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PTR:Japan - larrygator goes to Japan (11/6 update)

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After conquering Europe with TPR the past 5 summers, 2011 was the year to expand my horizons and visit a new continent. At one time I was considering both the Australia and Japan trips, but scheduling multiple two-week vacations in the same year would prove impossible. A choice was made to visit the Land of the Rising Sun.


I know dozens of people who have visited Japan (both through TPR and just for sightseeing) and everyone of them raved about Japan. Maybe everyone just built up the country too much and I had unrealistic expectations. I loved the trip and "liked" Japan, I just didn't "love" Japan. And this was my feeling before Japan beat the USA in the Women's World Cup.


The food was incredible, especially the Yakitori, but it wasn't always an enjoyable eating experience in cramped smoky quarters. I'm not a big fan of Indian curry but I love Japanese curry. Although I was always able to find a western style toilet when necessary, worrying about squat toilets always played in the back of my head. The bidets being standard in all of our hotels was a plus, maybe that is why everyone loves Japan.


I'm usually very good with subways and trains but for whatever reason I never felt comfortable getting from point A to point B on the trains in Tokyo. Even though one day I overslept and had to make it to a park on my own, I just couldn't follow the maps and station directions. Of course I always felt safe, just disoriented.


The Japanese are super polite (especially those in the service industries) and performed their job with a smile. The effects of the recent earthquake were minimal in the form of many power saving initiatives that I would have realized weren't the norm if not pointed out. On multiple occasions our group was thanked by appreciative park owners/managers, hotel staff or representatives of ride manufacturers for helping the recovery of Japan.




Some days I focused more on taking pictures of usual signs, some days I took pictures of rides for the Park Index and some days I focused more on the people I was hanging with. No matter how you look at it the quality of my pictures will not be high but hopefully they will tell an entertaining story.


Next update will come soon.


June 18th, 2011 - Kashikaen

June 19th, 2011 - Space World

June 20th, 2011 - Kijima Kogen

June 20th, 2011 - Wonder Rakutenchi

June 21, 2011 - Mitsui Greenland

June 22nd, 2011 - Universal Studios Japan

June 23rd, 2011 - Parque Espana

June 24th, 2011 - Nagashima Spaland

June 25th - 27th, 2011 - Tokyo Disneyland

June 26th - 27th, 2011 - Tokyo DisneySea

June 28th, 2011 - Fuji-Q

June 29th, 2011 - Yomiuriland

June 30th, 2011 - Tobu Zoo

June 30th, 2011 - Hanayashiki

July 1st, 2011 - Toshimaen

July 1st, 2011 - Seibuen Yuenchi

July 2nd, 2011 - Yokohama Cosmoworld

July 2nd, 2011 - Sea Paradise

July 3rd, 2011 - Nasu Highland


The story behind this picture will be explained at a later date.

Edited by larrygator
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Can not get enough of reports from the Japan trip. And looking forward to hearing from someone who wasn't completely entranced by Japan. It would probably help to temper some of my own overheated expectations.

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I don't recall if this picture was from Tokyo or Hakata but is a common site on city buildings: lots of advertising, a video game character, a risque ad, and pachinko/slots.

Rules of Engagement:

Sometimes I make inside jokes, so far inside that only I laugh at them. But at least I can go back and laugh at my PTR in the future.

I have no idea how to use my camera, so I take simple pictures and try to make them entertaining and funny. The key word is "try"

I try to take pictures of aspects of parks that others may have missed, so very few roller coaster pictures.

I vowed to take more pictures of the people I hung out with this trip but failed miserably, maybe next year.

My avatar will be explained when I get post my PTR from the day it was taken.


OK, so here goes.

The following pictures are from the first official park of the trip Kashikaen. It was my third park of the trip, but Disneyland was at night without my camera and I got coaster blocked at Chiba Zoo. I returned to Chiba Zoo and will post those pictures later in the report.


We arrived in the Fukuoka area about 6 hours and 600 miles away from Tokyo via bullet train. At top speed the train reached 190MPH, but was extremely smooth. After checking into our hotel in Hakata we took the train to Kashikaen. It's not a big park and we were only there for the credit(s). We were quite concerned as it had been raining that day and was still overcast and most of the parks don't run their coasters in the rain. The drawback of visiting Japan during rainy season. We got lucky as the park was able to open their Jet Coaster for us. Overall no coasters were missed due do the rain (except for a powered coaster) on the whole Japan trip. At some parks, employees were out drying the tracks and brakes with towels for us.


Anyway on to the pictures.


Waiting for the first bullet train of the Japan Tour.


We have arrived at the park and unfortunately there is still water on the ground from the rain.


and we are informed the Jet Coaster is not running right now, but they will try to dry it off for us, but if it starts raining again we are screwed.


I believe this is the first time Elissa utters the phrase "Think dry happy thoughts" so I stare at the happy characters on this poster because none of these visuals would make me moist.


The only ferris wheel we encountered in Japan that was not ginormous.


Some guy pimped out the right side of his car with a park map. It hampers visibility so I hope he doesn't have to make a right hand turn.


While maintenence tries to try the Jet Coaster we pathetically ride the Bun Bun Coaster.


Even more pathethic are those that Must Be First, because if the ride breaks it becomes he best coaster ever.


The park was not that big, but that didn't stoop me from my duties of documenting all the rides.


My favorite was the Charlie Brown themed Octopuuuuuuuuus.


Looks like they dried off the brakes on Pegasus (Jet Coaster). Is that Brent at the front of the line?


Every Jet Coaster in Japan looks big and impressive but doesn't really do anything.


But it does have a nice nose cone.


All the Japanese parks had awesome video games/rides for kids.


It looked cool, would have been really cool if this monster climbed a building like the Rampage video game.


More random arcade games


and activities.


Our first Japanese park group photo. Not the most thrilling park, but as a credit whore I'm glad we got there and that the staff went above and beyond to get the coaster running for us.

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Even more pathethic are those that Must Be First, because if the ride breaks it becomes the best coaster ever.


Quoted for truth.


Always good to see a Larry TR, as we don't get very many of them.

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I call bull$#!%.


Larry doing a photo trip report? Larry with an avatar? Clearly an impostor.


... is that Robb motor-boating Bryan?


Yes it is Robb motor boating Bryan. And for the record out of respect for the country I was visiting, all of my shirts had sleeves. Clearly an impostor!

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June 19th: Day 2, Space World


For the second straight day we woke up to a bad weather forecast and Elissa asked us to think of "dry happy thoughts again". Overall, Space World has one of the better coaster line-ups of the Japanese parks with Zaturn, Venus GP and Titan V. Not surprisingly the park is themed to SPACE from the rides and signs right down to the presentation of the food. Of course I thought I took pictures of the food shaped like aliens but I didn't.


This was also one of the parks where Robb negotiated mini-ERT sessions before the park opened by bartering his filming skills. ERT is not a common practice in Japan.


This is the entrance to Space World


This is the entrance to Space World with TPR gathered outside the gates waiting for it to open. It's always good to get to a park at opening.


Once in the park I took pictures of the touristas.


They were taking pictures of this


and this, but let me let you in on a secret.


Robb has been lying to us for years. THE SPACE SHUTTLE IS NOT REAL!


This sign is for theming purposes only, the nuclear reactor accident was over 500 miles away.


I've already gone over my quota for coaster pictures so you only get a Zaturn sign. And who cares if it is a clone of Stealth, there is nothing wrong with replicating good rides.


and here's the lifthill of the surprising good Titan V as you can see the sky is still very cloudy, but we were the first riders of the day on Titan V right as the park opened. So we got the 3 major coasters out of the way very early.


Boogie-Woogie Space Coaster gave you the option of riding forwards and backwards. Backwards was not a good idea.


TPR proved repeatedly on Clipper that all enthusiasts are fat, it's not just an ACE thing, but TPR can handle the jokes. On at least two occasions too much weight in the train caused it to overshoot the station. Unfortunately after the last time the rain started (all coasters closed) and some people missed the credit.


Alien Panic Evolution is a very good walk through with scare actors.


There is a very well themed log flume with air time.


This raft belongs to Planet Aqa. You ride and your raft fills with water. It didn't rreally matter since it started pouring 15 minutes after we rode anyway.


and while not space themed the park has f'n PandaVision.


Divv and TPDave love PandaVision. How many langauges is that for you TP?


When it started raining I rode the Ferris Wheel with EB and took some more coaster photos.


It's a FAKE!






Now it's time for the random signs throughout the park


Men's Room


Ladies' Room


Height Restriction


No Swimming Allowed


WTF? Sorry about that coaster in the background.


Old theming, just rusting away.


Back in Hakata a bunch of us went the an electronics store to take advantage of their free wi-fi.


But we caught Fran in a Yakitori Bar dreaming of ducks.

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My faith has been shaken . . . .




Larry does NOT take pictures. (nor own shirts with sleeves!)


Robb does not lie.


This is a total fabrication!!


Chris may continue living in infamy!




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