Showing posts with label Japan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Japan. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Epcot's Mitsukoshi Department Store (or why Iove Japan in the World Showcase, part III)

Why I love Japan in the World Showcase Part II

One of the best stores in all of Disney World - ranking right up there with World of Disney and Mouse Gears - is the Mitsukoshi department store located in Epcot's Japan.  It is a must do for our entire family - and I don't think we've ever walked out without purchasing something. There is truly something for everyone inside.

The store itself is divided into "boutique" areas.  And when you first walk in, your first area is for Hello Kitty.  (I so wish I could understand the appeal. And did you know that there is a whole Hello Kitty house in China?  Go ahead, google it.  I'll wait for you to come back...)

And just across from Hello Kitty, we have Pokemon land.  I find it interesting that my girls need to peruse both of these areas!

There are also areas with anime "things"that I don't know anything about - well, except that they are anime "things."

Then, the very loud part of the store includes the pick a pearl.  This is a really fun and inexpensive experience.  For about $15, you can choose an oyster - and with a grand production (including drums!) they will open your oyster to reveal your pearl.  (Tip:  The best pearls are supposed to be inside the ugliest, hairiest oysters!)  The pearl isn't expensive, but some of the settings can be a bit pricey.

Further into the store you'll find Japanese t-shirts, shoes, socks (we love to get flip-flop socks here), purses, and even berets.

There is an entire room of Kimonos for all (women, men, children) including some gorgeous accessories like hair clips or even parasols.

You can find bonsai trees, books on calligraphy, home decor.  Hundreds of different styles of chopsticks.  Tea sets.  Dishes.

And then we get to one of our favorite parts - the grocery section.  And what a treasure trove it is.  My girls always have to get a box of Pocky (though we are thrilled that we can find it at our grocery and Target now!).

And they really like to get gummy candies.  We try to find flavors that they have never heard of.  Like "mangosteen."

Another unique item is the drink - Ramune.  It's a carbonated fruity drink - but in order to drink it, you have to push a marble through the top and then it rattles in the glass while you drink it.  You have to practice the way you drink it so that the marble doesn't clog the flow of the liquid as you try to sip it!  This one also has a lot of unique flavors - and my girls like to keep the interestingly shaped bottles as souvenirs.

There are all kinds of other unique food offerings.  They have bags of dried crabs. Still in the shell.  Shrimp chips (not a fan!).  Wasabi flavored dried peas.  Dried octopus.  But I suppose the most sought after is candy.

We always try to get something new each time.  And we especially like getting something where we have NO idea as to what it is.

So...what about you?  Have you shopped at Mitsukoshi?  What did you buy?!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Why I love Japan in the World Showcase, part II

After hearing "my kids don't like EPCOT" so many times, I felt the need to spread the word about how wonderful this particular park really is.  It's also my children's favorite park.

My first post was also about Japan - about how you (kids and grown-ups alike!) can try on kimonos in Japan. Today I want to tell you about a show that is NOT to be missed:  Miyuki.

Miyuki is a candy artist - and art form popular in Japan.  These artists would entertain on street corners and folk festivals by creating flowers and animals from soft rice candy (sort of like taffy).  Miyuki was the first and the only woman trained in this amazing art.  And an artist she is.  She can take a “ball” of candy and create the most amazing animals – right before your very eyes. 

The transformation that that "ball" of soft rice candy makes - it's beyond words.  I love when she does winged creatures.  I don’t know how she does it – but it’s amazing to see.

Here is Miyuki making some more candy art (a green dragon and a sea turtle):

When you arrive at EPCOT, be sure to consult your times guide for Miyuki’s show times for the day.  (I believe that she does not do shows at all on Saturdays.)  I would arrive at least 15 minutes early.  She has a cart right at the main entrance to the Mitsukoshi department store – so you’ll want to secure a spot at the rope.  She’ll ask her audience which animals she should make – and if your child is quiet and polite, they will usually get a chance to make a request.

Many years ago, the guest making the request could keep the animal that she made, but due to food safety laws, that element has been removed – but you can still get your picture taken with your requested creation.

 (now the above picture was taken about 5 years ago - back when you could keep the candy art - and that's a purple cat requested by my daughter Madalyn.  You can see her from last fall two pictures up.  And my older daughter's friend - Claire - that's her on the right above - and then in the photo above, that's her last summer with her requested purple unicorn.  Love to see my kids and their friends growing up at Disney!!)

So...what about you?  Have you ever seen a candy artist?  Have you ever tried the candy?


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Why I love Japan in the World Showcase part I

I have had a number of people tell me that they skip EPCOT because they think that their children will be bored.  Or tell me that they only do Future world because the World Showcase doesn't have much for kids to do.  Or tell me that they only go to Mexico and Norway because those are the only countries with rides.  So, I am here to tell you about some of the things that you are missing.

I have two girls - aged 14 and 10.  Their first trip to Disney they were 8 and 5.  And from the beginning - EPCOT has been their favorite park.  And the world showcase - their favorite part.  There is soooo much to do and see there.  And so much that your children will love.  But.  They are hidden treasures.  And I am going to tell you about one of them.

Japan is probably my girls' favorite country.  And one of their favorite things to do is to dress up in Kimonos (yes - even as a tween and a teen - they still enjoy doing this!).  At the back of the Mitsukoshi department store is a whole room of kimonos (for both men and women; boys and girls) and accessories such as obis (the part that goes around the waist), getas (the traditional shoes that look like wooden flip flops), ornaments for your hair and even parasols.

 (The girls in the beginning of the process - picking out the kimonos in the right size and color)

 (This is my daughter Madalyn and her friend Hannah on our trip last summer - aren't they beautiful?!)

 (This is my oldest, Katie - enjoying a moment of playing dress up.  I think she really liked the flowers in her hair!)

 (The back of Madalyn's kimono.  They didn't put the traditional Obi on her like they did in Katie's in the picture above, but used a pretty scarf)

 (This is Madalyn several years ago in full regalia - including her shoes!)

 (My girls a few years ago and the Japanese cast member who helped them to dress.  Please ignore my children's dirty feet :-) )

 (One of the hair ornament options in Katie's hair)

If you speak with one of the cast members there, they will help you to get fully decked out.  It's great fun.  So not boring.  And it's great experience for you and your children to embrace a bit of another culture.

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