasant Disneyland experience — the longest wait was an hour or so. Of course we were obliged to buy lots of omiyage (oh-mee-YAH-geh) for people back home — the ubiquitous souvenirs that prop up the Japanese economy. Disneyland’s nickname is “nezumi-land” (nezumi = mouse) among Japanese fans.
There are some classic jokes in Japanese that I’ll pass along to you. One stems from the words “oneesan” which means older sister but can also refer to a woman aged 18-25 or so, and “obasan” which means aunt but also any middle-aged woman. A classic joke in anime or manga features an innocent child who calls a woman “obasan” even though she’s still young, and how she reacts to the label — kind of like my reaction at being called “sir” for the first time in my life. Another classic joke you encounter every once in a while is a cow saying mou yamete (lit. “please stop it already”), which is amusing because the “moo” sound a cow makes sounds like the word mou (“already”) in Japanese. Finally, the equivalent of the stale old joke “roadkill on the information super highway” in Japanese is dohto komu which means “…gets very crowded” but sounds like dot-com. So you can say, Amazon wa dohto komu, “That Amazon site sure has a lot of users.” If you want to make a really stupid joke in Japanese, that is.