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Photo TR: Chuck Returns to Japan with TPR--Again


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Great TR of Nagashima Spaland, Chuck! I've enjoyed this park as well, on earlier TPR tours.

Looking forward to seeing what they do with Cyclone. What a boring, meandering (and very rough) thing that was, IMhO.

 

And I too enjoyed how they've paired up their coasters, and the park itself, with various souvenir eats (and drinks

too, I remember) and such, with the packaging of everything. I still have the box that held a cookie selection, I think.

Has Steel Dragon 2000 on it, as well as other flat rides in artwork. Holds my souvenir Japan wash cloths now.

 

Thanks for all those great photos of the 2 new coasters, too!

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^Who doesn't enjoy some happy talking time?

 

The Rain in Spain Falls Mainly on Japan: Parque Espana

 

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 11 years since I’d last visited Parque Espana with TPR. I really enjoyed the park then, even though it was hot as the surface of the sun and as humid as a Florida swamp that day.

 

Yeah, I’ve aged a wee bit since then.

 

It was different story in 2018, thanks to heavy on-and-off rain. Well, if you’re going to visit a Japanese park on a wet day (outside of Disney), Parque Espana is a good choice. They have plenty of indoor attractions, including one good-sized roller coaster and some good dark rides, and some nice restaurants to wait out the weather.

 

As you’ve probably guessed, Parque Espana is themed to Spain--in Japan. This isn’t nearly as strange as a park themed to California--in California. The park is also the most beautiful one in Japan outside of Disney or Universal, and the staff is very friendly.

 

But they don’t run their larger outdoor coasters in the rain. So, we missed out on the park’s very good “mine train,” Gran Montserrat, but there was a chance that we could get some rides on Pyrenees, their excellent B&M Inverted Coaster--if the rain stopped later in the day.

 

But what about their indoor coaster? This ride was named Bullfight back in 2007. If your idea of “fun” was rolling around in the dark and stopping in front of silhouettes of bullfight fans (or “aficionados,” if you’re a fan of Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises) while they shout “ole,” Bullfight had you covered.

 

They’ve since re-themed it as Iron Bull. The concept: You’re testing out steampunk-style mechanical bulls in a giant factory. (Not sure what Hemingway would make of that.) The old ride’s “arena” theming has been replaced with plenty of blinking lights, pipes, boilers, and steam. The ride itself was OK, but a bit on the rough side; that much hadn’t changed since 2007. Overall, I call it an improvement.

 

I hope you have an umbrella or a poncho, because we’re going in.

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Welcome to Parque Espana! The wettest Spanish-themed park in Japan!

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It’s so wet even this frog is staying undercover.

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You rarely see theming this good outside of Disney or Universal.

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I was going to "shoot the bull" with this guy, but I think he'd be offended by the expression.

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I wonder what authentic Spanish delicacies I can procure at this establishment?

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How about an Orange Oct-a-Burger?

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“I made these fresh for you all by myself! But you don’t want to know how I made them. Trust me.”

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We should be able to stay dry on . . .

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. . . “Tron Butt.” Or was that “Iron Bull”?

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Hmm--I don’t see anything relating to the hindquarters of digitally created, spandex-clad beings in here.

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Hey, Hemingway--how would like to outrun this bull at Pamplona?

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Of course, there are Tron Butt snacks available in the gift shop.

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Speaking of butt-related snacks . . .

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The park also celebrates the arts scene in Spain.

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The nicely themed Kiddy Montserrat was running in the rain, even though Gran Montserrat wasn’t.

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Unaccompanied children will be eaten by a giant salamander made of colorful tile.

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These are my only coaster pictures from that day with people in them.

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Let’s make the best of it, shall we?

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Whee! We’re wet and we’re riding a giant salamander!

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Well, now that we’re thoroughly soaked from riding the kiddie coaster, we may as well dry out on the shooting dark ride.

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It’s good shooter, too . . .

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. . . a good shooter to DIE IN!

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Sheesh! Even Hell is full of panhandlers.

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“Boy, I could use a Tums the size of Pittsburgh after eating these guys! They must’ve scarfed down those Orange Oct-a-Burgers for lunch.”

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"Grim grinning ghosts about to eat your face!"

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When water heaters go rogue.

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“Nice party, eh, pal? Mind if I dip you in this buffalo sauce? Should make you nice and tangy.”

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I don’t recall which score is mine, but it’s probably the lowest one. More to come.

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It's still pretty wet at Parque Espana, but Robb has been talking with the park staff about opening Pyrenees if the rain stops. Stay tuned.

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I’m not clear on what a novel written by an English mathematician and logician has to do with Spain, . . .

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. . . but the attraction is dry, indoors, and has a cat. In we go!

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“We got wands, too! Stuff it, Harry Potter!”

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“Hello, I’m Lewis Carroll . . . or am I Edgar Allan Poe after shaving his mustache? Then again, I might be Benedict Cumberbatch. I’m really just confused.”

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If you saw the Twitter video from the trip, this is the room where Robb stabbed me with his wand.

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“Robb stabbed me too! Me’s a maniac!”

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“We’re not maniacs--just Blue Meanies.”

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It’s still wet, but the park is still beautiful.

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Bugs Bunny in his sexiest role yet. Elmer Fudd is so turned on now he just might explode!

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This was the entrance to what used to be a really cool splash boat ride.

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Here’s the old show building they don’t use anymore. The ride is just a scenic boat cruise today.

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But you can still ride . . .

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. . . Don Quixote’s Magical Light. It’s a good dark ride.

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This ride is not to be confused with Disney’s Peter Pan.

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It shouldn’t be confused with the novel by Cervantes, either.

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Then again, it does have a singing frog, and dead authors don’t ask for royalties.

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A little rain doesn’t bother Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.

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But our group was willing to enter the gaping maw of Hell itself to dry off.

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Hey, Hell’s kinda purty.

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“Yippee! Your souls are mine!”

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“Yep, he got our souls, too. That mouse is a tricksy little bastard!”

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At least we can return topside via the legendary Magical Escalator Ride.

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The park is wet and pretty empty--but still beautiful. Good food, too.

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But this question still remained: Would the rain stop long enough for us to get some rides on Pyrenees?

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Yes, it did!

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Pyrenees is still one of the best B&M inverts. There’s even a good pop of air time.

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The sun took a bow as we were preparing to leave.

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My thanks to TPR and the staff of Parque Espana for a great day.

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Maybe I’ll re-create this photo in another 11 years. That’s all for now.

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what wonderful pictures, and it looks so nice, even wet!

 

of course, this is my favorite photo:

 

 

 

does it tie in with Iron Butt / Iron Bull ? or is that just a park mascot?

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Ooooooh, that's so sad about the Pirate Boat ride not happening any more. I rather enjoyed the scenic cruising along their harbor and then climbing up the waterfall (a la Disney) into the show building. And eventually, an easy splashdown back into the harbor for a bit more cruising along. Lovely ride.

 

Glad that the Magical Escalator is still Musical. That was a fun way to get back up into the front of the park.

 

Great TR of Espana, Chuck. Another park in Japan I really miss.

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Parque Espana certainly is the best park in Japan other than Disney/Universal to visit in the rain as they have a decent amount to do. Plus they had an amazing fast food restaurant where I finally got my "yakiniku rice burger" that I had been trying to get the whole time in Japan but always missed out.

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Parque Espana certainly is the best park in Japan other than Disney/Universal to visit in the rain as they have a decent amount to do. Plus they had an amazing fast food restaurant where I finally got my "yakiniku rice burger" that I had been trying to get the whole time in Japan but always missed out.

 

They've always had good food at that park--and lots of dry, air-conditioned space in which to eat it.

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Parque Espana certainly is the best park in Japan other than Disney/Universal to visit in the rain as they have a decent amount to do. Plus they had an amazing fast food restaurant where I finally got my "yakiniku rice burger" that I had been trying to get the whole time in Japan but always missed out.

 

Not quite the same but you reminded me that one of my favorite take away places when I need a quick lunch has become bonguesse rice burgers in korea. It took off a few years ago and there are stores everywhere now. I always grab a rice burger for lunch since it's only $2-4 dollars if i'm teaching somewhere. http://m.bongousse.net/Web/menu.aspx They've just introduced supersized versions for around $4.50

 

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There used to be a Mos Burger near me but that chain and a few other foreign companies completely vanished from Korea. Mos Burger still has a couple of places open but they're pretty spread out. The Panda Express I saw once came and went so fast, think they're down to 3 stores now. Shake Shack is the up and comer these days. Dairy Queen just started to show up.

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Toys & Trains: Legoland and the JR Museum in Nagoya

 

A friend of mine, who is a wee bit cynical, posted on my Facebook page that if he ever visited Japan all the bright colors would drive him crazy. He would be desperate to see some earth tones after a few days. In response, I posted a photo of a bare train-station wall.

 

What does this have to do with this week’s update? Well, our next park would probably push him over the edge into a whirlpool of brightly colored, “Everything is Awesome” insanity. Yes, I’m talking about the park where earth tones go to die . . .

 

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As for the “bare train-station wall,” we’ll be ending up at the Japan Railways Museum to look at trains. (Yes, I know this is a weak segue, but it’s all I got now, folks.)

 

The Legoland chain’s newest park is every bit as wacky and colorful as its predecessors (not to mention shinier), and it’s very compact. The park also has many of the same attractions you’ll find elsewhere, such as the Dragon coaster, Lost King Adventure shooting dark ride, and one of those “jet-ski” water rides (called S.Q.U.I.D Surfer here). The park’s Miniland is devoted to Japan, of course, and is very well done--possibly the best of these I’ve seen anywhere (it helps that it’s nearly brand new).

 

There’s not much else to say, other than Legoland Japan is plenty of fun for kids and goofy adults--like this group. Let’s have a look around, then take a short walk to the JR Museum.

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Wait! That’s not Legoland! Then again, I could use a new bookcase. I wonder if they have instructions in English.

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Oh, I’m looking out of the wrong side. Never mind. (There’s a shopping center between the park and the train station.)

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Walk or slide? Up to you--unless you get stuck in the slide, then you’ll be pried out with a crow bar and subject to ridicule.

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So swanky, you need a password to shop there.

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Now that’s some swanky merchandise.

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Our quest is at an end. God be praised!

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“Welcome to the Legoland Hotel. May I help you?”

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“No reservation? I’m sorry, sir, but NOW YOU DIE!”

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Hmm--I feel a song coming on . . .

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OK, who did this? Mothra, I'm looking at you!

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“You cannot resist our cuteness. Join us, and we will rule this world, and all worlds to come!”

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Tonight on a very special episode of “Kaiju Kounselor”: “Kong! Godzilla! If Gamera can forgive Gaos, you can forgive each other!”

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Yep--looks like a Legoland park, alright.

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“Arr! I lost me booty when me skin rotted and slid off me bones.”

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“Ahoy! Get yer pirate eggs here! Guaranteed to have 10 percent fewer squid guts than yesterday's batch!”

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I love the theming on this ride--well done, Legoland.

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The only "dueling dragons" coaster left. (Credit for this joke must go to Robb Alvey, who originally created it in a slightly different form.)

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Every dragon needs . . .

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. . . an apprentice.

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Hey, here’s a Lego ride I’ve never experienced before.

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“No one’s watching me play with Legos, right? Good.”

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I wonder how long it took Lego Creative to come up with this acronym?

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Welcome aboard Legoland’s version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

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It’s very cozy . . .

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. . . and has real fish living in harmony with Lego fish.

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Judging by his expression, “everything is awesome” to this fish.

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I hope Awesome Happy Fish stayed clear of the sharks.

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“I tell you what, someone better fetch King Neptune some ale, . . .”

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“ . . . or I’m gonna start kraken open a can of whoop ass on somebody!”

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It wouldn’t be Legoland without one of these rides; plus, it's themed to S.Q.U.I.D.

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Er, you’re missing the cool thing behind you.

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“Indeed! I can see what you call the ‘cool thing’ from here.”

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“Yes, nothing is ‘cooler’ than a Legoland pizza-and-pasta buffet,’ my good man.”

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Hmm--I think I’ll pass on the tuna-and-corn pizza.

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“If tuna-and-corn pizza is good enough for me, King Neptune, it’s good enough for you! Eat it! I command you!” More to come.

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Sheesh, I took a lot of photos that day. Brace yourselves for more Legoland Japan.

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“Remember, Watson--one most both see and observe on the Observation Tower.”

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Not even Watson could miss this warning sign.

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The park is hemmed in by highways.

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Miniland from the air looks even more, er, mini.

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They use their space really well.

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Let’s find out where Legos come from.

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Lego DNA.

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“How are new Legos made, you ask? Well, when a man and a woman Lego love each other very much . . .”

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OK, this in no way resembles the sick story of Lego procreation that the dude in the video told us.

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Raw, naked Lego sexuality . . . looks rather industrial.

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Oh no! That black jellyfish is eating that poor woman!

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Each Lego brick must be examined meticulously--only by this guy.

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You, of course, exit through the gift shop and get your very own Legoland Japan brick.

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"From now on, you shall address me as "Dr. Funkenstein.'"

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Legoland Japan’s Miniland is very impressive.

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They re-created Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, and Kyoto in Legos.

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Welcome to Nagoya--at least I think that's Nagoya behind the Ferris Wheel.

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I didn't know that Mr. Stay-Puft was Kaiju.

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Many of the exhibits are interactive.

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The Tokyo Train Station.

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Little Lego peeps doing their thing, minding their own business--in the shadow of giants.

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Hmm--I wonder if there’s a good yakatori bar around here somewhere--or was this in Shinjuku?

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I’m not sure where this is, but I’d like to visit there someday.

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Don’t disturb the artist.

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Gundam is standing guard in case Rodan comes along.

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Unfortunately, this wasn’t working at Legoland, either. ;)

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Looks like it’s time for the annual Parade of Evil somewhere. Maybe they're trying to appease that volcano.

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"OK, we're looking for virgins to toss into the volcano. We'll accept volunteers. Still waiting."

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Run, you fools! A giant devil truck is coming!

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“Evil, schmevil. We got kites to fly.”

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Thanks, Legoland. See you some other time. On to the JR Museum.

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If you like raw meat and trains, you're in the right place.

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Make no promises . . .

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. . . that you can’t keep.

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And now, some culture and science . . .

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. . . courtesy of the JR’s Shinkansen museum.

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I keep looking for George Jetson.

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Note the line stanchions where people are expected to wait to take their photo with the train.

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All generations of Shinkansens are represented.

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A little train porn. You might want to ask any youngsters to leave the room.

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Good to know. We need these trains in the U.S. Maybe if they painted flames or half-naked people wrapped in American flags on them . . .

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Derailment prevention is kind of important.

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Naked, raw train chassis! I think Dan, who is a big Shinkansen fan, may have been a bit turned on by this.

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These look like something from an old Frankenstein movie.

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You can check out different generations of cars, too.

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Bullet trains need wheels, too. Who knew?

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They even had dining cars with actual kitchens.

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Touch the train. You’ll both enjoy it.

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I think Dan did more that just "touch" it.

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They had some sort of “lottery” for people who wanted to try the Shinkansen simulator.

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Looks like fun--but what do you do if Godzilla shows up?

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From what I understand, people tend to “crash” the simulator pretty often.

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If you don’t win the simulator lottery, you can always check out the model trains.

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A cheerful train car bids us good day. That’s all for now.

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Trust the Japanese to show what they served in the dining cars, with their meticulous plastic foods, lol.

 

Loved the tour, Chuck! Great museum. I would love to visit that, some day, some how.

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