One fine September morning, 65 sophomores left St. Mary’s International School for a trip across Japan. The crisp, pleasant air was ideal, and you could smell the anticipation as if it were incense.  For their class excursion, the class of ‘21 had voted on an overnight trip to Osaka, where they would indulge in the Kansai culture that is so prevalent there. However, everyone’s mind was mainly centered toward the prominent highlight of the trip – a full day in the acclaimed Universal Studios.

Unfortunately for the group, their first event, a tour of the towering Umeba Sky Building, was called off, due to the recent havoc caused by Typhoon Jebi. Their next destination, the grandiose Osaka Castle, was also unapproachable due to rush hour traffic. So, instead of Osaka’s opulent skyline or its most distinguished historical landmark, the Titans visited the well-known Dotonbori, an extravagant entertainment area, and home to the notorious “Glico” advert.

 

The recent destructive Typhoon Jebi had left many anticipating a near-vacant park, but alas, the entrance was teeming with hundreds upon hundreds. After soldiering past the toll booths, the students were set loose upon the wonders of the funfair.

Universal Studios is an international amusement park franchise based on and run by Universal Pictures, the incredible studio which pioneered the entertainment industry, bringing you classics such as Back to the Future and Jaws. Currently, the landmark boasts a broad variety of featured films, from the kid-friendly Despicable Me trilogy, to the Jurassic Park series, a cult classic whose writers seem to be boundless in creativity and motivation. Despite closing in on their 18th anniversary, the park managers have avoided the ominous wave of irrelevance that eventually consumes all. They’ve harnessed the hearts of the masses through their integration of cultures that are popular in society today.

 

Universal Studios’ biggest attraction is undoubtedly “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey”. As its name suggests, it is founded in the highly-acclaimed (and profitable) Harry Potter franchise. A phenomenal 4D experience, SMIS students have described it as being “the greatest attraction of them all”, “the best 5 minutes of my life”.

 

Recently, in 2018, Universal Pictures released  Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the sixth installment of the Jurassic Park series, which never seems to end. Subsequently, Universal Studios busted out a whole new area dedicated to it. The two rides “The Flying Dinosaur” and the creatively-named “Jurassic Park: The Ride”. While “Jurassic Park: The Ride” had an aqueous gimmick, “The Flying Dinosaur” had riders hanging from the cart in mid-air! The class of ‘21 exclaimed that it was “awesome, savory, and incredible”, and a “gravity-defying experience”.

 

While this day was overshadowed by the antics that took place in Universal Studios, the chaperones still managed to make it enjoyable. After a short ferry ride across the Aji River, the class visited the Kaiyukan, the largest aquarium in Japan. With its vertically-winding structure and myriad of beasts, it certainly made out to be one of the more memorable moments of the trip.

Article by Ryo Matsuki