I live in Tokyo now but most of my friends and family do not. The main idea here is that I can tell these people about interesting things that happen and are seen.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Well I Went On A Rolly Coaster

One of the advantages of a timid, unadventurous childhood is that it bequeaths a trove of new experiences for your adult years, when you might otherwise become jaded.

Until last Friday, I had never been on a rolly coaster (or "jet coaster" as they are known here, it being somewhat sadistic to expect Japanese folks to pronounce "roller"). Thus, rather than losing my rolly coaster cherry to a venerable bucket at Rainbow's End in Manukau, I was ravished instead by "Eejanakai", which is based on pretty recent technology (its only the second of its kind) and currently holds the Guiness Record for greatest number of inversions (14).

(The record, incidentally, is not recognized by everyone since there are only three times that the actual track turns upside-down. The remaining eleven are "seat inversions" since the seats, terrifyingly, can swivel and tip you about independently. Yes, the roller coaster community has politics and controversies all their own, and apparently a "Supreme Council", and probably also a handshake - who knew?)

Some external footage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CN6OnGyUnmo
And, point-of-view footage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkrFWtvQkYc

So, uh, it was pretty scary. Partway through the ride they have a speed camera that takes snaps of you amidst the experience, and you can buy them on your way out. Mine looked like a promotional image for "Faces of Death 4" - the words "abject" and "terror" are often combined in a loose and cliched way but here their union is entirely appropriate. Of the twenty people on the ride, I was visibly the most terrified, and in the manner most abject. Moreover the wind pressure had caused my shorts to ride up, exposing great pallid flanks of pearly, goose-pimpled thigh. I am not normally a fan of any photos of myself not taken in accordance with the strictest principles of MySpace composition (camera at arm's length, three-quarter profile, artificially quizzical expression, about ninety takes). So I didn't buy that one. It lacked... dignity.

Nevertheless the whole thing was pretty exhilirating. I would ride that machine again if I ever went back to Fuji Q Highland, and the queue was less than thirty minutes long (i.e. probably never). And I was able to comport myself in a somewhat more manly fashion when I rode Fujiyama later in the day. It's an older machine of more traditional design, but nevertheless a pretty respectable old scoot. At one time it had the record for highest peak, but has since been superceded. I guess it maybe remains in the top ten.

Here's some entertaining footage of a dude singing karaoke while riding Fujiyama: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUi44hl-P5I


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