Friday, March 28, 2008

Japan You Are Going To Be Missed

Less than ONE WEEK LEFT!!! Things are going well. I have been having a blast this last month here in Tokyo. I have been so busy hanging out and getting all ready to go back to NYC. I am so excited.


This past month we had a sayonara party. It was so sad to know that I probably won't see most of these people anymore. I met some great people and hope that we can keep in touch. The shows have been going great. I have been getting some fan letters. It is so nice to hear what they have to say plus they send me pictures of the show. I love them. There is one family who have been great and sent me some great pictures and letters. They are an amazing family. They have 2 cute daughters. I love it when they are at the show. They are always smiling and having a good time which in return make me enjoy being on stage. It's a great feeling.





Well, this is my last post. I am thinking of keeping it and just change it a little for my experience in New York. Keep checking ;)
I am not going to make this long and sentimental. But I have to say since I have been here I had some rough times and had some really really good ones. The good experiences definitely out way the bad ones. I learned alot out here. The Japanese are great people and being around them had made me a better person. Coming out here was a rough decision for me and at times I thought maybe it was a wrong choice. But the other day, when I was back stage ready to go on for a number, it hit me. I felt like being here was so worth it. I made some great friends, explored a great country, put some smiles on some faces, and realized that the gospel is hands down one of the most important things in my life and needed it more than anything.


I want to thank everyone who supported me in this journey. I look forward to seeing you all again and sharing with you my experiences. Please feel free to ask me anything about it. I would love to share.


ARIGATO GOZAIMASHITA JAPAN! I LOVE YOU!

Tony








Monday, March 3, 2008

Another Birthday Gone By

My Very Japanese Birthday was so much FUN! I had such a great weekend. It started Friday night. I went Latin Dancing with a couple of people in an area of Tokyo called Roppongi. Here are some pics.













After a late night, I had to go to work the next day. I was A shift which meant that I had the first 2 shows. I knew I could do them fine and also I knew that I would be taking a nap for the rest of the day until it was time to go home. I was excited but I was woken up by my cast singing and the girls wishing me a very Japanese Birthday.

(Pic was deleted sorry.)



Those girls are crazy and I love them! There was also yummy cake that I will post pics of it later. Another cast member took the picture with his camera. I was half asleep and couldn't remember to take a pic :)

The next day Sunday I was lucky to get it off. I went to church and then to a members home(The Welch's) for a birthday dinner. It was very nice of them.




It was a long weekend eating alot of food and cake. Today on my day off I went to the Gym to work it off and rested which was well needed. Today will be a month before I head to NYC. I am excited. This month is going to fly by I have a feeling. I am going to have visitors for a couple of days in the middle of March. It a guy I met while doing Peter Pan and South Pacific at the end of 2006. He was a roommate of mine for a month. I don't really know him that well but he and his friend needed a place to stay. So I am sure I will be showing them around and hanging out. Its going to be fun.

I want to thank everyone who wished me a Happy Birthday. Thanks for all the emails, posts, gifts, food...and the LOVE! I really do appreciate it. I feel really loved. Thank you!

Love,

Tony

Friday, February 22, 2008

Jose Can Ju See...



Believe it or not I took this picture in Tokyo. There is a replica of the French gift to the United States The Statue of Liberty in this area of Tokyo call Odiaba. I've heard about it but haven't had a chance to check it out for myself until last weekend. It was crazy when I finally approached it. There were these feelings that came over me. I guess being that this statue represent so much I really felt the impact it had on me when I saw it even though I was in a far far far asian island called Japan. I also thought it was interesting that they had it up with the history we the US had with the Japanese. I know everything is fine now but still a little interesting. It is actually outside this great mall where I found a Red Lobster, Sizzler where I had lunch(I love salad bars) and a Cinnabon which was a really hard temptation to say no to. I had already eaten ice cream that day and just couldn't find it in me to have a huge Cinnabon. But I will be back there soon enough and it will be a party! I can't wait.


Anyway, I also went to a place where I think if my nephew Andrew knew where I was he would pee his pants. Yes, I went to the Pokemon Center in Tokyo and as far as I know is the only one still open. I could be completely wrong. But I know there was only one in the US in NYC but that closed down and turned into Nintendo World or something. Needless to say, if he is a really good boy and when he graduates from 5th grade...he might get some really cool Pokemon stuff that you can only get here in Tokyo at this store. If my sister is reading this, you can tell him about it or keep it a surprise. I am really doing this so I can gain a "cool" uncle status. I hope this works:)


Time is winding down. March 3rd will be the month mark for me to fly back to the good ole US of A. My birthday is coming up next week aslo. March 1st if any of you forgot! ha! I can't believe another year has almost passed since my last one. It is true what they say about how your birthdays keep coming quicker and quicker the older you get. I remember in my YOUTH......when birthdays were such a big deal and you couldn't what when they would come and hated when they would leave. I just want them to stop and never show its face again. Ha! Actually I don't care again aint nothing but a number. I still feel young, new and have a whole world out there for me to explorer. I also want to take this time to give a shout out to my other nephew Chad who is closer to my age than the other. He has a birthday just 2 days before mine on the 28th. Happy Freakin' Birthday! And don't worry no Pokemon Center stuff for you but I will still try to find something just as cool.
Tony

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Giving Life a Chance

video
Ordinary People by John Legend sung by yours truly

So this is my Valentine's Present for those 2 people who read this. lol. I was really embarrassed and nervous doing it and putting it on here for the world to see. *blushing*...here comes the excuses. So I ran out of batteries and only had 2 takes before my camera died. So this is what you get. There are some wrong notes and there is a point where it looks like I am having a seizure but hey...I was into it:) I hope you enjoy a little of me(my song). I love you all and wish you a very Happy Valentine's Day.

On another note, I have been thinking alot lately about life. There was recently a death in my family. My cousin David died at 35 from a severe Heartatack. It was sudden and shocking. It was hard to not be with the family at this hard time and being so far away. I hope they know that I love them and wished I could be there. Death really makes you reflect on life and how we need to embrace every moment we are blessed with here on earth. We shouldn't let anything pass us by. I guess I have been a little selfish lately not wanting to be here and being in a bad mood wanting something more or better. But you know, we live once and there is so much that life has to offer. I need to take advantage of this time here in Japan and in this life. I know there is alot here on earth I need to learn before I return to my Heavenly Father. Oh IS there alot I need to learn. But I appreciate all the awesome and not so awesome experiences that teach and humble me. I know that my cousin David is in a good place. He was young but I think Heavenly Father needed him and wanted to give rest to someone who suffered alot. Bless him and his family at this time. I sure love you all!

Happy Valentin's Day!
Tony

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Be Our Guest but......


So the happiest place on earth is not so happy. The residents of E-Villahe(where all foreigner performers live) received a letter in our mailboxes the other day explaining a new policy in which we are not going to be able to have any overnight guests taken effect on April 1st. Everyone freaked out with this news and are NOT HAPPY. I didn't really care cause I haven't anyone visit me and I don't think I will and I leave Aoril 3rd so it doean't concern me. But there are many staying and doing another contract and new guys who don't find this very reasonable. So we had a meeting here and signed a petition to have the policy lifted. We talked about if our petition doesn't go through that we are talking about a STRIKE or all call in SICK one day. Doing that will cause HELL. Disney would have to shut down and they will loose alot of money. Not only that but the press will get of hold of this and will be very bad press for Disney. I don't think it will go that far. I am hopeing they will listen to our concerns and change the policy back to what is was letting anyone stay overnight if they sign in with a proper ID. We will see what happens. The petition is going to the office in a couple of days. I love the drama. A little piece of me wants to do a STRIKE and see how much press it gets. I will stand in front of Disney with a sign that says: "Be Our Guest. Be Our Guest...but you can't stay overnight!"

So the other day there was the first snow here in Disney. It was really pretty and snowed all day. So that equals NO WORK! So needless to say that for this time only in my life I welcome the snow to drop.









Saturday, February 2, 2008

Change is Gonna Come


I am comletely obsessed with the Prsidential Elections. CNN is the culprit because it is the only English speaking channel I get in my apartment so it is on all the time. I usually have it on in the background while I get ready in the morning for work and have breakfast and on when I get home while making dinner and while checking my email.

This year's election is so much more interesting than any others in the past. I wish I was in the states so that I can vote and fel more part of it. But I am not and I will support whoever is right for the job in my mind when I get back. I do like Mitt Romney and being Mormon I feel it is my right to back him and give him my vote. But I am more interested in the change Obama and Clinton are offering and campaining with. We are making history and we are all part of it. There might be a woman or a black man for president. Whaaat! I don't think when I was in High shcool I even imagine that would happen in my life time. Wow, I sounded old saying that geesh! I do think it is really awesome. What I hope for is that there are real changes in our country and that we can feel more at ease living in our own country. Some of the issues that I am interested in; The Economy and Health Care. I feel like those 2 things directly effect me. I don't have issurance and because I can't afford it. I think that is very important among the other million things that our country needs like the war in Iraq, Taxes, making college more affordable...the list goes on and on. Let there be change. I usually vote republican but I think I will back a democrat this year. I am not going to disclose who I would vote for but I do have a front runner in mind that I will gladly stand by.

Well, Life here in Tokyo is good. It is still really cold and I stay in doors as much as I can wich is a tad depressing. So needless to say I have spent alot of money to entertain myself so that I don't go completely insane with the same boring routine. I have been taking some dance classes, working out more, reading more, and tyring to really take advantage of visiting all the cool diffrent parts of Tokyo. 2 months left! CRAZY!

Monday, January 28, 2008

In Memoriam of...



Gordon B. Hinckley President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints died Sunday night March 27th 2008. He was 97. As everyone knows that I am Mormon. He was our President/Prophet since 1995. He was the only President I have known since I joined the church. He was a good man and always spoke with overwhelming conviction. He meant alot to me. He was the one that got me on a mission through a talk he gave about a year before I turned 18. I remember reading many books by him especially Standing for Something and Be Thou an Example. He had profound knowledge. His words helped me through many things in my life. One thing that I will remember about him was that he was always full of love and showed it to everyone. You can just feel it when he spoke. He has done alot for the Church. The many temples he had built is a testimony to that. I just wish I can be just a portion of the great man that he was. I believe he is up in heaven with his wife preaching the gospel like he did here on earth. The earth is a better place because he was in it. I will miss Gordon B. Hinckley.

For a full article on Gordon B. Hinckley's death visit: http://www.sltrib.com/ci_8095453

Monday, January 21, 2008

How About A Shave...


Its Official. Sweeney Todd is one of my favorite musicals. I fell in love with it when I actually did a concert version of the show in Utah. I played M. Pirelli. I really loved that role for reasons I can't really disclose cause if you haven't seen it it will spoil the movie for you. I also enjoyed the character. He is bigger than life and who doesn't like acting stiff like that. I saw the movie tonight and I loved it! It was a fuse of 2 genres that I love the most. Horror and Musicals. It was brilliant. Tim Burton = Brilliant. I did have some issues with the movie. Some of the singing voices weren't my favorite. Johnny Depp was so good though. I really enjoyed his voice 'cause it was grounded and powerful. I have to warn you that there is alot of blood in this movie. I am still trying to figure out the reasoning behind the almost comedic blood spills in the movie. In a way I liked the contrast it was with the muted really dark cinematography. But it was really really gruesome. I guess thats what makes it a horror movie. Honestly I am not sure it is categorized as a horror. I think its more of a thriller/suspense/drama. Which genres I enjoy also. Well, I didn't want to make this a review but I really liked the movie.

So things are kinda drab. Nothing really exciting going on. I have been trying to stay indoors as much as I can. On my days off I have been running errands and taking class at Broadway Dance Center here in Tokyo. I have taken class from really great teachers. Some from NY. I have also met some cool Japanese dancers. I was invited to dinner dinner with a Hip-Hop teacher and some people from class next week. The teacher is actually Nick Gonzalez. He is Puerto Rican! Wha wha!!! We talked alittle and he is a very nice guy. He was telling me all the things he has done. So AMAZING! Apparently, he and Brian Friedman are TIGHT. He got noticed when he was on So You Think You Can Dance seasons 1 and 2. I don't rememer him but I believe him. Brian saw him and hooked him up with jobs sooon after he was kicked off. He has been teaching all across the world. I am excited to pick his brain and maybe he can hook me up with a job somehow/somewhere down the road. You never know. He is also hooking me up with alot of HOT music. He's gonna make me a CD of the music he uses in his class. So DOPE! I don't usually use that word but hip-hoping it today got me all ghettoized. It is in my blood. Lets be honest! Today we danced to Janet's new song "Feedback." It is such a HOT song. Download it if you haven't already. Alright I am tired. I am gonna be really sore tomorrow. PEACE Yo!

Culture Corner:
Japanese don't leave the movie theatre until the credits are all DONE. I think they consider it rude and dangerous. Rude cause it's considerate to wait until the movie is completely over. And dangerous cause everything is so dark. I dunno. I am just guessing. So I stayed as long as I could until I had to get up and leave. I guess I haven't turned all Japanese just yet.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Blowing Smoke


I visited ASAKUSA a more traditional Japanese town in Tokyo with temples, Shrines, and a tourist shopping paradise. I went with my Japanese Mormon friend called Tomo. She was nice enough to show me around. After being a good tourist we had a traditional noodle soup called Soba. They usually have Soba at the beginning of the New Year. I loved IT! It was soooo GOOD! Here are some pictures:

A little foot bridge bridge that is over 400 years old.


A cool street off to the side.


The Big Temple in Asakusa


I have to explain this one. In front of the temple there is this fire gazebo and people waft(sp) the smoke over for the part of the body they want healing. Tomo said when she was a child her dad would waft the smoke on her head so she would be smart at school. She said it worked. She was a straight A student :) I tried to have the smoke cover my whole BODY!


Real Japanese people making fire for the Smoke Ritual


Underneath that statue was a troff of water where the Japanese would wash their hands before entering the temple.


A little shrine near the temple


The big shopping street in front of the temple that sold many neat Japanese trinkets. It reminded me a little of a cleaner more organized china town in NYC.


Me as a fat Japanese philosopher. hahaha.


Tomo as a French/Japanese limo driver???
\

Culture Corner:
So Buddhism is the major religion here in Japan. There are really into rituals and symbolism. Nowadays about 90 million people consider themselves Buddhists in Japan. However, the religion does not directly affect the everyday life of the average Japanese very strongly. Funerals are usually carried out in a Buddhist way, and many households keep a small house altar in order to pay respect to their ancestors.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Year of the RAT!


HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL! It feel like its been a while since I've blogged. Its 2008! I should do better at blogging we'll see how that goes. I do have some resolutions that I made but I'll spare you the details. Maybe I'll share a few. I decided I want to learn the Piano. I want to get a teacher and get lessons. I think i am going to start here in Japan. I need to find a teacher...hmmm. I have others but they are boring and some personal. But I hope every one has started their New Year healthy and with a positive mind set of what this year could bring. I celebrated my New Year at a Latin club in Roppongi(party district in Tokyo). Before the club I went to the big Tokyo Tower to take some pictures. I am not a clubber so it was weird to go to this club alone. But I had a good time met some ladies and danced the night away. When it was ready to count down I didn't know if I should count down in English, Spanish cause I was at a Latin Club, Japanese cause I was in Japan or French just because I can. So I think I started in English then went to Spanish then I ended up in Japanese. Crazy...I know but what an experience to be in a Latin bar in Japan, not knowing a soul, and bringing in the new year. I left around 1am and met up with some people from Disney at a local bar by our apartment. It was mostly those who had to work the countdown shows. It was fun to see them. Around 3:30am I decided to call it a night and head home, SOBER by the way. I am happy to report I am 28 years SOBER :) Anyway, the next day. I watched CNN and saw the ball drop in NYC. I was missing NYC. After I rushed out my apartment because I was late meeting someone to go see National Treasure. There is a funny story while leaving. While in the Elevator I met this girl that was visiting a friend. I wished her a Happy New Year. She then states that I was the first person she has talked to all year. I told her she was lucky :) I wished her a good day as I rushed to go get my bike at the lot in the back of the building. I decided that I should invite her to the movies. So as I leave and go out the front doors to see if I can catch this girl I see her on the floor holding her ankles and balling her eyes out. I freak out and drop my bike to see what was wrong. In her hiccupy, cute accent(I think Australian) she says she fell off the concrete steps outside the doors while fidgeting with her Ipod. She also says she thinks she sprained her ankle. I ask her if she wants me to call an ambulance. She said no that she just needs to put ice on it. I then pick her up and take her to the elevator. By this time she wants to walk. So I let her go. I felt bad she went upstairs alone. I called her friend she was visiting to make sure he knows she was hurt. While all this is happening my friend is calling me and texting me to hurry up. I was in such panic. Ahhh! I should have just taking her to the room and made sure she was OK and had ice. I just felt so bad for this girl. Her first steps in 2008 and she falls and sprains her ankle. That can't be a good sign. Or maybe she is getting all the bad stuff out of the way first. hmm? Well, I hope she is OK. When I picked her up and took her to the elevator I kinda felt like the Knight in Shining Armor rescuing the damsel in distress. I am going to check up on her tonight and see how she is doing. Story of sprained ankle girl to be continued...

So in Asia they use the Chinese astrology calendar. I am not too familiar with it all but in Japan it is the year of the RAT in the 12 year cycle in the Chinese animal zodiac. In Chinese astrology the zodiac of twelve animal signs represents twelve different types of personality. The zodiac traditionally begins with the sign of the Rat. So what this all means ..I dunno but I do know that Disney is using this to their advantage. Because some times the Year of the Rat can be interchangeable with the Year of the Mouse. Rat...Mouse....MICKEY MOUSE! So get this. I just figured this out today. This might take some math skill. Hope you can handle it :) The year of the Rat is every 12 years. 12 animals naturally Rat being the first in the cycle. So if we count down in multiples of 12 from now we get, 1996(year of the rat) and 1984(year of the rat). Guess what opened in 1984....you got it. Disney Land Tokyo. So this year being the year of the Rat/Mouse again marking the.....drum roll please....25th anniversary of the park. How cool is that! So this year they are using that to their advantage as a marketing point. There are going to be many special events through out the year. This is a big year for TDL. I hope they do well. So I am counting this as my Culture Corner which I haven't done in a while. hehehe! In all this research I found out what my Chinese zodiac animal was when I was born. I was born on the year of the SHEEP. Every animals has personalities that go with them and I freaked out how spot on my animal was.

Sheep (hitsuji) --- Born 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967, 1955, 1943, 1931, 1919, 1907
People born in the year of the Sheep are elegant, highly accomplished in the arts, passionate about nature. At first glance, they seem to be better off than the people born in other years. They are deeply religious and passionate in whatever they do and believe in.

I love IT! All of that is so TRUE to me. Made me smile and chuckle to myself. So when I am acting Sheepish. You'll understand.


Anyway, I am really excited about this year. I feel like its going to be a year of change for me. I am not sure what kind of change but I know its going to be good change. I wish everyone the best in this year to come. God bless you all with health and a strong will to accomplish all your goals you have set for yourselves in this new year, 2008!

Here are some pics of Christmas and stuff:


Pumpkin Spice Cake w/ Honey Cream Cheese frosting I made for dinner at the Welch's. YUMMY!


Creepy Reindeer Dancers on parade at Disneyland


Cinderella Castle at Christmas


Family I spent Christmas Eve and morning with. They gave me American cereal for Christmas. SO AWESOME!


Cy and I at Disney Sea on Christmas day!


Mariachi Band at the place we had dinner over at the Mexican part of Disney Sea


Tokyo Tower on New Year's Eve