I wasn’t going to blog about today’s activities but as something eventful happened later in the day I thought I’d record the day after all.
Universal Studios a few years ago was probably my least favourite day in all the times I’ve been to Japan, so i was in no hurry to return, but, with rain and strong winds forecast and little chance of getting any photography done I reluctantly agreed to spend the day surrounded by people in rain soaked costumes queuing for hours for 5 minute rides and maxing out credit cards on wizard cloaks, butterbeer and Spider-Man ponchos.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s an amazing experience and I totally get the attraction, especially for kids and the young at heart, but as i dont like rollercoaster rides, hate crowds and despise queuing for hours on end for anything it’s not really a day out designed with me in mind!
I probably had the only permanent frown in the entire park as we weaved and dodged our way through tens of thousands of excited visitors and around the various rides and shows, each one staffed by beaming perma-grinning staff keen to make our visit memorable.
To be fair, the staff are amazing and I definitely couldn’t do what they do. From a constant stream of photo requests to a never ending line of expectant children they must fall into bed each night utterly exhausted and unable to raise another smile until they’re next back on duty!
As we watched one member of staff instructing children on how to use their newly purchased interactive wizard wands on the various floating, spinning and rattling smart items around the park, one smiling assistant siddled up beside us and whispered enigmatically “it’s magic” before wandering off to smile at someone else…
I’d have to agree with him… the park was magically generating money on an industrial scale!
After several hours of narrowly avoiding being struck down by the grumpy old git fairy or whatever the Harry Potter equivalent of that is, we decided to rescue me from my torment and return to the station for the trip back to Namba.
Back in Namba, where the only costumes on display were the manga fans on route to Den Den town we wandered back in the general direction of the appartment, trying to decide on what to do with the remainder of the day.
Almost by chance we came upon the park we visited first thing on day 2 – the park where we first saw the cherry blossoms in full bloom.
Almost every single bloom had fallen or been blown from the trees. It really struck me just how lucky we have been on this visit.
We arrived the night before the blossoms fully opened, managed to visit and photograph them in some great locations, in brilliant sunshine, witnessed them wane and fall and now we’re catching their final moments. I couldn’t have asked for better timing and considering the Sakura officially blossomed early this year, and the blooms more transient than normal due to the sudden temperature drop and the change in the weather, the fact we caught them at all is surprising but to have been here for the entire cycle in a brief 12 day window booked 195 days in advance from the other side of the world – THAT is the real “magic” of today’s blog!
I may be a muggle but perhaps i do believe in a little magic now! (Just don’t tell anyone!)
This is the same park just 9 days ago…
Tomorrow we’re off back to Osaka Castle for some more before/after shots then it’s a day of shopping and relaxing before our final day of the trip on day 12.