Golden Week 2019

Golden week in Japan is especially long this year because of the change in eras. On April 30, 2019, Emperor Akihito stepped down, the first emperor to do so in around 200 years. His son, (now Emperor) Naruhito stepped up on May 1, 2019. Because of that, and because golden week has holidays anyway, this year`s golden week ended up being a full 10 days!

For half of that, I went to Tokyo, like I usually do for golden week. (or at least, like usual since I`ve been in Japan). After much debate over which doll to bring, Ilya came. Don`t tell the others, but he is one of my favorites. ^^ 
This year, Yumi had said that she had tickets for us to go to Disney, so rather than take the day bus down like normal, I took the night bus on Friday, after work. The bus got to Tokyo Disney Land at 7 am, which left me enough time to find a locker for my luggage before meeting Yumi in front of Disney at 8!
This was only the second time I`ve ever been to Disneyland…and both times I`ve only been to Tokyo Disney! I have yet to see the ones in America. 😛 


Because it was April, Disney still had their Easter event going on! The story for it went something like “The Disney characters tried to catch the runaway eggs, but the eggs took the nets. And when the eggs used the nets, everything they caught turned into an egg! Help by finding all 8 eggs that have nets, and you get a sticker.” Those eggs were all over the park, but Yumi and I found them all!

Also, they changed the It`s a Small World ride. Now there were Disney characters mixed in too!
There was a Lilo and Stitch thing. It wasn`t a ride…you sat in a theater and saw Stitch on a big screen and he interacted with people in the audience. Including Yumi!
I think my favorite section of Disney is Toon Town though.

We managed to make it in time to see one of the live performances. My favorite part was the Villains medley. I don`t know where the songs came from, but I liked them!

We did get a park employee to take one picture of us! ^_^

After Disney, Yumi and I split up, and I went to go find my hostel. It was one I hadn`t stayed in before this trip. The layout was very simply rooms with six open bunkbeds in them. And they were mixed…even the bathrooms were shared!

At the hostel, I almost immediately met Leon from New Zealand. He had been working at Disney in America (in Florida), and after having lost his job, come to Japan to get a Chinese visa. Unfortunately, because of golden week, all the consulates were closed!
That night, I also met Donna (I think it was Donna? ^^;; I should have asked again when I didn`t hear right the first time…) from South Africa. She was just here to travel and see Japan.
And then the next day was the doll event. Sadly, the two things I really wanted were BOTH sold out by the time I got there. And I was only there 90 minutes after it started!
Ah well. It wasn`t like I didn`t later spend enough to make up for it ^^;;;

Monday, I hung out with Leon. I had met my friend Keenan for dinner the night before, but Monday I was on my own, and Leon was bored, so we ended up hanging out together in the afternoon. In the morning I took a walk with Donna to the Hello Kitty store that was nearby.
In the afternoon, Leon came with me to one of the used doll stores, then I went with him to a used camera store. That trip turned out beneficial to me too–I bought a 55-250 lens for my camera. It`s amazing at distant shots, but can`t at all do close ups (you`ll see some examples in Tuesday`s pictures.)
Another thing I did was at a convenient store, they had a draw going on. That is, you pay a flat price and draw a ticket, and you get whatever prize corresponds with that number. I kinda assumed I`d win one of the numerous small, easy to pack prizes. Nope. I got one of the main prizes, a figure! I lucked out and Leon had an extra bag that the box would fit in so that I could manage to lug it through the train stations and back home.
Oddly enough, it`s the same character as the last figure I won in a draw…a character that I like, but had never considered a favorite. Maybe the universe is trying to convince me otherwise. xD

Tuesday, I went to the Ueno Zoo with Yumi. I hadn`t actually been there before. I learned that Japanese people love pandas. There is a baby panda there currently, Xiang Xiang, who was born almost two years ago. The baby panda belongs to China, but was born in Japan. And the wait time to see the pandas varied from 30 to 70 minutes, depending on when I walked by the line. Yumi and I got into line immediately after entering the zoo though, so I did see them once. Yumi went back in line to see them again though!
Mostly I stuck with my familiar 18-55 lens for the pictures, but in the afternoon when it was a little less rainy (after lunch), I switched to the 55-250 lens for a bit. With that lens, I did like that if I focused properly, it almost looked like the chain link fences weren`t there.

We got a picture taken at the zoo too! Yumi is holding a sign that says Thank you Heisei

Tuesday night was kind of fun…spent a while talking to Leon, Donna and someone who had come in on Monday. He was from Germany, and his name started with an H, but I couldn`t quite catch it for some reason. Maybe because I heard what sounded like `Helga` except that that is not a boy`s name, as far as I know. And a newer person who had just come on Tuesday and was from Mississipi. All of them were horrified that I say carriage instead of cart and just had no idea what to do with the information that there was such a thing as a trash barrel. They had also never heard of a bubbler, rotary or even a fluffernutter sandwich! Massachusetts people definitely have their own lingo! xD
We stayed up chatting long enough that at one point Donna checked the clock and was like “Hey guys, we have a new emperor.” The Heisei era in Japan had ended at 11:59 pm April 30th. And starting at midnight, the Reiwa era started.

Then, Wednesday was for going home. But the bus wasn`t till 5pm so I ran around a couple of stores last minute. One I had been to on Tuesday, but hadn`t been absolutely sure about buying a (cheapish) doll…so I left and thought about it overnight. But in the end, I did go back and buy the doll. >.> So now, Jori has a twin brother. ^^
Named Matt. (See I can come up with normal names sometimes. 😛 )
(They have the same head sculpt, but while I did Jori`s makeup, Matt had that faceup when I bought him.)

And that was the first half of golden week. Tomorrow I have girlscouts, but then the weekend and monday, my vague plans are to try and get my apartment clean so that I can do arrival photostories for Matt and Nera. Oh, I finally came up with a name for my smirky ghost boy. When I gave him new eyes that I`d found at the doll event, his name popped into my head…he`s Nerasatiel. ^_^