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If we were sweltering in the heat, our summer travels in Japan might not be as enjoyable.  As luck would have it, the heat has not been oppressive, nor has the rainy season rained on our parade.  There’s been just enough heat so that when I pass a seductive soft serve stand, there’s not a minute’s hesitation about buying one for immediate consumption.  My granddaughter is cut from the same cloth, I’m happy to discover.


Yesterday, we discovered a 1950’s era small vintage amusement park in Tokyo.  It was a little shabby around the edges, but delighted me because of its total simplicity and easy charm.


The kids were all having a wonderful time.  It brought back memories for me of Mountain Park, a long – gone amusement park in the foothills of the Berkshire Hills in Western Massachusetts.  I grew up idling away many a fine summer’s day there, neatly ramming other friend’s bumper cars and eagerly reaching for the golden ring on the carousel. Those pastimes provided hours of pleasure.


The setting of the park in the center of Tokyo provided the same joy to a new generation of children as Mountain Park had done for me.  The playful and colorful surroundings shouted “summer!”


The summers of my childhood seemed endless at the time, but in retrospect, it was fleeting and precious as is life itself.

For a brief time yesterday, I captured the intoxication, joy and squeals of a summer’s day.   

Dianne Vapnek

In an attempt to slow life's quickening pace, I'm writing to share my personal perspective on the aging process, its dilemmas, the humorous self-deception, the insights and the adventure of it all. I spent the bulk of my time in beautiful Santa Barbara, CA, but manage to get to NYC a few times times a year. I've been a dancer/dance teacher and dance supporter almost all my life. For the past20years, I help create and produce a month-long creative residency in Santa Barbara for contemporary American choreographers and their dancers. It's been incredibly gratifying. This year, I decided it's time to retire! Big change. I also now spend several weeks a year in Kyoto Japan, residing for several weeks in the spring and the fall. I've been magnetically attracted to Japan for many years. Now I live out a dream to live there part-time.


  • mark dendy says:

    wow! i bet your granddaughter is having the time of her life!!!

  • Sheri Overall says:

    Dianne ~~ it looks like you’re giving your grand daughter a wonderful time! Love the “vintage” amusement park: especially the carousel.

  • Michael and I really enjoyed seeing and reading about the 1950’s amusement park in Tokyo, Dianne. You took us there, and we shared in your pleasure and nostalgia as well.

  • Gail Rieke says:

    I think the gold ring is firmly in hand now!

  • Nancy Rosenthal says:

    Your post brought back so many nice memories of days at Mountain Park. It was a gem and we were so lucky that we were allowed to take a public bus to get there and our parents assumed that we were safe and that all would go well. Nancy

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