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April 10, 2014


Disneyland in Tokyo was one of the last places we visited in Japan before returning to Maryland.  It was a long day, full of surprises.  I brought my trusty camera and got to take bunches of my own pictures. 

When we first got to the park, my parents told us what to do if we got separated. Meet at the Cinderella castle!  Go there, stay there.  I’m pretty sure they told us this four hundred times and who could blame them?  We didn’t speak much Japanese. We were very small.  It was good to have a plan. Our family will still sometimes say, “Where’s the Cinderella castle for this place?”

We spent some time at Character Corner and then headed to the planet museum, Space Mountain. Seriously. My dad told us it was a ride through a planet museum.  My mom thought it was odd there were signs warning us that people with serious heart conditions shouldn’t go in, but it didn’t stop us.  I can still remember how we all sounded screaming in the dark, on the fastest, scariest ride any of us had ever seen.  To this day I don’t enjoy roller coasters and my father insists he didn’t know it would be like that!

I don’t remember any of the food from that day. Maybe Mickey Mouse ice cream bars?

We went through the Haunted Mansion. I still have the occasional nightmare involving shiny green goblins.  The whole thing upset me so much, my parents scrambled to think of something that would make me feel better. It’s a Small World was full of creepy puppet things that moved stiffly and frightened me even more.

A music book in one of the shops distracted me just long enough to lose sight of my family.  All thoughts of the Cinderella castle and the plan were lost.  I panicked.  An elderly Japanese man tried his best to calm me.  My parents,  less than twelve feet away heard me and got my attention. I was not nearly as lost as I’d believed.

I am glad we got to be there.  It is not something I feel the need to repeat. Thank goodness for grandparents or the smallish bears might never have made it to Orlando at all.

My mom bought two piano books that day. I played through them for years and years.  This is why I can sing with great sincerity all of the lesser known ballads: My Heart Was an Island, La-la-lu, Candle on the Water, Lavender’s Blue.  The music was the lasting gift from that day.

And those photographs I took? Well, let’s just say it was a good thing someone else took pictures too.


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