Be a hero in Hirakata

Good morning everyone,

This week is looking gorgeous-daytime highs in the mid 20s and mostly sunny weather. What else could you ask for?

Though it’s been in business for over 100 years, most people would probably say that Hirakata Park, located in Osaka, is one of Japan’s second-tier amusement parks. It can’t boast the instantly recognizable animated characters of Tokyo Disneyland, the Wizarding World of Universal Studios Japan, or the Hello Kitty performances of Sanrio’s Puroland.

But what Hirakata Park can do is make you feel, and look, like a hero. Starting next week, the park will be offering a chance to participate in what it’s calling “new-style flash mobs,” in which you play out a scene that starts when park employees suddenly approach you and start the scenario.

For example, you and your girlfriend could be strolling through the park, arm in arm on a blissful date, when some yankii-style thugs roll up and try to snatch her away, as shown in the video below.

Hey, your girl is looking fiiine,” says Black Sunglasses, as he roughly grabs the young lady by the shoulder. When Boyfriend demands “Get your hands off her,” Black Sunglasses tries to sucker punch him, but that just causes Boyfriend to unleash his fists of fury. He makes short work of the ruffian, who quickly flees, along with his quivering crony.

“I’ve fallen head over heels for him all over again,” says Girlfriend at the video’s end. Oh, and if you’re a woman who’d like to show off your own fighting skills to your beau, that seems to be an option too, as there’s no official gender specification for participants.

Hirakata Park is offering a total of four scenarios, described as:

● Protect your beloved, who’s about to be dragged off by a pair of thugs! Your sweetheart will be totally impressed!
● A bomb is about to explode! Time is running out! The only one who can stop it is you!

● A member of the opposite sex comes running up, you crash into each other, and…what’s this? You’ve switched bodies! Could this be…the beginning of love?!?
● The doctor is ready to give up. The situation is desperate. But now, a miracle is about to happen thanks to your rare blood type.

The flash mob service is being offered on weekends in May and June, with a start time of 1 p.m. No additional fees are required, but would-be heroes will have to apply for a time slot through the Hirakata Park website.

While the flash mob scenarios are designed to let you feel like a hero (or perhaps like the stars of anime hit Your Name, in the case of the body-swapping option), the whole thing is being presented in a very tongue-in-cheek manner, right down to the exaggerated delivery of the dialogue in the preview video. Rather than a legitimate deception, the whole thing is intended to be a fun, and funny surprise, and Hirakata Park recommends keeping the plan a secret from your date, friends, or family that you’re going to the park with.

The fact that the performance is public, and thus other guests can watch the story unfold, means that you yourself get to do a bit of acting. If that sounds like more fun than waiting in line for a roller coaster, applications for Hirakata Park flash mobs can be made at their website.

I don't know about you, but that sounds like way more fun than standing in line for 3 hours to drink 'Butterbeer'...

Have a great day!

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