Friday, June 13, 2008

Fuji-Kyuu Highlands

My first and only amusement park experience in a long time was during high school (@Boom na Boom Carnival ... LOL) when I accompanied my Grandma to Manila. (She was planning to meet another Chinese family and try to play matchmaker for my up to now bachelor Uncle). Never have been to Disney Tokyo yet, not even Enchanted Kingdom in the Philippines. And so, after about 10 years (literally) the long wait was over!

Fuji-Q Highland is located in Yamanashi, Japan; near the base of Mount Fuji. It's a less-than-2-hour-ride by bus coming from Shinjuku. It houses some of the tallest and fastest rollercoasters in the world.

Our first ride was the Fujiyama. This is by far the scariest ride I have been to, being once the world's tallest rollercoaster (1996); also the first 'hyper-twister'. What scared the hell out of me was the 235 feet drop in which I was holding tightly on the bars prompting myself to face the drop head on. Later did I realize (when we rode for the 2nd time) that raising hands while on a drop makes sense as it enables you to enjoy the freefall, compared to embracing it face down.

Next ride was the Eejanaika! This is classified as a 4th-dimension rollercoaster. Aside from the usual above/below/sideways loop, the seats also rotate vertically; thus, giving you a '4d' perspective. This is actually my favorite ride, and I love the part where the seats turn vertically backward and you have no choice but to see the world upside down... which is actually cool. But when the seats turn vertically forward, there goes the goosebumps again. This is really a fun ride, too bad it's a bit short/fast.

On the early days of the week, weather forecasts pointed out the high probability of rain (80%) for the Sunday outing. Good thing, eventually nobody backed out as it just drizzled a bit, and that was when we were in the Dodonpa, a former world fastest rollercoaster (2001, when it was built).

Geoff and I were in the front seats as we have to embrace the needle-like rain drops at high speed. After having gone through the first 2 rides, this was just a breeze. Aside from Dodonpa's speed, I guess another thing that makes it popular is its 'catchy' (or racy?) medley while waiting on queue. Imagine hearing 'dodonpahhhh...' again and again as if hearing 2 lovers whispering in their bedroom voices (and in different language versions or perhaps in a 'The Sims' like conversation).

The next ride was just more of a splashing event. One good thing about having a 'bad weather forecast' for the week was that, in effect, only a few would pursue to come. Consequently, less queue per ride. The longest queue we had probably reached only for an hour, as compared to the what we've heard that sometimes it can take 2-3 hours to wait in line for a less than 3 minute ride.

After eating lunch, we went to the 'haunted hospital'. Entrance fee isn't included in the 1-day free pass, so we had to pay 500yen (~200Php) for this. We had to regroup ourselves because only a max of 6 people were allowed inside at a time. I eventually joined an 'all male cast' and the first ones to go inside. The place was indeed creepy, but the main point of haunted houses are to give those sudden frights eventually leading to a scare.

For the 4 of us trying hard to keep our 'male pride' intact, we anticipated every move, searched every possible fright corner before slowly treading the only path. There were a few frights encountered but soon enough our overanticipation killed the excitement. We even noticed that the resident actors were more keen in scaring groups having female members rather than a group of guys swearing in their native tongue. And for the last part, the resident ghost chased us out towards the exit, losing his momentum, eventually revealing himself outside towards the waiting crowd.

The 7100yen trip (1-day free pass + bus roundtrip ticket) was really worth it since we were able to maximize the cost of rides. 2x-Fujiyama, 2x-Eejanaika, 1x-Dodonpa, 2x-Zaboon, 1x- gundam crisis, go cart, etc. It's just too bad that it was a Sunday as I have to go to work the next day, leading to a tired and restless week.

Another fun trip with the 'Kaladkaran' group! :P (failed to blog about the Nikko trip, but at least there're pictures )

posted by ScIoN 8:57 PM


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Location: Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

ScIoN is a former Systems Engineer in Japan who specialized in industrial imaging and digital hardware design. He is now back in the Philippines pursuing graduate studies in Finance at the University of the Philippines - Diliman.



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