Friday, August 06, 2004

Greetings all!

First of all I need to say a big hello (sounds like I am a DJ) to Karen Gibson, who has kept me fully informed of all the goings on at EJ, including the wider EJ family. I am not sure how she found out about some of the gossip but I am sure that it involved hidden cameras and microphones.

I will get an email to those of you who have emailed me lately as soon as possible. As you will read things are kind hetic at the moment.

Well it has been a few days since my last confession er… um… email I mean. Kev graced his presence upon Japan and was duly extradited after 4 nights and 5 days. Apparently he was searched at the Korean airport but the only item of contraband found was a rubber horses head. The Korean authorities could find no nutritional value in the same and allowed to keep the horses head and return home.

Kev arrived on Saturday evening and was met at Shinjuku station by Adam, my flatmate as I had to work until about 5.40pm. We then arranged to meet at a fireworks celebration in a place called Nishi Tachikawa (West Tachikawa) about 20 minutes from home. In Japan fireworks are used to celebrate summer. Not quite the same thing as back home with a bag of $20 Masta-Blasta from the Warehouse.

We arranged to meet at the entrance shortly after I had finished work. Luckily we were able to find each other as the usually quiet park had turned into a seething mass of people. The Japanese take their fireworks rather seriously. There would have been people who arrived at 10am to get the best vantage points. We turned up about 20 minutes before the scheduled start of the fireworks. We were able to get a reasonable seat on the grass and see the fireworks. It is a real cultural occasion and all the wimmen-folk get dressed up in their traditional Yokata (like a Kimono but about $5000-$20000 cheaper). All of us agreed that Yokata look is rather attractive. Kev offered to model the one he bought but we respectfully declined his offer.

Two things were staggering about the fireworks, firstly the quality of the fireworks. It was a free display which went on for about 2 hours, with an intermission. The sheer number of fireworks was impressive. I am not sure if it was set to music but it was almost poetic. Some of the fireworks were designed to look like animals. I don’t know how they do that but I am sure that there are teams of scientists working on it somewhere.

However the display itself was not as impressive as the number of people that were watching. I think the number in the park was about 500,000 or more people. So if half the people in Auckland decided to converge in one place you would have some idea of the numbers we are talking about. No visible security or any problems. It was difficult to decide where to look when the fireworks went off, at the fireworks or the mass of people!

We decided that it would be best to leave the park before the mass of people left. We did get caught up in the first rush of people but luckily it didn’t take too long to get to the pub. Made some friends with the locals at the pub. Hopefully the pics are attached to this document, or will follow shortly after.

Got home at about 3am and set the alarm for 6.25 so we could go to Fuji-Q Highland Amusement Park. If you wanna see then this is the link

At about 8.30am we awoke, realizing the alarm needs to be switched to on to work, and plugged into the wall. We didn’t let a late start stop us, or the hangover. We then set off for Fuji-Q.

The first port of call at the park was the machine to take your photo for the all you ride pass. Of course Adam, Kev and I decided to have a ‘who can pull the funniest face competition’. I don’t know how to feel when the mad house operator offered to buy my photo.

Our first ride was the newest and most popular one. A two hour wait earned the park the name Fuji-Queue Park!! (thanks for that one Adam) but this was to be the worst wait and was actually way better than my waiting experience at Disneyland in LA. The ride which isn’t mentioned on the website, well the English one anyway is called Dooom Dooom Dah, or something like that? Maybe a bit got lost in the translation.

The ride is basically a compressed air rocket ship. That shoots you over a 1189m course in 60 seconds with a max speed of 172km/hr max acceleration of 4.25 G’s a 52 m drop at 90 degrees. Un-be-lievable. Was almost as scary as meeting the bear, made me forget all about the beer the previous evening too!

My hands were shaking for about 20 minutes after the ride. The Roller Coaster afterwards was almost as scary. At one point it was the worlds tallest rollercoaster. Called Fujiyama……oops sorry for those of you who aren’t up with their Japanese Geography, Fuji-Q park is under the shadow of mount Fuji (or Fuju Yama as it is known locally). The ride Fujiyama is modeled (loosely) on the real thing.

There were many highlights of the day, which I won’t go into too much detail. One of the low lights was when I wet my pants. On the water ride of course. Adam and I decided to be the toughest guys in Tokyo and ride the water splash ride without a rain coat. Turns out we became the wettest guys in Tokyo, for the rest of the day.

We all had a look at my pass ride photo and totally forgot about being wet. We were pretty tired at the end of the night and caught the train back to Takao, about 2 hours or so.

On Monday after my Japanese class, Kev and I went on a bit of a sight seeing expedition and saw the Imperial Palace gardens. Not too exciting but I am sure there is some tour you can take to see the Bonsai trees. We did a bit of shopping around the central Tokyo area, and Kev managed to buy a horses head, a la Mikey Havoc (from TV), (channel 2)…….(yeah well he hasn’t heard of you either)! Kev said that it was for his ‘sister’. Yeah right.

Tuesday was spent recovering from Monday night. We hit The Pong (Roppongi). The unspeakable things which occurred on Monday night will remain unspeakable. Although at the end of the night we ran into a few Kiwis, who insisted that I wasn’t from new Zealand because of my English accent. A short rendition of Dave Dobbyn’s ‘Loyal’ put pay to any question of my kiwiness. I wasn’t counting on the rest of the group breaking into song in the subway rush hour. The locals didn’t know what to think. Adam didn’t know what to think either, the rest of us just weren’t thinking.

After a short sleep managed to get a bit more shopping in. Had a quiet night on Tuesday and Kev made the plane home on Wednesday, sans lots of cash but it was ok because he had a rubber horses head.
Well I had beet go and get some sleep almost one in the morning here and I have to be up at 8, to start work at 10am!

Once again thanks for the emails and I will reply as soon as possible. I am genuinely appreciative of the info that I have been getting from down under, and New Zealand (sounded funnier in my head… the echo)

Son, brother, compatriot, neo-liberal and the guy you saw at the pub with no pants.


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