Sanrio Puroland | Gudetama Land

It's been two months since I've been back from Japan, and of course... I still miss it very much.

I've been privileged to visit Japan once every two years on average. I joke that all my salary, paltry as it is in terms of global currency, is only to advance Japan's economy.

Last year in December, I finally fulfilled one of my dreams of visiting Japan with two of my closest colleagues. People often ask me why I always go back to Japan, to which I have to say...

"There's always something new to explore in each corner, in each season." 

I generally don't mind going back to the same places in Japan over and over again, because they are always thinking of ways to update to suit the season. With pop-up restaurants, revolving exhibitions in museums, and etcetera, it's hard to be bored in Japan.

Plus, there's always some place to visit which I had not visited before, such as...



Last year was the first time I flew into Haneda Airport, actually. I've always favoured the Kansai areas in Japan, and when I went to Tokyo before, I just took the bullet train from Osaka. This time around, all 9 days of my trip was solely in the Greater Tokyo area, which gave me time to visit slightly out-of-the-way attractions like Sanrio Puroland.

As soon as I stopped off in Tama-Center Station, this ceiling greeted me. Clearly the top attraction of this place was Sanrio Puroland, which I wanted to visit for...


...this.

I... am not the biggest fan of Hello Kitty.

I do like Sanrio characters, especially My Melody, but I've never been particularly captivated by any of their characters until... Gudetama appeared.

My Japan trip of last year can also alternatively be called "The Trip Where Gudetama Made Me Spend More Money  Than I Really Should".

I didn't even need to be personally in Japan to have Gudetama make me spend money. A friend of mine went to Japan in late January, and asked me if I wanted to have the Gudetama tamagotchi which came out in late December.

Well.

DUH.

This appeared on my Instagram post as of February 1st 2018: 


Congratulations, Sanrio, you have officially found a way to make me spend more money in Japan, instead of just sticking to my usual Disney/ Ghibli merchandises.

From top-left in clockwise direction:

1. A ¥500 picture from Gudetama Land in Sanrio Puroland,
2. A ¥700 squishy keychain from Owakudani in Hakone,
3. A ¥300 gacha Gudetama macaron from Gudetama Land,
4. A ¥800 Little Twin Stars x Gudetama cup-hanger,
5. A coaster from Gudetama Cafe in Ikebukuro,
6. A ¥1,860 (after discount) Gudetama tamagotchi, and
7. A postcard from Gudetama Cafe in Ikebukuro (I'm pretty sure I spent ¥2,300 on food and drinks there).

๐Ÿ˜จ

So much for self-control.

But I digress.

When I finally went into Sanrio Puroland, the first thing that struck me was that there were way less tourists than I expected. Most of the people were Japanese mothers with their children, young Japanese families, and giggly Japanese girls in their late teens and early 20s.

The other thing that struck me was that... Japanese girls seemed really into DSLR cameras with extremely expandable lenses. One petite Japanese girl zoomed in at a show with her camera, and I think the length of that expanded camera was half her size.

With the indoor theme park being moderately packed, I could get on most of the rides without much waiting, such as the Sanrio Character Boat Ride, and the ~My Melody & Kuromi~ Mymeroad Drive.

With it being December, Sanrio Puroland embraced the Christmas spirit in their decorations and shows. I watched a show about how the Tree of Wisdom accidentally ate the phonetic "Su", so Hello Kitty and friends couldn't celebrate KurisumaSU as SU was missing.

๐Ÿ˜‚

I clearly am too old to take this event as it is, because I kept thinking "but there's still a SU in KuriSUmaSU, why is it only the last SU that is missing? What's so special about the middle SU? Is it protected by the other syllables?"

I can't say that I really enjoyed Sanrio Puroland - mostly because I am not young...er/ the target audience/ I only like a couple of characters - but Sanrio Puroland clearly knew that they had another target market to please. After meandering around Sanrio Puroland, I finally found the one spot in the theme park I was REALLY eager to visit.

May I present to you...

Gudetama Land.




The premise of Gudetama Land was that you were a visitor, and you had to have a Gudetama Passport for you to go in. There was a receptionist area in which you got your Passport (one for each group only), and your name and gender would be keyed in.

Then. in Gudetama Land, you had to play various mini-games in order to complete your tour of Gudetama Land, and scan your Passport each time at each game section so that they knew it was you.

There were places where you had to take pictures with figurines of Gudetama...


...and places which were not mini-game areas, but I still had to take pictures anyway BECAUSE LOOK AT THIS.


Enjoyment of Sanrio Puroland immediately went up upon stepping into Gudetama Land.

At the end, after completing all the mini-games, you could go back to the first area with the two pilot Gudetamas, and scan your Passport again to prove that you've completed all the games.

I did exactly that, and this voice blared out from the speakers saying:

"Miss, it's great that you're so hardworking (in completing all the games), but don't you have better things to do?"

Thanks, Gudetama.

๐Ÿ˜‚

I still love you anyway.

Really, I should add the Sanrio Puroland entry ticket price of RM70 to my  "The Trip Where Gudetama Made Me Spend More Money  Than I Really Should" list, since I only really perked up upon reaching here due to my interests.

I DID, however, find the cutest character available to take a picture with. ๐Ÿ˜

When I was watching the Kurisumasu show, I kept thinking this one character named Cinnamonroll was the cutest thing ever (Gudetama didn't participate in the show, probably because being lazy and cynical doesn't fit with Christmas's image...). The costume was tiny and small, much shorter than me (and I'm already short to begin with), and I kept wondering how tall the person inside the costume was.

When I was done with Gudetama Land and was about to leave, I spotted an upper level where I had not explored yet. Off I went... and this I found.



๐Ÿ˜ณ

IT WAS SO CUTE (and yes there was a person inside it, but I have no idea how).


When I went up to it, it bowed to me and I could not maintain any composure because... how could something be so cute. T_T

I was saying to my friend that "so now I know the best way for me to actually want to hug a stranger is to have that stranger wear a cute costume beforehand that ensures none of our skin actually touches, also costume must be C-U-T-E".

That was a great end to the four hours or so that I spent in Sanrio Puroland. Technically I could have waited for more parades and shows, but I just wasn't that interested after Gudetama Land. I was also REALLY exhausted from having a red-eye flight, and just wanted a bed.

I do have to mention one thing I really liked about Japan, which happened in Sanrio Puroland. It was an indoor theme park that was clearly geared at extremely young children, but I rarely heard shouting by parent or child. There was small instances of crying, which was hushed up quickly after or disappeared somewhere else.

When I was in line to meet Cinnamonroll, a young child ran excitedly past me, and her mother immediately dragged her child back into her place in line, apologising to me as she did so. She then told her child gently but firmly that "we should wait for our turn patiently in line, because other people want to meet Cinnamonroll too".

๐Ÿ˜Š

I was REALLY impressed with this level of parenting skills. If only it was enacted all over the world!

I won't say that I'd want to come back to Sanrio Puroland again (not the way I'd love to revisit Disneyland/Sea every time), but it was a pretty pleasant way to spend a few hours on a tired first day for a trip - no rushing, no huge crowds, no inconvenient incidences.

Now, if they expanded Gudetama Land though...

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