Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Fun ways to kill time in Kagoshima

Here's a little piece I did for Kinko Bay Tidings, an English language publication in Kagoshima that is mostly (9o percent or more?) written by Donican:
Short as my stay has been here so far (six months and counting), me and my friends have found some places that keep us entertained and going back for more.

MUSE CLUB (Frespo Yojiro)
Most foreign citizens only stay in Japan for a couple of years or so, so it would be safe to assume that, like me, you also get around by public transportation, and thus have to watch the time every time you go somewhere. It gets pretty boring after a while to go back home really early and do nothing in particular.

This is the place to go to if you have a group of people, not much cash in your pockets, and plenty of time to kill. Depending on what time you go there, you can spend between 1000 and 2000 yen per person for a decent number of hours belting songs and downing drinks (yes, it's all you can drink, but no, they're nonalcoholic). If you come in during the evening (after 9:00 pm if I'm not mistaken), you can stay until 5:00 am the next day. This should be good news for people with sleeping problems!
What's really cool about karaoke places in Japan is that they have songs in many different languages. They have songs in Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean, and even Tagalog (Filipino)! I browsed a bit through their song directory (they have a remote control device from which you can browse and order songs from) and songs in other languages in addition to what were already mentioned above can also be found in it (I found a couple of Spanish songs).

The rooms here are also worth some article space. At the MUSE CLUB, they have two types of rooms, smoking and non-smoking, and several different themed rooms. The smoking rooms are not so special. They're basically two long couches set against the walls and a long table in between. But their non-smoking rooms are a different story. One of the rooms we went to was cushioned all over (think mental hospital room). The good thing about this is that it is comfy enough that people would just lie down and feel right at home and really have fun. And, as one of my friends jokingly suggested, you can always come here when you don't have a place to spend a night because it's way cheaper than a hotel room, plus you get to sing when you can't sleep!

Photo Stickers
Okay, this is not exactly a location but a machine that can be found in many places. It may not have crossed your mind, but taking photos at photo sticker booths (what they call 'print club' or 'purikura' in Japan) actually takes a lot of time! So here's an option for you if you and your friends are at a loss for something to do.

Here's the reason why it takes a lot of time. The actual picture taking process doesn't really take any more than a couple of minutes, but the part where you design the photos - adding a few touches here, putting little hearts there - surprisingly takes a lot of time! (That is, unless you choose not to be creative and only add a couple of perfunctory touches)

One thing I learned from my many trips to the photo sticker booth (and yes, I do have a life away from the photo sticker booth) is that it is best to opt for a machine that provides infrared transmission if you have that choice. These days, most machines provide you with the option to download a photo or two off of their website (from your phone, of course) for free. But if you happen to be using a prepaid phone, you won't be able to download that photo because your phone does not have an Internet connection. Bummer. Another thing is that, you may have taken six photos, but the online download option will only give you a couple of digital files for free, whereas the infrared transmission will allow you to download all the digital files to your phone, right outside the machine itself.

So round your friends up and start posing away!

Round 1 (Usuki)
Round 1 is arguably one of the most preferred bowling alleys in Kagoshima. There are definitely less expensive places (like JJ), but people usually opt for Round 1 because it is better lit and better maintained.

The best deal to opt for is the bowl-all-you-can package. For less than 2000 yen per person, you can enjoy six games each!

There is a fun regular event that they call "Moon Light Strike Game." Basically, they turn down the lights, explain the rules to the game, and everyone bowls at the same time. The rules indicate that females and children should knock down 9 pins and males should bowl a strike in order to win this challenge. Victors and their friends get a group shot (where one of them wears a bowling pin costume) and a souvenir. So far they've changed the souvenir from a bowling alley photo stand to a bowling ball-shaped digital clock.

If you come here on your birth month and make reservations a day or two beforehand, you will also get a group picture and a huge inflated bowling pin which stands at about 5 feet!
Round 1 Spo-cha (Usuki)On the upper floors of the bowling alley in the Round 1 entertainment complex is Spo-cha. For a set fee per hour, you can play arcade games, sing karaoke, or engage in a wide variety of sports.

Their indoor sports include a shooting range, billiards, table tennis, skating, and a wide range of other sports. They also have an outdoor-sport option on the rooftop where you can play tennis, badminton, archery, and several others.

Surely, there are many other ways to kill time when you're with a bunch of friends. These are the places that we found so far. Try them out and hope you have as much fun as we did!


Thunderthud said...

Interesting and very well written.

Booyah! said...

thanks! it means a lot coming from you :P

Donican said...

Thanks for your article! <3 I had to trim it down a bit to make it fit, hope you don't mind. Also, the printers delivered the copies to us today, so I will pass you some when I see you next. :) How many copies do you want?

Booyah! said...

I actually saw a copy of KBT at our international office today. I like it! :P