Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Rollercoaster at Yokohama...Literally

This entire day needs to be prefaced with it was definitely a bad day for Japanese. -.-

Today started with checking out of my hostel; miraculously all of my omiyage (souvenirs for other people) fit into my bag, except for the fragile ones I purchased in Disney. So, besides the fact that my bookbag was the width of another person, I was ready to go. My hostelmate was also checking out and heading to a different hostel, so we walked to the station together. The poor girl is starting school in April and travelling beforehand, so she had two massive suitcases to get onto the (thankfully uncrowded) train. I helped her onto her platform (I later received a text saying she made it to Shinjuku okay) and I was off to Yokohama! Yay!

After a few train transfers (Yokohama is very close to Tokyo) I was at the station. After locating where my bus would leave from that night to take me to Tokyo, where I would transfer for Nagoya, I set off for Minato Mirai Station, where all the fun stuff lives.

Upon entering the super shopping center in Queen's Towers above the station, I was greeted with the happy familiarity of Mister Donut. After eating one, I jumped on the epic 3-floor-spanning escalator to get to Yokohama Cosmo World, a small amusement park across from Queen's Towers Plaza.

Cosmo World is a mostly kiddy park where you pay per ride. It does have a few gems, however; namely, a rollercoaster that goes underwater.

(Happily, there were lockers in the Towers so I no longer had the width of a small boat. I did however, need my bag later so I had to pay 400 yen twice :( )

So I bought tickets for 3 rides: the awesome coaster, a spinny coaster that reminded me of WildCat in Cedar Point, and the Cosmo Clock, a super huge ferris wheel that used to be the tallest in the world (Japan seems to have a lot of those, doesn't it?).

Of course I head for the rollercoaster first. It isn't very crowded; there are no lines anywhere. I sit in the car, and the overhead bar is heavy when it is lowered and secured. Its like they had extra weight in it or something. Either way, the tunnel-going-into-the-water part was woah cool. It was also fun to hear all the Japanese people flipping out on the coaster :p

Next I headed to the little spinning coaster because it looked cute. I was happily surprised at how awesome it was. I haven't ridden the WildCat in a while, but I don't remember it spinning around and going backwards like this one did! I liked it. The ride operator was very nice as well; he definitely did my seat belt for me. Because I guess we don't have those in America. Ah well.

Finally, ferris wheel time! (This is my 4th ferris wheel since coming to Japan) It was very pretty, and the clock itself is really cool. Because this ferris wheel is a clock, each spoke measures out a second in a minute. When it lights up, it ticks like a clock (of course I have pictures). Also, every 15 minutes it would light up in a 'firework display,' which was nifty. (I only know all this because the English descriptions on the ferris wheel told me so :P)

I am very, very glad I rode this ferris wheel. If I didn't, I may not have noticed what was on the roof of the Aeon (mall) next door that I have been lamenting does not exist in Japan.


I could not believe my eyes. Putt-putt? In Japan? As soon as I got off the ferris wheel, I immediately headed for the building, which I happened to enter from the food court. I stopped at a bakery thing and got a little pizza turnover, and a meat bun shaped like a pawprint, as well as some other bread. Yum!

Then I found my way to the roof. I opted to play the 18 hole game instead of the 9. the 9 hole one was a 'family course' and actually had fake green. The 18 I played on was on straight metal. You had 6 chances per hole, and when it rolled into the corner you could move it to the black line further in so you can hit the ball.

This was definitely one of the more hardcore games of putt-putt ever. Some holes were pretty simple; I got 2 hole-in-ones and a lot of 2s. Then there were holes where you had to send the ball off a ramp into the hole or up a volcano thing and they flew off course no matter how hard I tried. My favorite was one where you launched the ball into the air to a net. No hole, just a net. There are pictures.

I do feel bad though, because I said afterwards to the operator man that it was really fun, and I wanted to say American putt-putt is easier (more boring) and I'm pretty sure I unintentionally said cheaper. I didn't understand what he replied with, but he didn't seem offended? He might have said come again? I dunno, I felt bad.

So I was so happy I found putt-putt I decided to treat myself with the ultimate-Cold Stone Creamery. Did I mention that when I walked into Aeon I was greeted with a Starbucks and a Cold Stone? Yeah. So I wanted something with Milk Tea ice cream, but the lady said they were out, so I got a strawberry thing the lady suggested. So all 3 of the workers were making ice creams like they do with the two spoons, and they all start singing a Cold Stone song!

Maybe I just haven't been to Cold Stone in a while, but I do not remember such a song. I about fell over. It was to the tune of Hail Holy Queen Enthroned Above, too. I laughed and put a tip in their jar, too (this is rare; you do not tip in Japan). It was weird, there were American dollars in the jar, at least ten. I pointed them out, and the worker was surprised too. Odd.

So I'm happily walking down the street with my ice cream, which I know you shouldn't walk and eat things in Japan, but its just ice cream (I paid for it by carrying about the empty cup for forever-Japan doesn't believe in public trash cans). I slowly made my way over to Landmark Tower, the tallest building in Japan that has the fastest elevator in Japan (I've been in many observation towers lately, too). It's not hard to find, its the tallest building, but it was labeled out front as a hotel so I was confused for a bit.

I then paid the exorbitant fee to go up (1,000 yen, really?) and it was very pretty. Unfortunately, as seems to be the theme when I go up tall things, it was foggy (its usually foggy or night time). I still have some -ish pictures.

On the way down from the tower, they let you off on the fifth floor, those smart bastards. There was not just a One Piece store, but a Shonen Jump (One Piece's publisher) store. So they had all kinds of nifty stuff! And I found the perfect gift for my cousin ;)

Next, I wanted to head to China Town, but to do this I needed an ATM, so I needed to get my bag out of the locker. This means I had to find the locker.

I got very turned around in the Towers. I passed some lockers, but they didn't look like the same ones? So I got on the super 3-floor spanning escalator that I came in on; that was at least something familiar. I realized immediately that I had gotten the locker after I came up the escalator, and that being on it was a bad plan.

[The following sounds very funny. I assure you, it was not funny. So try not to laugh, kay?]

No matter how close you are to the top, do not try to go up a down escalator. Not only does it shock Japanese people, you can fall like I did; right on my freshly healed now-not-so-much knee injury from my bicycle. -.-

So now I had an extensively bleeding knee (I swear it bled more than when I first got it) and a need for band aids over an ATM. My tissues were in my locker; I needed in there too, so I bought some really crappy Band Aids and fixed it up. It seems alright, I just destroyed some of the new skin is all.

So that was fun; in my haste I never re-locked the locker. So I got some $ and was en-route to China Town! I knew it was a bit of a walk, but I was feeling poor; I did not want to pay for a train when it wasn't raining or anything outside. Adventure!

China Town was nifty and Chinese looking. I bought a huuuuuge meat bun for dinner because I knew the name of a Sichuan place that existed there, but I had no realistic way to find it. I was also conned into buying a huge bag of chestnuts because it was supposed to be 1050 and she said 500 and I felt bad. I still have some.

So I sat in the small park-pagoda area next to the trash pile and ate. Ironically, I saw the 'how to open chestnuts' illustration after I gave up. They're....okay. I don't think they go bad, so I'll eat them eventually.

Then I walked back and stopped to watch the 'fireworks' on the clock. Afterwards, I sat in Starbucks and read until it was time to retrieve my things and head to the bus. I even managed to transfer buses and get off at the correct station at 5:40 am no problem!

This is where the days blend together because I slept on a bus...


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