This guy below was busting his best moves all by himself in Yoyogi, something considered perfectly acceptable.
When you live in a country expecting complete conformity, the only acceptable place to be yourself is Yoyogi Park on a Sunday afternoon.
Straight up let me tell you I hated this place with a blazing passion and was super pissed off I spent even 1 yen to visit it (nevermind the $120 it cost for 3 of us which didn’t include the one lousy ride they had – that would’ve cost another $12 a person.)
I’m a chick. I grew up on Hello Kitty. In general, I love cats. Thus going to Puroland was very high on my list. It took all my powers of persuasion to convince the two guys with me to go. I wish I had never left the hotel.
Firstly, it’s an hour away from Tokyo on the Keio Line headed to Tama center.
When you arrive, it certainly seemed promising (ref pic below.)
When you get to the window you have to choose between a ticket for access to everything or access to everything excluding rides. Note that!! Rides(s) Rides being the plural of the word Ride indicates more than one ride. In this case, I was hoping for maybe a roller coaster or zipper or other cool stuff like that.
Upon entering the structure, Sanrio pukes Hello Kitty and all her buddies on you bombarding every conceivable sense and after a quick whip around the single hall, you realize that’s all there is.
There is precisely one ride, a slow boat to nowhere, that even the toddlers seemed incredibly bored by.
They had one show going on with some dancers in cat costumes otherwise there was fuck all else.
One hundred twenty dollars, an hour train ride, 48 hours of groveling and begging to go and this was the result.
Basically I just wanted to curl into the fetal position, stick one thumb up my ass, the other in my mouth and cry myself to sleep to dream of all the cocktails or delicious foods I could’ve spent that money on.
Here is who Puroland might be good for:
Final thoughts: Do Not Ever Go To This Place……..Ever.
Yokohama Japan has its own different thing going on. First of all, it’s home to one of my favorite places on Earth, the Ramen Noodle Museum. Not far away is Kamakura, Japan which houses the second largest Buddha statue in Japan. Another thing to know is that it has the second largest Chinatown in the world after…dunh…dunh…daaahhhhh….China! Go figure.
Some of my best moments were spent in subways in Japan. I found it the singular most fascinating place to people watch and come to understand the idiosyncrasies that typify the Japanese. There are so many rules both spoken and others that were merely social norms, it was inevitable I broke them. And believe me, I probably broke all of them. Some of them are: do not talk on the train, do not put makeup on, do not eat, do not drink, and especially, never, ever make eye contact with anyone else. They hate that!
However, as a foreigner living there I was something of a curiosity to them and they really wanted to stare. Staring is considered sooooo rude in their culture though. One of my favorite games was watching them watching me trying not to get caught at it. The best way to do this was for me to face the windows as if looking outside the train. The windows are reflective though so I could see them very well. If I turned around to look, they would always be looking away. Facing the window though…..well…you get the idea.
Another anomaly I would experience was the occasional prejudice against me as an American. I didn’t take it personally. It’s just the way they are sometimes. Most often that meant no one would sit next to me on the train. Frankly, I loved and exploited this when it would happen. The train could be wall to wall with riders but no one would sit next to me. What a convenient place to set my purse and belongings! This never bothered me. Moreover, mothers with children would usually have one of two reactions to me getting on the train. They would either take their children and go as far away as they could from me, or, conversely, push their children at me while saying “Engrish, Engrish….practice Engrish.” This always brought a smile to my face.
Another peccadillo of Japanese culture is the premise of pretending to sleep. This is an extremely common and socially acceptable way to avoid having to look at or talk to anyone else on the train. One out of three riders would pretend to sleep. The instant the train stopped at their stop though, they jumped up and were off the train.