by Eve Corbett ’17
The planning for the trip started months in advance. Back in January my host sister talked with her friend at school and the date of the trip was finally decided. March 10th, the day for our trip to Universal Studios Japan. We bought our bus tickets to Osaka along with our Universal Studio entrance tickets online ahead of time. We also bought express passes for four of the rides so that we would not have to wait in the line before entering them. As the day was approaching my host sister, her friend and I were all very excited. We were going on a trip out of the Prefecture, to a theme park, and without an adult. I have never been to Universal Studios in The United States, and in truth I am not even much of a theme park kind of person, considering I very much hate roller coasters. Even so, I was excited for the rare opportunity, even though I was also a little apprehensive.
My host sister and I woke up at 3:30 in the morning and quickly got ready to leave. At five in the morning on March tenth, our bus left Okayama station. After four long hours of riding the bus, we arrived at last. We had managed to catch up on our lost sleep during the bus ride, so when we arrived we were more or less completely refreshed and ready to start our adventure. Once we were inside, the park was crowded. But not as crowded as it would have been on a vacation day. My high school had the week off while other schools were still in session, thus making it possible for us to go to the park on a day that it was not as busy.
The first ride we went on was actually a 4-D movie of Shingeki no Kyojin, or in English, Attack on Titan. For those who are not anime savvy, Attack on Titan is a popular animated Japanese tv series that originated from a Japanese comic (or in more official terms, manga). It is also extremely gory and action-packed, making it an exciting story through any type of media, especially 4-D movies. The ride looked like any normal movie theater would. We took a pair of 3-D glasses and sat down in our seats. For those who don’t know, the difference between a 3-D movie and a 4-D movie is that the seats move. The seats may also spray water or blow air at the viewers depending on what is being shown on the screen. During the Attack on Titan movie the seats sprayed water at us when blood looked like it was coming out of the screen (which is a common occurrence.) It was a little gross, but great. I found myself wishing that amusement parks back in The United States also had anime themed rides.
The next ride we went on was in the Harry Potter area of the park. The ride was a tour of Hogwarts that was held, of course, inside Hogwarts. The ride was more animatronic giant spiders and dragons than an actual tour of the castle, but it was fun none the less. It was very entertaining to see Harry Potter’s characters lines dubbed in Japanese. The ride was located in the Harry Potter village that the ride was located in was also well put together, although it doesn’t quite compare to the real deal that I was lucky enough to experience during my past trip to England, but that’s another story. My friends and I enjoyed a glass of butterbeer as we explored the overly priced Harry Potter shops until we were ready to leave that area and go find lunch.
After each eating a seven dollar slice of pizza, we were ready to get going to our next ride. Our express passes only worked at set times of the day, so we had to make sure we were not late for a ride because otherwise we would miss our chance to use our pass. Our next ride was inspired by a famous female Japanese singer named “kyary pamyu pamyu” who is known for her crazy mixtures of cute and creepy. This virtual rollercoaster was meant to reflect her style and interests. A virtual rollercoaster means that riders wear large goggles that display a virtual world that the roller coaster you are riding appears to be going through. In reality the rollercoaster is in the dark, but when the goggles are worn you enter a kyary pamyu pamyu candy factory frenzy of colors and freakish monsters. The idea may not sound so bad but, for a person like me who hates roller coasters, it was rather traumatic. The experience was only made more stressful when I realized that I could not figure out how to tighten my goggles safely to my head, thus resulting in me holding them to my face for the entirety of the ride in fear that they would fly off and give someone behind me a colorful kyary pamyu pamyu concussion. I think I am more of a 4-D movie fan.
Lucky for me, the last ride of the day was another 4-D movie, this time of Evangelion. Like Attack on Titan, Evangelion is an anime. However I have not yet watched the show myself so I went into the movie theater not quite knowing what to expect. I was greeted with another movie that was extremely gory and action packed, but this time with what appeared to be giant controllable robot suits. There were complex popcorn containers shaped like the heads of the robots, whose mouths opened and eyes glowed. If they had not been about forty dollars each, I might have purchased one myself. Either way I have decided that once I become filthy rich and can afford excessive things, I will buy myself my very own 4-D movie theater.
We finished the day by buying some more overpriced food for dinner and buying some souvenirs. I bought myself an Attack on Titan themed meal for dinner, along with a box of Attack on Titan candy to share with my classmates when go back to school after break. All three of us fell asleep on the bus feeling content after our exciting day at Universal Studios Japan. This was my real first trip to a theme park. There was a failed attempt of a trip to Funtown Splashtown when I was younger but I spent the entire day crying because I was scared to even look at the rides. Now I can officially say I have gone to an amusement park and ridden on one of the roller coasters, and that’s a large achievement in my book. But then again, once you have traveled to another country and lived there on your own, roller coasters don’t really seem that scary.
Eve Corbett is a junior at Lincoln Academy, currently spending the school year in Okayama, Japan with Greenheart Travel. She is the daughter of Jody Corbett and Elizabeth Proffetty of Newcastle.