Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Day 10, Osaka: Universally Japanned

Haha, what a contrast. Universal Studios Japan! And it's midweek in January, so we zoom to the front of the queues!

However, it's not all good, thanks to a number of technical failures. We start the day by taking a tour round Cyberdyne Systems, with an impressive introductory video, followed by the chance to see some of the company's new T-70 robots. But the visit went disastrously wrong after the stage was invaded by a youngster – John O'Connor, I think his name was – and a T-800 model on a motorbike. The rest of the presentation was just mayhem as the pair were chased around a post-apocalyptic landscape by out-of-control robots.

To calm down, we decided to go on the Jurassic Park ride, which promised a chance to see some impressive dinosaurs in a pleasant jungle setting - but it all went wrong just a few minutes into the ride, when the dinosaurs broke out of their confines and caused havoc with the machinery. We ended up going down a 25-metre vertical drop at high speed - and Birdy was scared out of his wits.

I thought we'd have better luck with the Amity Village riverboat ride, but that was catastrophic as well – you won't believe it, but out boat was attacked by this enormous great white shark. Luckily the lady driving the vessel dispatched the aquatic beast with an enormous blunderbuss which she happened to be carrying. But it was hardly the gentle cruise I was expecting.

This perked me up a bit, though:

After USJ we check into a capsule hotel in Osaka. The capsules are hilarious – despite being utterly tiny, each one still has a miniature TV hanging from the, er, "ceiling".

It's nearly Birdy's last night, so we head out in Osaska. We end up talking to an old Japanese fellow who's both an Art History lecturer and interested in buying us beer. During conversation, I come out with my most advanced bit of Japanese yet: "Nihon de sensei wa deshita" ("He" – Birdy – "was a teacher in Japan"). SCORE.

Anyway, a number of beers later, we end up doing some serious karaoke, on a system so impressive it has three remote controls, a massive LCD TV screen and TEN Sonic Youth songs. Ten! Highlights include a raucous 'Last Night' by The Strokes, an AWFUL 'Wuthering Heights' and a terrifying rendition of surely the most unlikely karaoke song ever, Radiohead's 'Everything in its Right Place'. Wow.


Ben said...

That karaoke sounds amazing! Though I'm not sure it'd be easy to replicate Kim Gordon's "unique" vocal style...

Adam said...

I watched a lousy local cover band attempt Creep in a lady-girl bar in northern Thailand. Don't know what it is about Radiohead, but their appeal is international...