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May 3, 2016

Osaka Diaries 2016 - Part 2: Universal Studios Japan

Without quite meaning to, we seemed to be following the itinerary of my first trip to Osaka. Day one exploring the city, day two: USJ. And boy, was it a great day. 
Last time I went to Universal Studios Japan, Kamil (back home in Fukuoka) missed out. Now it was his time to see the sights and ride the rides! We bought tickets in advance, woke up early on Wednesday morning and hopped on a train carriage that had Hello Kitty's face on it. The day was off to a good start.

The crowd really hustled when the gates opened, and as we got caught up in the excitement we found ourselves breaking into a half-jog to match those around us. We decided to go and visit Hogwarts first, as it's one of the park's newest areas. I was never in on the Harry Potter craze in primary school when the books came out, but the new USJ area "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" was really amazing. Such detailed little shop fronts, delicious butter beer, and the towering Hogwarts castle (where the main ride is!) all made me want to give the books another try, or at least re-watch the movies. This area added so much *magic* to the theme-park and was impossible not to love.

Next we rode the original Jurassic Park ride (which was great) and got a place in line for "The Flying Dinosaur", USJ's newest rollercoaster. Having only opened last month, the line was the longest we waited in all day (90 minutes), but it was certainly worth the wait.  Here's how they describe it....
The world's best flying roller coaster combines three elements: the world's longest course with sharp rises and drops, overwhelming g-force generated by the world's greatest height differences, and the enchanting world of Jurassic Park. This is a next-generation roller coaster that lets you fly through the sky like a bird, facing downward, and directly experience the wind and thrills from head to toe.
Oh, man. Until that moment I had never encountered the noise of pure terror that came from deep in my lungs. At first, I wasn't even sure that it was me screaming (but my hoarse throat afterwards confirmed the fact). It was really scary and really fun. I both loved and hated it.

After all that excitement (terror) we decided to take it easy and wander around the "New York" area of the park to find some well-earnt lunch.

We rode Spiderman and JAWS-themed rides before wandering around the kid-friendly Sesame Street/Hello Kitty/Snoopy area. By now I had pretty much recovered from the Flying Dinosaur, but it was still rather comforting to be surrounded by bright colours and unthreatening kid's rides. 

Wandering through "Hollywood" we chose to escape the rain and put our feet up at a booth inside Mel's Drive-In: the 1950s themed diner at USJ where the burgers are good and the jukebox tunes are even better. We stayed there in our cosy booth listening to the likes of Buddy Holly and Bobby Darin for a few hours.

After a little more walking around the park, we checked the time to realise we had been at Universal Studios for a solid nine hours and soon after, said our goodbyes to USJ.

There really is nothing like a good day at the theme park every now and then, and nobody I'd rather be there with than my guy. Arigatou USJ!

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