A TPR Japan 2013 Trip Report

Or "I think I'm turning Japanese; I really think so."
Users viewing this topic: No registered users and 1 guest
Discuss theme parks, roller coasters, and mules!
I think Intamin should make a donkey!
User avatar
 
Posts: 160
Joined: 17 Sep 2007
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Gender: Male
Age: 40

Re: A TPR Japan 2013 Trip Report

Postby spongey » Tue Sep 10, 2013 12:11 am

What a great start to a truly memorable couple of weeks Cokes.

I can't wait to relive it through the upcoming updates.

First class photos and commentary mate and I have to admit hitting those few dark rides
here yesterday was not the same without your girlish shrieks :)

Site Admin
User avatar
 
Posts: 33499
Joined: 01 Feb 2005
Location: Swimming in the Ocean
Gender: Female
Age: 38

Re: A TPR Japan 2013 Trip Report

Postby SharkTums » Tue Sep 10, 2013 10:48 am

Great TR! When are we going back!??! Oh yeah, in six months!!!!

Fabulously FIERCE!
User avatar
 
Posts: 1795
Joined: 16 Feb 2005
Location: Wilton Manors (Fort Lauderdale)
Gender: Male
Age: 48

Re: A TPR Japan 2013 Trip Report

Postby DenDen » Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:32 am

I am curious to know whether the pink triangles on the red light district buildings denoted "gay"? In LGBT history, upside-down pink triangle tattoos were used in Nazi Germany to identify gays and lesbians. The symbol isn't used as much as it was in the 90's as an equality pride/struggle symbol.
"To the floor! The only thing that will hold you up when nobody else will!"

Jar-Jar Binks smells like Donkey
User avatar
 
Posts: 1265
Joined: 12 Apr 2010
Location: Burbank, CA
Gender: Male
Age: 57

Re: A TPR Japan 2013 Trip Report

Postby RoCo » Tue Sep 10, 2013 12:56 pm

spongey wrote:First class photos and commentary mate and I have to admit hitting those few dark rides
here yesterday was not the same without your girlish shrieks :)


Thanks, man! I'll be working on those shrieks for when I we hit that fair together, some day soon, I hope. ;)

SharkTums wrote:Great TR! When are we going back!??! Oh yeah, in six months!!!!


You're killing me. KILLING ME. ;) (But have an AWESOME TIME!)

DenDen wrote:I am curious to know whether the pink triangles on the red light district buildings denoted "gay"? In LGBT history, upside-down pink triangle tattoos were used in Nazi Germany to identify gays and lesbians. The symbol isn't used as much as it was in the 90's as an equality pride/struggle symbol.


Very interesting question, and I have no idea! Good catch and I hope someone else can answer this question; now I'm curious, too.
"The Internet? Is that thing still around?"

Image

BAYSIDE STATION!!!
User avatar
 
Posts: 24597
Joined: 17 Aug 2005
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Gender: Male
Age: 66

Re: A TPR Japan 2013 Trip Report

Postby Nrthwnd » Tue Sep 10, 2013 4:05 pm

SharkTums wrote:Great TR! When are we going back!??! Oh yeah, in six months!!!!


Well, Scandinavia still awaits. :airtime:

And Japan visits are starting to come up, practically yearly now.

;)
Talk is Cheap :idea: Action is Pricele$$

Image

Which came first the turtle or the donkey?
User avatar
 
Posts: 172
Joined: 12 Nov 2012
Location: Round Rock, Tx
Gender: Male
Age: 40

Re: A TPR Japan 2013 Trip Report

Postby John_RN » Tue Sep 10, 2013 6:31 pm

Totally excellent TR!! I loved reading about your excitement at your first visit to Japan. I hope to make my first visit with TPR in 2015. It's been a plave I've wanted to visit since I was little and watched the Gamera movies, especially with the Mystery Science Theater treatment! Cannot wait to read more on your trip!

Donkeys are my way of life!
User avatar
 
Posts: 516
Joined: 27 Apr 2006
Location: Port Hueneme, CA
Gender: Male
Age: 33

Re: A TPR Japan 2013 Trip Report

Postby Xcoaster » Wed Sep 11, 2013 6:11 pm

RoCo wrote:
DenDen wrote:I am curious to know whether the pink triangles on the red light district buildings denoted "gay"? In LGBT history, upside-down pink triangle tattoos were used in Nazi Germany to identify gays and lesbians. The symbol isn't used as much as it was in the 90's as an equality pride/struggle symbol.


Very interesting question, and I have no idea! Good catch and I hope someone else can answer this question; now I'm curious, too.

The upside down triangles indicate windows that can be used for fire escapes, that way the fire department knows where to aim their ladders. Quite a few buildings have them. But yeah, when I first saw them I also thought they indicated the building's sexual preference :lmao:

Great TR so far! It's good to see that you got to experience plenty of culture in addition to coasters. Looking forward to more!
Image

Jar-Jar Binks smells like Donkey
User avatar
 
Posts: 1265
Joined: 12 Apr 2010
Location: Burbank, CA
Gender: Male
Age: 57

Re: A TPR Japan 2013 Trip Report

Postby RoCo » Sun Sep 15, 2013 6:20 pm

John Carpenter's remake of "The Thing" is one of my favorite movies, of any kind. I think it's the scariest movie I've ever seen, and I've seen hundreds of scary movies. Maybe the original "Alien" is just as scary, to be fair. They are both masterpieces of sci-fi horror; we can all agree on that, yes? Anyway, one of my best friend's nieces loves scary movies and this best friend and I both urged her, frequently, to see "The Thing:" the dog transformation scene; the "blood test" scene; Kurt Russell owning it all over the place; best practical horror effects EVER; best sci-fi horror movie ending EVER; and on and on and on.

She finally watched it and was thoroughly – and I mean thoroughly – unimpressed. "Lame," she called it. Lame. I'm still trying to figure that out. Did we oversell it? I guess so, but to this day, I don't see how that's possible. A dude's head turns into a spider!

Anyway. If anything was ever at risk of being oversold to me, it was Intamin Mega-Lites. Theme Park Review is filled with testimonials to their brilliantly compact, twisted layouts, their diabolical airtime, their ability to cure erectile dysfunction, yada, yada, blah, blah. For years, we've been hearing this kind of thing, over and over, am I right?

Well, get ready to hear it some more.

Part Two: Tobu Zoo with an Aqua Stadium chaser

Before the official start of the trip, there were three "add-on" days, and Tuesday marked the first official day of the add-on portion. Most everyone who would be on the trip proper had elected this "super size me!" bonus pack, which I had initially thought I'd exclude. Thank god I changed my mind, because Kawasemi and Harikata and a BUNCH of other stuff. Moral of the story: if you are presented with the option for more Japan, and can afford it, you choose more Japan. Always.

So when I went downstairs that morning for the buffet breakfast (again, so much and so good), there was a nice, big crowd of TPR folks meeting and chatting it up.

Another thing about TPR trips I'm sure you've already gleaned from previous reports, and/or first-hand experience: the people who go on these trips are just the kind of people you'd want on these trips: people who love parks and coasters, who love to travel, who love to have a good time. These are my kind of people. (And they were from all over the world, which was mega-awesome.)

Breakfast out of the way, we gathered in the hotel lobby, lots more excited chatter, Robb and Elissa greeted everyone, handed out the TPR tote bags filled with helpful supplies and snacks and goodies, holy crap, this is really happening, after all the months of dreaming, of planning, of desperate waiting: GAME ON.

Here's how you get to Tobu Zoo from Tokyo: make sure you are traveling with TPR and do exactly what Elissa tells you to do. See how easy that is?
LocalStreet.jpg
This park is a bit of a walk from the nearest train station and honestly, I'd love to tell you which station, but I don't remember at all. ("Someone else appears to be doing all the mental 'heavy lifting' here, so I'm just going to shut down everything but my pleasure receptors for a couple of weeks. Laterz!" - My brain.)
MorningStroll_001.jpg
It was neat to get a little taste of this more sedate, suburban part of Japan, after a day in the hyper-urban dynamism of Tokyo.
FrontGate.jpg
Lookit, there it is! The first park of the trip, officially! Yay!
RobbOutFront.jpg
Here's Robb setting us up for the day; to his right is an Asian rep for Intamin (super-nice guy, can't remember his name, either) who was instrumental in helping to arrange this morning's ERT session. Yeah, our first morning, our first park, the very first official ride of this trip, an Intamin Mega-Lite. Not too shabby.
Hippos.jpg
Tobu Zoo, as its name would lead you to believe, is a zoo with real, live animals. I'll warn you now that the only animals you're going to see in this report are either artistic representations of animals, like the fantastic hippos above, or rides that are made to look like animals. I did not get to the zoo portion of this park; the hour or so my group went off to check out the animals, I spent taking pictures of Kawasemi (a ride which is named for an animal, a cute little bird that can really haul ass, apparently.)
WheelDoggie.jpg
The Japanese certainly do cherish their big Ferris Wheels. This is one of TWO of them at Tobu Zoo. We rode the newer one, which I'll discuss shortly. I love the happy Tobu doggie.
GiantDropWheel.jpg
Several rides were not operating today, including G-Max, the Intamin drop tower. Boo-hoo, I guess we'll have to console ourselves while we're riding one of the most insane roller coasters in Japan, I'm sorry, IN THE WORLD. Life is so unfair.
KawasemiStation.jpg
Should I start with the slobbering worship now? Nah, you know what, I'll keep that for the end.
ReginaAbove.jpg
Tobu Zoo has another big coaster, Regina, one of the very few woodies in this nation. Looks pretty decent from above, right? It was pretty decent, and according to Robb and some of the others who've ridden it in years past, it was in pretty decent shape for this visit. Not super-great, but decent.
ReginaEntrance.jpg
Regina means "Queen" in Italian; you can see the little crown over the "R" in the logo. Why they referenced an Italian word, I don't rightly know. Is she the queen of monsters?
ReginaSeaMonsterEntrance.jpg
Because there's this monster here, like a little pet or something...
ReginaSeaMonster.jpg
...and then this big one ARRRRGH! I got the impression that these were sea monsters, or lake monsters, or monsters somehow related to water, but now I'm not sure why. Maybe because there's a big pond underneath much of the ride?
ReginaLift.jpg
Theming aside, Regina was designed by the Stand Company, who also designed Nagashima's White Cyclone, another woodie we'd be sampling down the pike.
ReginaFountain.jpg
All the landscaping around Regina is quite lovely, with an abundance of shady trees and green vegetation. I wish I'd taken a shot of the rambling unpaved path that leads to this ride's queue; it's like they built a big wooden coaster in some quiet corner of Central Park.

But I'll leave it to the two photos directly below to say most of what needs to be said about this ride. Keep in mind, we'd all just staggered away, sweaty and spent, from the Kawasemi ERT...
ReginaCarsEnd1.jpg
No one looks miserable. I see a couple of smiles even, Nozzy and Caroline, Sean in the back there... Steve, I think, is just wiping his brow, not slapping his forehead in disgust. I think.
ReginaCarsEnd2.jpg
But really. Are these the faces of riders who can't wait to get back in line? I submit that they are not. (I only rode once.)
StarCrossMeteorAttack.jpg
It was fairly hot that morning, so anything that looked like it might be air-conditioned was getting our business, including Star Cross Meteor Attack!
StarCrossQueue1.jpg
The waiting room just outside the pre-show, man, it was nice and cold in there! JC and Steve examine the outer space storage shelves.
StarCrossQueue2.jpg
Star Cross Meteor Attack was a little CG sci-fi movie adventure with space ships, and meteors, and lots of PEWPEWPEW KABLOOIE! It was fun, if pretty incomprehensible to anyone who doesn't speak Japanese. But the air conditioning, THUMBS WAY UP!
RocketRide1.jpg
Speaking of space ships: TPR Astro-Fighter takeover (not really)! Cary, Priscilla and Steve are ready to go to infinity and beyond (which, if you think about it, is kind of a silly concept, like "infinity plus one" and I guess that was the point, to give Buzz something kind of silly to say. But I digress.)
RocketRide2.jpg
PEWPEWPEW!
GalaxyWalkers.jpg
Many of the walk-throughs in Japan have some sort of interactive, competitive gaming element, and Galaxy Walkers (snicker) was my first exposure to this type of attraction. You could choose to be part of the "red" or "blue" team, which meant following a particular path and doing particular things, none of which stick in my mind. I think my team lost. But the point is that the Japanese are all about science fiction and robots and space ships and ray guns and all that jazz, which is just more to love about the Japanese, far as I'm concerned. PEWPEWPEW!
RainbowTownFlyingRide.jpg
To get from Tobu's East Gate area (where we came in) to further west towards the zoo section, you can either walk, or take this suspended "Pegasus-powered" monorail ride. The wings on the horses actually flap, a detail I much appreciated.
PegasusskyrideReginaBG.jpg
Here's a shot from my car looking back at some of the others.
Carousel.jpg
The carousel was under repair, but I liked that they built it on a platform over the water.
"The Internet? Is that thing still around?"

Image

Jar-Jar Binks smells like Donkey
User avatar
 
Posts: 1265
Joined: 12 Apr 2010
Location: Burbank, CA
Gender: Male
Age: 57

Re: A TPR Japan 2013 Trip Report

Postby RoCo » Sun Sep 15, 2013 6:42 pm

Continuing:
RidableAnimals.jpg
Almost every park we visited, except for the Disney parks, offered these ride-able mechanical animals. I somehow managed to never get one of these credits.
FantasyElephant.jpg
FYI, Tobu has a ride called Fantasy Elephant.
rooftopcritters.jpg
These little guys were on a roof along the monorail path; cute! I wonder what the sign says... "We Think We Are Cows, But We Are Not Sure!"
SkyRide2.jpg
I really do love the Tobu doggie. I didn't seek out any Tobu doggie souvenirs and I regret that now.
StrangeStreet1.jpg
Check out what's right under the opposite winged-horse-monorail station?! SWEET!
StrangeStreet2.jpg
A film crew was setting up a shot out in front of Strange Street, and from the make-up and costuming on the actress there (the taller one with the jet black hair under the umbrella), I'd guess it was a ghost story of some kind. Very sweet.

This was a walk-through and out of the many, many spook houses we encountered, I'd say this was the least memorable. Because I remember almost nothing about it. But I chalk that up to the fact that there were so damn many on this trip, and I was still pretty jet-lagged. Still, Tobu has a haunted attraction, so hooray!
SurprisingHouse.jpg
And they have their own Surprising House, too; double hooray! Tobu's was fun, but again, the best of these was still a few days out.
DogRide.jpg
Other than Special-K, I think this dog ride was my favorite. Because it was just this long row of seats that went round and round in a slow circle and bounced up and down a little. And it barked.
DogRide2.jpg
That's what led us over, the barking. Round and round, woof woof woof! Hell yes, we rode it.

I have no pictures of the lakeside go-kart "safari" ride, but we rode that, too. The "safari" elements were pretty weak, but go-karts are never a total loss.
HeartfullFarmPigWelcome.jpg
Heartful Farm is Tobu's newest "land" and it is where you'll find the park's second big wheel.
NewFerrisWheel1.jpg
Can you see the windmill that fronts the other side? Nice touch.
TobuWheelUnderneath.jpg
Each car is air-conditioned. Oh, and the views way up high are great, too, sure (I took lots of photos on this wheel). But: air-conditioned. That's the really important thing.
FarmCarRide.jpg
We didn't spend too much time at Heartful Farm. The kids' rides look very nicely put together, though, don't they? Very farm-y.

One more random note: I had the chicken curry at the place where we ate lunch; it was damn tasty, and the first of I don't know how many plates of super-yummy chicken curry I ate over the following days.

No, wait, sorry, another thing: we rode the pedal car monorail doohickey up front, too. Just a big square, very whatever.

Enough foreplay.
KawasemiLiftHillAbove.jpg
OH MY FREAKING GOD.
KawasemiLiftHillArmsUp1.jpg
By modern standards, Kawasemi is a wee morsel. Its highest point is just above 100 feet, and you travel less than 2,500 feet from lift hill to brake run.

There are coasters three times as big that can't muster even half the thrills this mofo delivers.
KawasemiFirstDrop2.jpg
My first ride was all it took to know that Kawasemi had not been oversold, in the slightest. And after I got off (pun very much intended), all twitchy and giggly, someone said "Not bad, but it needs to warm up."
KawasemiCoupleHillProfile.jpg
Holy damn freaking damn it to hell, did it warm up fast.
KawasemiFarDive.jpg
I rode in the front, in the middle, and in the back; we all did. Doesn't matter where you sit; it's an airtime ass-whupping like almost no other roller coaster I've been on. That said, I do believe the front row is where I was ultimately turned into Kawasemi's eternally devoted, eternally submissive love-slave.
KawasemiSecondDrop.jpg
Take a good long gander at that layout. Every hill, every twist, every turn is just where it should be, like a perfect melody, every note flowing from the one before it, setting up the one to follow. And I like how many trim and block brakes there are, which is none.
KawasemiHillHandsUp.jpg
There's a train full of professionals, man. TPR in da house!
KawasemiBackRowHairtime2.jpg
Some of the locals may not be as hardcore, may try to hold on, but no one can escape the wrath of the negative-G gods, not on Kawasemi.
KawasemiCoupleHill.jpg
Yep, the front row, that's my favorite.
KawasemiWideLake.jpg
This ride has it all: camelbacks, bunny hops, low-slung turns, all manner of surprising twistiness, except for inversions, though, and if you ride Kawasemi and say to me, "Needs some loops," we're going to have trouble, my friend.
KawasemiHillCU.jpg
The consensus seems to be that no park in America would have the stones to build a Mega-Lite and let it run wild, certainly not a corporate chain park that needs a lot of capacity and/or a "big number" ride for marketing purposes. I don't know... an independent, family-owned park, a park that has already shown a proclivity to build very intense roller coasters... there's gotta be some park like that in the U.S. where a Mega-Lite could find a good home.
KawasemiHandsWayUp.jpg
And if not, dadgumit, let's just pool our resources, do a Kickstarter or something, and build that park ourselves. WHO'S WITH ME?!
Last edited by RoCo on Sun Sep 15, 2013 7:12 pm.
"The Internet? Is that thing still around?"

Image

Jar-Jar Binks smells like Donkey
User avatar
 
Posts: 1265
Joined: 12 Apr 2010
Location: Burbank, CA
Gender: Male
Age: 57

Re: A TPR Japan 2013 Trip Report

Postby RoCo » Sun Sep 15, 2013 6:56 pm

Continuing:
KawasemiBunnyHops.jpg
Or maybe it's better to have to travel great distances to experience something as wondrous as a Mega-Lite. Keeps them special, makes the devotional pilgrimage a real event.
KawasemiBunnyHopCU.jpg
No, screw that. I want a Mega-Lite down the block from my house.
KawasemiBunnyHopHairtime.jpg
Kawasemi, baby, you rocked my world.
KawasemiLastTurn.jpg
Right to the very end.
KawasemiMoreHairtime.jpg
Who do I have to bribe/kill/sleep with to get a Mega-Lite into California?! TELL ME AND I'LL DO IT, JUST TELL ME ALREADY.
KawasemiBrakes1.jpg
Look at these expressions; THAT'S a trainload of satisfied customers. Alan, front row on the left, is clearly having a moment.
KawasemiBrakes2.jpg
Ready for another ride, doods? HECK YEAH!!!
AnthMouseBoat.jpg
Anth also recommends... whatever this is.
HipposEndofDay.jpg
Thanks, Intamin and Tobu Zoo, for revving this trip right up!

On the way back to Tokyo that afternoon, Steve told me I really should grab the Galaxy Express 999 credit at Aqua Stadium, which I'd totally forgotten was in there. Derp.
GalaxyExpressEntrance.jpg
We did have a little free time before catching a bullet train (!!!) to Nagoya that evening, so I ran over to Aqua Stadium and hopped on.
GalaxyExpressPanel.jpg
Going in, I knew very little about the GE999 mythos, except that it is super-popular in Japan, has been developed into TV series and movies and other media, and features a train that travels through space. And stars some kid, and a tall, wan, depressed-looking blonde, and a little floating character in a train conductor's outfit, which I presume is the train conductor.
GalaxyExpressScreen.jpg
Fortunately, you are forced into watching a ten-minute pre-show that totally brings you up to speed on the story, as long as you understand Japanese. Those are ten minutes of my life I can't ever get back.
GalaxyExpressCops.jpg
I kid, but it is awesome that they put so much effort into theming this indoor, launched looping roller coaster, which was actually kind of rad, if pretty shaky. Had there been time, I'd have gone back around for another run. Maybe.
AquaCarousel1.jpg
Steve and I literally ran by a couple of other Aqua Stadium attractions on our way back to the hotel. This sea-critter carousel appears to be Disney-quality; gorgeous.
AquaCarousel2.jpg
Returning to Aqua Stadium is required.
AquaBoat.jpg
And holy mackerel, look at their indoor swinging boat ride, WOW!

To be continued.
"The Internet? Is that thing still around?"

Image

PreviousNext

Return to Theme Parks, Roller Coasters, & Donkeys!

Who is online

Users viewing this topic: No registered users and 1 guest

These pages are in no way affiliated with nor endorsed by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Cedar Fair, Legoland, Merlin Entertainment,
Blackstone, Tussaud's Group, Six Flags, Universal Theme Parks, the Walt Disney Company or any other theme park company.

All onride photos and videos on this website were taken with the permission of the park by a professional ride photographer.
For yours  and others safety, please do not attempt to take photos or videos at parks without proper permission.

Disclaimer!  You need a sense of humor to view our site, 
if you don't have a sense of humor, or are easily offended, please turn back now!
Most of the content on this forum is suitable for all ages. HOWEVER!
There may be some content that would be considered rated "PG-13."
Theme Park Review is NOT recommended for ages under 13 years of age.

cron