November 7, 2014

This day made a huge damage to our budget.

We had a small “adventure” on our way to Universal Studios. We waited at the platform where the train to Universal Studios stops and rode the first train that arrived. We were relaxed as we talked about the highlights of our Kyoto tour yesterday, until we heard an announcement through the PA system saying that the train was going to be separated at one of the stations ahead—the first six cars will be going in one direction and the last six cars in another. We looked at each other’s befuddled faces. What if we were in the wrong car once the split happens? Should we change cars? We checked Google Maps and saw that we were not moving anywhere close to Universal Studios. The entire train line that we rode was wrong.

Although I would’ve loved to see the train cars being separated, we hopped off the train before it happened, then rode the correct one to Universal Studios.

It was already 10:15 a.m. when we arrived.

I didn’t know if it was because it was Halloween month or Japanese pop culture dictates it, but there were a lot of people in cosplays. My favorite were these three guys wearing radish costumes and one of them was carrying a tiny baby radish plushy.

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Because most of the rides had a long waiting time, we were only able to ride the Spider-Man 3D ride which was like the Transformers ride in Universal Studios Singapore. We should’ve just bought the cheaper express pass because that allowed pass holders to skip lines.

The Harry Potter park was also packed with tourists even though a timed entry system was already implemented. There were long lines everywhere. I wasn’t even able to go inside Honeydukes to buy a box of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavoured Bean or a mug of butterbeer because we didn’t have time to waste on long queues.

But Hogsmeade and Hogwarts were still a sight to see. We toured inside the Hogwarts castle. I managed to buy an overly priced Chocolate Frog so I’m happy.

Hogsmeade is filled with Muggles
Hogsmeade is filled with Muggles.

I want to go back once the hype has died down and there are fewer tourists.

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We bought our shinkansen tickets at the Universal Studios Station. It was more expensive than our round-trip flight tickets.

After eating dinner, we went back to Hotel Kinki to pick up our luggage, then we went to Shin-Osaka Station.

Shin-Osaka Station was a vast, intricate, and bustling web. Luckily, the ticketing officer at the Universal Studios Station already told us which platform to go to. The platforms for the bullet trains were outdoors so waited in the cold night.

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We rode the Nozomi train which was the fastest bullet train line.

The train was stable for something that moved so fast that you didn’t feel it shaking once you’re seated inside. The most impressive part was how the train could stop smoothly despite its high speed.

Lugging our baggage in the bullet train was no big deal because it was spacious. But once we arrived in Tokyo Station, it was a different story.

We arrived at Tokyo Station at 11 p.m., but there were still a lot of people. The train to Shinjuku was one of the older ones, so the cars were narrow. It wasn’t even rush hour, yet it was packed. What more during then?

Once we arrived in Shinjuku, we didn’t know which exit to take. We took our time figuring out which was the correct exit until we saw the exit gates in front of us being lowered down. We hurried to find another exit because we didn’t want to spend our first night in Tokyo trapped inside a train station.

Despite the lateness of the hour, our luggage situation, and our state of semi-exhaustion, we were still adamant in our refusal to hail a cab. We were in Tokyo and we welcomed adventure. So we walked from Shinjuku Station to Citadines. It was Friday night; we passed by a lot of drunk people on our way to the hotel.

We finally arrived at our hotel at 1 a.m. We were tired and happy, and we made it in one piece—that deserved a group hug. We then went to the nearby Yoshinoya to celebrate.

This is the first time I’m going to sleep with Salonpas patches on. I hope it helps relieve my tired muscles. I also have foot patches stuck on the soles of my feet that are supposed to remove toxins. We agreed to sleep in and start our tour later than usual.

Tomorrow Later we’re going to Asakusa and Akihabara.

For now, good night, Tokyo!

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