Friday, November 26, 2004

Mt Fuji? Not quite...

Home at last. Just had my shower and now it’s time to try to update this blog. Had a looong day today. Where?

Fujikyu Entrance

I got up today at 5.30am to get ready because our bus left from Shinjuku station at 7.40. I was quite amazed that I actually managed to wake up considering how much walking I did yesterday up in the mountains. Despite that, I somehow didn’t leave my room until about 6.30 so I missed the train I was meant to catch to Shinjuku… Not a good thing to do that early in the morning; the next train was fifteen minutes later. That cut it really fine – because I only arrived at Shinjuku at about 7.30 and I didn’t know where I was meant to go.

Luckily Simone and Seong were there already so they picked up my ticket for me – all that was left to do was get to the bus terminal. That turned however out to be a bit of a disaster. We were meant to meet at the ‘west exit’ of the station, but what I didn’t realize was we were talking about the west exit of two different stations (I was at the JR west exit; they came out the Shinjuku Subway west exit I think). Since I was late though, the two of them had gone to the terminal already and were giving me directions as if I was coming from the same exit as them. Needless to say I got quite confused, but luckily the security guards here seem to double as information/direction helpers. After running across a couple of 5 lane roads I found the bus with about 30 seconds to spare before departure. Good start to the day huh?

The trip down to 富士急 (Fuji-Kyu) took about an hour and 50 minutes end to end. Beautiful 青空 (blue skies) and clear crisp air down there was a nice change from the congestion of Tokyo. Also, since it was just a regular weekday the amusement park was quite empty meaning less queues and more rides for us. The first ride we went on also turned out to be the best. It was called “Fuji-Yama” – and boasts some record for being the tallest (or was it fastest? or longest? Hmm I really can’t remember) rollercoaster in the world. Well at least I think it was for a little while – I doubt you can hold a record like that for very long. In any case, it was basically your standard go-up and then go-down roller coaster (no loops or anything…). But what made it really fun was the ‘go up’ part was really high – like 80 metres or so. Meaning the slope down was really steep, and went for aaages. The first time on it, I was so unprepared I stopped breathing at that first drop. And just when I was about to recover, there was a second, and then a third. You really feel like you are going to fall out of your seat. Gives you the biggest adrenalin rush though.

That's the first up-and-down of Fujiyama...

We went on a couple of other miscellaneous spinning rides after that. With the sky so blue though I think it kind of took some of the fun out of the rides which flung you around upside down. I seriously had no idea of which way I was pointing – or if I was even really spinning around – because all I could see was blue half the time. There wasn’t even any clouds to judge by. But I’d take that any day over a cloudy day down there – since it was clear, Fuji-san makes the place look almost like a postcard. It’s this huge snow-capped mountain just hanging in the background the whole time. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t come out very well on the little digi-cams we had; I think you need a proper SLR to take those long range shots.

There was a splash-down kind of ride down one end of the park which we ended up at after that. Seong didn’t want to get wet, so only Simone and I went. It’s more wet than your average water-rollercoaster I think though. Before you get on, it is highly recommended to buy a 100-yen disposable raincoat. After riding it I understand why.

If you can't make it out, the sign reads 'No Shampoo'... I think if i had some i could have had a pretty good shower though

I managed to tear the hood on my rain coat, so when we hit the water I got all wet from the head down. It luckily didn’t take too long to get dry after that though. Roller coasters act surprisingly well as clothes dryers when it’s a clear day~ Anyway the other highlight of the theme park was this really fast ride called ドンドンパ (Don-don-Pa). Lining up was incredibly annoying though because they had speakers all along the queue playing ドンドンパ (don-dOn-PA!) over and over. When you are standing there for 30 minutes it starts to grate. I pity the people who come when the park is busy and you need to line up for 2 and a half hours.

What made this ride special was it shoots you from 0-170km in about 1.5 seconds or something. After that it’s a pretty standard-fare coaster, but it does have a 90 degree vertical up and down which adds a bit of fun to the ride. It’s all over extremely quickly, but I must say that take of really looks like you’re entering warp-speed from some sort of sci-fi movie. Everything just goes blurry.

The 90 degree drop of Don-don-pa

Had some food after that because Seong and Simone had been out since about 5.30am at the fish market (I went the other day so I didn’t bother going there) and were getting really hungry by then. That kind of limited our ride selection for a bit – but was okay because we ended up going ice skating. Yep, there’s an outdoor ice-skating rink. I think that it’s actually a pool which they freeze over during the winter. After not having skated/bladed for a long time it felt really weird out there. But after a little while on the ice it turned out to be a lot of fun. Fell over a couple of times which hurt a bit though.

Fun on the ice

Seong and me...

Self portrait skills

Ran out of ideas after not being able to skate backwards, so I decided to just see how far I could slide on the ice. On my bum. That got me quite wet. Seong tried it too…


We had to walk around for a bit so that we could dry after that. And even after a walk through the haunted house, a ride on the ferris-wheel and some ice-cream the two of us were still kind of damp. It was getting quite late by then though, so we had one last ride on Fuji-yama and wound up the day with a ride on the merry-go-round and then some go-carts which are so slow that you can’t actually overtake anybody. All in all, we all had an extremely good time.

Leaving Fujikyu

At Shinjuku station the three of us had dinner in a place nearby before heading for home – which is why I’m back so late. And now I think I better stop writing before I waste the whole night… Laters all.

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