Saturday, May 29, 2010

You are in a twisty little maze

Yurigaoka is a city west of Noborito, and is the next major stop on the Odakyu line. Technically, it's the next station after, Shin-Yurigaoka, that's the major stop because Yurigaoka station isn't that big. Anyway... If you take the local train, which stops at every station, it's about a 30 minute ride, but on the express you can get there from Noborito in closer to 10-15 minutes. Then, from the Shin-Yurigaoka station you can get to one of the parks by bus in about another 10-15 minutes.

This specific park, Gyokuzen-ji, is identified as "Kawasaki prefecture's 60th anniversary general park" and is part of a larger chain of parks as can be seen in the map. Gyokuzen-ji is the one in the red box and is a couple of kilometers square. (The circles on the map are parking lots, and the gray lines are major roads.)

At the entrance at the foot of a gently sloping hill, a small walking trail interweaves with a trickling stream that feeds into a small, dirty pool at the bottom. Every so often there'd be a ripple on the top of the pool indicating fish in it, but none of us could actually find the fish through the dirt.

(Young bamboo plant, about 8 foot tall.)

The park flattens out into a big open area used for frisbee games, catchball and sun tanning. Benches along the outskirts have places for barbecuing, and there's a small pavilion overlooking the stream for people that want to eat lunch outside of the direct sunlight.

The thing that's really interesting about this park is that it's perfectly designed to be used in an adventure game. There are hiking trails that wind through tunnels and over and under each other, through bamboo groves, and into deadend cul de sacs that don't actually have real purposes. To make the game, it'd just be a matter of going back out and taking about 100 photos from different angles, throwing them into flash, and then building a story line complete with some puzzles to make getting into the cul de sacs more challenging.

One cul de sac consists of a small open grassy glen with a tiny stagnant meditation pool, and a bench for resting and staring at the rock in the pool. A long, narrow step-lined path leads down to it. A second path goes through a bamboo grove to come out in front of a small circle with a big tree in the middle of it. It's not quite a dead-end - a barricaded path does continue on to the edge of the park in the direction of the next park in the chain. The sign in front of the barricade says "danger, pit vipers. Be sufficiently prepared". A third path runs in the opposite direction and comes out in back of a house leading out to a residential area. Makes me wonder how often the owners of the house wake up to pit vipers sunning themselves on their cars.

If someone wanted to sponsor this kind of adventure game, I'd love to put it together...

(Tunnel leading to the pit vipers. There's another path crossing over the top of the tunnel, invisible behind the trees up there.)

(Back of the house at the far end of the park, at the edge of another residential area.)

All of the manhole covers have animal-themed artwork.

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