Colonel Nedley Lostmore, Doctor of Jungle Medicine

Hidden inside a bazaar, off the beaten track, in an adventurous land far from civilization, where the paths are thick with dense vegetation and an ancient temple can be seen in the distance, one can meet the self-proclaimed “Doctor of Jungle Medicine,” Colonel Nedley Lostmore.

He has, in fact, lost more than most of us since all that remains is his head … his shrunken head. Despite this seemingly insurmountable dilemma, the good doctor (known to the natives as “Shrunken Ned”) dispenses medical advice for up to 16 hours a day depending on his mood and the season.

It’s not free, though, and he’s quite up front about that—until you part with two bits he won’t even look at you.

To see the wooden contraption that is Shrunken Ned, you’d think it was built in the late 1950s or early 60s, and has been at Disneyland for most of the park’s existence. But while one group of The Walt Disney Company’s Imagineers were busy developing the most sophisticated ride in the history of the park, “Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye,” another group designed a retro coin-op machine that, like so many of its fortune-telling ancestors, dispenses a card of wisdom (of a sort) at the end. He’s been the sole medical practitioner in this corner of the jungle since 1995.

So, while Colonel Nedley Lostmore has only occupied his little spot in the South Sea Traders shop for 22 years, it seems like he’s always been there. Read the rest

I went to Tokyo Disneyland Cosplay Day and it was spectacular

If I have to pick the single best Disney theme park in the world, it’s always going to be the one Walt built — Disneyland in Anaheim, California. It really is different, and better, than anyplace else and the people who run it and work there take special pride in that. But the best Disney Resort in the world, taking into account all its parks, hotels, special seasonal events, and transportation (don’t you hate waiting for those buses in Orlando?) has to be The Tokyo Disney Resort. It’s has the second best Magic Kingdom style park in the world, with many unique rides. They’re really big on seasonal events, too, and they go all-out for Halloween.

Plenty has been written about Cosplay (i.e., “costume” + “play”) in Tokyo, but people mostly focus on dressing up as manga and anime characters in Harajuku — on the Harajuku Jingu Bridge; coincidentally right next to the cicadas singing in Mejii-Jingu — and in Akihabara.

Less well known is that for precisely 10 days in early September and 7 days in late October, The Tokyo Disney Resort has official Cosplay days where adults are allowed to come to Tokyo Disneyland in full costume. Here, however, the only costumes allowed are Disney characters (no surprise). These are not the tired schleppers dragging their kids around you see in the U.S. In Tokyo Disneyland there is a regal quality to the care with which the cosplayers make the costumes and the pride which with they wear them. Read the rest