(Tokyo Sky Tree. Image info can be found here.)
The Tokyo Skytree, found in Japan, opened to the public last week on May 22, 2012. It's the tallest tower in the world, with the observation deck situated about 1500 ft in the sky, and the second tallest structure. When I found out about the Skytree tower, I immediately thought of the Stratosphere in Las Vegas.
(Las Vegas Stratosphere. Image info can be found here.)
Why? Because when I visited the Stratosphere last month, I couldn't get over how many Japanese were there. I've been to Las Vegas many, many times, but never had I seen so many Japanese. My brother, who has visited the Stratosphere many times, and speaks strong conversational Japanese, told me that each time he's visited the tower, he's seen the same amount of visitors from Japan.
(View from the top.)
I asked him why he thinks there are so many visitors to the Stratosphere, and he thinks it's truly because they love heights, the challenge, and facing their fears. Facing Fears is right! When Mom and I were driving into Las Vegas, we found out that Steven had decided that he was going to jump off the Stratosphere, and even had an appointed time. We were driving as fast as was legally possible to get there on time.
Then we got another call, and my brother told me that instead of jumping, we could do the rides on top instead, if I was up to it. The pit in my stomach dropped! And I immediately started feeling ill. I asked him to let me think about it. When I got there, I was standing on the observation deck, about 855 ft, looking over the city and feeling sick. I couldn't even get right up to the glass. Instead I leaned on wooden supports as I tried to overcome vertigo.
The next day I walked around. Ate at Serendipity 3, visited the Bellagio and other classy casinos. I even was in a test audience for a TV pilot and tested different types of orange juice. And through it all the Stratosphere haunted me. At moments feeling brave, at other times feeling waves of terror pore over me.
So that night I found myself at the base of the Stratosphere, contemplating my fate, and decided that I really didn't want to live a life of regrets. I bought the ticket and went up. There are three rides: The Big Shot, the highest thrill ride in the world standing at 1.081 feet, Insanity at 900 ft, and X-Scream at 866 ft. Big Shot shoots you up into the air, and it was my favorite.
I rode it at least 4 times (each time facing a different direction. My second favorite was Insanity. You sit in a chair as they, all eight chairs face each other, as they they move the seats to hang suspected over 900 ft, and then you spin. I didn't like the spinning part, but after getting over the pit in the stomach, I really enjoyed looking straight down at moving cars and tiny buildings. It's like a grown up Peter Pan ride.
My least favorite ride was X-Scream. It-Freaked-Me-OUT!!!! Oh my, just thinking about it makes me ill. It's an 866 ft. teeter-totter. They shift the car to the back of the 69 ft. straight track, point the track towards the ground, shoot you forward, stop abruptly, move you back, and you spend the whole ride doing just that. I spent the whole time in a full panic attack (at least it felt like one), complete with hyperventilating. I'm surprised I didn't pass out.
I was that scared. My brother actually enjoyed it.
Do something fun today!