We arrived in Osaka at 7am, attempted to check in (but failed), freshened up, dumped our luggage at the front desk, and headed for Universal Studios!
We went on a Thursday, but there were so many people alighting at the station! Tried overtaking people, but gave up halfway because the walk from the station was so long.
The queues were, as expected, horrendous. While we were queuing to buy tickets, I noticed there was a separate line for entrance and told Fu to go queue, but he said “Don’t need la… no difference one.” Ok lor, if he insists.
When we were ready to join the second queue for entrance into the park, the line had grown by a lot more and Fu was sheepish and said he should have listened to me. Ha! >:D
Anyway, since the line is already so long, might as well take photos!
After getting our tickets, we queued an additional 20 minutes before we entered the park. We made a beeline for the star attraction, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-man – The Ride 4K3D.
Newly opened 5 July! They must be super proud of the 4KHD x 3D technology, because it’s mentioned all over the place. Something about it being the world’s best imaging technology, etc. Not super interested in the details. The ride fun can already, lol.
There’s also a note in the top right corner about Katori Shingo (a member of SMAP) doing Spider-man’s voice-over. But only till 30 September! Japanese really like limited edition things… snacks, collectibles, now voice-over also limited edition!
My question is… whose voice are they going to use after that date?
When we arrived at the attraction, we realized apparently everyone thought the same, because there was an unbelivably ginormous queue snaking all the way out and around the building! One look and we instantly changed our plans lol.
Since everyone went for the popular ride first, our new strategy is to go for the not-so-popular ride first, have lunch early, and then get to 4K3D spidey!
We headed to Back to the Future® – The Ride. It was o-k. A bit old-school. Like the predecessor of the Spiderman ride. Now I understand the fuss about the 4KHD x 3D thing haha.
Next up was lunch! I already knew where I wanted to eat even before arriving in Osaka.
One Piece was having a summer-only premier in USJ!
I’ve only watched a few episodes of One Piece and cannot yet call myself a fan, but I definitely love theme-y stuff, and again, it’s LIMITED EDITION. Haha, have to go!
They sold these adorable mugs and we got one! When they handed it to us, they told us that they will say “Utage…” (feast) and we were supposed to finish up with “Kanpai!” (cheers).
They yelled and so we played along and also yelled “KANPAI!!!!!!!”
Now I know why the whole restaurant was reverberating with “Kanpai!!!” when I first entered lol. All the unfortunate souls who bought the mug had to yell.
But it’s quite addictive because the staff are really into it! When you walk past a staff, they will smile widely at you and clink (ok, maybe not clink. more like knock) their mugs against yours and say kanpai!
No utensils because we are supposed to eat with our bare hands, pirate style! Lol.
They did give us gloves though. Pirate-style eating, modernized.
A staff passing by saw us self-taking photos and offered to help take us. But we must do the Utage-Kanpai shout again.
And so we did.
After lunch, we headed back to Spider-man!
The sign indicated an 80-min wait, and we decided to go for it. But it ended up being only a 30-min wait! The queues were also constantly moving so it didn’t feel very long at all.
The ride was great! Very similar to the Transformers ride in USS (Universal Studios Singapore). Dunno what was so special about the 4KHD thing, because to me, there was no noticeable difference from the Transformers ride.
The ride exited into the souvenir area, and look what we saw!
I don’t know if it’s only in Japan, but in theme parks here (ok, I know for sure at least DisneyLand/Sea and USJ), there will be a post box where you can drop off postcards.
The special thing about mailing them from within the park is that you will get a postmark that is unique to the park!
They were running a One Piece special, and of course, LIMITED EDITION again lol.
Do they have it in theme parks outside of Japan? I don’t think USS has…
Another thing common in theme parks here is that people really spend. They are really into buying the merchandise and walking around the park wearing them.
During summer, the most popular item by far is the towel hoodie!
Seriously, A LOT of people walk around with it! Unfortunately I remembered to take a photo only towards the end.
We almost wanted to buy, but it’s so expensive. 2,800yen (S$36) for one! Plus after I leave the park, I have no idea what to do with it. So we ended up not buying.
We spent the remaining time visiting random attractions that we passed by. We wandered into an alley and we saw Spider-man again!
The director wanted me to kiss him on the lips ala movie style:
You want you ownself kiss.
Director was Fu by the way. Lol.
We were sitting down and resting and noticed a cleaning guy put down his broom and dustpan to talk to a mother-daughter pair.
He then took out his water spray and begun spritzing the floor. We were too far away and couldn’t see what he was doing, but people started to gather around him.
More and more people gathered to watch. After a while they all laughed and clapped. Then the guy bowed and left. The crowd also quickly dispersed.
I was very curious, but very lazy. So I sent Fu, the scout to check it out lol.
He came back smiling and reported that I should go see it for myself.
This was what I saw:
How would I compare USJ against USS? I think in terms of rides, of course the one in Singapore is slightly better because it’s so much newer (2001 vs 2011).
But in terms of experience, I like the one in Japan more. People here, especially the staff, are really immersed in their roles. They look like they are truly enjoying themselves. Fu suspects they are fed drugs before they start their shift because they’re so high sometimes lol. But it really adds to the experience and fun, and I appreciate that.
Downside is that people who don’t understand Japanese will not enjoy this park as much, because all the rides, and in fact the entire park is in Japanese.
I would visit USJ again! In fact, I will do so next year, because…
A HARRY POTTER ATTRACTION WILL OPEN IN 2014!!!
The promo video can be viewed here.
Will I be able to buy a wand from Ollivander’s shop? Visit Dumbledore’s office? Hear the Fat Lady? Although she’ll be speaking Japanese lol.
I. CANNOT. WAIT!!!
I really love theme parks because it’s like a fantasy world that has materialized. I can really spend a long time wandering, exploring, studying and immersing myself in the place and the details. But I didn’t on this day lah. Mainly because the park closes at 6.30pm and because Fu was with me.
Like when I visited Sherlock Holmes’ “house” at Baker Street in London, I spent a good 3-4 hours there, even though it was just a small 2-storey apartment! But to me, that place was so amazing. My senses will go into overdrive trying to process everything. At the same time, my imagination is going wild and churning out very random ideas and thoughts. It’s just very exhilarating for me! I think themed parks/places work like a drug for me haha!
Ok, that was a rather lengthy digression… back to USJ!
Isn’t the place awesome?!! If the first reply that came to your head was “Ok lor… buildings lor… normal for a theme park what…” then I don’t want to talk to you! >_< No imagination! And you’re an OLDIE AT HEART!
I think this is why kids are so excited about theme parks, and perhaps most things in general. Understanding and reveling in the fantasy and magic of imagination comes naturally to them. The ability to look at things with wonder. I guess in that sense, I never really grew up.
I’m glad for that. :)