Japan In the Land of Mickey-San

Celebrating the New Year in a different kind of shrine

"It's as if we're taking the seeds offered from across the sea and cultivating them into our own Japanese garden," the long-beaked cartoon crane explains to the audio-animatronic figures of a little girl and her brother. "Culture doesn't just come; it develops slowly, richly. Generation after generation has to digest and refine these marvelous influences." The message may seem a little heavy for an amusement park, but the audience in the country's first revolving Carousel Theater is all ears. As the stage revolves, the sagacious bird launches into a lecture on the virtues of isolationism. Finally the Feathered One concludes, "People...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!