Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Nov 15 2013

Osaka, part 1

I haven’t written anything so far on my trip to Osaka because we’ve been busy running around every day, rain or shine, and only now have I had any time to write. And I don’t have much time at the moment either. I didn’t even have enough time to take many notes, so this account will be sparse. Oh, well.

My traveling companions this time include Chenbl, his co-worker Xiao Guo, and Chenbl’s Guatemalan friend Carlos, who is visiting. I was running late getting out the door, only to find Xiao Guo eating an ice cream cone at the Xindian MRT where we’d arranged to meet. Xiao Guo loves ice cream and is always posting pictures of himself making funny faces at various kinds of ice cream on Facebook.

We had plenty of time, though, and the flight to Osaka was delayed, so we could sit and contemplate the wonderful weather we were leaving from the departure lounge, amusing ourselves with some old pictures of Xiao Guo from when he was considerably larger.

The flight was fine; we took the long subway train into Osaka as Chenbl issued reams of various coupons for travel and sightseeing purposes. When we got to the Toyoko Inn Higashi where we had reservations, we learned not only that they had screwed up our reservations and only booked one room instead of two, but every other hotel in the tri-city area was completely booked solid as well. We blame Autumn. They managed to find another room for me and Xiao Guo for a few days, but for the next couple of days, we will all be staying in one tiny room.

It was raining when we left the hotel the next morning after an ok hotel breakfast. We took the subway out to Universal Studios, which was packed solid due to a Halloween event. I personally can’t be bothered with Halloween, but Chenbl seemed to think it was worth dealing with the crowds for. The way the Japanese arrange and rearrange the line ropes is an art unto itself. Despite the Game of Lines, however, the crowds were just too much, in addition to the rain. We lined up for incredibly long lines, though a cheap fast pass would have made it much easier to bear. We tried to see a Shrek 4D show, but misread the poster and instead were dealt a Sesame Street show. After another line supposedly for The Mummy ride, all we got was a lame walk in the dark with employees jumping out from behind curtains. I was in no mood for this. Next was the longest line yet, for the admittedly impressive Spider-man ride, though it apparently broke down for a bit in the middle. After that was the Back to the Future Which Cannot Utilize Micheal J. Fox In Any Way Due To Contract Issues ride, but the console dash screen was so bright the huge image that was supposed to reflect reality was dim and murky, and as all the rides were in Japanese, we had no idea what was going on.

We had some pizza standing up, as there were no seats, and made our way through the shivering-yet-smiling-gamely parade participants to the Jurassic Park ride, which featured “Zhenzi”, a character from a famous Japanese ghost movie who is supposed to be scary. She is dressed in white and has long black hair hanging over her face. All the TVs in the park seemed to be playing clips of her, and she would be standing near paths looking creepy. When our boat went by her standing on a rock during the Jurassic Park ride I shouted, “Get a haircut, ya hippie!” which somewhat ruined her Startling Lurch(c), but honestly, she was getting rather annoying.

The last straw was the Backdraft show, which I was looking foward to as it supposedly contained flames, and I needed to dry off from the rain and being splashed on the Jurassic Park ride. Yet after another knee-achingly long line, we learned that, not only could we not sit down for it, but it too had been completely co-opted by Zhenzi, with the stages remaining sadly flame-free, while the staff turned the lights off and on. At one point the lights came up and Zhenzi was standing right next to me, but all I could do was glare at her with all the distaste I could muster as Chenbl grabbed me, screaming like an eight-year-old girl.

We eventually saw Shrek 4D, which involved a lot of donkey spit, before we headed back to the exit. The whole fake atmosphere of the placed weighed on me, and I mentally dared any of the “zombies” roaming the street to try something. So much for Universal Studios.

posted by Poagao at 9:59 am  

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