Universal Studios Osaka

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I can’t remember how we decided which parts of Japan we’d visit other than Tokyo but I think Osaka was always on the list because we wanted to visit Universal Studios. Becca was celebrating her birthday while we were in Osaka so we decided to go to Universal Studios for the day.

This was another one where we couldn’t buy the tickets in advance, it just wasn’t an option if you lived in the UK but luckily ticket sales were marked more clearly than they had been at Disneyland and queuing didn’t take too long. We each got a different movie on our ticket, Jess got Jurassic Park, I got Transformers and hilariously Becca got Minions. She tried to swap but nobody else wanted the Minions ticket.

Jess had read online that it’s best to head straight to Harry Potter world first to avoid crowds so we did that and this was another place I’d seen in vlogs but it didn’t prepare me for entering and hearing the Harry Potter music. The whole place looks absolutely magical as if you’re actually in Hogsmeade. We joined a queue for something heading towards the castle, I thought it was like a walk through thing but it turned out to be a ride so I decided not to go on. Becca and Jess did and they said it was amazing, it was like you were following Harry and Ron on broomsticks.

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Once they were done on that they wanted to go on Flight of the Hippogriff which was just across from the Hogwarts castle so we queued for that and as per usual I chickened out when we got to the front. Becca and Jess said that was good too.

After that we did a bit of shopping, Becca bought a Slytherin t-shirt and we each bought a chocolate frog so that we could see who’s cards we got. I got Dumbledore, Becca got Godric Gryffindor and Jess got Bertie Bott. We bought one for Hirst to bring back to the UK and she got Rowena Ravenclaw which was lucky as that’s which house she’s in.

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We decided to grab lunch at this point so we found a pizza place. I’m not a fan of pizza but Becca’s a vegetarian and hadn’t been able to eat much for the past couple of weeks but we wanted her to have a decent meal on her birthday so we went in and she got a vegetarian pizza. I think Jess had the same and there was some pork dish thing that I ordered which wasn’t fantastic but it was better than nothing.

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We had a quick look at the map and then wandered around until we found the Spider-Man ride. Becca and Jess went on whilst I waited outside for them. I wish I wasn’t afraid of rides, it’s such a pain. They came out and said they’d really enjoyed it so must’ve been good. We decided to get ice-cream after that because it was so hot in Japan while we were there and everybody loves a good ice-cream.

After that I paid to have a go on a game where you throw balls at milk bottles to win prizes. I started off well ‘cos my first throw knocked them all over, it was only because one of the bottles stayed on the stand that I lost. I was like ‘okay I’ve got it down, just need to improve my technique a bit’. After that I got progressively worse somehow so I didn’t win anything but it had been fun.

We walked off again and found an Insidious ride but you had to collect tickets before you could go in so we got ours but they weren’t valid until 6:15PM so we had time to kill. We found a zombie thing and I joined the queue with my friends. I was debating whether to go for it and when the doors opened I nearly chickened out but followed my friends in. We were taken into a large room where we watched several videos and actors – the whole thing was in Japanese but we got the gist that there was a zombie apocalypse. A code came on one of the screens and we weren’t sure if we needed to remember it or not so Jess memorised it just in case.

We were taken outside and I was initially disappointed ‘cos I thought that was the whole thing but we joined another queue and went to an outdoor bit where we had to navigate a sort of maze and avoid the zombies. I was running around screaming my head off and when I made it to the next queue a zombie came down and rattled a box behind me so I shrieked again. We were taken around a corner and a large zombie was killed in some water or something because we got absolutely soaked.

We ran back into another building and my memories a bit fuzzy ‘cos I was panicking at the time (but also having fun!) – I remember a lady was yelling at us in Japanese but I didn’t know what she was saying so Jess dragged me and Becca into this little nook in the wall and we tried to cover ourselves with a curtain but it wouldn’t quite go round with all three of us there. We were told to come out and we were watching this woman when a massive zombie appeared behind her so we screamed and ran off.

We got to the end and we had to choose whether to go left or right and I hate making decisions but luckily Jess made it for us and we went left with two other girls. We had to input the code from earlier but the girls in front remembered it and we’d chosen the right path because we succeeded and the side next to us failed. We ran out and it was over! We all sat down to talk about it, agreed it had been hilarious and then I had to have several sips of water because all the screaming had killed my throat.

We carried on walking and Jess and Becca found The Flying Dinosaur ride so decided to queue for that. They asked if I wanted to queue with them but we’d been travelling together almost two weeks at this point so I decided to just sit by myself for a bit. I got a little bit too relaxed because after about half-an-hour I leaned against a pole, ‘rested my eyes’ and ended up falling asleep. Next thing I knew Becca was shaking me awake.

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They told me about their experience on the ride and apparently it wasn’t a good one. They didn’t feel secure in the ride and it just wasn’t a fun experience, even Jess said she’d been terrified so I was glad I didn’t go on even though I’d have never had the nerve anyway.

We joined the queue for the Jurassic Park ride and Jess tried to convince me to go on “It’s just a relaxing boat ride looking at the dinosaurs.” She told me. Becca read out the description in our leaflet which said ‘a boat ride with dinosaurs with a thrilling drop at the end’. “The drop’s not that big” Jess reassured me.

I spent the whole queue debating but the safety video didn’t make the drop look too big and at the start of the ride there’s a little ramp that the boat goes up so I asked Jess if that was as big as the drop was and she assured me that yes it was. What a load of rubbish.

I sat in the ride and immediately said “I’m actually not sure anymore” but Becca and Jess were on one side of me and two strangers were on the other side so Becca told me “Well it’s too late now” and the ride got started. It wasn’t too bad to begin with although I was a bit fearful of the drop but seeing the dinosaurs was cool. Then suddenly our boat went vertical and we started climbing up quite high. I was proper getting into panic mode at this point but there was nothing to do, it wasn’t like I could get off the ride!

We got to the end with the massive T-Rex roaring at us but I barely looked at it because I was craning to see the drop which to most people probably wasn’t that big but to me, who was expecting a little baby drop, was MASSIVE. I screamed the entire way down while Becca and Jess wailed about ruining their hair and make-up. When we hit the bottom we got pretty wet because we’d been sat at the front of the bloody boat. I was relieved when we got to the bottom and was glad I’d been on it but NEVER AGAIN.

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We decided to get dinner next since our Insidious time slot was coming up so we went into the Jaws themed restaurant which was like a fast food place. It was overlooking the Jaws ride which I’ve seen videos of on Facebook and it looks like fun but me and Becca are scared of sharks so we didn’t go on it. I know it’s not a real shark but even knowing these fake sharks are in the water would’ve put me on edge.

Once we were done with dinner we headed in the direction of the Insidious attraction and it was getting dark at this point and lots of announcements were being made. Because it was October there was a lot of Halloween themed entertainment going on with actors dressed up going round scaring people which was pretty funny – if one came near me or Becca we screamed and ran in the opposite direction.

We headed into the Insidious attraction and I knew I’d enjoy it if it was like the zombie one but queuing for it is always the worst bit because my imagination runs wild. When we got to the front we had to hold onto a piece of red cloth with four girls in front of us, then me, then Jess and then Becca at the back. She begged to swap and I felt bad because it was her birthday but I was too scared to swap!

We went in and I feel like I didn’t appreciate it enough ‘cos I was so scared but I feel terrible for these four girls in front because they barely flinched, they had me behind them screaming my head off at everything, Jess just behind laughing so hard that she couldn’t breath and then Becca at the back screaming and yelling “Don’t touch me!” every ten seconds. I definitely remember the last room which was full of people underneath cloths and we didn’t know which one was real and which were mannequins until one started jerking around and I screamed then apparently that or something followed us out of the room. I’m not gonna lie the stress was real and it was so well done. Definitely recommend.

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We were going to squeeze in another ride when we came out but there was still some entertainment on so we ended up joining a zombie rave, which Becca absolutely loved. Once we’d watched all that we decided to go shopping a bit earlier in the hopes that it wouldn’t be too crowded and it was okay to be fair, we got a few souvenirs each.

There was a night parade on so our plan was to grab some snacks and find our spot but most of the snacks carts closed down for some reason so we just found a spot anyway. It was nice to sit down but unfortunately unlike at the Disney parades where everyone was just left to sit we were told that if you weren’t on the front row you had to stand up which was a PAIN in my anus but the parade was amazing. My favourites were the Harry Potter and Jurassic Park floats. It would have been better if it had been a bit longer but it was still amazing.

Overall I loved Universal Studios but I think I preferred Disneyland a little bit more. Jess preferred Universal and I think Becca did too, I can’t remember. I agree with what Jess said, that what’s interesting is that all sections of the park look completely different to each other whereas at Disney they can blend together a bit. I think Universal is better for people who like big, fast rides whereas Disney has more of a variety. Maybe I just wasn’t looking in the right places, I don’t know. Also the Disney parades were better but that’s kind of what Disney is known for. I would definitely go back if given the opportunity.

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Our Day Trip to Mt Fuji and the Aokigahara Forest

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When planning our trip to Japan we all agreed we wanted to see Mt Fuji and the Aokigahara Suicide Forest but we had read it can be quite difficult to reach by yourself from Tokyo by public transport so in the end we booked a day trip. It cost around £100 each but it was the easiest way to see the mountain and we would also briefly visit the Aokigahara Forest to go down into an ice cave.

We booked the day trip for the Wednesday as this was halfway through the trip and we knew we’d appreciate the long coach journey there as our legs and feet would be aching. As it turned out we were absolutely exhausted on the day as we’d had a full, long day at Disneyland the day before and then we had to be up early to go on the trip in time.

The trip left from a hotel and it was relatively easy to find. It was a good hotel because it contained a convenience store so we were able to stock up on lunch items as our package hadn’t included lunch, we checked into the trip, used the loo and then waited until our tour group was collected. We were all given stickers to wear and as we were waiting a horrific realisation dawned upon all of us – only our stickers said ‘cave.’ Nobody else’s said that. We weren’t seriously going to go down the caves as just the three of us and one tour guide?

Our tour guide picked us up and led us to the coach that would take us to Mt Fuji. She was really nice, she introduced herself (I’ve already forgotten her name) and then talked us through the day. On the coach we realised it would genuinely just be the three of us heading down the caves because after going to the mountain the rest of our group was going to lunch at a hotel then going on a boat ride. We were getting dropped off at the hotel and someone would come and pick us up for the cave tour. Fantastic.

We’d been looking forward to a couple of hours of sleep, or listening to music or just generally relaxing on the coach but our tour guide was having none of that. On the way there we all sang a song, did some origami and she told us a story about two mountains. She also pointed out things of interest on the way and gave us so many facts about Mt Fuji that I couldn’t possibly remember them all.

We’d all been warned in advance by many websites and vloggers that most people don’t see the summit because it’s normally covered by clouds but we were lucky as it was a clear day so we could see it. Our tour guide was delighted and kept preparing us for good photo opportunities out of the window.

We drove straight up to the fifth station which is the highest point that vehicles can go. The views were AMAZING, not just of Mt Fuji itself but we were above the clouds at this point so the view downwards looked beautiful. Unfortunately it was quite bright that day so I’m squinting in pretty much all of my photos and look a mess but the view was perfect.

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Shout-out to our tour guide who had given us a map of everywhere we should go whilst at the fifth station. We were all given a token to receive a free ‘lucky bell’ which apparently had been taken to the top of Mt Fuji and blessed at a shrine I believe? Our tour guide made sure we all received our lucky bell and she’d pointed out other places to visit on the little map. We all bought a couple of souvenirs – I bought a little Mt Fuji plushie (for some reason, I don’t know what I was thinking) and some Mt Fuji biscuits that I was thinking of either keeping or giving away as a gift. They got a bit bashed in my suitcase on the way back but never mind.

We took as many photos as possible and then headed back to the coach – our tour guide had made sure we didn’t get lost by pointing the way and making us note down the registration. When she got on the coach she told us we could’ve stopped at the first station but since one couple were late back we couldn’t. Then she had the idea of missing five minutes of lunch so we could stop so we made a stop at the first station and took some photos from there too.

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We carried on to the hotel which was a short drive away and from that point we were on our own. We headed in the direction of a park but ended up sat on the floor outside of some houses to eat our lunch. It wasn’t too bad since it was a nice day, wouldn’t have been so fun if it had been raining or freezing cold though.

We walked back to the hotel and sat outside to wait for our coach. Our new tour guide pulled up and we realised it was definitely going to just be the three of us on this tour. She introduced herself (I half remember her name but don’t wanna write it in case I’m wrong!) and we hopped into her car. From the way we’d been sat outside the hotel Jess and Becca both got to sit in the back while I told them I hated them both because I had to sit in the front with the tour guide. To be fair she was nice so it wasn’t too bad.

We made a stop on the way so that we could have a last minute loo break and we put on our overalls over our clothes. I was so worried that mine wouldn’t fit because I am quite big but luckily they were a little baggy so it wasn’t an issue. She also gave us our helmets and gloves which we would need in the cave. We still had a good view of Mt Fuji so she took some photos of us with the mountain in the background.

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We got back in the car and she drove us to the edge of the forest, and we all walked towards it. She stopped us at the gate to formally introduce herself and she asked us what we knew about the forest. None of us wanted to say we knew it was famous for suicides so Jess explained “Recently there was a controversy where a guy came here, found something he shouldn’t have and posted it on the internet and received a lot of backlash.” Obviously referring to Logan Paul. Our tour guide was like “I don’t know much about that but this forest is famous as the place where people come to commit suicide.” Oh, so we were allowed to mention it.

She went on to explain that we were not at the area this was commonly known for so we weren’t going to be coming across any dead bodies and then she went through some safety instructions which included not straying from the path and that we weren’t allowed to take a little stone home with us as a souvenir. Apparently we’d have got fined a lot of money.

We set off and she knew so much stuff about the forest that it was unreal. It’s such an interesting forest and it’s quite sad that the fascination everyone has with it, myself included originally, is the suicide part. Did you know the roots can’t grow underground because of the lava that’s in the soil so they grow outwards instead? It was just really beautiful.

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At one point our tour guide stopped and asked us why we thought it might be easy to get lost in this forest. My thoughts were that if we went in too deep we wouldn’t be able to hear any like traffic or outside noises due to the trees but I was too shy to suggest this. Nothing could’ve prepared us for Jess’ answer which was “Because the spirits may mislead you.” To which our tour guide was like “… Not quite. The lava in the soil can affect your compass and make it point the wrong way.”

It was a bit of a trek to the cave and we had to climb over a fallen log on the way. I took one look at it and realised I wouldn’t be able to clamber over. I asked one of my friends for advice, I can’t remember whether it was Becca or Jess, and they told me to crawl under it so I had to do that. It wasn’t very graceful but at least I made it.

We made it to the cave and firstly we had to climb down into the middle bit and at this point I began to stress a little because I took it quite slowly, still managed to whack my head several times (thank god for the helmet) and a couple of times was convinced I would fall but I made it to the middle bit eventually. At this point we were below ground but it was still open above us so we were still out in the open.

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The next step was climbing down some rocks, onto a bamboo ladder and down into the cave. Now at this point I really did start to panic ‘cos I hadn’t been able to hop the bloody log but now I needed to shimmy down some rocks and onto a ladder? Surely there was no chance. Our tour guide went first, followed by Becca who was a little nervous but made it down, and then by Jess who isn’t afraid of anything really. Then suddenly it was my turn.

I started to go down and then panicked and asked her “But what if I fall?” to which she responded in a done voice “You won’t fall.” I kept putting my foot back and then going ‘ooh no’ and bring it back so in the end she had to be like “You’re so close, stop going back!” She grabbed my foot, and I finally managed to put it on the ladder.

Jess looked up, watched me coming down the ladder and went “Well done Hollie!” so I responded “Pal I appreciate your support but you are blinding me.” We’d switched on our head lamps and they were really bright in the dark cave. After what felt like a lifetime I was finally in the cave and we could start exploring.

Someone in the reviews had advised that you need to be quite physically fit for the caves and I could now see what they meant. It was quite literally a climb through the caves and like a moron I’d forgotten to wear my tacky shoes that morning so I was wearing my vans which probably got a little bit ruined. At least I didn’t lose them like someone else had which our tour guide pointed out as their shoe was still in the cave.

The worst part was when we reached the ‘ice’ bit, I tried to hold on to the walls or rocks whenever I could but then we got to an open bit and we had to head out into the middle. She’d advised us to walk slowly or like penguins but I still kept slipping every two seconds and kept grabbing Jess, making her stress that I was going to pull us both down. Our tour guide told us we couldn’t go any further because there was a slope downwards and due to the ice we’d never be able to get back up. We posed for a photo in front of it and Jess got stressed that I was going to knock her down it but luckily I did not.

When we got back up our tour guide suggested we all switch our lamps off and experience complete darkness. I wasn’t particularly a fan of this idea but we all did so and it was entirely pitch black. She went on to explain that our eyes would never adjust to the dark because there wasn’t any natural light coming in. She then pointed out that our voices didn’t echo so if something happened and we screamed for help down here no one would hear us. At this point I was a bit like ‘omg is she planning to murder us?’ because it did sound like she was getting closer but obviously… She didn’t murder us. Becca did try to scare Jess by tapping her and I’m pretty sure someone tried to do the same to me. The only thing creeping me out was that it reminded me a little of ‘The Descent’ and considering how slow I was in the cave I knew I wouldn’t stand a chance if some little creatures started chasing us.

We started to head back out of the cave and she asked if we wanted to climb out a different way but that way would be more difficult. The others didn’t mind but I asked if we could go the same way ‘cos I knew I’d be lucky if I could make it back up that bamboo ladder, let alone climbing out a more difficult way. I watched the others head up and take the obligatory photo on the top of the ladder and then followed them myself. I was worried I’d get stuck or something but luckily I made it up without any issues.

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Our tour guide took some photos of us outside the cave and then suggested we go for a walk through the forest since we were done earlier than expected. I was aching all over but we were all keen to see more of the forest so we agreed. It wasn’t a long walk but she showed us heaps more stuff and got us doing some weird things, she wanted us to climb a tree branch, swing on a vine and got us to stand inside a hollow log. Jess had gone in with her headlamp on and said it was full of bugs – she didn’t tell me this because she knew I’d chicken out if I knew so I went in and it was weird, if you stood up everything outside was muffled.

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The forest was amazing and I really can’t explain just how much she knew, it was TONS. By the time we got back to her car I was grateful to sit down though, my entire body just ached from clambering through that cave. It had definitely been worth it though.

Earlier that morning our first tour guide had given us some bus tickets to get back to Tokyo so our forest tour guide dropped us off at the bus station which happened to be right in front of a massive theme park which she told us had free entry, you just needed to pay for the rides. We could see a HUGE rollercoaster which Becca and Jess were keen to go on so we rushed down but when they queued up it was quite a lot and a long wait so we didn’t bother, we got some food instead. I’d like to go back one day just to visit the theme park to be honest because apparently it’s really popular with the Japanese people… I have forgotten what it was called though.

We headed back to the bus station and it was a guessing game on which bus was ours. We literally took it in turns approaching every bus, holding out our tickets and going “Us? Our bus?” Eventually we hit the right one though and took our seats at the back. I was jealous when Becca took out her headphones because I’d forgotten to bring mine but it didn’t matter, the three of us were asleep in literally seconds. I was so shocked when we reached Tokyo because the bus journey took two hours, it felt like it had been about two minutes.

So if in Tokyo I definitely recommend a visit to Mt Fuji and the ice cave because it was one of the highlights of our trip, I’m so glad we got to see them. I’d love to explore more of the Aokigahara Forest and revisit that theme park we went to. Definitely go if you’re in Japan!

Themed Cafes in Japan

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One thing I was really looking forward to and loved in Japan were their themed cafes. We booked a few in advance, turned up to some and had some funny experiences at some. So I decided to write a blog post of the quirky/themed cafes we visited in Japan!

Kawaii Monster Café

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Ever since I heard of this place I wanted to visit and luckily Becca and Jess wanted to as well. There’s a small fee to get in and I think you have to order one drink and one food item each. Becca managed to book us a table in advance meaning we got to skip the queue and we were given a cute booth right in the middle of the café.

The moment the doors open you’re greeted by a girl dressed in whacky clothes who takes you to your table and explains what’s available and how to order. I thought they were waitresses but they’re more entertainers because they don’t take orders or bring food.

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My only downside was that the food wasn’t very tasty, I ordered chicken and waffles and the waffles were really dry and I wasn’t particularly a fan of the chicken either. Becca ordered some rainbow spaghetti which looked quite cute. We also ordered dessert, I got a rainbow slice of cake which looked really sweet but again it was let down a little bit by the taste. Jess ordered a pet bowl thing which was cereal with ice cream underneath which was quite cute. What I did like was that you didn’t have to do the awkward ‘how can we catch the waiters attention’ thing, there was a button you could press and someone would come over.

You’re only allowed your table for 90 minutes and at 1PM, when our 90 minutes was up, the entertainers put on a show which was fun and really cute. I’d go just for the cute Instagram pictures to be honest because the whole café just looks absolutely amazing. I’d definitely recommend it if in Tokyo but don’t expect much from the food.

Maidreamin

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I heard of Maid cafes through Dan and Phil who visited one while they were in Japan and I wanted to experience one myself even though I knew it would be a bit cringe. Jess wanted to as well, Becca was less keen but the two of us insisted so we dragged her to a Maidreamin café ‘cos I’d read online that this chain was quite good.

Google Maps was taking us to the main one in Akihibara when I noticed a sign for one right next to us in the area we were already visiting so we took the lift up to the café and discovered we were the only people in there. We knew the experience would be a bit embarrassing but this made it about a thousand times worse.

To be fair our maid was really lovely but the experience was completely new to us. She brought over a fake candle and we had to do cute actions to make it ‘light up’. Then she put some animal ears on our heads without asking and seeing Becca’s face as she did this was truly hilarious. She explained the menu to us and told us when we wanted to order we had to say ‘miaow miaow’ while pretending to be a cat.

I wanted savoury food preferably but I wanted the set so I went for the cheapest one which included a dessert, a souvenir and a picture with the maid. Jess went for the same one and Becca wanted some spaghetti. We made eye contact with our maid who clearly knew we wanted to order and she looked us dead in the eye and went “Miaow miaow?” so we had to do the action to get her to come over and take our order.

She kept coming back over to chat to us which of course was part of the experience. Her English was quite good and for anything she didn’t know she used her phone. We had our food, mine and Jess’ ice cream were animal themed and they were so cute then we went on the stage to take our photo. Me and Jess were allowed to come up together and the maid called to Becca to come up as well but she was like “No.” and refused to come up.

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If I were in Tokyo again I’d actually want to go back, preferably to the more popular Maidreamin to get the ‘full experience’ but it was tons of fun even if it was a bit cringe. I’m not sure we could ever convince Becca to go back though.

The Lock-up

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We were worried with this one that if we didn’t book in advance we wouldn’t be able to get in – I can’t remember but I think we read somewhere that all the themed cafes are popular so it’s best to book in advance otherwise you’re not guaranteed a table. This was almost impossible to book because it required a Japanese phone number which of course I didn’t have so in the end I put in a fake number and the booking finally went through after tons of stressing. With the booking we had to book a set meal option and I selected ‘pay on arrival’.

We went on a Monday night and my advice would be to just turn up because we passed quite a few empty cells so if you want to go then that’s probably best. The woman who greeted us didn’t speak any English which like is fine ‘cos it’s a Japanese restaurant but it was made very awkward as we tried to explain we had a reservation and she didn’t understand. She also wore a mask that covered her entire face which made the misunderstandings a lot more difficult. Luckily we’d printed off our reservation so we got there in the end. She handcuffed Jess and led us all to our prison cell – quite quickly down a set of stairs, I’m glad it was Jess she handcuffed otherwise I’d have fallen to my death down those stairs trying to keep up with her!

You’re taken into a little booth designed to look like a prison cell and they shut the door leaving you in there alone – they don’t lock it obviously because that would be a massive fire hazard. There’s a screen where you can order whatever food you want and they bring it but as we had our set meal we didn’t do this. One guy came in to explain the drinks to us but his English wasn’t amazing either so it was all a bit confusing but we got there in the end. We didn’t go for the weird drinks because these cost extra so me and Jess went for an orange juice and Becca accidentally ordered a cocktail or something.

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They started bringing the food out and I’ll be honest it was very hit and miss. They brought out some cooked meat which I really enjoyed but lots of other dishes were not appealing to us. They brought out some chips which we all appreciated but they’d covered these in a pink sauce – none of us were sure what the sauce was but we didn’t like it so we tried to just eat the uncovered ones. My favourite had to be when they brought us something purple in a round dish and Becca confidently said “It’s purple custard!” She took a large spoonful and went “Ooh and there’s some kind of cake sponge at the bottom.” Took the biggest mouthful I have ever seen, went still and said in a horrified voice “It’s some kind of cheese.”

Halfway through the meal all the lights go out and your iPad where you can order the food comes up with a little ‘warning’ sign which is the point where the staff go from cell to cell scaring their customers which was a lot of fun. Becca was sat closest to the door so she got picked on the most and it was just really funny. I wish we had more places like that in the UK.

I would recommend coming here but here are some tips: Don’t book in advance, turning up and just ordering what you want is certain to work out better. Be aware that this place is quite expensive, that one meal cost us a lot more than I had expected. If anyone there is celebrating a birthday they will play the birthday song on repeat for at least ten minutes at a time. It is weird but it’s also tons of fun!

Hedgehog Café

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I’m going to warn you in advance if you plan on visiting one day – they do not serve food here. Do not turn up feeling hungry like me and Jess did. This was Becca’s café of choice and we decided to go on my birthday since we couldn’t go to Disneyland but unfortunately Becca started to feel unwell so couldn’t come. Me and Jess turned up quite hungry and discovered the word ‘café’ is not literal.

You have to put exact change into a machine which gives you a ticket and you can choose your option. You can either stay for half-an-hour or an hour and you have the option of buying hedgehog food as well. We went for an hour and got the hedgehog food as well because Jess had read that the hedgehogs are more likely to wake up and be alert if you have the food.

You’re allowed one drink out of the vending machine so Jess went for some kind of pop that isn’t available in the UK as it was free so she could try it and I went for a hot chocolate which to be fair was really tasty. You’re taken to a little trough where the staff explain how to pick up and interact with the hedgehogs.

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I think what makes this place good is that the staff are really friendly – they jumped in and offered to take photos for every guest, Jess went around to get some shots for her vlog and one guy took the biggest hedgehog out of his pen to show her and told her his name and some stuff about him (the hedgehog that is, not himself). I’m glad we went for an hour because half-an-hour would’ve been way too quick and the whole thing was super cute. I’d definitely go back. We bought Becca a little hedgehog plushie to make up for the fact that she couldn’t come but next time in Tokyo we’ll make sure she gets to go!

Alice in Magical Land

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There’s a sort of chain of Alice in Wonderland cafes in Tokyo and we decided we had to go so we settled on Alice in Magical Land. It was at the bottom of a shopping centre and all the waitresses are dressed up as Alice and they all looked super cute. They served us water and told us if we wanted to get their attention we just had to yell “Alice!” None of us had the nerve to do this but luckily they came over regularly.

The foods are all themed around Alice in Wonderland so me and Jess got some Cheshire Cat spaghetti and Becca got… Some… Avocado caterpillar spaghetti I wanna say? I’m not gonna lie this wasn’t the tastiest meal I’ve ever had on the planet but it was cute and the whole café is so adorable.

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The waitresses brought us over some bunny ears so we got to take some cute photos with them – we were going to take pictures with certain parts of the café which I think Becca and Jess may have done but I decided to pay the bill mostly in coins to get rid of them and as I was carrying it to the till I kept dropping them to the point where the waitresses had to come and help me. Embarrassing. It was a cute place though and I’m glad we went.

Robot Restaurant

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Luckily we’d read online that food was not available at this place so we were sort of prepared… Except we still felt a bit full after the Kaiwaii Monster café so we weren’t actually hungry until about 9PM, when the show was due to start. We were advised there was fair type food for example candyfloss, popcorn and we noticed a food stand when we entered only to be advised that he had sold out. We went to the other stand and ordered some chicken and chips which luckily was in stock. We got stressed that the show would start before the food was ready but we were advised to take our seats and this would be brought to us and to be fair, it did arrive really quickly.

The emphasis on the robot restaurant is the show that they put on and it’s quite steep at 8000 yen but we had heard it was unmissable and looking at just the décor outside I was excited because it looked amazing. Although the show was a lot of fun I still felt a little disappointed when we left – there was more emphasis on the actors than there was on the robots themselves and for the price I low-key felt like it hadn’t been worth it.

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Also, they take you to your seat and you have to squeeze between the tables to get to them – I literally thought the person was joking when they told us to walk through as the gap was non-existent and I’m a bit on the larger side so it was a bit embarrassing having to squeeze through but not an issue once you’re in your seat I guess.

I’m glad I went just to say I’ve been but it’s not an experience I’m in a rush to repeat.

Caesar Café

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When we were planning our trip we’d get exhausted of the actual planning and then watch vlogs to hype ourselves up and that’s how we discovered this K-Pop themed café. It’s an area full of K-Pop shops and from the outside you wouldn’t guess the theme as it looks like an ordinary café and I suppose inside there isn’t a ton of emphasis on K-Pop – they do play K-Pop music videos though and have a few posters on the walls.

The best part about this café though for K-Pop fans is the drinks. You’re allowed to pick a mug with your favourite group on it and if you pick certain groups they’ll put the logo in chocolate powder on top of the drink, as you can see they did with Becca’s as she chose a Super Junior mug. I went for Girls’ Generation and Jess had Black Pink so we only got hearts. I wish I’d gone for the BTS one but as we all love BTS it felt a bit too obvious but I wish I had upon reflection. I will if I ever return!

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We went there on the morning of my birthday and it was probably the best birthday breakfast I’ve ever had, we all had pancakes and they were quite possibly the tastiest pancakes I’ve ever had. If you’re a K-Pop fan I definitely recommend going, we were the only people in there and everything was amazing – the staff were nice, the food/drinks were amazing and they play K-Pop like how can you go wrong?

Owl Café

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This place was in Osaka and was another one where there’s not actually any food but there is a drink included. I’m not the biggest fan of owls to be truthful, I once had a dream that everywhere I looked in my house there was an owl and since then it’s put me off a bit but I went with an open mind. We were the only people in there as we had been for a few other places. We each had an orange juice then went to pet the owls.

You’re not allowed to stroke them anywhere other than their beaks as otherwise they get stressed out so for most of it I reached out my hand to stroke them and then chickened out at the last second because I was worried about getting pecked. The owls were quite sweet but I felt a bit sorry for them just having to be stuck in this little café for peoples enjoyment. Overall though it was still a good time.

So yeah, those are the themed cafes we visited in Japan! I had a ton of fun at all of them, even the awkward or embarrassing moments. Leave a comment of any themed cafes you’ve visited or if you want to visit any!

Tokyo Disneyland

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Recently me and my friends got back from an amazing trip in Asia where we visited Japan (Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka) and South Korea (just Seoul). One of the things I’d been looking forward to the most was spending my birthday at Tokyo Disneyland. Unfortunately a typhoon was set to hit on my birthday and the weather was meant to be dreary so we pushed it back by a couple of days. On the day we went the weather was perfect and it was probably less crowded than it would have been on a Sunday anyway.

My biggest stresses were getting to the park and purchasing tickets. I was worried it would be difficult to reach but it wasn’t, it was just a short train journey away and although the park was very busy it didn’t take as long as I’d dreaded to buy our park tickets. The queues went relatively quickly and soon we were inside the park.

I’ve only ever been to Disneyland Paris and it’s on my bucket list to visit all the Disneyland’s across the globe so I was excited to tick another one off the list. Entering the park was amazing because I’d been excitedly watching vlogs for the past few months so to walk through where I’d seen so many of these vloggers walking through was so fun.

Our first stop was ‘Sweethearts Café’ because for some reason in Tokyo we didn’t buy any breakfast foods, we normally just ate a bar of chocolate and then got on with our day so by the time we’d reached Disneyland we were starving. I like that you can just walk in and help yourself to what you want, it was good because it was mostly pastries so Becca (our vegetarian friend who STRUGGLED in Asia) could grab pretty much anything she wanted. I had a Mickey Mouse brownie, a meat pasty and an orange juice. There was a Mike Wazowski melon bread which looked really cute but I was worried I wouldn’t like it so I gave it a miss.

We decided that instead of doing what we did at Disneyland Paris which was wonder around the park and go on any ride we liked the look of we would look at the map and pick out rides instead. Our first stop was Space Mountain because Jess had wanted to ride this at the Paris park but unfortunately we ran out of time so we went there first to tick it off her list.

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When we got there the queue was quite long and we did consider fast passes but decided not to in the end and just joined the queue. We went up the stairs and then there was a section for those who didn’t want to ride to leave the queue so that’s where I left because unfortunately I’m a bit of a wimp and not a fan of big rides. I waited maybe half-an-hour for the two of them to come out and they told me it had been amazing.

I’d seen a ride in someone else’s vlog called Pooh’s Hunny Hunt and since then I’d been desperate to go on so I insisted we queue for it. It was a long wait and it wasn’t shaded like Space Mountain so I think we all got a little bit burnt since it was so hot that day. Some parts were shaded ‘cos it was meant to be the hundred acre wood but not all of it so yeah, definitely bring your hat and sun cream. We’d assumed it would be cold in Japan in October ‘cos it’s cold in England in October. Not the case.

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I’m really glad we went on it ‘cos it was tons of fun – it’s a trackless ride and you go around in a honey pot and it was just tons of fun, probably one of my favourite rides of the day.

We wanted some water but couldn’t really find anywhere and we stumbled across the ‘It’s a Small World’ ride so we decided to queue for that – the queue time was long and it was not shaded even a little bit but it went a lot quicker than expected. The ride was sweet and it was nice that they’ve added Disney characters into their world section, it was fun going through and pointing them all out. To be honest for a lot of the rides it was just nice to sit down and have a break ‘cos although we were only four days into the trip we were already aching.

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We decided to get lunch after this and had a look at the restaurants on offer on the map and settled on a curry place. Becca just had a coke and me and Jess got a curry each. I’m not normally the biggest curry fan so I didn’t finish it but it was nice and so was the rice. Again, it was just nice to sit down for a while.

Since me and Jess had both chosen our rides that we really wanted to go on we told Becca she had to pick ‘her’ ride and she settled on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. I debated whether or not to go on and Jess kept reassuring me with “It’ll be fine, it’s just a boat ride” and there were quite a few kids in the queue so I decided to give it a go. There was a drop halfway through, it wasn’t steep and I did scream my head off at it but it wasn’t too bad. Jess did warn me it was coming as well so at least it wasn’t too much of a shock. I’m glad I went on because the animatronic pirates looked amazing, I was half-convinced that they were real.

After the ride we decided to get photos with the castle and a cast member very kindly offered to take our picture and brought us round to a different spot where we got an even better photo. Then we went a bit closer and got individual photos because you have to at Disney, don’t you?

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Then we decided to ride the carasoul ‘cos we’d ridden the one at Disneyland Paris and apparently it’s just a thing now that we always need to ride the carasoul if there’s one available. We didn’t all get to sit together so Becca and Jess sat on horses next to each other and I sat on the one behind them. I bloody love carasouls not gonna lie.

As the tea cups were right next to them we went there next and that was fun too although after a bad ride on the waltzers a few years ago I don’t enjoy them as much as I used to. I felt a bit bad because Jess and Becca wanted to reach the peak of spininess but I couldn’t handle it like a wuss.

Once we were done on the tea cups we went and claimed our spot for the Halloween parade. People had claimed their spots for the parade the moment the park had opened but we managed to find a good spot sat on a wall. They started teaching us a dance before the parade began and watching Becca do this was pretty funny.

My one regret from Disneyland Paris was that we hadn’t seen a parade so I’m glad we got to see a Halloween themed one at Disneyland Tokyo because we all love Halloween. The songs were amazing, the floats looked incredible and the choreography was on point. I took a lot of videos of it for my Instagram story because it was just fantastic.

Once the parade was over Jess wanted to go on Big Thunder Mountain so we joined the queue and that was probably the longest queue of the day. It was another one that I didn’t have the balls to go on but I couldn’t leave when we got to the front like I had on the other rides – I only got out because I was stuck with some other guy who begged to be let across to join his girlfriend so I followed him. Becca and Jess were already long off the ride at this point.

We decided to get dinner but in the end I was the only one that ate because we struggled to find anywhere with vegetarian options and Jess was feeling a bit sick at this point. I had a Mickey glove chicken burger which looked cute but wasn’t as tasty as I’d hoped. At least I had fries to go with it.

It was late at this point so we decided to grab our spot for the night time parade and again we managed to get a good spot, right by the castle this time. Becca and Jess also got themselves some popcorn to keep themselves going. The night time parade was even better than the Halloween one because it was electric themed and featured a lot more characters and was just generally amazing. My favourites included the Genie, Cheshire Cat and Peter Pan floats. Me and Becca got a wave off Peter Pan and then hi-fived each other because we were so happy about it.

Once the parade was over we had to stand up to watch the fireworks display by the castle which was also amazing but would’ve been better if it had been a little bit longer. Never mind, it was still amazing. Then once the fireworks were done we decided to buy souvenirs before we left but unfortunately the entire park had the same idea so it was difficult to browse. We bought our friend Hirst a present then I got some stuff but I think we were all ready to go once that was done.

Overall it was an amazing day and if I was in Tokyo I’d definitely go back to Disneyland. All the cast members were brilliant at their jobs, the parades looked fantastic and it was just such a good day. I wouldn’t have changed anything about it.

Review: BTS Love Yourself Tour in Paris

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Me, Jess and Becca had been hoping and praying that BTS would come back to Europe ever since we travelled to see them at K-Con Paris. We watched as they kept announcing dates for their ‘Wings’ tour but never announced anywhere in Europe. We were all gutted as we would’ve loved to go to that tour but alas, it wasn’t meant to be.

When we booked our trip to Asia we began making jokes that BTS would finally announce they were coming to England and Europe whilst we were away. None of us believed for one second this would be the case but of course, it was the case. We would be in Japan while they were in the UK. We were in Asia for the majority of their Europe tour but luckily got back just in time to catch them in Paris two days after our return to the UK.

I had thought buying the tickets to K-Con Paris was stressful but the BTS ones were a whole new level of stressful. I warned work that I’d be in late ‘cos I knew getting the tickets wouldn’t be quick and easy but nothing had prepared me for how long I would sit there desperately looking at my laptop screen. Luckily Becca was on her laptop trying to get them as well because our screens told us we’d been kicked out of the queue and in frustration I closed the tab – Becca kept hers open and managed to keep her place. When she got through it kept saying everything was gone but we kept trying until finally we managed to secure three standing tickets and the two of us hung up skype without saying goodbye and ran to work. I had to ring up and say I was going to be later than anticipated because it had taken so long.

We hadn’t really wanted standing tickets because when we were teenagers yeah standing was tons of fun but it had quickly lost its appeal now we were a bit older – you have to queue a long time to get a decent view, everyone’s crushed together, it’s sweaty, you have to have the bare minimum of bags and jackets otherwise you’re cluttering everyone’s space. But it had been so difficult to get tickets that I was just grateful to be going even if it meant having to fork out for flights and a hotel.

Due to us being in Asia for about three weeks nobody really had much annual leave left so we couldn’t fly until the day of the concert meaning we all got up at about 2AM to get ready for our taxi at 3:30AM (who actually turned up at 3AM and stressed us out ‘cos we weren’t prepared) and then catch our flight at about 6:40AM. Our plan was to queue all day for the concert and hopefully get a good spot. Our thought was that since it was a Friday hopefully most people would be stuck at school or work and wouldn’t be able to queue all day. Ha.

It was about 11AM and the queue was already a mile long with people who had decided to camp out overnight and our queue was behind the long line of VIPs so we didn’t stand a chance but we decided to queue all day anyway. We were all hoping to nap and stuff in the queue but they kept bringing it forwards for no reason and at one point a member of staff even told Becca and some other girls “If you sit down it takes up too much space”? You really want us to stand in the queue for 7-8 hours then stand during the concert? I’ll bloody collapse before BTS have even hit the stage.

Me and Jess got a bit of a break from the queue ‘cos we took all of our bags to the hotel to check-in while Becca held our space in the queue. Our hotel wasn’t amazing because we’d booked a room with two singles and a bunk bed yet when we got up there it was a double and a bunk bed. Also me and Jess had been in the room all of five minutes when somebody else tried to get in. We weren’t given keys, just codes for the door and a couple outside were trying to enter a code into our door.

We got back to the queue and to be fair it didn’t feel like we waited that long – we’d all brought our books, journals, iPods etc. to keep us entertained in the queue but we hadn’t needed them and soon we were heading into the venue.

The moment we got inside we discovered it had been pointless waiting all day as we were banished to the back anyway. There was a blocked out section in the middle for the tech crew or whoever they were and there was a space free next to that so we stood there so we could lean over the barrier and we thought we’d have a good view there.

The wait inside felt worse as it was about 6:45 at this point and the concert didn’t start until 8 – another reason why I prefer seated, you can pop to the loo, grab some snacks, meander down to your seat at your own pace but for standing you’ve gotta stake your claim straightaway. And the moment you change to a comfortable position that takes up a little bit less room someone will steal that room.

BTS came out just after eight and kicked the night off by performing ‘Idol’ and for the first minute or so I was like “Great, I can’t see” because like a moron I hadn’t anticipated that everyone would have their hands/cameras in the air. I had to proper lean over the barrier to see past Becca and Jess, and then everybody else in front of me but at certain angles I could see them fine. There were also two screens either side of the stage for a better view but I don’t like watching concerts via the screens ‘cos I could do that at home. Sometimes I literally had no choice though unfortunately.

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I’m gonna get my little rant out of the way right now – if you were holding a camera or your light stick in the air and blocked my view then fine, I take no issue with that. But to the girl holding that paper sign who blocked my view of the sick dance move in DNA I hate you. And to the girl who kept holding up that stupid flag, I hate you even more. There was absolutely no need and it was always whenever BTS stopped to talk which is prime time for photos ‘cos the lighting is good and they’re not moving around but no, couldn’t take any ‘cos some girl wants to hold a fucking flag up that the boys didn’t even acknowledge. Thanks pal.

I’d looked up the set list in advance ‘cos I wanted to make sure I’d listened to each song at least once before we went in and so I was pretty much prepared. It was fun to see all their solo songs performed live – my favourites were probably J-Hope’s, Jimin’s and V’s. Other songs that I loved seeing live included Idol, Fake Love, Fire, Run, Answer: Love Yourself and my favourite was definitely Mic Drop.

I really wish I had been seated so I could’ve appreciated their dancing a little bit more because it was absolutely amazing. The only thing that made me sad was when Jimin was performing ‘Serendipity’ which was AMAZING and he was doing these amazing dance moves which of course got cheers but the loudest cheer of all was when his shirt came up and showed his abs. Like guys come on.

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BTS were full of energy as per usual although Jungkook didn’t take part in the choreography due to an injury but he still did amazing. V cried at the end because he’s been feeling sick so felt like he hadn’t put in as much effort as he could have but he was really good, his solo stage was one of my favourites! It’s nice to see that no matter how successful BTS are they still don’t slack off on stage and you could tell they put all of their effort into making that show as amazing as it was.

I’m hoping that as pretty much all of their Europe shows sold out they’ll include Europe on their next tour so that I can hopefully see them in London this time and hopefully seated because honestly I’m getting too old for this standing rubbish. I would prefer to see them in England ‘cos when BTS spoke in Korean this was translated to French which obviously was fine, we were at a show in France so that makes sense, it would just have been nicer to see them in our country but to be honest I’m just glad we were able to attend any of them.

Overall it was an amazing concert (I know I’ve used the word ‘amazing’ over and over again and I’m sorry) and I’m so glad we got to go even though I was absolutely exhausted by the end of it. I would buy tickets again in a heartbeat regardless of cost but preferably SEATED, PLEASE LET ME GET SEATED TICKETS FOR THE NEXT CONCERT. If you went to the show or any BTS show actually then leave a comment with your favourite moments!

Favourite Childhood TV Shows

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When I was a kid I watched an awful lot of TV – I personally blame TV for the fact that so many people think I’m American. As a kid most of the shows were American so I think I developed a slight accent from that. Either way, I watched a lot of shows as a kid and I still enjoy watching some of them now even if that is a bit lame. So I figured I’d write a list of shows that I loved as a kid in no particular order!

The main channels I watched as a kid were Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and CBBC because unfortunately we didn’t get Disney Channel in my house as a kid!

Teen Titans

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I don’t remember many episodes of this show but I do remember loving it as a kid. The only episode I can remember is when Starfire was put into an arranged marriage and although I watched tons more episodes, I just can’t remember them. My favourite character was definitely Starfire and probably still would be. I’m sad I didn’t go watch the Teen Titans Go movie because it looked really good but I just didn’t find the time unfortunately.

Xiaolin Showdown

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This is another one that I remember loving as a kid but I really couldn’t tell you much about it now. I played this with my cousin when we went on holiday to Wales and we both took two characters each – I always had to be Kimiko and Clay. Kimiko I didn’t mind because she was my favourite character and as the only girl I got her by default. I didn’t want to be Clay though, I didn’t like him. It was such a good show though and I’m actually tempted to rewatch it now even though I probably won’t enjoy it as much as I did as a kid.

Drake and Josh

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Who didn’t love Drake and Josh, let’s be real? Ages ago the pair tweeted that they were making a reunion movie and me and my friends were ecstatic… But nothing was ever actually officially said so I have a feeling they were trolling us which just seems rude. I would’ve loved a reunion movie. I loved the movie they did have, the one where Megan ended up in LA. What a great film and what a great show. I wish they’d add it to Netflix because I’d love to rewatch the entire thing from start to finish.

Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi

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I feel like I mention this show to people and no one’s heard of it but it was one of my absolute favourites as a kid. The show was sort of based on the real life band ‘Puffy’ from Japan made up of members ‘Ami’ and ‘Yumi’. My Mom always remembers this show because the theme tune was one of my favourites as a kid and I always got up to dance to it, and I always insisted that my brother had to get up and dance to it too. I recently started listening to ‘Puffy’ when I discovered they were a real band and I actually really like them – but the theme tune is still my favourite song by them, haha!

The Story of Tracy Beaker

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I was, and still am, a massive Jacqueline Wilson fan so it makes sense that I loved watching ‘The Story of Tracy Beaker’. Even now I’m still a fan of the spin-off show ‘The Dumping Ground’. I feel like every British kid watched and enjoyed at least one episode of ‘The Story of Tracy Beaker’ and like, how could you not? Dani Harmer as Tracy Beaker was fantastic and it was just such a good show. 10/10 would recommend.

Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends

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This show made me so sad that Imaginary Friends didn’t pop out of our heads and into reality. To be fair though the amount of imaginary friends that would’ve just been running around in the world would be unbearable. This show was amazing though, if I could’ve picked one of the imaginary friends to adopt I probably would’ve picked Wilt – he was my favourite! It was an amazing show, I’m so sad they took it off Netflix.

The Sleepover Club

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There were two series of this and most people prefer the original with Frankie, Kenny etc. But I liked the other one too! The Sleepover Club was an amazing show and like who wouldn’t have wanted to be best friends with the lot of them? I’m not sure if I could stand a sleepover every single weekend because surely you’d run out of themes and things to do eventually but they always had tons of fun on the show and I wanted to be part of that! It was a great show.

The Best of Friends

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This show completely stabbed me in the back. I don’t think there was any child in Britain who didn’t wanna be on this show. I actually applied for me and my friends to go on and they responded with a letter that I was asked to give to my Head Teacher. So I did but nothing ever came of it. My friend Becca later told me that the kids on the show aren’t actually friends, the show come in and audition everyone in the school and pick their favourites. How rude. It was still a good show though to be fair!

iCarly

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I can’t remember when this show first started but I loved it from the first episode I watched. I’m pretty sure my first episode was the one where Neville was introduced. It’s a bit of an unrealistic show because if they genuinely made that show they would’ve been bullied so bad at school, they wouldn’t have been as popular as the show made them out to be. But then there wouldn’t have been a show so hey-ho! It was still good and it’s one that I wouldn’t mind rewatching.

Ed, Edd n Eddy

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Apparently my older sister wasn’t allowed to watch this as a kid but I did and it was one of my favourites. I’m not really sure what the point of this show was or who thought of it because it was strange but I still really enjoyed it. I rewatched a ‘try not to laugh – Ed, Edd and Eddy version’ the other day and it’s just… So random?

Max and Ruby

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This one is weird because I loved this show as a kid but I honestly can’t stand to watch it anymore. Ruby just does my head in like shut up and let Max get on with things, will you? Jesus wept. Also, where the hell were there parents? They had grandparents that they went to visit regularly yet they seemed to live on their own? The idea is sweet but I don’t like it anymore, Ruby’s too annoying.

Pokémon

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This is one of those shows that I watched religiously as a really little kid but then suddenly stopped and now I really can’t remember much about it but I remember LOVING it as a kid. My Mom let my older brother buy the cards BUT WOULDN’T LET ME, WHAT THE HELL? I think eventually my cousin gave me his hand-me-downs so I made do with them and I LOVED them. I still remember the night my brother teased me by looking out the window and saying the characters from Pokémon were walking down the street but I wasn’t allowed to look and when I eventually got mad and looked outside he told me they’d gone because I looked. I was like sobbing because I loved Pokémon so much. It’s a shame that I don’t know as much about it anymore, I need to get back into it.

That was just a snippet of the shows I loved as a kid, I won’t carry on or I’ll be here forever. Feel free to leave me a comment with your favourite childhood TV shows!

Review: RTX London 2018

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RTX first announced it was coming to London last year and I was over the moon – until I realised that I’d actually be in New York the weekend it was coming. Absolutely typical. But obviously I had an amazing time in New York and when the dates were announced for 2018’s RTX I was happy. I’d been worried they’d be announced for a similar time to last year and would be on whilst I was in Japan but luckily it was two weeks before I go so I booked myself a ticket.

Booking the ticket wasn’t as much of a nightmare as I’d thought it would be, I booked them at work and it took literally two minutes. The autograph code however? Absolute nightmare. I sort of already anticipated not getting who I wanted (Ryan & Jeremy) but I’d assumed that’d be because I’d tried my best and they still sold out. I was disappointed that on the day I couldn’t get an autograph because my code was one of the ones that didn’t work. You literally just had to be lucky and have a code that worked to get through on that evening. I tried for 40 minutes until I eventually had to give up and go to my brother’s girlfriend’s house to look after her dog. When I logged back in my code finally worked but everything was gone.

So we didn’t get off to the best start. I was part of a Facebook group who kept trying to reassure people that impromptu signings did happen and you could grab anyone you wanted to meet if you say them walking around. This low-key irritated me because I know it was meant to be comforting but I knew for a fact my anxiety would be way too high to stop anybody if I saw them. Having a signing meant that yeah I’d still be nervous but at least it was in a sort of controlled atmosphere so I wasn’t worried about bothering or irritating them.

I decided to travel down to London the day before the convention because I think the hall opened at like 8AM on Saturday or something silly like that. I booked the afternoon off work and travelled down on the train. I also decided to see a show on Friday night because I can’t go to London without seeing a show and after much deliberation I settled on ‘42nd Street’ because it was one of the few shows I haven’t already seen.

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When I got there my ticket had been upgraded, I assume this was because I was on the top circle and they hadn’t sold enough tickets to justify people sitting right at the top so I was moved down to the Royal Circle in Row C so the view was fantastic. On one side I was sat by a really nice couple and on the other was another couple who were also nice but the man got a bit drunk and way too enthusiastic about the show. Overall I did enjoy it but I feel like it was more about the spectacular dancing rather than a solid storyline because this was a bit flimsy and didn’t really seem to go anywhere. I’m glad I saw it but I wouldn’t be in a hurry to see it again.

I got back to the hotel quite late, had a shower, watched an episode of Friends and then got into bed ready for an early morning the next day.

Everyone in the Facebook group had been stressing me out as they’d talked about how long they’d had to queue to pick up their badges so I decided not to rush there because I wasn’t really sure what to expect anyway. I had breakfast at a Wetherspoons near the hotel then hopped on the tube for the hour long journey to the Excel Centre.

I got there at about 9:30AM and the queue to pick up badges was non-existent by this point, I wandered over and got mine pretty much instantly. With the badge we were also given a PE bag with ‘RTX 2018’ written on it and inside was a programme letting us know where/when signings and panels were happening. At this point I was a bit confused so headed into the main hall and found the centre stage.

At 10 something was happening called ‘XBOX’ so I kind of sat down to watch because I wasn’t sure what else to do. The panels in other halls didn’t really appeal to me at that time and I wasn’t sure what else was available. I was really surprised when Jeremy and Ryan from Achievement Hunter came out along with Lawrence from Funhaus and I’m not 100% sure on the other guy’s name.

RTX London 2

I’m gonna put it out there now, I’m only really a fan of Achievement Hunter. I’m not trashing any of the other channels, I’ve just never really watched them. All I’ll say is that RTX is probably a lot better if you’re a fan of everything Rooster Teeth related instead of just one area of it.

They each had their own computer and played a game, I’m not sure of the name of it but it was a car game and they raced to see who could get the best time. Then they invited fans on stage to see if they could beat their times – I could’ve volunteered for this but I’m not exactly good at video games and the thought of Ryan and Jeremy watching me was too much. It was a lot of fun though.

Once that was finished I decided to take the chance and head to the room for the Achievement Hunter panel to see if I could potentially be let in. The one thing I’m grateful for is that the RTX Facebook page gave me realistic expectations and I knew queuing for panels, especially those with Achievement Hunter, were always long, stressful and most people got turned away. The queue was horrendously long but I decided to take the chance because why not, right?

It was like joining the stampede of hyenas in the Lion King, all of us desperate to get into the hall. Eventually 100 people were taken into the overflow queue which was cut off when I was literally the next person in the queue. Frustrating at the time but I now see it as a blessing because I don’t think the overflow queue made it into the panel, they just had to queue an extra hour in the hopes they would get in.

I decided to get lunch because it was midday by this point so I grabbed a chicken strip meal deal (£11? Are you serious?) and then headed back into the main hall. There was a ‘Let’s Play Panel’ at 2 but the guardians weren’t letting people sit down so we had to stand in a square and wait until 1:30 when we’d be allowed to grab our seat. I was one of the first people there but it wasn’t really a queue as such, there were three large squares and we just had to stand in them. At 1:30 we were given strict instructions not to push, run or generally be a dick. Luckily I made my way forward and managed to grab a pretty good seat.

I’d been naive and assumed it would be the Achievement Hunter members but it was only Geoff from Achievement Hunter, there was a mix of different people from different channels. I’ll be honest the first 30 minutes or so didn’t particularly interest me because it felt like they were just having a conversation with each other and the crowd almost weren’t there. For the last 30 minutes Geoff came into the crowd to take audience questions so this was more interesting.

Once this was over I had a look around at some of the stalls but with my trip to Japan coming up I couldn’t afford to buy anything. The queue for the Rooster Teeth merch store was literally a mile long so I couldn’t even browse that unless I wanted to queue for ten years. There were also stalls where you could play video games, most of these were full and I felt like I couldn’t sit at the ones that were available because I didn’t know anything about the games and I was worried I’d look like an idiot. I know that’s stupid but most other people at the event were serious gamers and although I’ve played some with Jess the only game I’ve ever really been invested in is the Sims.

I was considering going to the 4:30PM centre stage event which just said ‘XBOX’ as I’d been lucky enough to see Ryan and Jeremy play earlier. RTX tweeted that the people playing would be Alfredo, Trevor, Geoff, Jack and Michael (all from Achievement Hunter) so I decided I would give it a go. We ended up queuing in the boxes again but as before I managed to get a decent seat.

This one was good because they showed us a preview of a Let’s Play for an unrealised game (I think? I’m not video game expert, I was just there to have fun) while they commentated which was really funny and then Alfredo played Tomb Raider while the others made fun of him which again was hilarious. It was really fun and finished at about 5:30PM so there was only about 30 minutes left of the event so I decided to head back to my hotel as I’d had a late night the night before.

I had dinner at the Wetherspoons up the road from my hotel, came back, watched some episodes of ‘The Mighty Boosh’ and then got into bed for like 8:45 because I was just absolutely exhausted.

The Mighty Boosh

I was a bit more chill the next morning and made it to RTX a little bit later. To be honest it might just be me but it felt like there wasn’t an awful lot to do. It was almost impossible to get into any panels for people I wanted to see and there weren’t tons of stalls so it didn’t take long to look round them. The impromptu signings that people had mentioned were always capped quicker than you would believe. You literally had to be there the second it was announced like if you were on the other end of the centre then you had absolutely no chance. I saw Alfredo doing a signing that I would’ve loved to have joined but unfortunately it was already capped.

Jack did do a ‘Jack-off’ where anyone cosplaying as him could come and meet him on both days but I couldn’t tell if this was open to anyone or just for cosplayers. I wasn’t cosplaying so I decided to leave it because pretty much everyone would be there anyway and as I wasn’t cosplaying I would’ve felt like a bit of an imposter.

I went back to centre stage and watched some guys play that game with the car and you have to shoot the ball into the goal, I can’t remember the name of the game or who was playing but they were really funny. If anyone knows then let me know, I wouldn’t mind checking them out.

At one point I sat on the floor and every Achievement Hunter member walked past because they were headed to a panel so that was pretty cool – I got to see people I hadn’t seen at panels like Gavin and Lindsay so that was pretty cool!

I went to centre stage again and saw Ryan and three other guys (I forgot their names, I’m so sorry) play Sea of Thieves and then Human Fall Flat which was actually hilarious. After that I wasn’t really sure what to do and at 4:30 I made my way to the Euston so I wouldn’t miss my train home.

Overall, I don’t think I’d go back to RTX unless one of my friends suggested it – I wouldn’t go alone again. It felt like unless you were in one of the panels or at a signing then there wasn’t much to do. However, if you’re into pretty much everything Rooster Teeth related then it’s probably a lot more enjoyable as I mentioned on because there were plenty of panels that were easier to enter it’s just that they didn’t particularly appeal to me. Also I’m still a bit disappointed about the autograph code thing but that is what it is.

The positives were that it was awesome to see my favourite YouTubers gaming in real life even if I didn’t get to meet them. I loved all the cosplays that were around even though I personally didn’t have the courage to cosplay and I have no idea what I would’ve gone as anyway. All the guardians at the event worked super hard and were some of the friendliest, nicest people I’ve ever met – can’t have been easy considering most people ignored them when trying to enter panels but they did an amazing job.

I didn’t have a bad experience at RTX because I went in with realistic expectations thanks to the Facebook group and I enjoyed what I did see, it just wasn’t quite what I’d expected. It was a case of having to queue ages in advance if you wanted to see any of the panels, even the ones at centre stage. The one thing it did do though was make me want to watch more Rooster Teeth content and not just Achievement Hunter.

If you went over the weekend then let me know what you enjoyed or didn’t enjoy! Or leave recommendations for other Rooster Teeth content that isn’t just Achievement Hunter.