You’re a wizard, Harry!
Hagrid, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Ever since I picked up my very first paperback copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at a local bookshop, where I paid PHP 229 ($4.50) almost two decades ago, I have been a devoted fan. I first read about this book in a magazine. Then I saw it some time later at the bookstore and bought it. Thus began my love affair with J. K. Rowling’s magnum opus. Year after year, I saved enough of my allowance—being only a poor student then—just to buy the latest book. I just got my hands on the fourth book, the thickest one in the series at that time, when the first movie was announced. I was beyond excited. I was the one who introduced my family to the magical world of Harry Potter, and they joined in the fandom wholeheartedly.
Looking back at it now, I’m glad I picked up that first book, though I thought it was pretty expensive at that time. Never in my wildest dream did I think I would be lucky enough to visit the Wizarding Word of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan. Having gone through four rides already, I felt my skin tingle in anticipation for the first time as we were walking through the Forbidden Forest toward Hogsmeade.
Then I spotted the towering, majestic Hogwarts castle in the distance. I was instantly transported back to when I first read the book. Sure, I was way past my childhood when I discovered Harry Potter, but I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve about the open her presents under the tree. My eleven-year-old niece, who shares my birthday, was just as excited.
After the longest queue we’ve ever had (easily over an hour), we finally get to experience the ride. It was breathtaking! Though I understood very little as Harry, Ron, and Hermione spoke in Japanese the entire time, it hardly mattered to me as I was so lost in the moment. Much sooner than I would’ve wanted, the ride was over and the spell ended. Still, I spent my last remaining yen to purchase these ultra-expensive-yet-worth-it souvenirs:
I had such a lovely time overall in my trip to Japan, but the Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction will always be my most favorite memory. One that I will cherish for the rest of my life! And just like “Mischief managed,” the adventure ended and I went back to being a Muggle.