"There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again." 
-Elizabeth Lawrence

Ghibli has been defined as the Disney of Japan.
Director Miyazaki's films transport you
into a world of endless gardens,
determined heroines and gold-hearted heroes.

Leon threatened to take away my camera,
so I didn't take many photos of our trip there.
Just kidding... {but he really did}
Photography isn't allowed in the museum!
So, if you want to see what treasures lay inside,
take a little sanpo to Mitaka, Tokyo.

There's so much to see,
like museum-exclusive short films,
including the sequel to My Neighbor Totoro となりのトトロ:
Mei and the Kitten Bus めいとこねこバス.

Just look at all the cat buses!
{I wish I had one!}

The oldest cat bus,
the grand transporter of Totoros.
{There are other cute films in the Museum, but I'll leave those a surprise.}

"Good evening, Mei, friend of Kitten Bus."

As the novelist, Tom Robbins, said:
"It is never too late to have a happy childhood."
So leave your cram-packed schedule home for a day
and come romp around in Totoro's forest!

{Music via Cecile Corbel}

Ma-chan and I flew 
up the hundreds of metal, cable meters
of Tokyo Tower.

Maybe it was just the fog on the horizon,
but we couldn't see an end 
to the buildings
that shrunk below us 
lining the streets of Tokyo.

They hold club concerts on one of the floors,
a haunted house rests on another.

And at dark,
the whole building glows with lights.

It was eerie being up that high,
but I never wanted to come back down.
Oh, to be a little bird.

{Music via Late Night Alumni}

Disney Sea is a 
beyond-amazing resort,
located in only one place in the world:
Chiba, Japan.

We tasted so many delicious foods
{frozen mango on a stick = }
and tried to beat the sun
by getting wet.
Yeah. I still have scabs on my thighs
from where my soaked jeans chaffed & ripped my skin.
Not the pleasantest.

But I did not care!
I was in the land of Sailor Mickey
and I was going to enjoy myself no matter what dang it all.

While skipping from ride to ride
{we really did skip}
Machiko noticed a ton of people holding teddy bears{?!}
Neither of us had any idea why,
as we'd never seen a teddy bear Disney character before.
Turns out,
Duffy {the teddy}
was given to Mickey by Minnie
to keep him company on his sailing voyages
around the world of Disney Sea.
Yeah, yeah, betcha didn't know that, didja?
Yeah... we were clueless, too.
The hottest day in my life
was also the happiest day in my life.
And I have my lovely friend
to thank for that.
{Thanks for everything, Ma-chan!}

{Music via Q;indivi}

My father can do these
amazing voices,
in pretty much any accent you can think of.

This could be why
I'm so in like-like with voice acting.

My friend, Erin,
has the ability to take
just about any fictional character
and deepen their story,
bringing them to life.

This could be why
I'm so in love with character development.

Triple Date:


I've found creating these voice clips
to be a really entertaining way
to retain all the little Japanese tidbits
I pick up from my friends
and people I hear on the streets of Japan.
I added my own characters to the stories...
hope you enjoy!

{If there are any grammatical/pronunciation errors, they're there because I'm still learning.}

{Cho, Aiata, Shiroi, Rai © Ashley S. Harmon}
{Music & other characters © their respective owners}
{Image via here}

"You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling."

When I was but a wee lass,
I had a dream
to board a big, white airplane
and fill my eyes, mouth, and heart
with all the different flavors of the world.
Little by little,
I'm making that dream come true.
I just have to keep
helping along my wishing star.

{Click Here for Download}
{Original Song © Disney}
{Image via Technicolor}

We are officially ninjas, da ze,
my mate Vera and I.

We survived the Ninja House
just outside Osaka's Aquarium
and we have the scrolls to prove it.
{Robbers and creepers, beware!}

If you're ever wandering around Osaka,
with no clue what to do,
I'd say to you:
"Sweet friend,
go to the Osaka Aquarium and touch fish.
It's totally zen."

{Music via One Republic}

"Life happens wherever you are, whether you make it or not." -Uncle Iroh

My friends told me about a bus in Tokyo
that took them through a den of lions.
I wanted to give it a go.

Tokyo's a bit far,
so I settled for the safari bus in Himeji.
Two words:

But the animals were so close to my camera,
and so friendly to the little Japanese children,
I kinda was okay with paying
¥3,700 for the whole thing.

This goose loved
my Aussie friend Vera so much,
it honked goose tears
when she ran away to chase a chicken.

You could throw food down at these bears,
and they'd stand on their back paws to catch it.

White tiger love.


The thinking chimp.

Aw, Vera made a friend. 

After the zoo,
we went to the pond near my school,
said "hello" to my bashful students,
and watched fireworks.
A fantastic weekend with fantastic people.

{Music via Cee Lo Green}