Japan · Life in Japan

Osaka: Part I – Universal Studios does Halloween

Recently I ventured out of the prefecture with three fellow ALT’s and headed up to Osaka, for what would become one action-packed, shopping-fuelled, Pokemon-crazed, Halloween-driven, and flu-ridden (the one unfortunate set-back) weekend. It was epic! It felt as though we were on the move all the time, and only briefly stopped to catch our breath and get a few hours sleep. But it was fun, and in this post I want to share with you our first day in Osaka, which happened to be spent entirely at Universal Studios Japan!

After catching the very early shinkansen to Osaka, we arrived at USJ (the ‘cool’ was to refer to Universal Studios Japan) just as it had opened. As it was around the time of Halloween, the whole park had been transformed to reflect the theme, using spooky (or more like cute) decorations such as pumpkins and playing ‘scary’ music to add to the atmosphere. Though you should of seen us dancing when the ‘Time Warp’ from the Rocky Horror Picture Show started playing – we probably looked like right nutters dancing away, but we didn’t care – it was the ‘Time Warp’! Who can possibly resist dancing to the ‘Time Warp’?!?

A glimpse of one of the rides.

Unfortunately it was raining, but it didn’t stop others from coming dressed up in Halloween-themed outfits and other forms of cosplay. There were some pretty impressive costumes, and fortunately most of those who were dressed up were only too happy to pose for the camera:

Can you guess which Studio Ghibli characters these ladies are?                                                       From left to right: Nausicaä, Kiki #1, Kiki #2, and Arrietty
The details of the costumes were amazing!
Where’s Wally?
Not a very good picture, but I thought this costume was just downright hardcore
Okay… so this was actually quite scary, considering they were both middle-aged mothers…
Those are indeed two giant daikon (radish) at the lower right of the picture..

One of the big highlights of the day were the zombies, who only started coming out once the sun set (and the rain regrettably started pouring down). The whole zombie ‘show’ was part of their Biohazard 2 (AKA: Resident Evil 2) event, and all around the park zombies started appearing while ‘explosions’ of large balls of fire would go off randomly from the top of certain buildings. All the while a news reporter on a large TV screen would ‘report’ about the zombie invasion. Unfortunately it was all in Japanese, but for the most part I could understand the main gist of it: the zombies were coming!

Before the zombies came, you could buy their favourite snack, eyeballs, in order to attract them to you when they eventually showed up. The whole day I was contemplating buying an ‘eyeball’, and eventually I gave in and purchased one, which was actually quite cool once it got dark and you switched it on to glow.

When the time came for the zombies to appear, I was a little disappointed that they still had enough common sense to wear rain jackets… but hey, don’t want to get a cold while eating people now do we? There were so many people around when the zombies did appear, that sometimes I didn’t even notice one walking right by me until it turned around and growled before limping away. It got to a point where it was getting so cold and wet that we decided to call it a night, even though the zombies were still out in full force. Though it wasn’t helping my flu, so I felt it was best we headed for our hotel (which was on the other side of Osaka).

“Braaaaaaaaiinnnsssssss…. and appropriate rain geeeeaaaaarrrrrr…”

On our way through the park to the exit, I came across one zombie who wasn’t wearing rain gear as she was positioned in a rain-free area. I really wanted to get a good photo of at least one zombie, and once she saw me trying to take a picture, she turned towards me and slowly started approaching, hand outstretched and moaning. It was actually pretty scary as it really felt like if I didn’t move she would eventually get me. In the end I got a most brilliant (albeit somewhat blurry) shot of her.

In case you are wondering, I did go on some rides… well, two to be exact. But they were the best two rides of the whole park. The first one, which involved a 2 hour wait time, was the ‘Backdrop’ – a roller-coaster ride where you go backwards on the ride. It was amazing and so worth the wait!!

The second ride, which ended up being THE ride of the park, was ‘Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey’. That ride was located inside Harry Potter World… which, unfortunately, you will have to wait a bit longer to hear about as I will write all about it in my next post 😉


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