2022 Fall Chason Rice Culture Temple Japan

Journey to Osaka, the Universal experience 

I was told I should make it a priority to journey to Osaka, with it being a four-day weekend, I thought this would be the perfect time to check out this wonderful city that I have heard so much about. 

My travel buddy for this weekend is my good friend from UIC, Mason Li. The remarkable thing about studying abroad is you can meet friends from your home school and have no idea you both attend the same campus. I decided this four-day weekend to explore the greatness of Osaka and see what it has to offer. Mason took the lead, and we were going to try out the local cuisine and check out USJ (Universal Studios Japan). To get there we decide we would take the Shinkansen, or to U.S. Americans, the bullet train. This marvel of engineering travels at 199 miles per hour. A benefit of studying at Temple University is that all students can get around 9 discount trips on the Shinkansen per semester. We took off Friday after school to begin our journey.   

Bento Box and Beverage

A tradition is before you board the Shinkansen, you make sure to grab a bento box or snack to eat on the train. I got a delicious Pork Sando. Mason and I both got a wonderful beverage and began our two-hour and thirty-minute journey to Osaka. I spent the train ride using free Wi-Fi ride taking care of some remote work. Glancing out the window to finally see some of the natural landscape of Japan. There is something about looking out a window that makes you appreciate the little things in life. A sense of appreciation filled my spirit as we were on this new adventure. Here I am in another country for the first time, going to experience the great food and culture of another area. 


Journey to Osaka (Part 1) Took the bullet train and got yakitori! #Blackintokyo #abc #music #japan

♬ ABC (feat. Sophia Black) – Polyphia

When we got to Osaka, we immediately checked into our hotel and went to try some Yakitori. We wandered around Dontonburi, took pictures in front of the Gilco sign, and sat on a bench to watch the people. Osaka seems to have a more liberal side to it. People embrace more color and are taking fashion risks I typically do not see on the train in Tokyo. After people watching for a bit, we decided to head back early because we were going to Universal Studios and wanted to make sure we got a good amount of sleep.  


Journey to Osaka (part 2) Universal Studios part 1!

♬ あの娘シークレット – Eve

The next day we walked to the train station to begin our journey to Universal Studios Japan. Immediately the fanfare of music is playing, people are wearing costumes and locals are wearing headbands of their favorite franchise characters. We started the day by first reserving our slots in line for the Halloween-exclusive Resident Evil experience and entry into the Super Nintendo World. We decided to check out Harry Potter Park first. Parents, kids, and students alike had on Harry Potter house to show their allegiance. (Team Slytherin is the best, we are not evil, we are just cunning and misunderstood). We grabbed some frozen butterbeer before heading next to the Jurassic Park area. While the lines were long, the good company made the wait worthwhile. There were some rides that did not live up to the hype. The minion’s ride was quite long and had too many wait time traps while in line. The Spider-man experience was based on the 90’s tv show, so it was cool to take a step back in time to one of the greatest American series ever created while in Osaka.   

Yet the final three rides are what really made going to Universal Japan Studios worth it. There was an interactive haunted house based on one of Capcom’s best-selling games, Resident Evil 2. You are transported into Raccoon City and must navigate through zombies to try to escape before getting affected by the virus. There were a ton of jump scares and opportunities to really get involved in the narrative. Next, we entered Super Nintendo World. It was like stepping into an actual Mario Bros game. Life-size replicas of Browser’s and Princess Peache’s castles. The music would change depending on where you were in the park. You could ride on Yoshi’s back to see the whole park or even jump into one of the greatest racing franchises ever created. The final ride was the one that put Universal Studios Japan on the map, the Universal Dream Drop. This rollercoaster was like nothing I have ever ridden before, and I have the bragging rights to say I have been on the world’s longest and fastest wooden roller-coaster. What makes Dream Drop so special is the chance to pick between five songs while riding the ride. You get your very own personal theme music to play while you are on the ride. What helps, is if you have a favorite song, it creates an out-of-body experience I have never had before. If only there was more time, I would have gotten on the Dream Drop one more time.  


While it is important to be a student, it was nice to get a break and have some fun in Osaka. Read about how Mika  took a big risk with Mt Fuji here.  

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