(Read the full post and see more photographs at brown.exposure.co)
DAY 7: OSAKA
We started Day 7 at 4:45 a.m. By the end of the day, we would clock two Shinkansen rides, and would bounce across three cities.
From Hiroshima, we decided that we would catch the first train out, the 6:17 a.m. to Shin-Osaka and ultimately to Universal Studios Japan. That meant we had to get up early, check out of our hostel by 5:15 a.m., walk to the Hiroshima station about 900m away, so that we could have enough time to board our train.
Isaac was a real trooper about it. Got up, bathed, changed and packed without any prompting.
We grabbed some sandwiches and drinks from the combini at the station platform before boarding the Shinkansen and ate our breakfast on board. It was about 9:30 a.m. by the time we got to Universal in Osaka, just nice.
We placed our backpacks in the lockers (Pro tip: The lockers are the Universal City station are cheaper than the ones at Universal itself), took out what we needed for the daypacks, and off we went.
On hindsight, we should have bought some bentos for lunch from outside. Lunch inside was an expensive ¥2700 meal of Mel's Burgers.
My mother, bless her, used to make fried rice in the hotel room and pack them into Tupperware when we were kids traveling to Disneyland and Universal Studios in California. Back then, the exchange rate was USD1 to SGD3, so you can imagine the savings. Don't ask me how mom cooked entire meals in the hotel/motel room with just an electric hotplate. It was her magic.
Lunch time was also a life lesson in chope-ing. It's not something they teach for PSLE. I told him to stand near the tables of people finishing their meals while I queued to buy the burgers. He needed to overcome his inner paiseh and really cover his territory like a hawk. We managed to get a table in the end but it took a bit of gesticulating from me to ensure he secured the table.
"Behind you, behind! They finish already. Now. Sit down now. Don't let the other party that just came in take your camped table…"
I said all that with gestures and pointing. I looked like a kiasu uncle.
So we had only one meal in the theme park, which wasn't so bad. And we refrained buying all the popcorn and random theme park souvenirs. The boy didn't even ask for any of it, which is a sign of his maturity.
We didn't do all the rides. It was just impossible. For one, the Japanese were out in force. It was Halloween and kids, youth and adults came dressed in costume. So the queues were super long. Secondly, the Express passes were sold out by the time we got there, you have money also cannot buy.
But we didn't need to try everything so it was okay.
Isaac and I had a go at the Spider-man ride (like our USS Transformers one but with Spidey), Back to the Future (nausea-inducing motion simulator with ancient tech, it's an old ride), Backdraft (fire display), Terminator 2 3D, Jaws, and the Jurassic Park ride. We also took a roller coaster ride at Harry Potter land.
Our trick was to always queue at the Single Rider line. It was usually about half the queue time. But it meant we may not sit together but hey, you saved a lot of time.
We gave the Hollywood roller coaster ride a miss because the queues were just insane. Also, we were a little afraid. Hey, Limpeh not young punk anymore. Play Call of Duty also can get giddy and motion sickness, so forget about a backwards roller coaster ride, ok?
To kill time while we queued, the boy and I would chat. And here is what I realized. Most of the movies referenced by Universal Studios are totally outside of his pop cultural universe. Not very Universal leh.
I had to give him a summary of movies like Terminator 1 and 2, Jaws, Back to the Future 1-3, Backdraft, Alien and Aliens, AVP, and Harry Potter.
I felt like IMDB: Isaac's Movie Database.
Because it was Halloween, there were many new horror maze walkthroughs. We managed to queue for the Alien Vs Predator one, which was quite well done. I tried to make my squeals of fright sound like I was scolding the Aliens.
As evening fell, we needed to wrap it up because we had an 8:37 p.m. last Shinkansen to catch at Shin-Osaka to Tokyo.
We managed to squeeze our second Spider-man ride before we left. Though we aimed to leave by 6pm, we left by 6.40pm in the end, which was within the buffer I created.
We even got to Shin-Osaka by 7:30 p.m., queued at the JR ticket counter and switched our tickets from the 8:37 p.m. train to the earlier 7:40 p.m. one, and made it to Track 25 by 7:38 p.m. Boom, one minute later, our 7:40 p.m. bound for Tokyo pulled up.
Dinner was a bento box each from the Shinkansen food trolley lady. It wasn't cheap but man, the boxes are so beautifully made that you don't feel like eating them. The bento box food tasted as good as it looked.
Ate a meal from a bullet train trolley: check.
We reached our Tokyo apartment close to midnight. In one day, we did Hiroshima-Osaka-Tokyo. Not sure if all that train hopping was more intense or the theme park rides.
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