The beautiful thing about other cultures and other languages is that everyone sounds the same when they are on a roller coaster. The squeals of anticipation, the screams of enjoyment (or terror) the nervous laughter as you find yourself hanging upside-down, and waiting for the breaks to release and send you 90 degrees straight down.
Yes, we are all the same when we ride roller coasters.
I learned this lesson on Day 5 of my excursion into Japan. (Look – I am determined to finish this darn travel essay, so you are just going to have to bear with me, and deal with it. There will be shiny, more up to date things, once I am done here, I promise. So just shoo if you need to and come back later. )
Bright and early, Nathan and I struck out to the famed Fuji-Q Highland amusement park, because the only logical thing to do while you are in Japan is to go view Mt. Fuji from the top of one of the highest roller coasters in existence. So we ventured out from Ōme, Tokyo to Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, a little over 80km away, with a traveling breakfast, as one is supposed to in these situations.
A steamed pork bun
and pancake sandwiches
…perfect for making your way to a fun-filled day of “Do I really want to go on this ride?” and “ Oh god, why did I want to go on this ride?” And lastly, “ LETS GO BACK ON THAT RIDE!” Because this is how I approach all roller coasters, and important life choices in general. I became more and more excited as we got closer to our destination and I could see the great feat of nature that the park took its name from.
At the time of year that we were currently in, there was still a think blanket of snow covering its top, and being the non-skier that I am, I imagined how fun it would be to ski down Mt. Fuji in a completely safe and not-at-all-dangerous way. Because snow.
Eventually, the ultimate FUN ZONE appeared upon the horizon.
We walked up to its gates.
And we faced our First Opponent.
It was wind-y …… It was tall.
It was AWESOME!
Now that we were warmed up, we decided to go for SPEED over height.
Unfortunately, I was far too focused on OMGFUNTIME! that I did not take as many detailed pictures. So you are stuck with words. Words of power and awe. Words that defy description!
OK, perhaps not that last part.
So, as previously alluded to, the next big coaster we rode was Dodonpa.
It is the hot-rod of roller coasters, with its, ” Hey, Watch this!” attitude as it counts down, and then launches you through a chute at over 170km/h. Or not. Sometimes it tricks you, and makes you think that there is a problem with the launch, only to shoot you out in a surprise move of mechanical prankishness. Because it can.
Next was Takabisha.
I think this was my favorite of all the coasters we rode, for two reasons. 1) Because even if you know that it is going to pause you on that hump, you still find yourself yelling, ” Why?! Why must you do this?!” to the gods and roller coaster engineers alike.
And 2) because this coaster is EVEN SNEAKIER than Dodonpa. “How?” you might ask…. Simple:
Just because that rise you see coming up from the ride is the first thing you can see,does NOT mean it is the first part of the ride…. Oh No. It is not
No, the first part of the ride is in the dark. After a neck-breaking turn. Away from what you think is going to be the beginning of the ride. With many twists. THEN you get to the outside part. Thinking back on it, my first reason is probably directly caused by the second reason. I now have a third reason.
So before venturing off to the final coaster of the day, I shall share with you some other views of the rest of the park.
There were ants.
There were Zombies.
There were Nekos.
And there were Angels.
OK, now that we’ve seen the place a bit more, let’s move on the the big kahuna. The white whale. The ghost pepper hot wing challenge.
This is the mother of all coasters here at Fuji-Q. This is the coaster that you seriously question your life choices before, during, and for some, after riding this marvel of mad engineering.
I tried to get a good picture, but the entire platform insisted on rattling the whole time.
This might have been why.
But we went on the ride. We survived. We did not throw-up.
I did not regret this life choice at all.
And that ended day 5. It was a wonderful way to enjoy that part of Japan, that many outside travelers do not take the time to do. If you get the opportunity, seize it.
I leave you with motivational posters. Or advertisements. Or both.