Anyway, we went to Disneyland a couple of days ago. The whole point was to meet up with our Japanese friend. He probably wouldn't mind if I used his real name, but since I didn't ask, I'll just call him Kyoya, since that's who he was cosplaying at Anime Expo when we met him. Since we had Mimsy's cancer to deal with, thinking about Disneyland was pretty stressful in and of itself, and planning it involved dealing with people we don't deal with very often, which made it worse. But we eventually got transportation worked out with Gaston, and then we e-mailed Kyoya to let him know when and where to meet.
We picked Sleeping Beauty's castle, because it's much easier to figure out than the front gate. If you've been to Disneyland, you probably know that the front gate area is huge, so it would be a little hard to find people there. But then Kyoya told us he'd never been to Disneyland, and was nervous about getting in, so we rushed to write an e-mail changing the meeting place to something very specific around the front gate, but before we finished, we noticed he'd signed out of Gmail, and we wouldn't be able to check in the morning to confirm stuff, so we decided to go with it.
We got up at six-thirty to make sure we'd be ready when Gaston showed up at eight to pick us up... and of course he didn't get here until around nine-fifteen. This only gave us more time to worry about meeting up with people, riding for four hours with someone we don't know all that well, having to speak Japanese, having to call Kyoya to let him know when we were close, etc. etc., so it was very nerve-wracking. But when Gaston showed up, everything calmed down. He's good at talking, and he has a lot to say, so even though we didn't listen to any music, the long car ride was far from boring. Over the phone, when I was wavering about leaving Oreo all alone for a couple of days, he said he was the wrong person to talk to--animals are for food, that's it. But one of the first things we talked about was his late cat whom he seemed to love very much. He told cool stories about how she'd catch squirrels and terrorize all the other animals in the neighborhood, even though she was the runt of the litter.
When we got to the town where Gaston lives (about an hour from Disneyland, but he works with his dad in Fresno about half the time, which is how this plan was feasible), we stopped by his apartment to pick up his wife. I guess I'll call her Belle, even though the idea of Belle being married to Gaston is very very wrong. Then Gaston started talking about how he wants to get a group of adults together to dress up in costumes and go trick-or-treating at Disneyland, which is awesome, because that's exactly what we wanted to do. We all decided it would be great to all dress as characters from Beauty and the Beast. Gaston would be Gaston (of course), and the two of us and Belle would be the three Silly Girls (apparently that's their official name, in the Broadway show at least) who follow him around. Then we'd get all our other Disneyland associates to be the other characters. We thought Han and Leia could be Belle and the Beast, but then there was talk of getting Gaston's brother and sister-in-law to be them, because Han would make a good LeFou (in the sense that Gaston treats him like a minion). We're not entirely sure they'd let us in the park in these costumes, so we're going to have to check on that, but it would be Pure Awesome.
Anyway, while all this exciting conversation was going, it was getting closer to the time I needed to call Kyoya and let him know we were running late. This idea was terrifying, as I already have a fear of calling people, I would have to borrow a cell phone (doubly terrifying as I would have to impose on someone as well as use a cell phone, which is scarier than a home phone), and I would have to carry out the conversation in Japanese, which is scary enough when my brain is fully functioning (something it rarely does when I'm on a cell phone). But! I did it anyway, and learned that Kyoya had made it safely into the park and had found Sleeping Beauty's castle. That was a relief. And I didn't have quite as much of the residual anxiety I usually get after hanging up, maybe because we immediately started talking with Gaston and Belle again.
When we got to Disneyland, we went straight to the castle... and couldn't see Kyoya anywhere. So we started searching the environs, but then we got distracted by a bird. Gaston noticed that it was a fishing bird, but what kind of fish would it get from the moat at Disneyland? Obviously those little fish swimming around close to the drawbridge, which it then snapped up to show us. And then Gaston pointed out a turtle, and then we were like, "Dude, we have to find Kyoya," so we went back to searching for him. Eventually we called him, and we spotted almost as soon as we started talking.
We introduced everyone and Kyoya left all the decisions to us, as people are wont to do when we take them to Disneyland, so off we went through the castle walkthrough, because it was right there. We immediately got a chance to do a lot of talking in Japanese, because Kyoya hadn't seen Sleeping Beauty since he was really really little, and he didn't know the story at all, so we got to explain all the scenes that were depicted. There was some trouble with trying to figure out the Japanese word for "spinning wheel," but we worked around it by explaining what it does, and he let us know the word is "itomakiki." And I think that's when I calmed down, because it was pretty obvious that he wouldn't judge us for not having perfect Japanese, and if there was a problem, we could work it out.
After going on Peter Pan's Flight, we headed toward Adventureland in search of chimichangas for Belle and Gaston, and Kyoya got one too. While Kyoya bought his, Gaston told us the plan about how he and Belle were going to go on ahead and meet us at Pirates of the Caribbean, but I only heard the last part, so we walked toward Pirates and they were gone. We still don't know what they were doing, but we sat and let Kyoya eat for a bit. He took the opportunity while Gaston and Belle were gone to give us the presents he had brought us! Yay! There were two mugs--one representing Gin from Gintama, and one with a couple of girls from ToraDora on it. He told us to please use them, and we are planning on it--just like we're planning to start watching more Gintama and see if we can somehow find a legal way to watch ToraDora. Also, we were very glad we'd brought the signed Trigun stuff we'd gotten for him at AX, because we would have felt bad getting presents if we didn't have anything for him, especially after he already bought us the Saiyuki Musical DVD.
We finally found the lost couple and went on Pirates, after which the same couple got distracted by the fine jewelry store in New Orleans Square. It's so cute how they look at jewelry together. But they spend a loooooong time doing it, so we took Kyoya on Indiana Jones, which he absolutely loved. So, since the line was only ten minutes long (shocking!), we went on it again! We went on some more rides, eventually making it to Finding Nemo, where we met up with Gaston's brother and sister-in-law, and a couple of friends of theirs. Gaston's sister-in-law had just come back from a six week stay in Singapore, so she and Kyoya had a fun time talking about that, which is when we really got to practice interpreting (as opposed to just talking). Kyoya seemed to understand a lot of what Babette (that's who we originally cast her as in our cosplay scheme, but she didn't seem to thrilled; another reason we thought to switch her to Belle) said, and he used a fair amount of English, but occasionally there would be a blank (or questioning) look on somebody's face, which would be our cue to step in and help out. It was really neat, actually.
Finally, we caught the second half of the parade/block party/thing, and then for some dumb reason the park closed at six. Disneyland almost never closes at six. We think it's because some dumb company had to have a private party. Lame. But that's okay, because Kyoya commented on how we'd gone on a lot of rides, and how he was tired, so we figure nobody got cheated out of more time at the park or anything.
After a little window-shopping on Main Street, we went to dinner at an Italian restaurant in Downtown Disney (Gaston had a coupon!). That was when things got really interesting, but there was so much happening all at once that I would be hard pressed to recount any of it. But everybody had a really good time. I had been a little worried that, since we spent so much time talking to Kyoya in Japanese, Gaston and Belle might be a little bored or something (I should have known better from them), but they both really enjoyed watching Kyoya enjoying the rides. Gaston said he likes it when people enjoy life the way Kyoya did.
Kyoya left us at the restaurant (his friend picked him up when we were done eating), and the rest of us went to do some more window shopping in Downtown Disney. We lost everybody at one point to discover that they had gone to the restroom, and when Gaston took a long time coming out, there was a conversation that we were very glad we didn't have to interpret. (When I said as much, one of Gaston's brother's friends said that was the funniest thing anyone had said yet.)
Eventually we parted ways, and we went to stay the night at Gaston and Belle's apartment. On the way there, we talked about our cosplay plan some more, and they told us about the Sewing Machine of Pure Awesome they have on lay-away. What really impressed us about it is that you can wind the bobbin with ribbon, and it will sew with the ribbon! Shock! That's just too cool. And they said if they started making more money, they would upgrade to the one that embroiders. Ooooohh. In the meantime, we have been given the job of finding a good pattern to use for making the Silly Girls' costumes. And all of us are very happy that we can feasibly make the dresses with muslin and/or broadcloth.
At the apartment, we got to talking about church stuff with Gaston (he's the gospel doctrine teacher in his ward), and ended up staying up until two in the morning. It was kind of creepy, because they had the hall light on, and we were in the living room, with the light off (since we were supposedly going to sleep), so he was all backlit and shadowy. Then his wife came back out of their bedroom and turned the living room light on and the hall light off, and we were all like, "Oh. I guess we should go to sleep."
The next morning, Belle made crepes for everyone, and Gaston made scrambled eggs with pumpkin seed oil (it made the eggs green, but tasted pretty much the same from what I could tell). After breakfast, Gaston showed us his mermaid movie. Apparently there's a website, so I would link to it, but he never told us the link. It's called "Fish & Chip," so you can probably Google it. It has a surprise ending, and I don't want to give it away, but it was kind of horrifying. And yet I don't think I hate it.
We got to talking some more, quoting Animaniacs and stuff, and then I remembered I needed to be back by seven so I could go visiting teaching. So we finally headed out, only now we were all exhausted so instead of talking we listened to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. And I remembered once again that I have very little memory of what happened in that book. Maybe someday, when we're not busy with various crazy schemes and video games, we'll reread the whole series. I guess we'd have to buy the first few before we can do that. Boo. (Boo to the lack of already having them.)
And now here we are, already tired from our crazy work schedule (which isn't really all that crazy, but this book is really hard, whine whine whine), but excited about our cosplay plans.
Today I'm thankful for having awesome group cosplay plans, the mugs that Kyoya gave us, Gaston not having any problem loaning me his phone to make a sort of international phone call, not having to interpret that conversation, and having a super awesome time with everybody.