Saturday, January 14, 2012

New Years in Japan

This year, I decided to pull a typical "New Years" move and go party. But I didn't decided to go party just anywhere. I went to Joypolis, the indoor amusement park that is located on the man-made island of Odaiba! The Joypolis amusement chain has been in Japan for almost twenty years now, and most of its rides are 3D simulators. For example, one ride is meant to simulate a wild jeep ride through the mountains, while another simulates an airplane ride.

Of course, there are more exciting rides as well. For example, the ride pictured above is something like a "snowboarding simulator," where two people, strapped onto a giant snowboard, manipulate it in tandem to perform tricks at high speeds. It was a thrilling ride, although the line was ridiculously long.

This year, a stage was set up in the center of Joypolis, and a variety of comedians and performers gave their best while waiting for the countdown in Japan. The amusement park was absolutely packed. It is a three-story indoor park, and the railings on every floor were lined with spectators. I was barely able to see anything. While waiting for the clock to hit midnight, my friends and I entertained ourselves on rides and by playing games like UFO catcher or making Purikura.

In honor of the festivities, the park stayed open much later than usual. Even after we all welcomed the new year, the rides remained available to enter until roughly six in the morning. It gave us plenty of time to do everything we wanted to do. And honestly? I'd rather go hang out in an amusement park with my friends than get wasted in Roppongi with a bunch of strangers, then stagger to the nearest train with a horrible hangover.

Next time: My trip to the Imperial Palace!

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