• 07 . 07 . 05
  • A bike ride out of town goes further than planned and takes us to an almost-abandoned theme park.

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Ghost Town

I think I’ve already chronicled Japan’s massive overemployment, with examples like guards directing people not to walk into walls and bank staff walking customers the few feet to an ATM. Today though, I think I found a rare jewel in the collection. Grant had been suggesting a bike ride for a while, but this time I actually managed to go and get my bike fixed after going 6 months with 2 flat tyres. We started riding North up the Nagara River and after a while saw a sign for Gifu Family Park. The park itself was split into 2 sections, a set of sports fields and a children’s area.

The children’s area was a really weird place, with giant paper machier statues of cartoon characters and immaculately manicured gardens. There were also a number of rides, ranging from a bobsled down a hill to small car racing. There was even mini-golf. A huge play castle with loads of different levels and intricate tunnels dominated the corner of the park and there was a lake where you could take pedal-boats (well, pedal-swans actually).

Entrance was free, and the rides were cheap. The strange thing about it was, we were practically the only people there. Along with a small family and a young couple, we were the only ones in the entire park. In spite of this, we counted 16 park staff, who were mostly sitting around chatting and waiting for the non-existant customers to actually arrive and start having fun. I can’t work out if it was because the park is very old and interest has faded, or because it was a weekday and everyone was at work. Either way it was kind of sad wandering around a park that should’ve been filled with lots of people and reminded me of photos I saw a while back of an abandoned theme park. I can’t help thinking that this will have to go the same way soon.

The only other thing of note is that I actually cycled about 36km today

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