Tag Archives: Joypolis

Japan – Day 14: Tokyo – Day 8

Friday – April 21, 2017

Because we have been going hard this entire trip, I decided to give the guys a break and so we all decided to sleep in. The negative to this is that it means starting your day later than usual. We got to Odaiba, where our day was set to take place, around 11:30. After having brunch we made our way to Joypolis, our first stop. By the time we got our tickets it was 12:30.

Joypolis

I was really excited to go here because, rather than just being another arcade, it was also supposed to be a quasi-amusement park. The concept seemed similar to Disney Quest in Downtown Disney. Once entering though, it basically still felt like an arcade.

IMG_6475Joypolis entrance

The first thing I did there was to go pee. However, being that this is an arcade, the urinal was a game! As I peed there was a sensor tracking how much urine I was producing. There was a screen with a cartoon cupid on it cheering me on. It counted my liquid in milliliters. I was only able to fill the equivalent of one beer can. The game was actually really silly and fun. Probably the most fun thing I did the entire time we were there.

After that I met up with the guys and Pete had already found the Initial D game. This was basically what I had come for. There were three full sized cars from the anime all on simulators with screens in front of them; a WRX STi, an AE86 and an RX-7. I figuured you could sync the cars so that all three of us could race each other. Unfortunately, that’s not how it worked.

IMG_6776Initial D racing game/simulator

Each simulator did it’s own race at it’s own time. They were even so strict as to not let us pick which car we got to sit in. I would get it if it were busy, but we were literally the only three people in line. Pete went first and got the RX-7, though he wanted the WRX. I on the other hand wanted the 86 and fortunately, got it.

The game was pretty cool but I was really bad at it. After we all got a chance, Pete wanted to go again and Dan and I wanted to explore. The next thing we hit was the Half Pipe. This was a standing roller coaster type thing where you were on a “skateboard.” As you went back and forth on the half pipe, depending on which way you leaned, you would do spins.

IMG_6786Tokyo Halfpipe ride

We both agreed we didn’t want to spin but, either due to the slightest tilt of the board or the ride getting fed up with us, we ended up doing a few spins anyway. It ended up not being so bad. You try and compete to see which skateboard team can do the most spins. We lost but had fun which was the most important.

Next we rode the roller coaster, but, being that this is an arcade, they had to make it into a game. It was called dance coaster or something and as you rode you stopped at various screens that showed you video footage of some Japanese boy band.

IMG_6787Spinning coaster

As the footage played there were discs that would appear on screen which correlated with the colored buttons each rider had in front of them. Like DDR or Guitar Hero, the objective was to hit the button at the exact time it lined up on screen. I was pretty bad at it. Eventually it got to the fast part of the ride.

I had been on spinning coasters before but they are usually wild mouse style rides. This one not only spun, it also did a barrel roll. This was a weird sensation and put strange g-forces on your body. When it was over, it totaled your score. I lost, naturally, and Dan won!

IMG_6791Sonic The Hedgehog

After that we went upstairs where I did the Sonic Run game. There are basically 8 treadmills lined up next to each other, each correlating with a character from Sonic. I was #2, Tails. There were different running events such as the dash, long jump and hurdles.

For the long jump and the hurdles there were two buttons where your thumbs rested that you needed to press to jump at the right time. I was competing again all little girls. I was literally 20 years older than the oldest one. On the dash I kicked their ass but as the competitions got harder my age and coordination began to show. I ended up in 3rd place overall so I was happy to medal.

After that Dan and I played a game of Air Hockey before riding these three movie simulator rides. Wild River, Wild Jungle and Wild Wings were all basically the same except that the first was a raft, the second was a jeep and the third was a plane.

The kind of cool thing was that on each ride you “passed by” the other rides on your screen. In other words, each of these experiences were supposed to take place in the same world at roughly the same time, which was kind of a nice tie in.

While in line for Wild Wings, Pete met up with us and after we did the ride, we did Biohazard. This was a walk through “haunted house” type game where you had to choose your own adventure. We had a guide and were walking through it with two other Japanese girls.

The guide was funny and kept it entertaining. The game was actually kind of cool. Depending on the choices you make, that decides whether you “live” or “die.” We died. I almost wanted to do it again to see if we could make the right choices, but decided not to.

After that we parted ways again. Because we knew we would be allowed reentry, Pete went to another car parts store and Dan and I walked to a nearby science museum.

Miraikan

The main draw to the Miraikan museum was that they do demonstrations of Asimo the robot. We arrived at 15:30-ish and despite the fact that it said the price of entry was 600 Yen, it ended up being free.

IMG_6806ASIMO robot demonstration

The only thing that did cost money was the Special Exhibit which was all about the art of Disney Animation. I kind of wanted to see it but a) Dan didn’t want to and b) the museum was closing and I didn’t want to have to rush through it. We basically only ended up seeing the Asimo demo. We did walk around to a few of the other things but there wasn’t much we could do in the time we had before it closed.

We then went back to Joypolis where we re-rode the roller coaster, I played Initial D again and we ended on the half pipe. Once we were done we took a short break on the deck of the building and watched the sunset for a bit before splitting up again.

Dan went to Diver City (mall) to grab souvenirs for his family and I went to the Toyota City Showcase.

Toyota City Showcase

The Toyota City Showcase is comprised of three exhibits, the History Museum, the showroom and the Ride One center where you can book an appointment to test drive a Toyota of your choice around their special test track. I had booked an appointment to drive an 86 at 19:00, but by the time I got there, I knew I’d have to rush to make it, so I didn’t even bother.

IMG_6826Toyota City Showcase – History Museum

Instead I focused on the History Museum. It was actually really cool featuring cars in set locations. There was much more than just Toyota’s there and on the lower level they even had rally cars. After seeing everything there, I made my way to the showroom.

This is exactly like it sounds, a giant Toyota showroom. However, it featured a lot of the Japan only cars we don’t get in America. I sat in a bunch of them before heading out to grab food. My dogs were barking so it was nice to sit.

I ate dinner at this fast food restaurant right next to a giant ferris wheel, the hundredth one we’d seen on this trip. (Not really but there have been a ton). After dinner I walked 20-ish minutes to Tokyo Big Sight

Tokyo Big Sight

IMG_6841Tokyo Big Sight

I knew Tokyo Big Sight would be closed but I mainly wanted to see it because of the cool architecture. I got a few pictures of the outside before hanging out in the lobby for a bit. My feet were killing me but I had two more things to see.

Ariake Colosseum

I walked from Tokyo Big Sight to the Ariake Colosseum. Again I knew it would be closed but I merely wanted to look at it and take pictures. I got there after miles of walking and got what I wanted. I was planning on seeing the Aquatic center as well but I was too dead to walk there. So I made my way back to the train and took the hour long ride back to the room.

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Japan – Day 11: Tokyo – Day 5

Tuesday – April 18, 2017

Today was set to be a day away from Tokyo. Because it was supposed to be crappy weather I tried to figure out a day that would involve mostly indoor things. (The day, by the way, ended up fine; the weather was perfect.) The first thing I had on the itinerary was an arcade, but not an ordinary arcade.

Kawasaki

We made our way to Kawasaki, along the way having to transfer to the JR. At our transfer station we grabbed breakfast at a place called Bagel & Bagel. I hadn’t had a bagel the entire trip and these were actually pretty good. I got my breakfast sammy with hummus and twas quite good.

Anata No Warehouse

Once we arrived at Kawasaki station, we walked about 10 minutes to the Anata No Warehouse. The warehouse is meant to look old and rundown. The outside looks rusty and decrepit and even the sign for the parking lot appears to be crooked and falling apart.

IMG_6351Anata No Warehouse

I had purposely not told Dan what the place was all about because I wanted it to be a surprise. The front doors slid open as we approached and left us in an empty room with another single door in front of us. I slowly approached and suddenly a light turned on, there was a loud unsealing noise and the door slid open. Frankly, it scared the shit out of me.

Once inside, you’re in what feels like some back alley in Kowloon, China. It’s dark and creepy, you’d almost believe you were outside if not of the ceiling. We walked towards the back of the alley and saw the escalator that took you to the first floor, the main floor of the arcade. However, before going up, we saw this cave-like thing and had to check it out.

When we walked in, I was hoping it was going to be what I thought it was going to be. Sure enough, it was. The cave led to a stone pathway over a small green body of water that led to a circular door. It was mystical and creepy and cool until the illusion was broken by someone entering through said door. Apparently it is not only the exit, it’s also the entrance from the parking lot. (We had entered from the street).

IMG_6363Inside the warehouse

After getting a few pictures, we made our way up the escalator to the first main floor. We decided to do some scoping before we tried any of the games. Walking around, apart from the theming, it wasn’t much different than most of the other arcades I’d wandered into. After doing a lap, Dan and I decided to race each other in their arcade version of Mario Kart.

After I beat him (by a hair) in Mario Kart, I watched him play a bit of Time Crisis before we headed up to the second main floor. That floor was basically a casino with slot machines and games of chance. Dan also came across this weird pachinko type game that featured his favorite anime characters. I watched as he tried to figure out how to play it (all the games were in Japanese).

Once he was done, we headed up to the top floor. This one was the most chill. There were table tennis tables, pool/billiards tables, darts and two random pinball machines. Dan played the Elvis pinball machine and I played The Sopranos machine. I ended up getting a little over 2,000,000 points, which I thought was good… until I saw the high scores which were in the hundred millions.

IMG_6360The warehouse exit

Once we were both done with our games we decided to play a few games of pool. On the first game, despite the fact that he ran the table, I ended up coming from behind to win the game. On the second game, I left the table with three or four stripes still in play. I was glad that we both won one.

Lastly, after all that was done, we did one more lap of the first main floor. I played an Initial-D drifting/racing game and Dan played some fighting game. The place ended up being super cool I was glad we’d made the trip out there.

Yokohama

Next we made our way to Yokohama on the JR train. We hopped on one of the double decker cars. We rode it for about five minutes before an attendant came up to us and asked to see our tickets. We showed her our JR pass and she told us we were in a first class car and that we needed to go to scum, er I mean an “ordinary” car.

Luckily we were only going one stop and the rest of the ride was only another five minutes. When we arrived at Yokohama station we had to take the subway a couple of stops before arriving in the part of town we needed to be. We then walked about 10 minutes to Cosmo World.

Cosmo World

I was really only going there to ride one coaster, Diving Coaster Vanish (named so because there is a drop that “dives” underwater). As we approached the park, it looked like a ghost town and didn’t seem like many of the rides were running. I assumed this was due to the fact that it was a Tuesday and that there simply weren’t many people there.

IMG_6385Cosmo World

As it so happened, when I approached the ticket window to pay for the ride, the women told me it was closed. I was pretty bummed to have come all that way and to have dragged Dan with me to not even ride anything.

Cup Noodle Museum

However, I had a trick up my sleeve. I knew that literally across the street was the Cup Noodle Museum. That’s right, an entire museum dedicated to Cup Noodle brand ramen. Unfortunately when we walked up, we saw that the museum is apparently closed on Tuesdays. I was once again defeated. I only had one last ditch effort to make our trip to Yokohama worthwhile.

IMG_6384Cup Noodle Museum

We made our back to the train station and took the train to the end of the line. From there (after a bit of Google mapping) we switched to the #58 bus which would take us to Mooneyes Area 1.

Mooneyes

Mooneyes Area 1 and the abutting Moon Cafe are both centered around 50s, 60s and 70s era American car culture. The Moon cafe is, for all intents and purposes, an American diner. Being that it was around 14:00, we decided to get lunch.

IMG_6390Mooneyes Area 1 and Moon Cafe

The Moon Cafe was really cool. The food was exactly the sort of fare you would expect to find in a greasy spoon such as this. We took our time enjoying our respective sandwiches, mine a ham and egg, his a pulled pork. Though I haven’t been straying too much, it was cool to have “normal” food. Additionally, it felt weird to be using a fork and knife instead of chopsticks.

After eating we checked out Area 1. The “gift shop” had two levels. The first floor had all the merchandise; shirts, hats, stickers, mugs, etc. The top floor had car parts and accessories, like an AutoZone except specializing in things that actually look cool. Period correct rims and dashboards as well as other parts one might need.

IMG_6408Moonbug in the garage out back

I knew I wanted a sticker so I somewhat hastily picked a set, then headed downstairs. When I got down there however, I saw two that were exactly what I was looking for. I was sad that I had peaked too early and expressed this sentiment to Dan. He reminded me that I had no idea the next time I’d be in Japan, so I knuckled under and bought the other two stickers as well.

After I was done we exited out the back as there was a garage and a few cool custom cars in the back parking lot. I grabbed a few pics and then we headed to the bus stop to make our way back to Tokyo.

Tokyo

It was only around 16:00 but I wanted to get back sort of quickly. Now that the day was turning around, I wanted to see if I could sneak at least one more thing in to make the day even more of a success.

I had looked up a few cruises that not only gave you good views of the city but also took you from one part of town to another. The only problem was that the last cruise was set to leave at 17:30 and I knew our bus/train ride was over an hour. It was going to be close and so the race against the clock was on.

To my amazement, we arrived at Asakusa station at 17:07. However, we weren’t out of the woods yet. Despite the fact that Google Maps said it was only a 1 minute walk from the station to the dock, we still had to navigate the subway (not an easy task in Tokyo rush hour) and figure out how to get from the station to the dock.

IMG_6412Tokyo Skytree as seen from the dock

Usually GM is really good about labeling the station exits (all exits in Japanese subways are numbered, this can be super helpful) so you can see which is closest to the thing you’re trying to see. Unfortunately the labels for this station were not clear and we exited to some alley.

I then navigated us to the main road but, as has been my way on this trip, started heading in the wrong direction down said road. Dan course corrected us and, as we were running out of time, we both started lightly jogging. When we arrived at the ticket station we asked if there were still cruises. Happily there was.

We went to the ticket machine and we both grabbed one way tickets to Odaiba. The ticket printed at 17:19 and the boat was set to leave at 17:20. Can’t cut it more close than that.

Cruise

We boarded the Hotaluna which looked like a spaceship just as it was about to disembark. We then rested while enjoying the view out the glass roof from below deck. Eventually, once we’d passed under all of the low bridges, they opened the top and we were allowed out on deck.

IMG_6459Fuji TV building at seen from the deck of our boat

The views were much nicer from the top, unobstructed and with cool evening air. Dusk fell as we approached Odiaba and made our way under the Rainbow Bridge. Though we had rushed, I was really glad we were able to do the cruise. Being able to get out on the deck made it totally worth it.

Odaiba

Arriving at Odaiba, we were greeted by a familiar sight, the Statue of Liberty. For whatever reason there is an inexplicable SOL in Tokyo. It is, of course, much smaller, but was still weird to see.

IMG_6465Rainbow Bridge and our boat as seen from Odiaba

We then made our way to Aqua City, which, despite it’s name, is just a mall. We walked through it to get to Decks, another mall. However inside is an indoor theme park/arcade called Joypolis. This is on my itinerary for a different day (probably Friday) but I at least wanted to see it from the outside since we were here.

After grabbing obligatory photos, we made our way to Diver City, yet another mall. However, as was the case with the other two, I wasn’t there for the mall. I was there for the Gundam statue that was on the other side. Or should I say that was supposed to be on the other side.

Now mind you, Dan had warned me that it had been taken down just a month earlier in order to make way for a new statue to take it’s place. However, I wanted to see for myself that it was not in fact there. Low and behold, when we exited out the other side there was only a construction site. Sad.

IMG_6503Empty business district of Tokyo

We finished our time in Odaiba by grabbing a few pictures of of the Fuji TV building. We then took the train back home, however that too was an attraction in itself. Because of where we were, the train had to use the Rainbow Bridge to get to mainland Tokyo.

I’m a little kid when it comes to this stuff. I love bridges, and I love traveling trough a city at night. Because this train was elevated, it soared through the city, above the streets and between buildings. It felt like Batman Begins.

We arrived at our transfer station at 19:58. Two minutes later we heard this cool music and when we looked over, we saw this giant clock was doing a performance to announce the hour. I had no idea this was a thing, a happy accident. Dan and I ran over to it to enjoy the performance before it ended. It was a really great way to top off our night.

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