1 - Flying Snoopy and Hello Kitty's Cupcake Dream are new rides for 2013. I see you almost got me a picture of the Hello Kitty ride. 2 - Did anyone take the mystery hot sauce challenge at the Happiness Cafe. Did the staff come around and make things out of balloons?
As usual, my analysis is free of charge! Original enough to not steal someone else's quote as a signature
Oops! I didn't know we needed a pic of the Hello Kitty ride. Maybe someone else on the trip took one. We'd already had lunch, so we didn't do the hot sauce challenge. But they had the sauce on display.
Chapter 3 Coasters & Culture: From Hirakata Park to Inari Temple
Today was a mix of the fanciful and the spiritual, of the ridiculous and the sublime. Well, mostly the fanciful and ridiculous--in a good way. After all, this is a TPR trip.
We took a few more trains and ended up at a new park for me--Hirakata, a family park themed around fairy tales, Japanese style. That is, I have no idea what fairy tales they were getting at, but the park was into elves and ogres and fairies and such in a cartoon Tolkien sort of way. It also boasted five coasters:
ELF--This is actually an acronym for "Episode of Little Fairies." (Yes, you read that correctly.) It's a an Intamin "family" woodie, and a pretty good one--a cut above, say, Ghoster Coaster at Kings Dominion. We had a nice little filming/ERT session on this one.
Red Falcon--the obligatory Jet Coaster, and a pretty good example of the breed. It sprawls out over one section of the park and offers some nice views to go with its interesting layout.
Crazy Mouse--an OK Reverchon spinner.
Fantastic Coaster Rowdy--well, this lives up to the "rowdy" portion of its name, if not the "fantastic." One very odd family ride.
Peekaboo Town--another odd kiddie coaster that rumbles over a nicely landscaped little area (and can throw you around a bit it you're not careful).
There was a slew of flats, as well as a good shooting dark ride and a funky walk-through attraction or two, including an indoor petting zoo. Everybody seemed to enjoy Hirakata quite a bit, and the staff was great.
We had some "free time" after visiting the park, and some of us decided to check out Inari Temple in Kyota while on the way back to Nagoya. Perhaps all the credit whoring we'd had done not only in Japan but elsewhere had forced us to rethink our lives, develop our more spiritual natures, and cleanse our souls . . . nah, we were just being tourists. But Inari Temple was quite beautiful and it made for a very nice walk--about two-and-half-miles due up.
Join us, won't you?
Yes, even "gentlemen" can have a swingin' time at Tokyo Disney.
I have no idea why Sir Issac Newton is interacting with a fan on a Japanese commuter train.
Er, did we get off at the right stop?
Oh, there it is.
Aghh! I thought this neighborhood looked kind of sketchy!
Like I said: "Episode of Little Fairies."
"All little fairies must read instructions to enjoy episode properly."
"Hang on to them hats and glasses!"
"'Cause this here's the wildest little fairy episode in the wilderness!"
Japan isn't known for wooden coasters, but this one isn't bad.
Fun for the whole family and all little fairies everywhere.
Where does the park end and the city begin?
OK, there's supposed to be a "Big Roller Coaster" around here someplace.
I wonder where that "Big Roller Coaster" could be?
Hey, guys! Have you been on the "Big Roller Coaster" yet? I can't seem to find it.
Hmm--doesn't look so "big" to me.
Oh, I give up . . . wait a minute!
OK, that looks like it could be a "Big Roller Coaster."
I think Red Falcon was the best of the Jet Coasters on this trip.
Yes, they are sort of like big, lumbering Mine Trains, but I like the layout of this one--very scenic.
Proper riding position.
Improper riding position.
This just looks "wrong."
Jon is really enjoying this--maybe a bit too much.
"See you in your nightmares, kiddies!"
"Ahoy! Thar be rowdiness off the starboard bow!"
"Thar be no sense to the themin' of this ride, sez I"
When in Japan . . .
. . . do as the Japanese do.
"Enough dolphin hugging! Time to blow critters to bits!"
Yes from hugging dolphins . . .
. . . to blasting demons! Hirakata offers good, clean fun for the entire family.
This is excellent practice should you encounter any Lovecraftian Elder Gods in your travels. More to come from Hirakata.
Whoa! Frodo really let himself go after all that "Ring of Power/Mordor" stuff.
I guess Frodo has spent a lot of time here.
OK, here's everyone's chance to be a fairy or wizard or something.
This involves running around a lot and bumping into mirrors.
The Haunted Shack is alive, well, and living in Japan.
This is Dowsing Mountain--another odd walk-through attraction.
"All this can be yours, if the price is right!"
Mine! Mine, I tell you!
This is an upcharge, by the way.
Yes, you're paying money for the chance to find one bag of rocks that weighs the same as another bag of rocks.
Emperor Guillotine, I have brought you the head of Ultra-Man!
Oh, god--another one of those raccoon pretenders.
"Look at me! Look at me! I'm a red panda! Howdy, howdy, howdy!"
"Please, your just me with red hair dye! Why don't you embrace your raccoon-ness?
Because the enthusiast community demanded it, here is the entire layout of Fantastic Coaster Rowdy. You're welcome.
The little fairies' episode continues.
And what a darling little episode it was.
This will give you an idea of just how BIG Red Falcon is.
"G-day, mate! Just pedaling through."
"Hug Hug Town": The red-light district of Hirakata.
"Freedom! Sweet freedom . . . ow! Dammit!"
Yes, officer--that's the guy that tried to strangle me earlier today.
"Hello there! I'm Wizard! Can you guess what I do? Come on! Guess, damn you!"
Looks like they came to terms with Pippin from the LOTR movies, but I guess Merry was holding out for too much money. So they made do with Poppy. That's all from Hirakata. Now it's time to get all spiritual and stuff.
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