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Everything posted by Louise

  1. ^ "Hot as balls"!??!? Best phrase ever!!! I've discovered that if I wear shorts, I'm still just as hot and sweaty, only I'm also self-conscious and cranky. Better to be happy and confident whilst dying of heat stroke. ^^ Dave, you MUST do the ice houses next time, I seriously think they were what saved me! In Spain, Jon and Kyle stopped me from getting skin cancer, and in Japan, the ice houses stopped me from dropping dead from heat-related illness!!
  2. Parque España! In typical Lou fashion, I took pictures of nothing useful on this day. In fact, apart from Disney, my pictures from here on out are pretty useless if you have any interest in the parks at all, LOL. However, if you want to see pictures of Chris, Jeff, Richard, and a few others generally looking silly... You're in the right thread. Parque España was another really fun park, and this was yet another REALLY hot day. It's funny how every day has some kind of heat-related memory dedicated to it in my mind. Today's sticking point was that they actually charged admission to the Ice House. The ice houses in the parks had become our safe haven, someplace to go when the heat really did get too much, and being kept at -31 degrees, even a quick walk through could make the heat that much more bearable for a few minutes once you're back outside. Anyway, we were peeved at the upcharge until we realised it was only a few quid, and that it was a handstamp, a one-time admission, and we could return at any time in the day for as long as we wanted. We stopped bitching then. But first things first, we had ERT and filming time on Pyrenees! I'm definitely a B&M invert fangirl, and nothing will ever really beat Nemesis for me, no matter how many times I ride it, but this one came pretty close. Very intense, amazing backseat ride, fun little pop of airtime towards the end... Great ride, I really liked it and was happy with multiple re-rides even though ERT is often a bit much for my ADD-riddled brain. The park also had a great Mack minetrain of some description, which was AWESOME!! What a fun little coaster, we all really liked it, and actually went back for a couple of re-rides. I barely even want to talk about the Bullfight Coaster but I guess I have to seeing as it's like the worst most fudged up coaster ever. The first warning sign: I walk into the station, and the ride op points at my earrings, waggles her finger "nonononono", and holds her hands up to the sides of her head, moving it from side to side, mimicking head slamming. In fact, exactly like this: Great. I took out my earrings. Didn't help. I was still concussed. Though something about being on a coaster, then being in a bullring, then being beaten up by fluorescing capes and swords, is somewhat entertaining. I won't talk about the weird Circus ride, I think that's been covered elsewhere. And sadly, I don't have pictures of the parade with the soldier who winked at me and gestured provocatively, or the dude dressed as a bunch of grapes. But yeah, this park was seriously WTF, in a really awesome way. There was a TON of other great stuff there too, I think this was the place with the awesome pirates rip off... I could go on, but I won't. Basically everybody needs to go there and experience it. I forget the full title of this ride, but it was something along the lines of "Sparkling Luminescent Princess Carnival Ride". I kid you not. It had a fairy lights room and a room full of roses... It was Canal Street in amusement park ride format. Jeff and Richard seemed to enjoy. Falafel, Jeff and myself document the now famous Electrical Escalator Ride. Pretty lights make Lou happy!! It's like a Spanish safety video! If you lean forwards, a meteor will explode on your face! Ahhh, Sea Odyssey, how I miss you. Speedy Gonzales re-entry stamp for the ice house! With my jewellery, stamp, and the wristbands I was collecting, my right arm was pretty heavy at this point. I have heat rash, I'm thirsty, and I'm wearing geeky glasses and being spoken to by creepy drugged up speedfreak fuzzy creatures in Japanese... I'm grumpy. Some random silly shots from the ice house... The story behind this is basically that Chris has lived in California his whole life and therefore has no tolerance for the cold. Richard and Jeff and I decided to stay in the ice house for as long as possible just to see how long we could manage. Jeff got bored after about 5 or 6 minutes and went for a smoke, and Richard and I stuck it out for a few minutes more, but then we got bored too. It was heaven in there though! I think this is a really nice picture of us. Except that we're clearly IQ-challenged and thought the frame of the photo was much lower than it actually was. LOL. Notice I have water on me (and ice crystals on my shoulder in the previous shot)? Chris wanted to see what would happen if he poured half a bottle of water over me in -31 conditions. It pretty much froze. Oh, and per Brian's comment pages and pages and pages ago, THIS was the ice house where I lay down on the ice bed. Stupidly. Ugh, Manchester United merchandise follows me everywhere!!!!! Back on the coach, Richard tries to prove that he's the anti-Lou and looks good in *any* sunglasses. He fails. LOL!! Steve calls this his "Lou Pose"... Quite convincing, don't'cha think?! Uncle Dan brings KidTums to the Japanese version of the BOTBC for entertainment. Scary smile here, Dan! We were back fairly early, so after some email sending and general mucking around with Richard's brand spanking new video camera (Chris: "If I was Lou, I'd be all *meeerrraaaggghhhhh* *gropes self*"), a few of us headed out to wander Nagoya and find some scran. How embarrassing for Chris and Richard to show up wearing the same outfit!! Having acquired a couple more explorers on our way out, we hopped on a train, and ended up here. Don't ask me where, I don't remember, and I have waaaaaay too many train tickets to try and find out. So, after a bit of wandering... We ended up at this sodding ferris wheel. Now, I personally was getting quite enough of ferris wheels in the park, but some bright spark goes "Yay, let's go ride the wheel!", and so the eight of us troop over there. I was slightly cheered up by the transvestites giving out free Red Bull outside. We split into two groups of four and pay our admission. Here's our car: Me, Adam, Chris, and Mark: ....Only to realise that NONE of the four of us had wanted to ride the damn thing. So we could have just split up and let the other four ride while we window-shopped. Ah well. Ferris wheels are the only thing I'm geeky about the structure, I always think they just look so damn cool, the way they're built. Not that you can really tell, but that's Bob, Richard, Ryan and Jeff in the other car. They mooned me shortly after this was taken. Sadly my camera didn't manage to capture that. This wheel did actually turn out to be pretty cool. It was attached to the side of a multi-storey shopping mall, and there were all these projection screens on the roof, with changing pictures. We were confused by the screen that said "GAME!!!! Push the button!!!!", but then we couldn't figure out what the button did. Ryan bought Pepsi WITH A TWIST, and we all stood around watching street musicians and trying to decide where to eat... Eventually we decided to just walk... And after about 90 minutes, we finally ate. I'm not entirely sure what I was trying to take a picture of here, but the structure on the left is Nagoya's radio/tv(?) tower... I know somebody who was with us knew something about it. Cool part of the skyline. LOL. Goo, you say?! Let's eat here! Something tells me Dave Thomas would have liked to eat here... Or at least watch the cooking!! We're finally heading for food! I'm happy now....temporarily! We went to the Outback Steakhouse. It was more than an hour's wait. We left. The place we ended up eating was I think slightly pricier than we had planned on, and we couldn't all sit together, but the food was *excellent*, so good in fact that I remember exactly what I ate: fried shrimp with chilli mayonnaise, and "ethnic fried rice". I have no idea what made the rice ethnic, I just know it was the nicest rice I've ever eaten. Really really good. Bob's soup was good too, and the sushi looked great, though I didn't try it. Nice place. As usual, when everybody else was sensible enough to go back to the hotel and get some kip, Chris, Richard and I were keen to check out this Irish bar we'd noticed earlier. Mona's! Although the place was Irish themed, it was also a sort of Brit museum, there were post office signs, a lollipop stick (as in the kind a lollipop lady carries, not the things you suck), road signs, music posters... All kinds of British artefacts on the walls. "An Australian, a Brit and an American walk into an Irish bar in Japan...." You can't even imagine our excitement when we realised we could write on the wall!!! Rollercoaster doodle courtesy of Richard. We thought it appropriate to be next to a poster advertising booze. This is about two or three inches above where we signed.... I was amused. My vodka was strong, the park was awesome, I just had the best dinner ever, and they gave me a permanent marker and let me graffiti! This was an amazing day! Bahahahahaha..... sorry Clint. It took way too many attempts to get this damn picture, and it's still crappy. This is the awesome barmaid who translated mine and Chris's air-conditioning sign from my camera. She had studied in Oxford and we chatted for a while... Really sweet girl. Chris and I look really burned!!! This was such a fun night, thanks a lot guys!!
  3. ^ LOL, I know!! You know me, I burn and freckle but don't tan too well, but at this point I'd been out in the sun for hours every day for about four weeks, which apparently is like the critical period for my skin to start reacting or something!
  4. Universal Studios Osaka, YAY!! Other than Disney, this was the park I was most excited about. I loved Universal Orlando as a kid, as much as if not more than Disney (I always liked Disney, but I think my real love and appreciation of it came later, strangely), and although Universal Hollywood had disappointed me somewhat, I like the chain muchly, and was excited at the prospect of what is almost a Greatest Hits park in a somewhat similar way to TDR. Oooooh, iconic!! After collecting our awesome voucher books that Robb and Elissa had arranged in order for us to be able to get on everything major at least once, we headed inside. After posing for a quick snap with Betty... ...we ran straight over to Hollywood Dream, the park's new B&M hyper... Or mini-hyper... Regardless, it was really fun, I didn't like it quite as much as Raging Bull, but I *loved* the music gimmick, which involved you choosing from one of five songs (Beatles, Bon Jovi, Eminem, or one of two J-Pop songs) to be pumped into your personal speakers in sync with the ride. I chose the Beatles' Get Back the first time around, and Eminem's Lose Yourself on our second ride. Lose Yourself seemed to be a better choice somehow, though Get Back synched up better. I long for the day when you can choose from one of a thousand songs like this. Listening to your iPod while riding just ain't the same. So the coaster was good, and I was itching to go and ride some old favourites from my childhood! Starting wiiiith... E.T.!! Richard and Chris laughed at me because I cried!!! I only have fuzzy memories of the Florida version itself, though I remember riding it many times, if that makes sense (hence the tears), and I don't know how the ride itself compares, but I adored this one, I thought it was beautiful and moving and everything E.T. is supposed to be! And we're insensitive and laughed at the way the girl taking our names pronounced them and typed them phonetically so E.T. could say them. This was one of my favourite rides in the park! Heading over to Spideman, we spotted the Sesame Street characters cornering a bunch of people... I mean, literally. They found some young couple and surrounded them and wouldn't let them out, it was amazing. Richard was chuffed to find Elmo. Not quite as chuffed as Elmo was to find Chris though... I'm not sure which one of us has that picture (except that it isn't me), but basically Chris was sexually assaulted by a Muppet. This is where they would later set up for the Peter Pan show. I forgot my sunglasses this day, left them at the hotel. Not impressed. Props for the show. Which "Dumboed" rather badly, by the way, biggest anticlimax of a show ever. BTTF was okay. I'm still disappointed that no version of it lives up to my childhood memories, though this version obviously bettered California's. Hi Ryan, by the way. Your car sucks. "So you're saying I have commitment issues and an addictive personality? Interesting." Hi to those of you who were all "Where was the onride photo taken??". The giant camera that spins to follow you and flashes repeatedly didn't give it away!??! Richard working while on holiday?! NEVER!! I was amused by these posters, which perhaps says that I'm easily amused, but hey, I like Snoopy! SUBLIMINAL CHAUVINISM ALERT. I miss Spain. But Miles represented in Japan. Also, I love how PP looks like he's giving some kind of inspirational and profound speech here. I loved this section of the park, I thought it was awesome. I loved the whole park in fact, great theming and all beautifully done. We did some souvenir shopping and then stopped for beer and pizza (topped with sausage and eggs... It was delicious... Not that I would know, it was *not* me that took a huge bite out of Chris's slice when he went for napkins... ). Pictured with Richard and Elmo is Snoopia, by the way, named for the fact that he is a Sepia Snoopy. He accompanied me on all long journeys following this day. Even Snoopia couldn't resist having a pint. And apparently he was a bad influence on Elmo! Turns out he's even more of a lightweight than I am! And we all know where too much beer leads... REVERSE COWGIRL!!! (Hi Jahan! ) I love old cars. Know nothing about them but think they're pretty to look at! Ginormous covered areas which up until visiting Japan I had assumed were merely to protect from their heavy rains, but I now know serve the dual purpose of shelter and also to keep the brutal sun away. This was heavenly after such a bright afternoon. We bumped into Ryan and Bob on our way into the 3D Sesame Street movie (I believe Shrek was shown in the same theatre, I seem to remember us figuring out how they cleverly changed the theming between shows). Snoopia puts his glasses on in preparation. *sigh* Any fantasies I had about the Hoffman Guy just disappeared into thin air. Bob's and my desserts. So yummy. Sitting politely and in lines (a la the Japanese) to wait for the Peter Pan show to start... This was probably the only time the Japanese politeness irritated me: I couldn't see a damn thing, but because all the Japanese people in front and behind me were too polite to stand up, I had to stay sitting too. Eventually I got up and went to the back so I could stand up and see... But it totally wasn't worth it! The show wasn't bad at all really, but I had been told it was amazing, and it really didn't live up to that. The best picture of Chris EVER. He's so much cuter than this in person, honestly he is, LOL. Don't know if you're reading this Steve, but if you are, I took this picture for you! Bye bye Universal! I'll miss you! But before we leave, another Taiko drum game tournament. I believe I'm still undefeated (except by Robb). Bob: Hey Chris, does Lou play a musical instrument? Chris: The skin flute? I was going to post some of the pictures from the train journey home, but on second thoughts it's probably not a good idea. I just wanted to write this to remind those of you who were there of the hilarity. All in all, I had a fantastic day at Universal, probably my favourite park of the trip outside of the Disney resort. It was fun seeing different attractions in Japanese, and arguing with each other over what was different. I also got to see an "interesting" version of the show Wicked which people have been recommending to me for so long. It was a 45 minute truncated version, half in Japanese and half in English, but even if I found it hard to follow, I at least learned that I love the music and the costumes and effects are cool, so I'll have to check that out properly at some point. Oh, and the Chinese food at this park? GORGEOUS. After a hectic couple of days, it was wonderful to be able to chill out and spend the whole day at a really good park, and much kudos to Robb and Elissa for sorting us out with the Express passes and stuff so we could do everything at least once and in many cases managed to get re-rides too. I'll try not to leave it as long to the next update, thanks to whoever is still reading!
  5. ^ Don't limit us so much, it isn't just the opposite sex....
  6. I believe this comes under the heading of "Pointless Topics". It has no purpose. The keytar would obviously win anyway. Thread closed. Thanks! --Lou
  7. ^ For get it. The thread was dying, you created interest by randomly attacking me... It's fine! Moving on toooooo..... Day 20-something of my trip: Three parks in a day, and the epic journey to Nagoya! We had to be up at stupid-o-clock (4ish I think) to get our bags ready as they were heading to Nagoya on a bus, and we were going there by train after finishing our park visits. I don't do mornings. Jeff, being a mailman, doesn't seem to mind them. The bastard. At least I got to watch the sun rise through the train window. Shame about the streaky window, but the sky was pretty. Arriving at Himeji station, we were to be picked up by a coach... Spotted this rather snazzy tower on top of a building... No idea what it was, but it looked cool. Bahahahahaha!! I will never get tired of this sign. This guy was so bewildered as to why we were all laughing and taking pictures of him. Bless his little heart. The sign came in handy later too! After arriving at Central Park and having ERT on Diavlo (it was pretty good, but not my favourite Batman), and something else... The itinerary tells me Hurricane, but that doesn't ring any bells! Anyway, whatever it was it was surprisingly fun and I remember Barry making me laugh on the lift hill, horror of horrors... ... So after all that... Joey and I decided to switch glasses. Seriously, I'll NEVER learn. And what the hell the wind is doing to my hair I don't know. I'm rocking the '80s look. All I need is a keytar! Whores on the kiddie coaster, one of few on the trip I actually rode! And I'm glad I did, because I got to witness Jeff lose his sunglasses! This park had one of my favourite ice-houses. Along the ledges in front of the little "exhibits" was actual snow, not just clear frozen ice! Oh, and . We're wearing shades in an ice house... We're so rebellious. Snowball fight... So much fun, just what we needed. Barry, is that... Wait, that's JEFF?!?! Inside the "Shoking *not a typo* Horror Museum"... Apart from falling over, I did really well to not get too freaked out, until right at the end, when the woman reached her hand through the window to take our "flashlight" from us as we exited... Then it was new pants time. Hi Wes! Wish you were here! (And if anybody should happen to remember Robb requesting captions for a photo rather similar to this one... I looked so sad because my giraffe would only go half the speed of Richard's panda. These animals were awesome, but the novelty soon wore off. Ahem.) GIRAFFE POV. LOL!! A hemp shop in a theme park! I love Japan! This park is actually set up ON the mountainside, there's a giant conveyor belt that you can use to get up the side, and it's really quite steep. Next, we moved onto Tegarayama Yuen... I'm sure many of you know the story by now, but for those who don't... We headed to this park to ride their three coasters. I don't know if they outwardly TOLD Robb that the coasters were open, or just implied it, but basically they led us to believe that they were. We get inside, no coasters open. No rides at all open in fact, except I think the ferris wheel. One of the coasters, the slope car, had obviously not operated for quite some time (like, months if not years), and the others were closed because of the impending doom-like weather. Upon complaining, Robb was basically told that we were free to enjoy the waterpark. Gee thanks. This was probably the only poor bit of service I think we recieved anywhere on the whole Japan trip. So, the rain begins, we grab what drinks we can from the slightly dodgy vendor, and sit to wait for the bus to come back and pick us up. Not impressed with the first missed credits of the trip. (And you can see the nasty heat rash on my neck from the previous day.) After the bus collected us, we headed back to Himeji station to catch our train to Kurashiki Tivoli. Chris displays rather impressive breast-feeding skills. Arriving at Tivoli, I was *dying* of starvation, so Richard and Jeff and I went immediately to find food.... This is the size of my burger. I included my thumb to give you the scale... And my thumb isn't particularly big. The burger was ridiculous. But for dessert I had soft ice cream with cornflakes so it's allllll good. I loved this park, I thought it was stunningly beautiful, and would love to see it at night someday, but apart from the atmosphere, greenery, theming, and service (even the park staff emptying the bins and sweeping up were entertainers, dancing and singing and juggling, the sweeper did some really cool tricks with his broom!), not much stands out. The coaster was really fun, sad I didn't get to re-ride, Chris and I rode the flume and enjoyed it muchly, and the kiddie coaster (which I'm slightly reluctant to even call a coaster!) is incredibly sweet, and it was a highlight seeing Kristen ride her first coaster, but I don't think there were any other really amazing attractions. Except for the dessert ride, obviously. However, seeing as a few of us spent half our time at the park sitting around on benches chilling out, I guess I'm not the best judge. Kristen's first coaster. She's all "Yeah, what the hell is this, I've ridden bullet trains, and Mommy can push my stroller faster than this thing moves!" The family car, surrounded by their photographers. Bob's happy to be leading the train! This was hysterically funny and so adorable at the same time. "THE PAPARAZZI, THEY ARE EVERYWHERE, I CANNOT ESCAPE!!" "What does this say on the back of here? Can I eat it?" And now, The Journey... To cut a long story sort of short and now bore you with too much detail (again, many of you already know this or else were there to witness it), we had just a leeeetle bit of trouble getting to Nagoya, caused by the typhoon that was hitting Japan. High winds were stopping the bullet trains from getting through, and we got stranded at the station. Some people seemed unnecessarily worried if I'm honest, but most of us kinda figured, we're indoors with comfy chairs and air-conditioning, plenty of places to eat and drink, stores, each other for company... We're fine. And we'll get there. The worst that can happen is we have to spend the night in the station, and even that wouldn't have been too bad. Eventually, rumours start fizzling through that there might be an attempt to get a train through if the winds die down... So we all head up to the platform. At this point Robb started holding up the "Them Park Review" sign in order to keep us all together, the crowds were kinda crazy. On the platform, we're all waiting on a particular platform when Elissa finds out that the train on the other side of the platform might just get us to Nagoya with our tickets... And the mad dash commences. It's all kindof a blur, suddenly we're all legging it towards this train, jumping into different carriages wherever we could fit (it was like a cattle market, no room to even stand comfortably in some cars), with no idea if everybody made it on. Once somebody said Robb had made it I figured we were all okay, he had the stroller and was at the back of the group, so if he was there everybody else should have been. And then, we stood and waited. Eventually we moved a few stops, a bunch of people got off and we got seats, I fell asleep for an hour and a half, woke up, and the train still hadn't moved out of the station, as the winds had picked up again. Five hours later... we reached Nagoya. Interestingly, it turned out ours was the last train to make it there... If Tegarayama Yuen hadn't been closed, allowing us to leave Tivoli early... We may not have made it. The fates were smiling down on us that day! I love that kind of excitement, it totally made the trip for me! Everybody was pretty tired when we got checked in to the hotel, but Richard and I were both dying to stretch our legs after being stuck on the train all evening, and neither of us had had a proper (hi Bob) dinner, so we headed out in search of a 24 hour restaurant and to do a bit of exploring. The weather was dying down and the rain had pretty much stopped, though the winds were still quite high and there was very little traffic on the roads and everybody seemed to be hurrying to get inside, looking worried. Another huge electronics store... Deja vu. (Apologies for crappy photo.) Ooooooh, pretty!! Another crappy photo, this time of the two huge towers built on top of the JR station. We'll be back in one of them in a couple of updates. Eventually we found an open restaurant: Denny's. We had to wait for a table, but it was worth it. Does this menu bear any resemblance to any other Denny's anybody has ever been to?!?! I was totally confused by it and ordered French Toast to be on the safe side. Exhaustion was kicking in and I was ready for bed and then Universal (YAY!!!) the next morning! More soon.
  8. Seriously, does anybody actually know what that thing WAS?! I never even looked, I just shoved Joey in front of it and snapped the picture, from the angle I was at I couldn't tell what it really was.
  9. Yeah, overall I really liked the park, it definitely stands out in my mind as one of my favourites (though Disney beats all, obviously). I also quite enjoyed the mouse, which I didn't remember until a few minutes ago, although it had scary gas smells surrounding it. And that crazy simulator-on-a-track thing!! With the ants, and the 80s graphics and sounds! Amazing. The park really does have a bunch of random stuff. Just wish it hadn't been so hot that day, I know I bitched a lot about the heat, but I think *everybody* was bitching about it that day, it was SO brutal. Now that you two have mentioned it I remember somebody telling me about them getting paid per rider, now. It was almost funny how insistent some of them were! We had plenty of time so we didn't mind, it just seemed a bit weird!
  10. More random pictures from the TPR Japan Trip! YES, it's Adventure Taxi day. We were the last group to get into our cab (apart from Elissa's, obviously), and Chris was our designated front-seat-passenger-leader... Big mistake. We did have some entertaining conversations in the cab though. (Oh, and are you happy now Barry? ) The Mitsui Greenland (awesome park, btw) map. They don't have a mother and baby room, but there *is* a specific Lactation Room! I found this amusing. Awww, this ashtray LOVES cigarettes! I am a T-Rex!! I have tiny useless arms!! Chair ride with NO restraints... It's weird to me that they put mesh wire underneath in case you fall... Surely that's gonna hurt more than landing on the softer ground six feet below it! Ryan and I both made it safely. Okay, so maybe it's a little more than six feet.... Check out the cables going up the side of the hill, and the creepy building up top... We'll be heading up there later. In order to get into some AC for a while (this was a particularly brutal day, several of us developed rather nasty heat rashes and I'm surprised nobody got heat stroke), we headed into the Dinosaurs In Space museum. This is Alan. He has tiny useless arms. "ROBOPUPPY MISTREATMENT ALERT. ROBOPUPPY MISTREATMENT ALERT." So cute! Awesome baby seal that looked around and made little noises... I wanted to steal it. Other people just made clubbing jokes. That made me sad. A quick detour for a second... I think we had ridden maybe four or five coaster by this point but I remember nothing except that I almost blacked out in a vertical loop on Gao (I *think* it was Gao), Ultra Twister was so much fun but my patience levels are lower when I'm hot and I couldn't be bothered doing 10 rides on it (which I regretted later because I wanted my name on a stick really), and I seem to remember some kind of suspended coaster kicking the shit out of me. The indoor powered coaster was okay... I'm kinda fond of space-themed coasters. Was this the place where everybody saw Buddha and I saw Jesus? Japan has too many of these things. I also think this is the coaster that Chris and I spent two whole rides discussing, where he thought he'd heard about it but that it wasn't powered... Anyway. The first ride of the day, however... I remember rather vividly. We were all already pouring with sweat and kinda uncomfortable from having a while to wait before the park opened, so spotting a 4D movie theatre not far past the entrance, we decided to head in. Oh, my, GOD. This thing was creepy to the extreme. Did anybody else do this?!?! Admittedly I'm easily startled, but I jumped so many times, and overall it was just the creepiness of the movie... I held Chris and Richard's hands through most of it!! There were parts of the plot that were somewhat difficult to understand (not speaking Japanese), and I won't go into much detail anyway, except to say that this is the darkest amusement park movie ever, it's like a real Japanese thriller, and the screen effects are frighteningly realistic in parts. We weren't sure to begin with whether the screen wasn't working properly or if it was meant to be that dark... I'm going with the latter. Great movie. Moving on... For want of someplace better, our group lunch for this day was scheduled for McDonald's! Which had the best air-conditioning ever. Robb and Elissa went to the counter to deal with orders, so Ryan and I got to have some quality time with Miss Kristen, who is all "Get it away, I want McNuggets damn it!". I really need to give up my quest to find another pair of shades that actually look okay on me. It's futile. Heading up the mountain... This park was BIG! Oh, and also: "A haunted *cow* you say??" After being FORCED to ride the pumpkin ride (seriously, the guy wouldn't let us get on the alpine slide until we rode), we headed back down the hill again, me first, Richard second... ...followed by the Hoffman Guy... ...then Chris and his prosthetic attachment. Hellooo, we have balls on our faces. Alright, the story behind this picture: The park had a splashdown boat, and Chris was all "Ooh, yay, let's go ride that!!", so we start heading over. I had initially said I wasn't in a water ride mood this day, but then realised how much it would cool me down and decided to join them. As we get to the bridge to the station, Chris takes one look at the water, and goes "umm, yeah, I'm not gonna ride, I don't feel like it". "But it was your idea!" "Umm, no, I'll film you guys instead!" "Alright then... *cough* p*ssy *cough*" So we ride, and it's fun and all, and then after we get off the boat, I look down and there's this big purple stain on my top where the water (which was green by the way) had reacted with the metal in my belly piercing. Worrying. So yeah, that was that. Apologies Chris for another anti-you story. We are not impressed with the filthy water. To relieve the aggression, we headed over to Fujin Rai... I mean, Milky Way. Sitdown side was fun, stand-up side.... Wow!! INCREDIBLE airtime that's rare on any coaster but was a whole new thing for me on a stand-up. And to relieve yet more aggression.... Archery! Jeff remembers the days when mankind HAD to use bow and arrow to hunt, before guns and microwaves and stuff were invented. I believe this was the Hoffman Guy's target. I love how confused all three of them look here. At this point, we were dying. I think Bob went to ride the ferris wheel, we all needed more drinks, and I needed the ice house. Hi Jahan. The penguins in Japan wanted you to go visit them! I don't know what Richard is doing here. Check out the big line of taxis waiting for us! Oh, and Jeff scratching his arse. Joey seems to be enjoying his cab ride.... Has he actually moved into the middle seat to get closer to Barry?!?! Back at the train station on our way home, we encountered this amazing mechanical dragon, and argued over whether it was motion sensitive or not. We all had such funny skintones on this trip. Something tells me that although the sun got to Chris's face, it didn't reach the insides of his arms. Jeff and his Sexy Little Pink Flame! Giant screen on the side of our hotel... I was trying to capture fellow Brit Robbie Williams on screen, but didn't quite get my camera out in time! It was nice to be back at the hotel before dark, so a few of us made dinner plans, and after wandering around the area trying to decide where to go for a quarter of an hour... We ended up back at the Yakatori place, ostensibly to show the place to Bob and Chuck, but really just because we wanted to go back. Bacon-wrapped cheese? Oh yes! None of us knew/could remember the Japanese word for "noodles", and the menus here had no English and no pictures, so trying to get this ramen was entertaining, but totally worth it. Chris and the whole fish on a stick. This is what you get when you tell Robb and Richard "order me one of anything you like and I'll eat it". *sigh* I ended up nicknaming this fish Kenny, as apparently it needed to die multiple times. Over the course of half an hour it was stabbed, impaled, stabbed some more, crushed, drowned, bitten into, then finally impaled and crushed again. As a side note, writing this just made me remember Joey almost throwing up on our first visit!! What was it that did that to him?? Some kind of egg?? That was hysterically funny and yet seriously terrifying all at the same time! And to think, him puking has cost Elissa and Robb $2800 SINCE then... He could have got us into trouble too. Poor Joey. Chuck seems impressed with his skin! As if poor Kennyfish hasn't been through enough, Richard now pretends to inhale him... Awwww! "Chris, you're a pussy. A funny pussy, but a pussy nonetheless!" "I am not eating that fish... I'm going to kill it." After dinner, most of the group went back to the hotel, but Richard and Chris and I stupidly decided to try and find a bar. After ending up in some slightly dodgy area (the only time in Japan I didn't feel completely 100% safe, even it was only for a few minutes) while trying to find some Irish place Steve and Miles had talked about, we gave up and just headed to the first place we saw, mostly because Richard was dying for the loo. The penguin punched Richard in the... Hi Ryan, how's it going. Richard instructed the waitress to "give me something Japanese"... Resisting the urge to comment on this. I stuck with Coke. Chris had a Cassis Orange, which was yummy!! After a couple of drinks, we walked back to the hotel for some sleep... VERY early start the next morning! I could not get these lift buttons the right way round. To me, the diagram on the button on the right indicates "open"... Except of course it isn't a diagram, it's a Japanese character. So basically I'm stupid. Next update: Three parks in one day, and Mission Get-To-Nagoya.
  11. ^ I didn't see the whole show, but was amused to notice a dog at the top of the goat pyramid.... "It thinks it's livestock!"
  12. I loved that place: the coaster (sooooooo damn good), the crazy swings, the wheel of death (Chris: "Vorward is backward, right?"), the self-operated pirate ship, the boat jump, the AWESOME currywurst (which I do not remember being filmed eating), the petting zoo... That whole park was all kinds of fun, can't wait to go back someday soon.
  13. This is a good one. If you've read my trip report you'll know I'm all about the memories. I have about half a dozen old onride photos from Alton and Disney, then I have one from the TPR UK/mini-Scandi trip, one from Spain/Germany, and one from Japan. Those things really mount up, they're very expensive when you consider how cheaply they're produced, so I try not to buy too many. Memories are memories, you don't always need a picture of you actually ON the ride to remember the moment. Whenever we were in Orlando when I was a kid, my parents would always have us stay in a hotel with the biggest breakfast buffet they could find. We'd get up early, eat a huge breakfast included in our hotel price (generally we'd manage to get a pretty good deal), which would then keep us going until we'd grab a really late lunch in the parks, missing the meal crowd and meaning we could avoid queues whilst many other families were eating. This would also mean we'd eat late enough that we wouldn't be hungry for dinner until after leaving the park, so we could grab something cheap close to the hotel. Sometimes saving money is all in the planning.
  14. Yeah, I found that really hard to read. I'm usually pretty cynical about this and tend to think that people will exaggerate emotions and facts when they might get money out of it, but I really feel for the girl and her family here. I haven't read about the last ten pages of this thread, I really need to catch up as I have no idea where I stand on the legal case, not sure if blame was ever safely placed somewhere. Irregardless of that, I really feel terrible for this girl and found her account (and her mother's) pretty upsetting.
  15. ^ Yes, I do, please!!! I have like 15 PMs saved to my hard drive that I'll get around to responding to eventually. I'll have a scan through your TR and send you the links. Thank you, I really appreciate that! You had some great ones of our Disney group and from Fuji-Q that I loved. LOL Mike!!! Was it octopus?? I don't know my fish... And I'm also pretty damn sure that octopus and squid are not fish, but I don't know what they *are*, so whatever. Paul, I was led to believe that it's pronounced "foo-quo-ka", but I heard it pronounced a couple of different ways (by the Japanese) so I'm not too sure, but I do think that's a close approximation. I wish it was pronounced the other, more entertaining way.
  16. Okay, now I'm feeling bad for telling the story!! Don't hate me Chuck, I love you!!
  17. ^ I'm not sure if it was funny or just fascinating because I can't picture you saying it! Poor Chuck. I still want to know why the conductor picked Richard and I as the people he should try and explain the situation to! Do we look like the kind that are likely to cause trouble?!?! Does Chuck look innocent or something?!?! I guess we'll never know.
  18. I'm going to go ahead and lock this, seeing as you seem to have already found the other thread concerning the music. If possible please try and use the search function before starting new threads as often somebody else will be looking for the same thing as you! Thanks! --Lou
  19. A few notes... 1. Larry saying "You go girl" makes me ginormously happy () and I don't really know why. 2. Rich, I would never be so mean as to insult Jeff that way.... Honest. 3. Lisa, I don't have the funds to do a trip like this either! I was lucky enough (well, unlucky enough really when you think about it... ) to have rather a lot of inheritance from a few different people in my family, but even putting a chunk of that towards the trip I still ended up in debt. But it was totally worth it, I had an incredible summer that was worth every penny and all the flying (I hate to fly) and exhaustion. 4. Cool points go to anybody who yelled at Brian in my defense, to Bob for using the word "proper" (I have taught you well, young grasshopper), and to Kyle and Jon for being hot. No, wait, for quoting an awesome movie, that was what I meant! 5. Jeff, I was using the Sony Cybershot with fat-adding age-reducing modifications. It's awesome. Moving on, I'm actually gonna do another update! More Random Pictures from Japan The morning after eating authentic Japanese food in a real traditional Japanese restaurant where nothing was Westernised or touristy.... We had breakfast at Mr Donut. Normality is resumed. To be fair, many of us tried to have breakfast elsewhere a couple of days in Fukuoka but this was the only place that opened really early, so here we were. Today was a three-park day, so Richard took the opportunity to catch up on sleep on the first train of the morning. I include this picture for two reasons... Ichi, I have very few pictures of Falafel and this one shows the ever-evolving colours of her hair rather well, and Ni, it wasn't long after this that the train conductor dragged Richard and I into the bathroom (we were frightened) to explain through the universal languages of gesturing and dance that somebody in our group had pushed the E-stop button instead of the flush. Somebody worked out later that by doing this, E-Stop Chuck (as he shall now forever be known) had likely inconvenienced around 2 million commuters. Chuck, I salute you sir. More mountains and traditional buildings. Eventually, we arrived at Harmonyland.... Hello Kitty is a whore, by the way, I hate the bitch. Bob doesn't seem to mind her so much though. She may be a whore, but she is kinda cute... And yes, I'm talking about the damn cat. Miles looks happy to see her too, but then panthers and cats ARE of the same family! I include this picture for two reasons: 1. To somebody with the right kind of mind, it's amusing. 2. We had an AWESOME water fight with this drinking fountain! You could turn it up so it blasted like 10 feet in the air, and with the heat and humidity up there and half an hour to kill before the coaster opened, it was a great way to cool down. The Rhythmical Coaster surrounded this Plaza, so we all congregated as we got off it, good place to take pictures and video! We couldn't WAIT to ride the Hello Kit's A Small World, so we hopped onto the speedy train to the other side of the park. The train moved so quickly that the boys could barely contain their excitement. Brian, you have a GINORMOUS finger!! It's a pretty poor shot, but you can tell we're pretty far off the ground, and how themed the train is. Everyone looks pretty happy on Hello Kit's A Small World.... Richard probably looks happy too, but I cut him out of the picture deliberately in order to fit everybody else in. Oh God, we're going into the tunnel of cuteness..... My eyes, my eyes!!! It's too cute, I can't take it!! I actually liked the cool coloured things hanging from the ceiling... Didn't come out on film too well. This ride was actually okay... Just a tad too cute. I took a picture of the final Can-Can but not of the penguin getting spanked?! What is wrong with me?! Mike looks disgusted, but he was actually enjoying his squid balls! I was kinda disappointed to find out that they were balls made of squid as opposed to... Well, you get the point. I tried a bunch of new food on this trip, but didn't quite fancy these . If it looks like a urinal.... in the middle of the restaurant... Farewell, Hello Kitty park! Next up, we were off to Wonder Rakutenchi, aka Wonder Raku-Animal-Abuse, where Hot Fuzz found himself some Pepsi... Ginormous Pepsi, no less! Heading up the scary mountain we had a cool view of our steep ascent! Despite me not being keen on this park, it had a REALLY cool setting. And the old coaster actually wasn't bad at all, I enjoyed the historical value. The now-infamous duck-racing. I was moderately amused by it until I realised the guy carried a giant stick, and although we never saw him touch the ducks, they shied away from it, which I guess means its likely they were trained to race by being beaten. I understand the cultural differences, and I also understand that such things go on in this country, the US, and everywhere... Still find it tough to see though. At least the ducks looked well-fed and cared for... I've certainly seen worse in this country. LOL!! PLUTO!!!! Having seen the penguin in a cardboard box in the sun, and then played four different versions of Whack-A-Mole (even the arcade games were themed! ), Ryan, the Hoffman Guy and myself took a stroll to the aviary, which was quite small but I was pleased the birds had some freedom and they seemed happy enough. I love birds! They're so brightly coloured they almost look painted! The things I remembered from Robb and Elissa's video of this place were the duck racing, and Elissa not liking the bridge or wanting to look down. I can understand why. I love heights, as long as I have something to hold onto, but this bridge even made me a little nervous! And we had to pay to cross it. Would you trust this rusty metal with your life? In Japan, even the crappy parks are so beautiful! Cool city view. Walking up a path, we discovered (along with the torso that Robb liked so much a couple of years back) this monument, complete with fox guards. I wish I wasn't so uncultured and understood more of the significance. On the left you can just see the Shinto Torii gates (I at least knew that much) we walked through to get here. Chris and I left some money. We had no idea what for, but it seemed respectful. Mmmmmm, Dew. (What were you saying about my camera, Jeffers? ) At this point, the heat had gotten too much for many of us and we had congregated in a shaded bit of shelter with tables and vending machines. We all ended up leaving early, upon which we found that most of the group had been gathered in various places, whether it be the arcade or basically anywhere with shade or AC. Moving on, we reached Kijima, where Jupiter is so good, it'll make you piss yourself! More like it'll shake the contents of your bladder loose. It even looks ominous. Ouch. I did not enjoy this and have no idea how I got talked into riding twice. Even worse were the park employees looking so hopeful and giving me questioning thumbs-up. I did the fake smile and "yay" thing, which I feel bad about, but I didn't know how to gesture "I AM BLEEDING INTERNALLY". Mmmmm, lunch. Yay, go-karts!! Nowhere near as good as Uminonakamichi's Unpavement Cars, but still fun. I'm enjoying myself! Bob notices how closely I'm following and thinks it's funny to slam on the breaks... The bastard! WHIPLASH! After Zorbing (which was all kinds of fun and made me giggle ridiculously, though I wish the course had been longer and more exciting), Chris, Bob and I braved the pirate ship together.... Richard preferred to be antisocial. Waiting for the rest of the group, I managed to snap a picture of this butterfly... It was so beautiful, and the size of a bird! Returning "home", there were yet more dramatic views. Wow, you guys look SO enthusiastic!!! Oh yeah, that's muuuuuch better... Jeff and I were happy to be practising the ancient Japanese art of chair reversal! I don't remember what we did this evening, I had actually thought that we had returned to the Yakatori place, but that must have been the night after this... Mental block here. Either way, this was an okay day! Hello Kitty park was okay if a little soulless (and weird because it was SO empty), yeah, I didn't like Rakutenchi at all, but Kijima was fun, several fairly decent coasters and an okay tower. I won't promise when I'll get around to doing the next update, but hopefully not too long! I appreciate everybody's patience, more soon!
  20. ^ Yes, exactly!! Finally, somebody who gets it!! Elissa, you are awesome to a ginormous degree.
  21. I'll respond to some more posts and do an update when I next get chance, apologies to some of you for the delay, but life has kinda gotten in the way what with work and family commitments, trying to find another job, and dealing with annoying personal drama... Trip report just hasn't been at the top of my priorities. Thanks to those of you who get that, and thanks for your patience, hopefully I'll be posting more regularly soon, if nothing else I wanna get this finished before I start doing THIS year's trips! But for now... As others have pointed out, "ginormous" is a word. But seeing as I use the words "mahoosive" and "gihugic" (which are most certainly not words), my usage doesn't really relate to much. Oh, and "forget" is one word, by the way. I did post a disclaimer on page one about my erraticness (is that a word?) in taking photos! Some days I took none, like Hamanako Pal Pal/Lagunasia, for example! New update coming "soon"... For those who don't understand Lou Time: "soon" = whenever the hell I feel like it. Thank you all.
  22. Oops!! Just found a picture that I meant to include and didn't... I've decided it's awesome enough to get its own post and not just be edited in. Dan's got SKILLS!!!
  23. ^ I think Ryan has a stroke every day... Sometimes multiple times!! Oh, to be 17 again... Anyway... More from Japan! The next day, we were off to... Space World! (This is a map.) Apparently the theme for this trip was me copying poses from random posters and statues, I think Chris has like five pictures of me doing this in different parks. Ginormous loop makes Richard look like Mike Teavee in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Oh, and yes Chris, it is a real spaceship. Advice for life. More advice for life. Repeated for emphasis. This bathroom was so awesomely futuristic that it warranted a Kodak moment. All the Japanese parks have such nice backdrops. Oh, and ferris wheels of course. I love this picture, thanks for taking it, Bill! Chris's hand is just a *tad* too close for comfort though... On the train to Uminonakamichi, Richard slept, and a few of us, Jeff included, watched what appeared to be driver training. Kinda interesting. This is right before we almost died because Ryan blinded the train driver with the flash from his camera. This is what Lou looks like after listening to Ryan and Jeff talk about trains for fifteen minutes!!! In a way, I'm glad their inane chatter kept me awake, as I saw some great traditional style buildings on this journey, with those distinctive roofs that I think are so pretty. The driver was pointing out everything that warranted her attention (signals, crossings, etc), and then would point back to the centre to realign her vision when she should be back to watching the track... At least I think that's what was going on. Jeff explained it to me but I fail at life. I love that Shane tried so hard to pose but didn't actually manage to get in the picture properly. Upon arrival at Uminonakamichi, we headed to for filming... We were the only people in the park! It was awesome! And these things were in the station. Random pink plastic baskets... Comfort and beauty, LOL!! I was SO convinced that Tom was gonna end up in the water! I'm actually pretty impressed that he didn't, his balance was better than I gave him credit for... Well, up until Lagunasia when he had a disagreement with a fence. Somewhat arty shot of Ryan beginning his journey through the tyres... ...However, I think he underestimated the level of bastardry that these guys will stoop to. One by one, his tyres were taken from him... ...until only one remained. At which point I was labelled "The No Fun Girl" briefly because I decided we were being TOO mean to him. For a big guy, Robb landed pretty gracefully! Funnyish story... After arriving back at the station near our Fukuoka Area Base Camp, Chris and I decided to grab some food from McDonald's... Anyway, there was a student next to us with a bunch of textbooks, and this piece of paper was on the countertop between her and us. We figured it was a piece of her work, but for some reason I decided to take a sneaky picture of it. Anyway, during the meal, Chris kept getting hit with water droplets from the ceiling, prompting me to make lots of piss-taking remarks towards him about "CEILING, RAINS!!!" and so on. A week later, we asked a barmaid in a pub to translate the sign for us from my camera... Turns out it means something along the lines of "Don't sit here, the air-conditioning leaks". Poor Chris. After going back to the hotel for a shower, and then being mistaken for a prostitute by a Japanese businessman, me and a few others headed out to explore the area. This store (this is the Yodobashi, right??) was SO amazing. I could've spent hours there. We picked up a few bits and then decided to try and find a restaurant Robb had eaten at with Quaker when they were in the area in 2005. Eventually we found it! You would never even know it was there unless you, well, knew! Pretty well hidden, and in a basement, basically! Very cool, not at all touristy, which I loved. The place is really small, seats like 8 or 10 at the counter and then there's table space for maybe 20 people. I was full from McDonald's so I didn't eat much this night and let the boys order. They picked some good stuff! But priorities are important, and before food... BEER! I don't know what this is... I mean, I know it's Joey, but I don't know what he's eating. Chicken? Turkey? Chihuahua? *shrug* There is something VERY creepy about this picture. Beyond the normal level of creepiness that Chris oozes, I mean. I have sooooo many pictures from the last two years where I told Robb "Look sexy!" and I either get "sleepy", "creepy" or "retarded". I think this was beef and peppers... The beef was goooooood. Apparently Yakatori is a TPR-approved cooking style... What could be better than meat on a stick?! I believe on this night they went through 87 skewers... On our second visit the following night we broke the 120 mark! The cheese wrapped in bacon was by FAR the best skewer, it was unbelievably yummy. Judging by this picture, they agree with me! I was gonna post another day but I actually don't have time, but I'm determined to get through this more quickly so look out for a ginormous update at some point over the weekend!
  24. Brian, yes it was me that pointed out the wetness. And you DO look like you're posing!! Chuck, my face in this picture of yours says it all, we were NOT expecting to get soaked, we were supposed to be the soakers not the soakees!
  25. Kyle managed to stay asleep while I got ready and packed up... Our goodbye went something like this. Lou: *shakes Kyle* Kyle, I'm leaving now! Kyle: *half asleep* Where are you going? Lou: Germany! Kyle: Why? I gave up and left. I'm so glad you finished this, it was an awesome report!!! Can't wait to do it all again (well, in different countries)... Hopefully '09, right?
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