Hello! My name is Yuko and I’ll be writing Yuko’s GP Adventures from now on. I don’t have the deepest understanding of Magic, but I’ll be learning more and more each day as we go along. Taking on new challenges and traveling to unknown parts of the world are two very big hobbies of mine.
A way to combine my love for traveling and Magic into one event like a Grand Prix is the dream isn’t it? As you may already know, there are Magic: The Gathering GPs (Grand Prix) held every weekend, not just in Japan, but around the world. I would like to share the experience of traveling to each GP we attend in my articles. Not just the event itself, but I’d like to share what there is to see in the area around the venue and the lifestyle of someone who travels for work.
To commemorate my first event, I’d like to write about GP Singapore, that happened back in June.
A Little Trouble is the Spice of Travel
The trip from Haneda to Changi International Airport was roughly seven hours; and I landed around 11:30PM at night.
First order of affairs was to get a SIM card for my time here. “It’s already late and if you don’t call a taxi soon they won’t come. Let me call you one.” said the lady at the SIM card shop.
“What a nice lady.” I thought at first.
“I’ll need to see your passport to call a taxi. Also did you have a credit card?” The lady inquired. Things were starting to get more and more suspicious. But it was late, I was tired and worried about not being able to get to my hotel so without really thinking I gave handed her my passport.
(*Don’t do this; it’s dangerous*)
The woman came back after five minutes. “I couldn’t get ahold of anyone. We’re not going to be able to get you a taxi.” She said while handing me my passport without batting an eye. Was I going to have to stay here all night!? As I scanned the airport I saw a sign with the word “TAXI” written on it. So I walked towards the airport arrival lobby, where they had a taxi pick-up area. And wouldn’t you know it, there were 10 taxis waiting.
“She tricked me! That lady didn’t know what she was talking about!” I thought. I learned at the beginning of the trip, you shouldn’t rely on the word of someone you don’t know. In any case, I was able to get a taxi and made it to the hotel. Good night!
The Colossal Singapore Expo
This time the event building, EXPO, was only about 20 minutes away from Changi Airport. It’s an absolutely massive exhibition center and there were a tons of other events going on during the weekend. Furniture and consumer electronics expo, Singapore Asian Food Fest, a childrens event and even a concert were going on during the weekend; so you can imagine the amount of people that were there during the GP weekend.
The GP event hall was on the second floor. Elegant carpet lined the floor, nice firm chairs and heavy velvet tablecloth; it looked like a hotel banquet hall.
All that said though, I did have one big problem since coming to Singapore and that’s their aggressive use of air conditioning. You see, Singapore is a place where it’s always over 25℃ or 77℉, which essentially means an everlasting summer. Even so, the inside of buildings are really cool, because of their excessive use of air conditioning. It was so cold in fact that I quick ran to Uniqlo to get a long sleeved shirt! I recommend you bring a long sleeve shirt and a pair of pants if you ever go to Singapore. (The temperature inside might be just right for those of you who get hot easily.)
Singapore has started to take a pretty big interest in Japanese food and culture lately. They have the standbys like sushi and ramen, but also well known department stores like Uniqlo and the hundred yen shop Daiso. What really stuck out to me was the Japanese motifs everywhere and the amount of people wearing shirts with Japanese on them. Those shirts were pretty funny, saying things like “The future is right here” or “I am an Otaku”. When you visit you should try and look out for shirts with strange Japanese or English written on them.
With the MTG 25th Anniversary this year, GPs have had a variety of events going on; GP Singapore had cupcakes with cream on top dyed to match the chromatic colors of MTG. They were super sweet and you could hear the crunch of sugar with each bite. I’m a bit of a sweet tooth so I thought they were delicious, but they didn’t sit well with one of the other staff members.
A Bay Area of the Future
With the GP successfully over, I went sightseeing before heading home. First off was the famous Merlion (as seen in the picture above). It’s known as “One of the three biggest disappointments in the world” and I could feel it when I got there. The place was absolutely loaded with tourists. Let’s be more careful when walking around with our selfie sticks please people!
Next was the Gardens by the Bay, a botanical garden within massive glass domes. The Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest were split into two separate domes. The Flower Dome had a large variety of splendid plants and flowers. One could consider the man-made waterfall the highlight of the Cloud Forest. Thankfully the air conditioning in the dome was comfortable and definitely made walking around an enjoyable experience. Oh, and you can’t pass up the 50m tall supertree. At night, alongside the beautiful illuminations there’s a light and music show called “Garden Rhapsody”.
I decided to stretch my legs a bit from downtown and went to check out the island-wide amusement park of Sentosa Island. Universal Studios Singapore is on this island, but I went with something a bit more natural and took a walk on the beach. After that I took on the zipline which descended from the woods to the opposite shore of the island. The MegaZip starts at 75m height and shoots you 450m at about 60km an hour; all on one rope. I was regretting my decision once the harness was on, but it was smiling the whole way and it was insanely exhilarating.
New Discoveries and an Exciting Journey
Traveling for the first time is full of new discoveries and stimulating experiences. This may seem like common sense, but when you’re staying in the same place for a long time, things start to feel “natural”, but when you’re in a place you’ve never been things are not so “natural”. When you’re traveling it allows us the opportunity to objectively look at our “natural selves”. So how about it everyone? Try signing up for an overseas GP and see what you can see!