As part of my last week in Japan, my partner and I rented an apartment in Machida, Tokyo. I had poured hours into research, determining all the different things we could do. One thing that came to mind was the Yokohama ferris wheel. It's one of the sights people think of when they think of Japan. (Actually, the main reason I thought about it was due to a windows theme that featured photos of Japan.) Anyway, I looked it up and discovered there was an entire amusement park surrounding the ferris wheel. That makes sense of course, silly me.
So I invited my friend to come to Cosmo World with us, and found the fastest route. Apparently, we were really lucky with the apartment location since the trains only took 40 minutes. Believe me, 40 minutes and under is a fast commute.
Of course, since we had all just gotten up, we wanted to eat first - there were a few restaurants nearby. We ended up eating at a T.G.I.F. for the simple fact that it was open (and it wasn't soup). The food was great, and we had a fantastic view of Cosmo Clock 21.
Then we marched onwards! What shall we find? What shall we do?
We arrived at Sakuragichou, but we could have also gone to Mintaomirai. From there it was a simple task of heading towards the enormous ferris wheel. The walk was really beautiful, since we had to cross over a re-purposed bridge that was fully decked out with perfectly trimmed trees, lights and speakers playing soft jazz. Then (due to horsing around) I tripped over my own feet, ripped my capris, and skinned my knee on the ground.
It was a minor injury. I didn't even notice it.
The closer we got, the more excited I became! I love amusement parks! I really, really do! Any opportunity I have, I take it! I'm not sure what I like most about them. I pretty much like it all, honestly. Although, I've never been crazy about carnival games. They're okay but you know they're a total rip-off.
Cosmo World has 3 different zones, each targeted towards a specific age group, but each area has something for everyone. There's the Kids Carnival Zone (children), Burano Street Zone (adolescents), and the Wonder Amuse Zone (adults). We spent most of our time in the Wonder Amuse Zone, but we also ventured over to the Burano Street Zone. I wanted to go on more rides, including one particular carnival classic. This ride may or may not include intricately decorated show ponies...
This park doesn't have day passes, oddly enough. They only sell "tickets". You can see how much each ride costs and purchase tickets marked with that amount. When you hand the ticket over, they scan it and remove the cost of the ride. Pretty smart.
The very first ride we got on was the Flume Ride: Cliff Drop ~Zekkyo-GP~. At the time, we had no idea what the scoreboard meant. We got on the ride and since I'm a bundle of nerves, I was screaming frequently. The worst part was the final fall. It's an 18m drop of 46 degrees. It doesn't sound that steep, but trust me, it is.
My sister visited me in March and my first suggestion was to see Tokyo Disneyland. My friend lives in Chiba, and was only 30 minutes away. Unfortunately, my sister and I had to travel from Utsunomiya - about two hours with the Shinkansen. Still, a really nice ride if you're willing to spend the money.
We were both super psyched since neither of us had been to Disneyland before. After speaking with my friend, and doing a little research, we discovered that Disney Sea was the better alternative. You see, there is Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea. Disneyland is the more classic theme park and features rides designed for children, while Disney Sea features more adult rides. Obviously, Disney Sea is the better alternative.
The first step in visiting Disneyland is getting there. You need to catch a train to Maihama station, and before you wonder how you'll know which stop is the right one, let me just say that you'll recognize it when you see it. That's exactly what my friend said to me and it was very true. You could see the resort sprawled out beside the station, and more importantly, elaborately decorated with Mickey Mouse. If you don't notice all of that, then you'll definitely notice the throngs of people with Disney merchandise.
Now, if you want to get to Disney Sea, that means taking the Disney train. You purchase a ticket (or use your suica card) like anywhere else. The train is adorned with Mickey's iconic silhouette. (I do indeed have more photos of things like the gate, and the train, but I'm respecting the privacy of my friend and sister.)
Disney Sea is split into 7 sections and each section is clearly delineated with a particular theme.
Lost River Delta
For full details and a cost breakdown, read on!
I jumped from a plane today! That's right, out of choice.
My sister and I have been thinking about skydiving for years. We finally decided to do it about three weeks ago. We made the reservation and next thing I know, the day is today and we're in a plane.
We drive out to the place, it's almost an hour out of town. I had already went to the bathroom about 6 times but of course, I needed to go again. So my sister and I rushed off to the bathroom before checking in. After that, we filled out waivers and watched a short orientation video on jumping and landing.
Then off to get ready. We meet our instructors. My sister's? A man about her height (she's 5'11") and not only an experienced jumper but also a pilot. What's my sister? A pilot. Skydiving was the next logical step apparently.
My tandem instructor? A tall, Danish man with over 4000 jumps under his belt. I felt like I was in very safe hands. Although he didn't let on he was experienced until much later. He certainly liked to play up some very dark humour while the plane was climbing, I digress.
Sig (my instructor) picked out a jumpsuit and helped me into the harness. At one point he asked me to spread my legs so he could tighten the harness around my crotch. Then he stood and adjusted the ones around my chest. That was all very intimate but of course absolutely necessary. I want it as tight as possible - I'm pretty sure that's the point.
After a brief explanation on the harness and what to expect, we meet our videographers and head out to the field. It's not only the two videographers, instructors, my sister and I, but three professional skydivers. Each one had their own custom jumpsuit and chute. One guy had a purple jumpsuit with the golden lettering, "Curious Chris" (a Curious George reference, no doubt).
The little plane starts up. The propeller whirrs loudly. They set up a little ladder to get inside the large bay door but it's quite steep and very windy, so I require the assistance of my instructor in order to get into the plane. I get inside and sit down, straddling a sort of long bench. A clear shutter is brought down, blocking the large exit and we start going down the runway. I haven't had any time in small planes, so the take off is quite different from a large plane. Of course, my sister is used to even smaller planes than this one, so she handles it like a pro the whole way up.
The ground shrinks away. The climbing is steep and takes a long time. My sister chats up the people around her easily, talking about learning to be a pilot and her flying experience. I watch the view, I can't help but enjoy the plane ride itself. Sig points out familiar landmarks. It was like having a tour guide, I really enjoyed that. I look at my videographer's wrist and see the altimeter rising. We're getting closer to our altitude.
Finally, we reach 12, 500 feet. The giant, clear shutter is opened up and all that's left is sky. The professional solo divers go first. I watch them. Two men and a woman. I can't believe they just did that. My videographer climbs out on to the bar, waiting for me to come out. My instructor helps march me to the door. I crouch, like taught, and look out. Oh god. My instructor reminds me to cross my arms over my chest and look at the camera guy.
Scariest moment of my entire life.
I scream. Apparently my sister says she can hear me scream after I jump (she jumps after me). I want to scream more but there's so much air filling my mouth that I can't dispel any. Instead I look around me. Holy fuck. Everything is so far and beautiful. A perspective I've never had. The weather is perfect, absolutely perfect. Not a cloud in sight and it's warm, and I'm falling. Actually falling. I can feel gravity pulling me down. The view is so awe inspiring that I don't know how to feel but to be amazed. I actually flail around a bit, kicking my legs and such - only because I'm so excited that I don't know how to express myself (since I can't talk).
Then he pulls the chute. We instantly shoot up into the sky. It was at that moment that I realized how fast we were falling because I watched as the videographer fell to the Earth like a comet. I was frightened for his life!
The first thing that happens when he pulls the chute is my legs fly up like I'm sitting. The same thing happened to my sister. The force is so great that it sucks you up.
That's when you really get to enjoy the view. Wow. I've never seen anything like that. All I could say was, "Wow" mostly. My instructor was holding on to the...oh gosh, what's the word? Well, they're handles that control the parachute. He asked me, "would you like to hold them?" I said, "sure!" Next thing I know, I'm steering the parachute! We did a couple 360s for fun (with his help of course)! Wow! So fun!
Finally, it was time for the landing. He brought us in easily and we landed softly. He unhooked me and I jumped up, incredibly excited. My first words, "I want to do it again!"
Obviously, I had the time of my life. I feel like a whole new person. Would I recommend? Oh yes I fucking would.
P.S. What did I wear? I wore my green Paris, France t-shirt my father bought when he was there years ago. I thought it was the perfect symbol.
Have you ever heard of Necomimi? They're cat ears designed to respond to your brainwaves. Pretty cool, huh? The name "Necomimi" means "cat ears" in Japanese. Clever one, Neurosky!
They're a relatively new product released in 2012 and they use technology that's typically reserved for laboratories or hospitals. It's a clever and creative idea that I absolutely love.
The ears are motors that turn according to brainwaves which represent your "mood". There are two sensors that detect your brainwaves, a forehead sensor and one that attaches to your ear. This is how the magic works.
I've literally used these ears for more than an a hour at a time and I love it. I'm a fan of cosplay and can imagine wearing these for all sorts of reasons. Nevermind the fact that they're supa kawaii!
If you're interested in learning more about Necomimi, click on one of the links below to watch a video! If you would like to purchase the product I would recommend visiting their website directly by clicking on the link provided and not using a third party (speaking from experience). Neurowear is also in the process of putting the finishing touches on a tail! Then you could truly have the whole set! Unfortunately I can think of a lot of situations where a tail would be inconvenient. Still, my curiosity is piqued.
In the interest of full disclosure I purchased and received these ears originally back in January. The ears were phenomenal except by random chance they happened to be defective. I immediately contacted Neurosky and they generously helped me. Together we were able to come to a solution and they sent me new ears. Thank you Neurosky for having excellent customer service. I finally have my ears again!
Wings of Liberty: Jim Raynor
Have you ever played StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty? It's a complex RTS (real-time strategy) game that allows players to connect online in simulated battles. You must gather resources known as minerals and vespene gas in order to mass an army and attack your opponents. You can choose to play in a team or alone, against other players or A.I.s. The game not only offers competitive laddering but there is a campaign and infinite arcade games. (You can find it on my Top 10 list for Co-op Video Games.)
Battlenet Championship 2012
Due to its brilliant gameplay and ever changing nature it has exponentially increased popularity for e-sports. There are numerous pro-gamers that play in international tournaments to claim victory as one of the best. SC2 (StarCraft 2) is not only featured in live online tournaments but it also boasts numerous gamers and commentators who broadcast their daily games such as Day, HuskyStarcraft, Scarlett and White-Ra.
Wings of Liberty is just the first installment of SC2. It features Jim Raynor and the Terran army struggling to fight back against the injustice of Mengsk, the cold and calculating Protoss, and of course the overwhelming and powerful Zerg. Terrans are basically humans in space. Everything is very familiar and mechanical. Just imagine a future where humans have achieved space travel and have found the necessity to build war machines. Protoss are an advanced telepathic species that have no qualms exterminating the Zerg pestilence or anyone who gets in the way. Zerg are the "bad guys" of the galaxy. Originally controlled by the Overmind, the Zerg assimilate advanced species, incorporating their genetic code into their own. Remind of you anything? Maybe the Borg but in a much more disgusting, insectoid representation. Most SC2 players have favourite races they like to play again and again. Personally I enjoy playing Zerg and my partner is a Brotoss (an affectionately coined euphemism for players who enjoy playing Protoss).
My appreciation for Zerg is why I'm particularly excited for the upcoming release of the latest expansion, Heart of the Swarm. It features the Queen of Blades, formerly known as Kerrigan, a Ghost (expert espionage agent and assassin with powerful mental abilities) for the Terran army and Jim Raynor's love interest. She was infested by the Zerg Overmind and quickly assumed control, making her the Queen of Blades. She now seeks to gain dominance of the entire galaxy.
I recommend watching the opening cinematic for Heart of the Swarm. While it only hints at plot, it certainly makes an impression. Heart of the Swarm comes out March 12, 2013.
I had the excellent fortune to attend a Just for Laughs event in my city. In case you were wondering, Just for Laughs hosts comedians to travel to different venues. I was extremely excited since I've seen their events on television numerous times but never had the opportunity to attend an event until now. It was absolutely fantastic. The show featured Last Comic Standing John Heffron along with Godfrey, Canadian comedienne Debra Digiovanni, Jim Breuer, Roman Danylo and Diana Frances. I didn't find out the show's theme until we actually arrived and it turned out to be "The Relationship Edition". Perfect for my partner and I on a night out.
Roman Danylo and Diana Frances opened the night with improv to get everyone started. They were great. With audience suggestions they turned something mundane into something exciting and hilarious. A great way to open a show and get everyone ready to laugh. John Heffron came out next and hosted the show. He did a fantastic opening bit. He discussed the difference between being in a relationship as a man in his early 20's to being a married man at 42. One of the funniest things he mentioned was going out to dinner with his wife. He goes on to say that he didn't expect a performance review. He was quite funny.
Next was Godfrey, an honest and very active comic. He brought the stage to life with hilarious comments on everyday life. He made jokes about everything from the incredibly cold Canadian weather and mitten wearing to Victoria's Secret and American Airlines. I laughed particularly hard while watching him. He really knew how to make people laugh. He was quite a ham.
There was a brief intermission before they continued on to one of the most well known and respected comics, Debra Digiovanni. If you've ever watched Much Music's Video on Trial, you would be familiar with her kind of sardonic humour. Most of her humour is self deprecating, something I truly appreciate. I like when a comic can make fun of themselves. It's too easy to make fun of others. She's really very intelligent and witty. She's the one comic I would love to meet in person. I think she'd be terrific fun.
Last but not least was Jim Breuer. In a way he was similar to John Heffron, in comedy and appearance. He also commented on the inner workings of marriage but extended it to having children. After he was done I couldn't help but be more afraid of the possibility of ever having children. Children are a handful. Regardless, all the comedians were truly on their game. I appreciated every minute. I love to laugh. If Just for Laughs returns, I will be there.
Tonight I will be attending the Metric concert! I'm very excited! I've never had the opportunity to see them live before. I will be writing a blog post about it after the concert but I suspect it will be quite late by then. So don't wait up! Tomorrow I'm going to Just for Laughs! What a busy couple of days! I'm looking forward to sharing my experiences.
In honour of Metric please listen to one of my favourite songs.
At the end of October my city had the pleasure of hosting the Star Wars Identities Exhibition. I had been looking forward to it since last year when I first heard they were coming. Up until today I could only imagine what wonders were in store and my goodness, it was wondrous. I visited the exhibit with my family and partner. I suppose the first thing I should mention is that I had bought tickets online for a specific time, well it turns out they were running an hour behind schedule. Even though we showed up early we didn't have the pleasure of getting into the exhibit for over an hour. What did we do with our time? Browsed the other galleries and mostly waited in line. Despite the long wait I would have to say it was definitely worth it.
When we finally made it to the front of the line we were presented with an ear piece, receiver and wrist band. Then we watched a quick 5 minute video on the quest we had all undertaken to discover the hero inside of each of us. It made me so very excited. I cannot fully explain the excitement that was coursing through my veins. Star Wars has been one of my favourite stories my entire life and here I was about to witness some of the greatest props, costumes and concept art that has ever existed. I got to see Boba Fett, C-3P0, R2-D2, Yoda, Han, Leia, Chewbacca...you name it! They were all there!
Maybe you're wondering what they meant by discovering the hero inside of us, well the wristbands we were given were more special than any of us realized. The exhibition had an interactive feature; inside were 10 stations each with a question designed to develop a personal character. You would press the wristband against an illuminated hexagon and voila! You would make choices in order to pick what kind of Star Wars character you wanted to create. The questions ranged from what species you are, how your parents raised you, what your personality was like to choosing the empire or rejecting the offer.
The best part about creating your own character was the consideration they had put into designing these questions. They actually used a variety of psychological theories that were very familiar to me. I truly appreciated that. What an awesome and brilliant idea! Not only were we able to enjoy the amazing movie props but we each created a unique and memorable character. If you ever have the opportunity to visit Star Wars Identities you should take it! I thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was truly a wonderful experience.
Halloween wasn't always a time for trick-or-treating in costumes (or in snowsuits if you live in Canada). Throughout the years Halloween has transformed dramatically, so much so that it's practically unrecognizable from its roots.
It all began with a Gaelic event called, "Samhain" which marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. There would be rituals and bonfires along with the slaughtering of livestock for the cold months ahead. There was a belief that Samhain was a time when otherwordly beings could enter from beyond to take part in the feasts. Of course they didn't just see the possibility for dead kin to visit, they realized there might be negative spirits as well. So people took precautions to protect themselves, perhaps even changing their appearance.
As with most holidays adopted by Christianity they stamped out their Pagan roots. From Samhain came All Saints' Day. Depending on the specific sect of Christianity they may honour Saints or Christians, alive and dead. This casts a striking similarity to Gaelic Samhain which invites the dead in order to honour them with feasts. In Mexico it coincides with the first day of the Day of the Dead celebration, Day of the Innocents which honours deceased children.
In North America Halloween wasn't celebrated until Irish and Scottish immigrants brought their customs and beliefs in the 19th century. The act of trick-or-treating is still rather new with barely any record or mention of it until the 1930s. Halloween certainly has come a long way, from celebrating the harvest, to honouring the dead, to going door to door for candy. It's definitely one of my favourite holidays. What's not to love about a little frivolity and fun?
All 2009 2012 2013 2014 2015 Actor Adolescent Advent Adventure Aging Alberta Amusement Park Anger Anime Anniversary Anxiety Art Astronaut Athletes Audio Australia Author Autumn Badminton Bake Bbc Bear Beer Biological Birthday Blind Body Book Brain Busy Calm Canada Career Cartoon Castle Cat Cbc Cell Change Chart China Christmas City Clean Clothing Coffee Comment Competition Concert Conflict Contest Corporation Cosplay Culture Dance Dark Dead Death Deceit Depression Director Disaster Disney Documentary Dog Dream Drink Driving Ds Earth Earthquake Egg Election Emotion Emptiness England English Espresso Essays Exam Excited Exercise Exhibition Eye Failure Family Famous Fashion Fast Fate Father Favourite Feminine Feminist Festival Fiction Films First Fog Food France Free French Friend Fun Funny Future Gallery Game Gender Glasses Government Grammar Haiku Halloween Happiness Hate Head Health Heart Hell Hidden Hike History Holiday Homage Home Honesty Horror Hot Housewife Human Hunt India Indonesia Injury In-law Italy ITTTi Japan Jewellery Job Kanto Key KFC Knowledge Labels Lake Language Laughter Law Learn Legalize Life Liger Liquor List Loss Love Lyrics Magazine Map Marijuana Marriage Masculine Mature Meet Men Metal Metallica Metric Mie Miss Mobile Monday Money Mortality Mother Motivation Motorcycle Mountains Murder Music Nagoya Nature Nerds New Nightmare Novel Obsession Ocean Okanagan Olympics Optometrist Pagan Pandaria Panic Parents Partner Passion Past Peace People Phone Photo Pirate PKC Plane Poetry Politics Prescription President Protest Psychology PTSD Québec Queen Racism Radio Rain Reading Recipe Reincarnation Rejection Relationships Relax Release Religion Remember Rent Resolution Resort Restaurant Review Rhyme Riot Road Robot Rural Saskatchewan Scary School Science Search Service Sex Shadow Vault Short Story Simpsons Sister Skydiving Small Snow Soul South Korea Spaces Spirit Sports Spring Starcraft 2 Star Wars Station Statistics Statues Stay Stereotypes Store Story Storytime Strategy Stress Submission Success Summer Sun Sunday Survey Teach Technology Tesl Theatre Theory Throne Top10 Tour Train Training Trauma Travel Trip Trivia Troll Tunnels Tv Unknown Usa Vacation Valentine Vampire Vending Machine Video Video Games Vision Voice Waiting War Warcraft Weather Wedding Week Wine Winter Women World Wow Writer Writing Yoga Youtube