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Photo TR: Japan, including La Qua and Fuji-Q Highland.

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About a month ago, I went to Japan with my Aikido dojo (What is Aikido? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aikido) to train, sight-see, and otherwise create assorted mayhem. We trained in Iwama, the birthplace of Aikido, then toured Tokyo and trained there. After a week and a half, the rest of the gang left for Narita Airport while Ben (a dojo friend) and I stayed after for a week. We checked out more of Tokyo, went to Osaka to tour and battle monkeys, and, oh yeah, rode some roller coasters.


So, I decided to do a TR and share some of the more memorable moments of my trip with you. The majority of the pictures are not coaster related, but I think you’ll still enjoy the journey through Japan. As this is my first TR, I welcome any sort of compliments/criticisms/or suggestions. Enjoy!




Ben and I walked to a waterfall in Mino to find some furry friends. This one was struggling to get into that soda. I stood far a way and used the zoom because, frankly, I just don’t trust monkeys! Thanks for joining me on my TR!


All tremble at the world’s largest ferris wheel. Osaka.


Me stepping over a mountain in Osaka. Yes, that square underneath my feet is officially designated as a mountain. The sign behind says so. Of course, I can’t leap tall mountains without my trusty Chu-Hi (tasty alcoholic beverage available in street side vending machines around Japan).


Super fast shinkansen (bullet train) to Osaka.


The shiny lights of Shinjuki (Tokyo).


Coming through the center-less ferris wheel.


TD interacting with the surrounding environment.


Still, who can say no to an Intamin Mega Coaster? Besides, it was empty. I rode 12 times in a row in under an hour. Why did I stop? Because the ride broke down.


Great first drop, but then a tad boring afterwards. It doesn’t have the constant speed that MF has.


Thunder Dolphin threading through a building.


More theme park fun! This time, it’s La Qua, at Tokyo Dome.


Or you could go really un-PC and order this. No, I didn’t eat either. Yakitori is just fine with me, thank you very much.


Tasty equestrian delights at a Shibuya (Tokyo) eatery.


If you have to put on rain gear, then why bother going on the water ride?!?


One more Fujiyama shot.


Yeah, it’s rough. But, it has lap bars, which is better on rough than OTSRs. And the airtime! Our last ride was in the back, and we spent half the time out of our seats. Lovely!


Fujiyama. I was expecting to be really disappointed with this thing (hey, it’s Togo). But, I was pleasantly surprised. I really liked this ride.


Eejanaika and the ferris wheel, with Dodonpa partially visible behind. Dodonpa was ok. Great launch, but a little rough, turn was kinda lame, but the hill was nutty (if not a little rough).


Evil first drop. I didn’t tell Ben about the whole seat rotation thing. So, when that first drop hit, he grabbed the restraints with all his might. I love removing people from their comfort zones.


Yes, more pictures. What can I say, I love 4th Dimensional coasters. I found Eejanaika to be more exciting than X, but rougher (though that could be because I never got to try it in the front).


I fear that X will be a letdown after experiencing the full-full. This part was quite smooth and wonderfully disorienting.


There she is, in all her glory. It wasn’t running when we first got there. But, after our second ride on Fujiyama, she was up and ready to traumatize.


…to gate crash Fuji-Q Highland and ride Eejanaika, of course!


The usually busy Tokyo station absolutely empty. How does one see it this empty? By arriving there at 5am. Why would one wake up at such a horrid hour? Well…


An absolutely delectable dinner of sukiyaki: meat and vegetables cooked in a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, and water, then dipped in beaten egg. An absolutely sublime culinary experience. And, you get to cook it yourself too!


The rest of the Reno people have left, now Ben and I enjoy some tea in our ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn) while wearing yukatas (robes). Sweet.


My friend posing for me in front of temple gates.


Feeding the deer in Nara. There are over 1200 deer roaming this park, none afraid of humans, all looking for “deer cookies” (which vendors sell to tourists).


I know, it’s hard to see. This is the best shot I could get. This was on the toilet paper dispenser. Instructions on how to, well…


Ready for bed in a traditional Japanese style room, Kyoto. Actually, this was quite a comfortable way to sleep. Good for your back, too!


Me and the Reno crowd after a typical grueling keiko at Hombu dojo in Tokyo (notice how our uniforms are drenched in sweat…hard training in a hot, humid, not air conditioned dojo does to you). The Japanese man front and center is the grandson of O’Sensei, the founder of Aikido.


Taken at a gift shop while touring Mt. Fuji. For only a few thousand yen, you too can own Mt. Fuji air.


Yep, this is how they do it here (luckily, they’re not all like this). Oh, the humanity!


Since it wouldn’t be a proper TPR TR without food, some very tasty miso soup in Tokyo. It was actually quite good, once you get past the crustacean seasonings.


Me in the actual dojo after keiko.


Me attempting to throw shurikens at a target (the operative word here is attempt).


Weapons practice in the woods.


Aiki shrine in Iwama, the birthplace of Aikido. It is now 5:30am (we arrived the previous night…ugh!), and we are all up for the first keiko (practice) of the day.

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Sounds like you had a great time! I'm still a little sad that I didn't get to ride Thunder Dolphin or Linear Gale, but at least you got to ride it (without any rain)! Hope your trip was fun! Did you by any chance have some Melon Fanta?

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Evil first drop. I didn’t tell Ben about the whole seat rotation thing. So, when that first drop hit, he grabbed the restraints with all his might. I love removing people from their comfort zones.


That probably gave him a heart attack.


Yay! More shots of Eejanaika!

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Great TR and pics. I was drooling over that one of the big Ferris wheel. The animals were cute, too. Thunder Dolphin looks awesome, especially at night.


The food- let's just say that one meal breaks one of my cardinal rules of food: Don't eat anything that looks back at you

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Thanks for the nice comments, everyone. I feel at this point I should be more fair to Japanese food, as I only included, um, unique items in the TR. Japan has tons of great food. I ate more yakitori (skewers) than I can count, they are delicious. I also discovered that a good bowl of ramen is a special thing indeed. As I mentioned in the TR, sukiyaki is incredibly delicious. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me for the best meal of the trip: Kobe beef. We went to Kobe specifically to try the beef. A full, multi-course meal with a 180 gram steak as the centerpiece cost a whopping $130! However, it was worth every penny. I mean, I have never, EVER, had beef this good. It is sooooo tender and unbelievably jucy and flavorful. Because of this one meal, I have been ruined for steak. Nothing compares.


Thanks again for the nice comments.



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Great TR. Although I must say I'm glad I ate before I viewed it.


Ditto on the PTR but I was thinking the opposite on the food. I think it would be a kick to try some of the real odd food. Come on, where are you going to see Whale Bacon in the US.

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Thanks for the great TR and the pictures.


Now I know that I miss Japan so much since my 2006 trip.


Tokyo and all the cultural sites, the food (yes you can have great food on every corner), the nice people and of course the parks.


There are so many great memories - and if I look at your pictures I still can remember the awful day at Fuji Highland - just the kiddie and indoor coaster worked on that day - but so I`ve an excuse to come back again - and again and again


Japan is great!

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And you were worried people wouldn't like the TR? Well done!


Shuriken can be VERY difficult, particularly Bo Shuriken. The Hira(?) or Happo(?) are a little easier if they are 8 pointed. 4 point, a bit tougher. Didn't realize this was a part of Aikido training too. You've taught me something new today.


Oh, how fortunate you are to train in Japan with the ancestor's and their descendents. Very much an honor.


Thank you for sharing this perspective.

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^Thanks for the nice words.

Shurikens are not a part of Aikido training. We were just playing with them after the morning keiko. The only weapons I have ever seen used in Aikido are boken and jo. As for the shuriken, I was trying to throw this:



Yes, 8, even 4-pointed would have been easier to throw. At least I got one to stick to the target

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^^Those look like modified Bo Shuriken, perhaps a bit thicker. Very tricky. If it's any consolation, one word could some up my first experience with those....DOINK! Well, I HIT the target anyway...


While I believe the focus is on redirecting the opponant's energy against him or her using unarmed techniques, there are tool techniques using tanto, kuboton, escrima, etc. Sadly my only Aikido reference for this is the Steven Segal movies.


As for the food, did you have any sushi? I'm a sucker for bit of octopus now and then.

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Thanks again for the kind words. I just got back from a bachelor party weekend in the Bay Area (with a solo trip to Great America included...more credits) and finally got a chance to check this site.


As for your question, TheRapidsNerd, yes, I did have a bit of sushi in Japan. I only went for one sushi meal. While it was pretty clearly a run-of-the-mill sushi place for Japan, it was of excellent quality...what you would expect from a really good (but not great) sushi bar in the States. Though I never did try octopus (I don't really like it...too freakin' chewy).


Thanks again for all the feedback on my first TR!

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That was a very nice TR, I like whenever people do reports of stuff other than just straight coasters when the travel abroad. It lets all of us homegrounded peeps know what the rest of the world is like!


Your poor friend, if someone took me out of my comfort zone like you did to him, I'd flip out! but I bet he did the same


again, nice TR!

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I will be at Fuji-Q in a week and a half to ride their big 3...can any of you give me some ride tips? Where should I ride Fujiyama to get the least amount of roughness? Sounds like the back is the best for airtime? Let me know if I should do front vs back if I can only ride it once.


Also, what should I hit first when entering the park if I get there when it opens...Eejanaika or Dodonpa? I have limited time there so I want to make sure I minimize my time spent in lines.


Hopefully it won't be TOO crowded on a Sunday during school year.

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