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Monday, December 5, 2016

JAPAN Summer Trip Day 2 Pt. 1 | Universal Studios Japan - Osaka

I'm finally blogging on the 2nd day of my summer Japan trip (almost a year ago wtf only up to 2nd day now) :)

There are a total of 100++ photos for this entry, so I might split it into 2 parts if this post gets too draggy.

Click HERE if you want to read 1st day where we explored Namba, Shinsaibashi, and Sinsekai!

Let's start from where I left off...
Which was the view from my hotel room at night. Now it's morning :)
Today is the start of the tour, so we had to change hotel, dragging our huge luggages across the street, monopolising the road. It was pretty quite though, so I think we didn't bother a lot of people.
That's our tour bus for the next 7 days, and that bald man was our tour guide.

He's Malaysian, so his bahasa was a bit off-sounding to us. But I spent lots of time on the bus catching up on sleep anyway, so who cares right?

Other people.
Other people on the bus who didn't sleep.
That's who.
They care.
Or maybe not.

Sigh, the shit you have to put up when being a tour guide. Wasting your breath talking non-stop to a bunch of noob tourists who probably enjoy the view/sleep more than your blabbering. We're sorry.
 The said noobshit tourists.

Oh! By the way, we're going to Universal Studios Japan today!!!!!

I was super excited because my love for theme park is just so pure, so sincere, and unstoppable. A true tear-jerking love.
We parked quite far from the entrance, so I took a selfie on the way there.

My captions are so brilliant.

Sorry lah if this post turn out lame. I'm in kinda sarcastic, hyperbolic, too-befuddled-to-write-proper-caption mode now. Too sleepy to function. Yet too early to go to sleep.
Mandatory ticket photo!

It's rare that I see a theme park blog post where the writer did not include the ticket photo. It's like a proof that "YES IT'S TRUE I'VE GONE THERE!" type of thing. I mean, it's not like the mundane photos of you actually in the theme park would proof anything right?

Good God I can't with these lameass caption. Going to continue this post later when I'm in a better mood.
Another mandatory theme park/touristy place pose, flailing your arms around in front of the gate.
And THIS!!

I spent a good half hour (or was it an hour?) to edit this one photo in front of the Universal globe. You see, I have two photos, one photo has the words "UNIVERSAL" all visible like the photo above, while the other one doesn't. BUT! I like myself better in that other photo, so I painstakingly merged the two photos into one.

Both photos aren't angled exactly the same mind you, so there were lots of stamping and manual erasing involved (plus reconstructing the building behind and the globe's base as well lol. If you see other photo of the globe, it supposed to have like this short divider fence thingy).

#effort, guys. No matter how frivolous the cause is, still #effort lol.
The cray line to buy entrance ticket. I guess that's one of the few good things about joining a tour: you don't have to queue, they do it for you. But I think you can also buy the ticket in advance online.

So in we go!
Eh, sorry for the weird color. I didn't realize how off it is until I already saved and closed the file on photoshop, and by then I was too lazy already to redo it, so please just imagine that the color is done this way for artistic purposes, k?
All the visitors were swarming in once the gate had opened.
I gotta say, one of my favorite thing about Universal Studios and Disneyland is their "city within city" layout. You got your mainstreet Hollywood, New York, San Fransisco, Jurassic area, Space area, Fairy Tale area and so on and on. It's nice. Feels like you're travelling to so many different places, time, and dimesion at once. Not to mention we also get to go to HOGWARTS here at USJ!!!
And AALLLLLL the buildings are so beautiful! I really wish there is an actual city with all the buildings here, HOW CUTE!!!
Me taking picture randomly and my mom looking at me befuddled. I was actually taking photos of these cute name tags they have on the flowers.
Like this one! They anyhow change the name of this flower to Marilyn Monroe, which I guess is kinda adorable. There are lots more, I saw Aurora, Belle, and more that I don't remember.
If only ACTUAL pharmacy looked this cute. I think this building is an actual cafe you can enter. I didn't though, because, as I ranted on my previous post, we only got until 4 or 5 PM to do the whole park in order to make it to dinner reservation. Ikr, what kind of bullshit is that? When I go, and pay too, to enjoy a theme park for a day, I expect to be there until the said theme park is closed! Gotta milk it as much as I can.
Random shot of Om Henry (my parents' friend) doing some stuff to his camera. But really I just wanna show you guys the adorable Japanese lady at the back with her lovely floral attire complete with flower crown. So demure.

Japanese people and their commitment to fashion. I can never. It was a sweltering hot day (probably more than 35 Celsius), I'll probably faint in a pool of my own sweat if I have to wear that skirt and that sleeved shirt.

On a related note, early January this year I went to Tokyo and I saw a bunch of girls were still wearing cute skirt that hits very well above their knee, and short shorts too. HOW, I ask? HOW?? It was sooo cold, around 1 to 4 Celsius. And still so many were wearing open-toed shoes. How do you not get frostbites? I wore two, sometimes three, layers of heat tech leggings and I still can feel the cold seeping through.
The stars imitating Hollywood Walk of Fame. I wonder if there's a Britney one here at USJ 'cause I would totally run to it, stare at it for a good minute, then take a whole bunch of photos with it. Bring it home too if I can.
The main attraction of Universal Studios in Japan is of course their
"The Wizarding World of Harry Potter"
One of the mecca for Potterhead.

Err, to be honest, I was't a fan of Harry Potter at that time.

Don't kill me you Potterheads. It's not that I thought Harry Potter was bad or anything, it's more because I've never read ANY of the novels, and I think I had only watched two of the movies (Half-blood Prince and Deathly Hallows Pt.1), none of which stuck in my brain because I didn't have a history with the series and couldn't care less on what happened to this bunch of teenagers.

Also, don't call me illiterate for not having read the Harry Potter novels (I know this happens) please. I haven't read the series because at the time when Harry Potter was all the rage (It was around Order of Phoenix novel/Goblet of Fire film in Indonesia), I was more into manga. Yes, the one of the reasons I love Japan oh so, so much. Manga. I love the drawing and all.
So when I got into this part of USJ, it was just like when I was in any other parts of USJ. I admire the setting, the details, and the "fantasy" feeling, but that's that. No crazy excitement as I would imagined a Harry Potter fan would have.

When I saw certain things, I was just wondering why so many people take a picture with it.
Like this dump of a car, which, unbeknownst to me at that time, is a flying car.

That's my mom btw, she just blindly took pictures with everything lol. Gotta make that money's worth.
Or this rock, which actually, until now I still don't know what this hunk of rock is.
I mean, the train was quite obvious to me lah. It's a Hogwarts train, duh. But I had no urge to take picture with it.

This fact actually made me kinda sad. I didn't like not being able to fully enjoy this park that is supposed to be a surreal experience. So, I made a pact with myself to go home and at least watch all the movies of Harry Potter, so next time I'm here I can truly enjoy it.
And I did. A few months ago I finished watching ALL 8 movies of Harry Potter in a week lol. The last 3 movies I binge-watched in a day I think. And then I got sucked in this black hole where I wikipedia-ed Harry Potter non-stop and read about all this stuffs that weren't in the movies.

It was so much fun. I didn't think that Harry Potter is THIS good. It was like the whole storyline has been in place since the beginning and then towards the end everything comes in full circle.

It was an AMAZING experience.
Yes, I considered binge-watching the whole series of Harry Potter an amazing experience.

I'm thinking of reading the novels now, which is something to note here because I usually refuse to read a book that I've seen the movie of. It's just no fun reading a book where I already know the storyline and the ending. But I love the HP movies so much, I kinda seriously considering buying and reading all the novels.

Eh, we'll see.

I'm reading the Selection series now, on the second book, and so far it's been quite meh. I only continue to read it because I'm a touch OCD and when I start reading a series, I have this itch to finish reading all of it.
I'm glad I did the whole binge-watch because when I was editing the photos for this post I at least get super excited seeing this and that, like "omg that's ollivander's wand shop, omg that's the owl post etc etc".

Also, this makes my decision for next year easier. So, Sam and I are planning to go to Japan next April and we will be in Osaka and Tokyo, so I wasn't sure whether to bring him to USJ, Disneyland, or Disneysea, or maybe Fuji-Q. I don't want to bring him to ALL 4 theme parks because that would be such a waste of our time there and not to mention the pricy cost of theme park.
queuing for the famed butterbeer 
Disney Sea was the strongest contender, because it's only in Japan. Disneyland was the weakest because Sam doesn't really want to go to Disneyland! IKR??!!!


SMH it perplexes me how someone can not want to go there. And he's never been to one before, how can he not want?!
Back to my point, Disney Sea was the strongest, USJ came a close second. But now that I at least know some stuffs about Harry Potter I wanna go back to USJ for sure! I wanna experience the whole shebang of going to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!!!

So, err, yeah, it's decided that we'll go to USJ because it's what I WANT. Sam really cannot have opinion on it haha. But he likes Harry Potter, so he doesn't mind either way. Plus, the rides in USJ are more "adult", not as much kiddish ride.

If we have the time I might slip in Fuji-Q too because it's been on my wish-list since I found out about it before this Summer trip.
Butterbeeeeerrsss. Frozen and regular
Even though I know jackshit about Harry Potter at that time, I wasn't completely oblivious. I've seen this butterbeer everywhere on social medias, so I figured why not try it so at least I get to immerse myself a bit into the whole hype.

Apparently immersing myself into the hype cost me 600 yen per glass lol. So I must take selfies with it to get my money's worth.
and LOTS..
and LOTS of selfies.

On the taste. To me it tasted like if you were to mix rootbeer with butterscotch, kinda like that. Don't bother ordering the "Butterbeer" on Starbucks' secret menu. It doesn't taste the same.
singing frog!
Even though I knew zilts about Harry Potter, this place still mesmerised me to my core. How gorgeous is this fake view? This is my favorite spot here. So seemingly serene.
Err, another photo where I overdid the color edit -__-". Just pretend it's purposely done this way for artistic reason, ok?
How smug is my lil' bro face?! Like he just got accepted to Hogwarts or something -___-" 
Another one with just me :p
The entrance to Hogwarts.

It's actually the entrance to the 4D Harry Potter ride, but the queue was more than 2 freaking hours so I skipped it since I had limited time here. Oh well, all the more reason to go back and it'll be more special since I now know a bit more about the series.

Random story, but before I binge-watched the whole entire series of HP, I had this rough idea of what each house's students are like (e.g. Hufflepuff=nice, Gryffindor=brave-herocomplex type, Slytherin=cunning, Ravenclaw=smart resourceful type, Erudite-esque minus the evil leader) because of how famous the series is, and I've always tended to favor Slytherin.

My favorite goes like this: 1. Slytherin, 2. Ravenclaw, 3. Gryffindor, 4. Hufflepuff.

So when I prepped the photos for this post I decided to play those online quizzes that put you into your suitable Hogwarts house. Of course la I wished I'd get Slytherin or at least Ravenclaw, but the first one I got Gryffindor, so I tried again but on different website (there are TONS of this kind of quizzes out there it's insane). Still got Gryffindor, so I tried another one. This one the questions are damn elaborate it took me probably a half an hour to finish. And I still got the Gryffindor at the end. At this point I realize that it's a complete waste of my time so I stopped and accepted the fact that maybe I do have hero-complex.

Months (or maybe it was weeks, this Japan post has been in draft for so long I don't even remember lol) later, I found out about Pottermore.

They have this house quiz too!! So I thought, "Hey, this one's official, so probably more accurate right?". But the questions are...just...I don't even know. Like they ask if you prefer mountain, river, or etc etc, whether you like dawn, night, or etc etc, which are just as random as it gets. Or maybe there's some phycological shiz behind it, I don't know.

Anyway, in the end I got freaking Hufflepuff wtf -___-" HOW? Why liking the night is making me a Hufflepuff? Pfft. And they also choose wand that suits you. Of course I'd hoped for the elder wand, but I got this wand that is used by some obscure wizard that don't even get a movie role.

So, yeah, that's the end of this story. No moral value or lesson to take.
Look! Look! The Sirius' wanted poster! It's animated like it's supposed to be. Gotta love the effort they put in every little details.
The Owl Post
You can find a bunch of owl type of souvenirs in here. I only enter the store for the aircon though -_-"

Candy displays inside Honeydukes!
You can buy a bunch of sweets from HP here, like the chocolate frog (I'm pretty sure there's a wizard card prize in it as well) and the bertie bott's every flavour beans.

Anyway, that's the last photo from the Harry Potter part of the park. I only spent like, maybe even less than an hour there and hurried away to the other parts of the park because I want to explore as much as I can of the park within the given time.

P.s. In peak season (or at least I think only in peak season), once you leave the wizarding world, you cannot go back in. It's a one time entry kinda thing. So make sure that you enjoy that HP world to all your heart's content before moving on to other parts.

Spider-man 4D Ride!
This is probably one of the best rides here, so I highly recommend you guys to try it, especially if you're into Spider-man. It's like a coaster, but there is a spidey hologram accompanying throughout the ride and there is some baddie that he will protect you from. Similar to Indiana Jones ride in DisneySea.
And I LOVE the rooms for the queue. They set it as if you're at the office where Peter Parker works at. So while you move forward with the queue line, you also get to explore more of the office space.

LOL my dad took this one.
And this is Peter Parker's desk!!
the dark room. Look at all those tiny details!!!
You should really read all the different paragraph/sentences/words pasted all over the office! Some of them are quite witty! Like they have these peoples' certificate with a bunch of hilarious title along a glass rack.
Oh, and there were an annoying mom & daughter duo behind me. So, I was taking pictures of all the scenery of the offices right, then the queue in front of me moved a couple steps (the queue on this ride is among the longest, and it moved only a couple steps at a time). Seriously, it was only like two or three steps, I can still see the people right in front of me. I was still taking a picture, so I didn't move forward immediately. I took a couple snaps first. It didn't even take 30 seconds when I'm about to walk forward, but this mother daughter just tsked (it's the mom who tsked with a sour face) and cut right in front of me wtfbbq.

EXCUSE ME?! Does my 15 seconds delay to move forward affect the amount of time you have to wait for going on the ride??! HELL EFFING NO! Bear in mind that we're still in the far far back of the queue line. If we're already at the front of the line about going on the ride, then yes, I delayed and disturbed the queue time, but from far back here, I did no such thing. Whether I walk forward immediately or 10 minutes later (the total queue time was about an hour or so), it still wouldn't make a difference in your waiting time. It does make the queue seemed longer if I congested the line for 10 minutes, but it DOESN'T make your waiting time ANY longer than it would have to be otherwise. Though if someone congested the line for 10 minutes I'd probably be pissed too lol.

Anywaaayyy, that's kinda annoying. Also, GOOD JOB at teaching your daughter on how to queue. I'm not sure whether they're a local Japanese or tourists from mainland China.
Oh, have I said this before in this blog? I hate mainland China tourists, most that I've encountered are rude, sak enak jidat, and sordid. I saw this man spat on a carpeted floor at the Changi airport. Ew. And the usually impeccably clean Japan's public toilet became disgusting and so filthy after being used by a group of China tourists -____-". Oh, and they tend to bogart the way by forcibly shoving other people around. I'm sure that not ALL mainland China tourist are like this, but the ones that I've encountered, mostly the older ones (like aunties, uncles, grannies), are unfortunately like this.

Ok, rant over, let's get into more fun stuff.
I was too stingy to splurge on the photo souvenir, so I just took a pic of it. Can you spot me? :)
lol random photo of my mom posing at the wrong side of the photo spot. If you see behind her, there's the iconic hanging spider-man that everyone'd usually queue for. Instead my mom went for a photo op with his butt.

It's like I'm transported to another country
another popular ride!
lol love that one guy's face that's just like "meh"
Space Fantasy consists of two kind of ride, the first one is roller coaster (or was it jet coaster?) and the second one is the backward coaster (photo above). If you're a coaster-head, you should try 'em both or at least the backward one.

Here's a tip, if you don't mind sitting beside strangers, choose the single-rider queue, it can save you SO MUCH time. The average queue for both of this ride is an hour++ and I only had to queue for 5 to 10 mins for either of them using the single-rider queue line.

/*EDIT: After I checked on the USJ website, the rides I'm talking about here is actually the "Hollywood Dream: The Ride" and "Hollywood Dream: The Ride ~Backward~", not Space Fantasy. Still, Space Fantasy is a good ride too. */

another scene from USJ
The New Wonderland park
This part of USJ is geared toward children, so the rides are all kid rides. The attractions are themed around the Peanuts family ad Hello Kitty. Probably the most skippable part of USJ if you're strapped with time (if you're not a fan of either Peanuts and Hello Kitty that is).
Though I must admit the Peanuts Town scene is uber cute.
Look, you can go inside the classroom! I would have loved this place when I was a kid. I mean, even now I still kinda enjoyed it.

Lot of photo spots too!
And characters meet & greet. The queue is long tho
Hello Kitty Souvenir Shop!
They sell moderately cute cupcake and candies at moderately expensive price πŸ˜’ Though! LOOK AT THAT OLD SCHOOL BISCUITS WITH COLORFUL ICING ON TOP! I used to eat those quite a lot when I was a kid πŸ’œ I even got stories about my mom's childhood eating those tiny cookies!
LOLOL they're selling those tiny icing cookies at ¥300 for one small bag πŸ˜‚ It's so overpriced I'mma laugh at whoever buys 'em. Although, I have been suckered to other theme park pricy treat (*ahem* butterbeer *ahem* and you'll see some more below), so who am I to laugh at other people's dumb buys, right?
Eh, other cheapskate thing I do. Taking selfie with cute souvenir rather that buying it. Oh, and I look like a freaking lobster here because the heat was unreal.
An okay ride. Quite fun, but totally skippable if you don't have much time to spare.
Old car photos from my dad's camera. He loves cars, so I'm gonna post his happy face here πŸ˜†
Performances in front of the diner. I love their energy, definitely worth stopping by. I saw a USJ post on other blog and the performers were still these guys.

A video posted by Lily Zhen (@lilyzhen168ii) on

Caught this rocky horror or something show. It's full in Japanese, so I didn't understand anything. Still entertainig tho.


Anyway, a Japanese little girl and her mom walked in and sat beside me. The little girl carried this One Piece-esque mug with Chopper figurine on top and I was immediately intrigued by it, so I tried to ask the mother on where they bought it. They couldn't speak english, so I just gestured at the mug while hoping they get I meant. And they did!!!

The mom then pulled out her theme park guide book and tried to find the advert for the mug. Once she found it, she showed it to me while trying to explain the location and I thanked her. At this point I was already happy with the information I got.


She went ahead and pulled out her theme park map and tried to show me the route from the theater we were in to the place. She really tried to explain to me where exactly mug at. She gestured and point along the route and gestured again to show me that the place is behind the place she pointed at. HOW NICE?? And she really made sure I understood her explanation T_T


I was about to return her theme park guide book...BUUUTTT..she declined and insisted that I take it with me for guidance (okay la she didn't say for guidance but I assumed that's the purpose).


I was so freaking touched by her hospitality and kindness I can't even. It wasn't easy for her to explain to me too. My map was in english and her guidebook was in japanese, so she had to "phonetically" (do I use that term correctly?) translate the location's name etc etc.

When they say Japanese people are super nice and polite they're really not exaggerating man.


Dumb buys #2. It's calzone type of dough with yakisoba filling (think yakisoba pan with Italian twist). Yummy, no doubt, but cost more than what I would usually spend on it. I can get a bowl of Yoshinoya gyudon for the same price. But it was already around 2.30 PM and I haven't had lunch, so totally worth it! πŸ˜‹
Overcrowded Minion store. It was back when minion was all the hype. Speaking of hype, what's the hype right now? Zootopia is super awesome and probably better than Frozen story-wise, but the hype didn't live up to Frozen (can you believe I haven't watched Frozen until now, but yet I know the whole story just because of the hype?).
Oh, look at that, dumb buys #3. In my defense, I only bought the single piece maple one and it's "only" approx. twice the price of the ones outside. Maison de Gigi's maple is ¥160 according to their website.
I can't remember the taste exactly, but i think this one's fluffier than Maison de Gigi's. Don't quote me on it tho, it's been 1 1/2 years since the trip, even I won't quote it myself.
Port area
There was a special One Piece theme for that Summer, so you can visit One Piece-inspired cafes and try One Piece food.
And there was an area where there'll be a performance by people dressed up as the characters from One Piece. I didn't catch it, but my lil' brother did. He was totally waiting for the person who'd play Nami to show up, but there was none πŸ˜‚ Still a good perfomance tho, and he said the person who either played Zorro or Usop (can't remember which) nailed it.
Sanji's Restaurant!
THIS!!!! THIS IS THE MUG THAT THE KIND MOM HELPED ME TO FIND. I'm gonna go cry again now remembering that warm feeling you get from nice people.

I get that any decent person would've gladly told me where to buy the mug too, but that mom really goes above and beyond. She did the best she can to help, not just the bare minimum. *faith in humanity restored*

Other than this mom, there was also a very nice man from the previous day that helped us navigate through the Osaka subway, but I'm gonna tell it on the next post because this post's already getting so long πŸ˜…
The mug itself was pretty expensive, but still reasonably "affordable" and value for money if you compare it to other theme park's goodies. I believe it was ¥1400 including the drink inside. You can choose between several soft drinks. This mug holds a LOT, so if you don't like soda -like me-, you probably won't be able to finish it.

¥1400 is really not bad right for a cute (good quality) themed mug from theme park that you can use over and over? I was (still am) actually kinda regretting the fact that I didn't buy the other mug option with Luffy figurine on top. Sam practically begged me to give this one to him and scolded me for not buying him the one with Luffy πŸ˜… Errr, actually I bought this one for him, but then I want it for myself lol. All that aside, I think USJ is more affordable than Disney in term of food and souvenirs.
I legit thought this was Deadpool instant noodles when I was editing the photo, but nope. It's good ol' Spidey. It can easily pass off as Deadpool kamaboko tho, right?
Wands you can buy at this HUGEEE Harry Potter souvenir shop. This shop is located outside of the Wizarding area, so you can still buy HP goodies in case you missed it at the Wizarding park.

P.s. you can see this image in full size if you click "open image in new tab" in case you want to see the details and the name engraved beside the wands.
If you're a cheapo, you can just take a pic with the display wand 😜 totally free
Missing one wand, but ok lah
Shelves after shelves of wand ready for you to bring home for a price of ¥3500 πŸ˜‚

Save up a LOT of money if you intend to buy HP souvenirs. Here's a hint: Chocolate frog is priced at ¥1200. Yup. For a box of frog-shapped chocolate (and the wizard card inside I suppose). I'd bet the chocolate isn't some super high-quality snobbish chocolate either.  Here's a quite comprehensive LIST of HP merchandise you can get and the price list that a nice blogger kindly put together for us to brace our wallet before entering Harry Potter merchandise shop in USJ.
Another stupid selfie with a cute glass souvenir I'm too singy to buy. I have more photos with different glasses, but I'll spare you the torture of looking through them and just post this one πŸ˜‚
I looove food related souvenirs! Bought the takoyaki with Spidey on top. The food miniatures are of specialty cuisine of Osaka, such as takoyaki, okonomiyaki, and kitsune udon.
Oh, and since it was summer, there's this special event where park visitors and staffs squirt each other with water gun. Unfortunately it was pouring rain at the beginning of the event, so probably the squirt gun wasn't as refreshing as it was meant to be.
A wall of handprints of famous people.
Here's one of Koda Kumi πŸ’œ
and one of Cameron Diaz
Aaaannndd that's a wrap! FINALLY OMG! It took me MORE THAN A HALF A YEAR to finish this post lol. Not because it's a quality post lah, just because I only write a little at a time and the photo sorting and editing took a long time.

Oh, by the way, there's a Takoyaki Museum just outside Universal Studio gate if you're keen on visiting it πŸ˜‰ I only speed through it because of the time crunch, but I saw multiple takoyaki styles you can try.
Goodbye USJ, hope I can visit you again next year and trully immersed myself in the Harry Potter experience πŸ’“

I'll see you guys on my next post of this trip! Hope it doesn't take me another year lol, 'cause that would mean this post will not be finished for like another 5 to 7 years πŸ˜‚

Take care,

P.s. The pictures covered here are probably not even half of the park because I skipped the areas that are similar to Universal Studios Singapore to save time.

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