There is, among doors consistently open to welcome shoppers, a door that opens only to let a handful of people in. The bow window by the door has wands and a lit gas lantern, but that door, among fascinating doors consistently open, is closed and unobtrusive. In fact, if your eyes don’t land on it at the right angle, you will miss it and you will also miss a chance of a lifetime.
Even I walked by it thrice although I exceedingly tried to find it. As luck would have it, I made a wrong turn and walked into a blind alley where about 40 people were queuing for the closed, unobtrusive door that had no signs and only a single attendant. Reluctantly, I and my friend joined the line, but I knew I found it.
Only 20 people are allowed through the door at a time, and when it was my group’s turn the attendant ushered us into a room completely bare except for floor-to-ceiling shelves covering the walls. Honestly, a little bit of air escaped the hot air balloon that my excitement was turning me into.
Suddenly, with a single Japanese sentence that I didn’t understand, the attendant pulled one of the bookshelves to reveal a room where the wand keeper awaited.
I have to digress: Everyone I knew told me that it was impossible for me to be “chosen”. Never mind having a one-out-of-twenty chance, it was usually a child who was chosen. If you want to go to the wand keeper’s room, go on a very auspicious day and take your lucky charm with you. You’ll need it.
So there I was: one in a room of twenty. A 5% chance of being chosen among a group with least three children, and adults blocking my 5-feet-tall frame. My chances were as slim as not making Neville’s remembrall turn red.
“I can sense magic among you,” the wand keeper said. He scanned the crowd and our eyes met. At that moment, I swear I felt like I knew what love at first sight feels like.
“You,” he said, motioning to me, and the hot air balloon floated to infinity and beyond.
“Me?” I said because I didn’t think it was proper to be super excited when he chose me over children.
“Yes. Will you step into the light please?” he said.
I didn’t ask for him to say it again. I dropped all my bags, and walked into the spotlight; into a dream. The rest, as they say, is history – one of the most memorable and heartwarming bit of my 26-year lifetime. I could go into details, but that would ruin the experience.
All I can say is there were three questions, three spells, and three mishaps until the wand keeper took a dust-covered box with a wand (willow, 12 inches, unicorn core) that chose me. Ｏ(≧∇≦)Ｏ
I’ll be honest: I was inwardly laughing as the wand keeper and I reenacted the scene from the movie (“I wonder,” he said), and as I did my best to copy Daniel Radcliffe’s reaction of gingerly putting the wrong wand on top of the counter. But during the short skit and even after I was ushered out of the room, I was the happiest girl on earth and I knew I could make a patronus the size of Snorlax (sorry, I’m currently on a Pokemon Go spree). I was so happy that I didn’t care when the ladies in the shop regretfully informed me that I had to pay for the wand if I wanted it.
They didn’t have to ask.
I paid ¥3,500 for a wand that I usually keep in its dusty, web-covered box in my closet. The wand doesn’t create light when I say lumos, and it doesn’t open locks when I cast The Thief’s Friend on our front door. Aside from its pretty design, it look as ordinary as the inconspicuous door that lead me to it. But just like the room inside that door, it is – every bit of it – magical.
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN (USJ) HOURS
Check the park’s page for their opening hours. There are times when they open before the schedule if there are many people lining up outside the gate.
Check HERE for the prices.
FROM OSAKA STATION OPTION 1: There’s a train from Osaka Station that goes directly to Universal City Station at 180 YEN, but check the timetable because there aren’t a lot.
FROM OSAKA STATION OPTION 2:Take a train on the JR Osaka Loop Line to Nishikujo Station, then take another train on the JR Yumesaki Line to Universal City Station.
FROM KANSAI AIRPORT: Take a train on the Kansai International Airport Express Line to to Nishikujo Station, then take another train on the JR Yumesaki Line to Universal City Station.