So all you will probably glean from this post is 'amusement park' and 'nerd,' but what else is new? :) So on Wednesday, I did not have an exam and I only had class until 10; my speaking partner, Riyo, and I decided to go to Hirakata Park, a small amusement park one train station away from the main city by my school. I was quite excited, because I have seen advertisements all over Osaka about the One Piece Memorial Log, a special One Piece event being held at Hirakata Park. One Piece is an anime/manga (television show/comic book) that has been in existence since 1997; as of now it is about halfway done. As such, it is an extremely long and extremely popular thing in Japan. My friend convinced me to start watching all 540 episodes (ongoing) last fall; as of today I have finally caught up. Hence, I was very interested in going to said Park to see what fun adventures were in store!
(If you really want to know what these pictures actually mean in relation to the series, ask me and I'll go into more detail haha)
So we get to the park, and of course immediately go to the event hall where the One Piece event is being held...at this point, we're not exactly sure what it is, but who cares? It turns out, the "Memorial Log" is an event where you can walk through (and take pictures with) important parts and events in the series! 100 pictures were taken instantly. One of my favorite parts was dressing up like the characters; one of the characters is a cyborg, so they had these huge robot arms for you to put on. There is also a character with a huge afro; I have many awesome pictures.
After the awesome walkthrough, there was a small 3D theater with a cute short movie about a special One Piece adventure, also cute. Then there were more opportunities for pictures. The best part was there was One Piece purikura; it is my most prized purikura to date.
There was also the opportunity to put your picture on a Wanted poster stylized like the ones in the series. It was pretty cheap, so I debated about getting one or not, but I knew if I didn't I would regret it later, so I gave in and paid for one. Imagine my surprise when they didn't just take the picture, she started explaining something in Japanese very quickly and handed me a little card, paper, and pencil. We walked away; I was very confused. This was One Piece; an adventure was required! I had to earn the right to get my picture. To do this, I had to go find 6 treasure chest stations that were around the amusement park. The card was the key to open it, and write down the clue inside. We found 3 of them right away, but it took us a while to find the other 3 (although 5 of the 6 were close to the hall, apparently).
We decided to ride some rides while we were looking. First, we went on a small wooden coaster (I taught Riyo a new vocab word: rickety) and then a little pedaled monorail ride. At this point, it started to get windy and cloudy. Unfortunately, the ferris wheel we were going to ride next (it would have been the 5th of Japan, haha) closed because of the weather. Boo. So instead, we walked around to find something that was not crowded (Riyo said this park was never crowded, but with our luck, because it was Japanese students' break, it was crowded. Joy) and gave up, jumping in line for a whitewater ride.
When I say crowded, we really didn't wait longer than 20 minutes for anything, so it still wasn't that bad, but the park closed at 6 so we had to get movin. It was kinda cold, so I was a bit worried about getting wet, but no one was wet when they left this ride so I was pretty sure it would be okay. This ride had absolutely no waterfalls for the car to go through! It would be impossible to get wet on this ride, haha. We got a little splashed, but nothing big.
The weather was slowly getting better, so we went on the Meteor, which was a baby Power Tower, also crowded. Riyo had never ridden it before, so it was a fun time. We also rode a spinning coaster which was exactly like Wild Cat, no backwards or anything like Yokohama. I also saw a putt-putt course from this, which made me happy that two of these exist in Japan.
(Somewhere in there we also got crepes, which was delicious)
It was nearing 4 o clock, and the Wanted picture place closed at 5, so we decided to hunt for the final 3 treasure chests. We stumbled upon one by pure accident, and miraculously found the other. We then went to the place and asked the lady for a hint, and she told us where the last one was, haha. Then I got my picture, yay! We also stopped at the One Piece store, where I bought various things as usual.
Then we went back to the other side of the park (stopping to play a fun shooting game which I lost at as usual) to ride the Red Falcon, a roller coaster that was kinda boring actually. I was surprised that it was so crowded, but it actually wasn't. There was only one train car running, so the people had to wait for it to come back, which I thought was weird.
Then we rode a log ride, where we did not get wet at all. There was no splash on the hill, which I suppose was a good thing. We then rode a kind of ride which was like Max-Air on a track; the kinds you see at Twins Days and festivals and stuff. There were also a couple other rides, such as the swings and stuff. But we ran out of time.
It was a nice cute park; we had a wonderful time!! I am very glad we went there, although my wallet is not :p
Exams are almost halfway over!