>It Ain’t A Small World after all


“This is a pen” is the basic English phrase that many Japanese learn at school. It’s also a bit of a pun on the famous Magritte painting about a pipe. My time in Tokyo did feel a bit like a step into Belgian absurdity.

Having not really used my Japanese conversational skills in yonks, I was a bit nervous in resuming them, particularly since I was travelling a more Japanese tourist route rather than Western.

I say tourist route, but basically I mean going to and from Tokyo Disneyland.

Once again, I got socked with long lines, but this is mostly my own fault as circumstances found me going to Tokyo Disneyland on the weekend, when families, couples, and high school students all converge on the world’s only non-Disney owned Disney park.

If you do a search on YouTube, you can find many clips of the rides on tap at Tokyo Disneyland, and I must say, there’s a certain charm and precision at Tokyo Disneyland that’s lacking at the other parks. (Et tu, Hong Kong?)

Whether that justifies 3 hour waits for a Winnie the Pooh ride or a jacked up version of the Haunted Mansion, I’m not entirely certain. All I know is that Disney really needs to export the Tokyo DisneySea park to at least Florida, as that was the first Disney park I went to where it felt like it worked for adults as well as children.

But I digress. One of the things that has somewhat gotten me down in this unexpected Tour de Disney is that It’s A Small World seems to be shutdown at virtually every Disney park (except Hong Kong).

Tokyo? Shut.

Florida? Shut.

California? Shut.

(Were it not for factors involving my Chinese visa I would’ve been able to verify as to whether it was shut in France, but I reckon it probably was.)

Now, the ride admittedly is naff, but given what I’ve been through and the hassles of modern day travel, it would’ve been a nice boost to remember that we’re all the same.

I accept that as a writer, I have a tendency to see metaphors everywhere, and this one was written in bold and underlined twice: The World is really not so small anymore.

True we may be able to travel between in continents in half-a-day, but we’ve lost the sense of commonality. Travelling now for nearly 20 days, I get the sense that as someone doing a long trip home, I’m regarded with a touch of suspicion. Granted, 11 September 01 played a major role in this, but why is it so hard to get back almost a decade later?

Just because we have proof that humans are evil buggers, does that mean that we can no longer accept that we have (and that the vast majority of us are) decent people committed towards peaceful co-existence.

Apparently only in Hong Kong, which seems to be the only place where an American citizen permanently residing in Australia barely raises an eyebrow.

And the local Disneyland still has It’s A Small World.

Next destination:  If birthdates would determine where one should live then I should be living there as opposed to its (probably more fun) neighbour. It’s the Antipodean Canada.


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