Disney, maids and some retail therapy.

For our last day in Japan we tried to fit in as many parts of Tokyo that we had so far been unable to see as possible. The first of these was the biggest tourist attraction in the whole of Japan- Disney World.

Disney Tokyo is accessible by the train network and consists of 2 parks. We visited Magic Kingdom, which is very similar to the one in Florida. The weather was awful, we got rained on most of our time in the park, and it was so busy, the queues for popcorn alone were about half an hour long. You could get priority passes for all the major rides, but you also had to queue to get those priority passes. We managed to go on 4 rides in our 8 hours there and we saw the main parade which was almost cancelled due to the weather. As with Universal Studios everyone seemed to be buying tonnes of merchandise and many people were wearing funny hats around. The magic of Disney was there but I feel our day was let down by the weekend crowds and the rain.

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Next up we ventured to Nippori Fabric Town to look for Christmas presents for Fraser’s mum; who does lots of crafting. This area of town is filled with shops dedicated to fabrics, clothing (although not high fashion) and accessories. We found one shop, called Tomato, which had many branches in this one district of Tokyo. The one we went into was filled floor to ceiling with every type of fabric and print you could imagine, perfect for souvenirs. We also found another shop that sold extras to kimonos from which we were able to purchase an Obi belt as a present.

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Our next stop was Akihabara where we bought a new suitcase to carry all our presents and souvenirs we’d collected on our trip back home with us. Whilst in this area we decided to check out one of the more controversial activities of Tokyo, a maid café. This is quite a regular occurrence in this area of town and is seen as normal, with many locals frequenting these establishments, but it took a while for me to feel comfortable in there. We picked @home café as it was recommended in our guide book. I believe it can get very busy but we were able to get in easily. All the waitresses are dressed as French maids and address you as “Master” or “Princess”. You can pay for various deals, ours got us a drink, pudding and a photo with the maid of our choice. There are strict rules about interaction with the maids: no touching, no photos of the girls other than those ordered in a deal etc. The whole thing is made to be cutesy rather than the sleazy connotations that surround these sorts of outfits in the Western world; you chant to bring magic into your drinks and they draw bunny faces on your puddings. It is certainly an experience and by the end I was enjoying myself but personally being called Princess isn’t my cup of tea.

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At this point it was starting to get a little late so we decided to split up. Fraser wanted to stay in Akihabara to look around the electronics and manga memorabilia. I went back to Shibuya to get some retail therapy of my own in their best clothing area. For this I went to Shibuya 109 which is famous for its young women’s fashion. The main issue I had is that Japanese women are small compared to those of us from the west, or maybe it’s just me, meaning most of the clothes didn’t fit and the stuff that did was always the largest size available. I did end up buying quite a bit though, I just can’t help myself around clothes. Unfortunately there wasn’t a chance of me fitting in any of the shoes. I also went into Forever 21 as we don’t have one in Leeds so it was a great opportunity to explore (also being a foreign brand I could fit in the clothes!!!)

After this Fraser and I met back up and went to get food, we had to find a 24 hour place in Ueno as most other restaurants were closing, then went back to the hotel. In the morning Kunie, our guide from Tokyo at the beginning of the trip, came and met us and helped us find the train out to the airport. We then had the 12 hour flight back to the UK and the 5 hour drive from London to Leeds.

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