Universal Studios Japan
03.10.2006 23 °C
Sunday and Monday had been overcast and bleak. Rain washed intermitently acrosses the gray streets as a parade of coloured umbrellas spun in the long shadows.
I pulled out my mobile and jumped on the internet. Tuesday - 23C Fine. After the London weather, and lack of school holidays, we expected USJ to be quieter midweek.
K. and I caught the train out early. Hankyu to Umeda, Osaka Loop Line, and a switch to a local. At the final station, we departed from a packed train and wandered past Western stores; McDonalds, Hard-Rock Cafe, United Bentton. The crowd accompanied us down towards the large gateway and we joined one of the quieter lines near the giant rotating world globe; golden letters sparkling across its equator as mist danced beneath it.
After 40 minutes shuffling forward we paid the 5800 yen, grabbed an English and Japanese park map and wandered through to another world.
Large mascots of Popeye and Cats wandered around will over-enthusic staff snapped kodak moments for family and kids. It was Halloween time and the park was liberally littered with grinning pumpkins, ghosts and witches. The Addamms Family tune with trademark clicking seemed slow as we dashed for the Spiderman ride.
We walk through the entrance and weaved our way to the back of a 70 minute queue, inching closer and closer every few minutes. The path was splashed with Japanese speaking cartoons, telling of Spidey's woes and the menacing close-ups of four villians bent of control. Donning our super cool blue 3D glasses, we joined another 9 people and were tossed and turned in our efforts to help save the city.
Next up, the Waterworld show.
Costumed performers stood near the stage filling bucket after bucket of water. Judging from the first ten rows covering themselves with plastic, ponchos and anything else, we were in for a wet action adventure.
Off to the animatronic log ride of Jurassic Park ...
... and back to the central plaza for a musical dance of the dead.
We made a quick trip through time with the help of Doc Brown going Back to the Future; were attacked by a shark hell bent on human blood in Jaws and zipped around a cartoon on the Snoopy rollar coaster.
As the day drew to a close, we jumped on some flying bicycle and flew on a midnight journey across a cityscape and amoungst the stars with ET.
Before the ride, we were required to get a "passport", a credit card which required our name. I was told I need this to visit ETs homeplanet. I never imagined how musical it was with singing plants and dancing mushrooms. Towards the end, ET personally bid us all goodbye by name, although he had a Japanese pronunciation and didnt quite nail mine "Goodbye Shi-nen"
We bolt back to grab another trip an Spiderman and we relieved to fine the queues down to a brisk 25minute wait. Everyone was grabbing good seats for the Neverland night show. We got to it just as Peter was waking up.
USJ Entrance - Nite
We left the park after and wandered back through the streets to go to a local Takoyaki museum. There were 8 or 9 resturants with various octupus dumplings flavours. We bought a ticket from a vending machine and shared a coke, and good food before returning to Juso for a well earned rest.