A Travellerspoint blog

April 2006

USJ

Caveman styles! If you're hungry, make your way to the Jurassic Park area... you can buy turkey legs for ¥650.

Universal.jpg

It was Golden Week vacation. Both Andrew and I had picked up four overtime shifts each to bring in some extra cash to finance future travel plans. So, with three days off to do whatever we wanted, we decided to go and check out Universal Studios Japan to see what it was all about. I hadn`t been to a large theme park since I visited Canada`s Wonderland over 10 years ago, so I was pretty interested to see what the older me would think of the whole thing.

When we were heading to Universal we had to take switch trains twice. We made the first change ok, but we got on an express train that stopped at fewer stations than we thought. So we were a little confused on when to switch trains. Then we saw this, and we figured it was a good time to switch!

Universal Train.jpg

Universal Studios doesn't have a whole lot of flip-turn-spin-fast moving rides; it`s mostly a 'making of' movies type of place. So they had 'rides' for Jurassic Park, Jaws, Spiderman, and some others. For it being a major holiday week for everyone here, the park was not nearly as crowded as I thought it was going to be. Still, we got there at around noon, which gave us plenty of time to take in what we wanted to see and get the hell out of dodge.

The attractions were evenly divided between those with a 3D/video component, and those with actual moving parts. Here's a brief run-down:

1. Terminator: stage show with 3D component. Actors interact with the 3D images on the screen, and there is some moving and shaking of the spectator seats.
2. Back to the Future: you get in the Deloreon, and you get jolted around as you fly through time after Bif. Also has a 3D/Imax component.
3. Backdraft: a couple of video clips are played in a couple of different rooms before you're led into this huge set where they basically light everything on fire. Thought my hair was going to get torched.
4. Jaws: waited in line for a freaking hour. The last time I was in line that long was at the bookstore during second year (before I wised to the fact that none of my books were going to sell out). Anyhow, the line weaves through this museum-type setting with displays about maritime life in New England, so all in all the wait could've been more painful. You finally get in a boat (which is on an underwater track), and the guide shoots at an animatronic shark in the water. There's a bit of pyrotechnics, and then you kill the shark and the ride is over. Good point: it was nice to be in a 'boat' on the water.
5. Jurassic Park: you get in a boat on a track, and it takes you through some animatronic displays of plant eating dinosaurs, and then through the raptor compound where everything has escaped. You enter a darkened control bunker, get spat at by Dilophosaurus, taken up a ridiculously tall ramp past Velociraptors wreaking havoc. You level off, however briefly, and a Tyrannosaurus starts attacking. You then start to fall down a wicked steep waterfall through the darkness, and end up in a pool of water. Best. Ride. Ever. Though I was going to die.
6. Spiderman: about a half hour in line. The line wove through the offices of the Daily Bugle. You get in a car/pod vehicle, and it jolts and rises and falls corresponding to the 3D images on the huge screen in front of you. When the screen villains throw fire at you, you get hot; when there's water, you get misted with it. When Spiderman swings, you feel the movement. It was pretty cool and entirely believable.

Here are a few different pictures from our day. As you can tell we spent a lot of time at the Back to the Future ride and took a lot of pictures there.

Bubba Gump.jpg Charlie Brown.jpg Delorean.JPG Doc Brown.jpg

Posted by agc_cwm 20:53 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Cherry Blossoms

Or another excuse for the Japanese to drink.


View Summer Vacation 2006 on agc_cwm's travel map.

Every year in April the cherry blossoms come out. Most trees here are cherry blossoms, so there are pink blossoms everywhere. The trees on the southern island of Kyushu bloom first and there are actually updates in the newspaper telling where the cherry blossoms are blooming now.

This is a very big celebration every year. What people do is they get a tarp or a blanket and go have a picnic and get drunk underneath the blossoms.

So, we decided to make our way back up to Kyoto and Arashiyama to check out the cherry blossoms and see what the deal is.

Cherry Blossoms.jpg Cherry Blossoms 2.jpg Gnome and CBs.jpg Boats.jpg

Sure, it's pretty awesome to see a blanket of pink flowers lining the riverbanks and train lines. I actually prefer the plum blossoms to the cherry blossoms. They bloom slightly earlier, and the flowers are the size of your palm. Most are white, but there are some that are pinkish, and others that are white on the inside but purple on the outside.

This was also the first day we decided to get crêpes. There are crêpe stalls all over the place here. they make you a really thin crêpe and roll it up with whatever sweet or savoury filling you want. I'm partial to the chocolate-almond-custard-whipped cream ones. Andrew likes the ones with berries and ice cream (he also thinks there was corn flakes in the one he had), but those aren't tidy enough for me to eat. You can get ones with chicken salad and sandwich-type fillings too. They're so good. In general there are a lot of places to get sweets here. It's amazing not many people here are overweight.

Needless to say, we're probably going to have a lot more crêpes while we're here.

Posted by agc_cwm 20:28 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

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