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Photo TR: Chuck Finally Returns to Japan with TPR


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So it's kinda the Fight Club of walk through attractions? Yes?

 

If I told you what happened in Murder Lodge, I'd have to kill you!

 

Well, probably not.

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If I told you what happened in Murder Lodge, I'd have to kill you!

 

With plastic cutlery and a place setting?

(I don't even know where this attraction was, in the park.)

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^It was in an arcade. In Murder Lodge, you essentially sit in a room and become part of a story (like some of the attractions at Joypolis); in this case, it's a story of murder most foul! (I think. It was all in Japanese, and it does end with the cops showing up.)

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Maybe it was just the unending joy of being on this trip, or maybe it was the easy availability of busty, scantily-clad collectible figurines at this park, but something had me in the right mood when I rode Rusutsu's SLC. I remember it as being very not-awful. Almost fun, actually, sort of. Certainly, I've ridden much, much worse versions.

 

But yes, all other coasters here were completely pwned by the dive-loop Ultra-Twister. We need to resurrect Togo and have them make more.

 

Thanks again, Chuck, for these updates. It's such a pleasure to relive the entire experience.

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Chapter 8

Meanwhile, Back in Tokyo: Joypolis and Tokyo Teleport

 

Although the pull of the Sapporo Bier Garten was strong, we had to leave Sapporo and return to Tokyo. I really enjoyed visiting Hokkaido, and wouldn't mind returning some day. But there was much more southern Japan awesomeness to experience.

 

Our first stop after arriving at Haneda Airport was the sensory overload that is Joypolis at Tokyo Teleport. This is one of the most elaborate arcades you'll ever see--three levels of very Japanese craziness that gives off a soft blue glow. It's the home of Veil of Dark: The Shooting Coaster, which is a big improvement over the ride that used to be there, the painful Spin Bullet, which was like something cooked up by the Spanish Inquisition to force confessions out of heretics. Veil consists of a shooting-dark-ride section, where you take on various monsters from the bowels of hell, followed by a launched spinning mouse with an inversion right over the floor of Joypolis. The ride is a lot of fun (particularly the dark-ride section).

 

The rest of Joypolis consists of various video games (even in the bathrooms), both familiar and unfamiliar; simulators (for auto racing, river rafting, and other sports); and bizarre "haunted" attractions (such as very creepy House of the Living Dolls). There's even an enormous Half-Pipe in which you're strapped to a giant skateboard.

 

We had nearly a whole day to explore Joypolis and the rest of the Tokyo Teleport area. Here's a look.

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Hmm--not so sure I want to fly "J Class" on Japan Air Lines. It looks kind of scary, and those two guys are seriously creepy.

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What's this? The headquarters of Ultra Man and the Science Patrol?

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Joypolis dead ahead.

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It's next to the world's most disturbing McDonald's.

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Welcome to the future!

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In the future, we will all wear cute retro uniforms like this.

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So, what is there to see in this Joypolis?

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How about terrified British people?

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"Interesting" souvenirs?

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Or giant rodents that can move at the speed of sound?

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Veil of Dark has one of the coolest entrance signs ever.

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As you can see from this high-quality photo, those who ride the Half-Pipe are often transported through an inter-dimensional vortex and never seen again.

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This is the only photo I have of Veil of Dark that isn't hopelessly blurry.

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I rode it twice, but can't remember my scores. I can guarantee that I was neither a "Legend" nor a "Master."

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Yes, this simulator is much like the drive to work I make in my Saturn each day. An editor's life is fraught with peril.

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I was glad that House of the Living Dolls was still there. This is another one of those creepy shows where you sit around a table while scary things happen in Japanese.

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Hmm--what if multiple staff come? Would they be "staves"?

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Oh my god! Joypolis has srpung a leak! Run for your lives!

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Maybe we should pray to god, even though he looks a bit constipated.

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I could sure go for a nice "stake" or "humberger." This brings to mind an old Three Stooges joke.

Moe: Would you rather they burn you at the stake or chop off your head?

Curly: Burn me at the stake, because a hot stake is better than a cold chop! [sLAP] Ow!

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There's a nice view out behind Joypolis.

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So, I guess this is a "mediocre" Japanese establishment?

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You have to love Japan. This was right around the corner . . .

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. . . from this. More to come.

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So, we had the better part of a day to explore Tokyo Teleport. Some of us wandered past the Teleport train station to Mega Web, a big shopping, dining, and amusement complex that housed Toyota City Showcase--which is sort of a combination theme park and car dealership. There were a bunch of other stores there, too.

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How's this for a specialty shop? Unlike a drug store, there's no need to be embarrassed while buying condoms here--that's all they sell.

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I think their other big hits were "Rubber Band Man," "Big 10-Inch Record," and "Let's Get Drunk and Screw."

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Off to Mega Web!

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You see--it is as I told you.

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Welcome to the strangest car dealership ever.

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"You are here"--where you can't smoke.

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Of course there's a Mega Theater. We're in Mega Web!

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I wonder if Condomania has something to cover 380 inches?

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You can also buy all sorts of ridiculously expensive car paraphernalia here.

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Yeah, we actually did this.

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Your mission is to pedal a little hybrid scooter around this course and not break any laws. It's harder than it sounds, especially when you have to pedal up a ramp.

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When the staff enticed us to try it, no one was around. But as soon as three Americans and a Brit started pedaling around, there was quite a crowd of Japanese people watching and laughing.

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"OK, what do I have to do to make sure you drive this baby off the lot today? Let's deal!"

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Stop Dan! He's stealing this car! More to come from Tokyo Teleport.

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One last look at Mega Web and Tokyo Teleport, home of some rather "interesting" shopping opportunities.

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Oh my god. Looks like "Cute" just puked all over this place.

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Do they have capsule machines? Such a silly question!

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This guy was so ugly he was awesome; ergo, I had to buy him.

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Is this the Japanese version of Spencer Gifts?

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They do have all sorts of miscellaneous crap.

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Some of what they have is downright disturbing.

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Remember, you serve curry from this plate. Don't confuse it with a real toilet. You'll get to the real thing soon enough after eating the curry.

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This "sumo wrestler" game was built by Togo. So, I guessing I would've been in for a painful experience, had it been working.

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Night begins to fall.

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Yes, Tokyo Teleport is a very cool looking place.

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We didn't ride the obligatory giant Ferris wheel this time.

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But I did take this artsy photo of it.

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Time to head for final hotel of the trip at . . .

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. . . yay!

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This is a very nice Hilton, indeed.

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Our room had a great view, as well. But this wasn't our next destination. Yes, to earn your time at Tokyo Disney, you must first get past Fuji Q. More on that later.

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^LOL! Love the last caption! I remember getting to the Hilton that night and hoping that Mt. Fuji would erupt overnight so we could just go to Disney instead!

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^LOL! Love the last caption! I remember getting to the Hilton that night and hoping that Mt. Fuji would erupt overnight so we could just go to Disney instead!

 

Fuji Q--the Anti-Disney!

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I was so disappointed to miss out on Joypolis when I visited Japan, it was closed for the refurbishment when I visited so they could install the new ride, I don't think any details where released until it had opened but the sounds of inverting launched spinner with dark ride section makes me think I should of postponed my trip for that credit.

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^It's a big improvement over Spin Bullet, the old coaster--and makes a lot more sense for Joypolis because it combines a coaster with a video game.

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^I don't recall seeing a "Prison Break" attraction, but there's so much crammed into that building that it would've been easy to miss.

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What's this? The headquarters of Ultra Man and the Science Patrol?

Actually far from it. It's the Fuji TV building, loads of nice doramas emerge from that place. Even though they may actually feature Ultra Man, etc. not sure..

 

Love the updates though, nice to get a feeling of what you can do there, since I'm really looking to go there later this year.

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What's this? The headquarters of Ultra Man and the Science Patrol?

Actually far from it. It's the Fuji TV building, loads of nice doramas emerge from that place. Even though they may actually feature Ultra Man, etc. not sure..

 

Love the updates though, nice to get a feeling of what you can do there, since I'm really looking to go there later this year.

 

Darn--I was really hoping it was the HQ of the Science Patrol.

 

For purposes of accuracy, here is the actual HQ of the Science Patrol.

 

 

I stand corrected.

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Chapter 9

"Am I Taking Crazy Pills?": A Decent Day at Fuji Q

 

So, there we were at the excellent Hilton Tokyo Bay, theme-park nirvana within our grasp! Great views of both Tokyo Disney parks from my window! The monorail station just across the street! Oh, frabjous day!

 

But, much as monks and friars on a pilgrimage, one's soul must undergo a ritual cleansing before achieving a state of spiritual bliss. And that cleansing was to take place at Fuji Q--easily the worst park I had ever visited back in 2007. Yes, the memories of that day six years ago were not particularly pleasant. But at least I didn't have to rush around and get a lot of credits in 2013. My main objectives were Takabisha, the park's new, enormous Eurofighter, and the Haunted Hospital, the park's famous walk-through attraction.

 

But I ended up being pleasantly surprised, thanks to Robb and Elissa--the group's day at Fuji Q went very well (for this park, anyway). Yes, there were some hefty lines and the usual poor operations, but Robb and Elissa made good use of the park's bizarre "fast pass" system to make sure everybody got all the credits in. Yes, they camped out by that "fast pass" kiosk all day and made sure to score as many passes as possible for the group.

 

I ask you, seriously, who the hell else would do that? Thank you very much!

 

So, I ended up having a pretty good day at Fuji Q. I liked Takabisha--especially the second section following the vertical lift (the initial launched section was fun, but rougher). I had no idea that there was an inversion in the dark before the launch. The much-ballyhooed Haunted Hospital is certainly long on atmosphere, if pretty short on scareactors. It's a very long walk, indeed, up and down many flights of stairs, through dark corridors filled with creepy props, such as an actual body scanner and jars of various bodily organs. There certainly were plenty of places for actors to hide--I just wish there had been more of them (maybe they pull out the stops in October). Still, I liked the Haunted Hospital, although it isn't on the same level as Hotel Gasten at Liseberg or Spokhuset at Grona Lund.

 

I also got another credit I'd missed in 2007--Rock and Roll Duncan, the kiddie coaster in the park's Thomas Land section. This was one of the nicest kid's areas I've seen outside of a Disney park. It was very well landscaped and even had a nice dark ride. Six Flags could learn something from Fuji Q here.

 

I even had a good lunch that day, unlike in 2007. However, while I did enjoy myself more than I expected, I'm still not a fan of this place. The operations remain poor, although the staff is nice enough. For example, Dan and I had passes for Fujiyama (a ride I liked in 2007), but when we went to use them, the ride had closed because of "wind." (The air seemed pretty still to us.) Aside from Thomas Town, it's not a very attractive-looking park. Much of it seems stuck in the 1970s, and some of it is just butt ugly expanses of concrete. Your average Cedar Fair park looks better than much of Fuji Q.

 

But, again thanks to Robb and Elissa, all went very well that day.

 

Looks like the main gate's open--follow me.

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Aw, do we have to go to Fuji Q today?

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The group obsessively checks the Internet to see if Mt. Fuji had erupted. It had not.

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Japan has very nice roadside rest stops where gorillas give you kegs of beer!

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Seriously--why can’t we have nice rest stops like this in the U.S.?

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You’re welcome, Starbucks.

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I feel a tremor in the Force . . .

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Yeah, “Fujikyu” to you, too pal.

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Hmm--is bear fighting a big problem in Japan?

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“Fuji Q”? “FujiKyu”? Where the hell are we, anyway?

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Robb has confirmed that the park is open.

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I’ll take this as a good sign.

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These guys are always happy to be at Fuji Q.

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First stop, Takabisha--a ride I rather liked.

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The mural in the station is a nice touch.

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The initial launched portion is a little rough, but not horrible.

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The section following the vertical lift hill is better.

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Not sure what part of the ride I’m looking at here.

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It’s all twisty and confusing--in a good way.

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KT was kind enough to give Dan and me a tour of Thomas Land.

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They did a great job on this area. Six Flags could learn something from Fuji Q here.

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Yay for getting a missed kiddie credit! KT was duly impressed.

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KT required us to ride this, as well. I was surprised that I fit in the boat.

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The grumpy-looking moon doesn’t look all that “welcoming.”

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At least the stained-glass window looks friendly.

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“Oh crap! A chunky coaster enthusiast! Groan.”

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It’s like Christmas in July . . .

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. . . complete with ice and snow.

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My god! It’s a trap! We’re surrounded by vampire-zombie trains!

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Only the cuteness of the Hamster Coaster can save us now . . .

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. . . OH MY GOD!

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Er, OK . . .

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But what do “real women” use?

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Leave your “sensitivities” out of this.

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“Die, Dan, die!” More to come.

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More from a "bizarro" day at Fuji Q

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I think there might be some sort of haunted attraction around here. Just a hunch.

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If you’re ever in a car accident in Japan, pray that they don’t take you to this emergency room.

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You do not want to be part of an “enforced exit.”

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Just ask this guy.

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Neil promises to behave.

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“I misbehaved in the Haunted Hospital--and look at what they did to me!”

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OK, I’m seeing a high probability of an “enforced exit” for this group.

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“I am exiting of my own free will!”

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“I was a human being once!”

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There’s no telling how many Japanese have been scarred for life by the Haunted Hospital.

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Well done, Neil. You’ve survived another haunted walk-through attraction.

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Takabisha is very photogenic--more so than the Food Stadium.

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Er, I guess. I am in the men’s room, after all.

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OK, what kind of “fight” is this?

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The old “sit in a casket and listen to a spooky story” attraction has been replaced with some bizarre fun house.

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I think Dan was hypnotized by all those stripes.

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I invoke thee, Satan--come forth!

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Don’t touch the balls.

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Whoa! I didn’t think my invocation would actually work!

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This is in no way “suggestive.” You simply have a dirty mind.

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Apparently, this is some sort of Japanese cartoon version of “Indiana Jones.”

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Flatulent pigs. Why did it have to be flatulent pigs?

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You know, if that evil French archaeologist from “Raiders of the Lost Ark” wants this treasure, he can have it.

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Call it, “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Huh?”

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"Throw us the flatulent pigs! We think they're even tastier than coaster enthusiasts!"

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I feel rather jaunty in this hat.

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Here is a glimpse at Fuji Q’s operations. This is the line for the rapids ride.

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Note the four-person rafts, which usually contain only two people.

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You have to jump over some other fence “for danger.”

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This is the strangest rapids ride I’ve ever seen.

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This park has always looked very “1970s” to me (except for the Eurofighter).

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I didn’t take a ride on the crazy, intense Dodonpa this time.

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Hey, the bear started it!

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Here’s a shot of Mt. Fuji from the park’s mini-Mt. Fuji viewing platform.

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We rode the park’s Star Flyer, which is bizarrely themed to a construction zone. I guess it sort of looks like a crane.

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Me and Fuji.

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I think this was some bizarre, Takabisha-inspired food product.

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Speaking of Takabisha, here’s one last look.

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Thank you, Fuji Q. You did better than in 2007; of course, you had nowhere to go but up from that. Back to Tokyo Disney later--yay!

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