Osaka: Konichiwa, Japan!

After a 4 hours flight from Hong Kong, I arrived to Osaka´s airport. Everything seemed new and shiny to me and my first instint was to look for a toilet. Yes indeed, the toilet had lots of buttons and different water streams and music. I had to try the music button and a cascade sound came up. And of course the seat was warm. That was amazing!!!! I was super excited with everything I was seeing and I didn’t even get to leave the airport.

I made my way to the city by train. It took me a while to find the cheap train, but I knew how much the cheapest ticket was and I was willing to find it. Japan is not a cheap destination and I couldn’t start wasting money at the very first minute. The train took a while and I arrived to Namba station, where I was supposed to meet Pete, my host for a couple of nights. It wasn’t easy because the area was huge, there were several Namba stations (metro, rail, Japan Railway…) and I was late. But he was late as well and after a few minutes we found each other and I met the great Polish guy that would help me to find my feet in Japan. He gave me loads of advice and introduced me to another guy that was also staying in his apartment, overlapping. That’s no problem, the more, the merrier! The three of us went out for dinner to a typical cheap sushi place and got a lot of little plates to share and eat up. Pete said that there was something really disgusting that didn’t taste bad when you were eating it but everybody was losing their minds when they knew what it was. We obviously wanted to try, just out of curiosity. When the thing showed up, it looked like….fish brain? I don’t know. I ate it and it wasn’t that bad. Not tasty but not bad. Once we had swallowed it, he revealed what it was: the translation is white children, he said. Figure out from that! Disgusting! Anyways, we got to share stuff about Japan and tricks I could be using to save money and like that. They even adviced me where to sleep if was veeery stuck (karaokes and laundry places are 24 hours and apparently fantastic to have a nap or for a night in case of emergency. Good to know).

Next morning I was dying! I woke up with the guys to find out that Alex was leaving and Pete was going to work later on. And Pete actually made me breakfast, that was so kind of him! I had breakfast with him and then he had to go to work, so he left me with the keys and I was so tired that slept in the futon for another hour or so. Once I was feeling it was time to do something productive with the day, so got up for a second time to get a shower and explore the city! I walked and walked walked everywhere. I walked along a street full of temples and shrines and got shy at the beginning but started taking pictures after a few. I also got to a lovely castle, enjoyed the surroundings and found myself enjoying everything, quite entertained just being there and look at people, stuff, architecture… Around the castle I found these guys with some traditional piece of clothe taking pictures for free in exchange of taking a picture as well with their camera. Everybody was looking but no one was daring so… I did! They also gave me a katana and made me pose.

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Osaka’s castle

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In action!

On the way back home I ended in some complex with a tower and lots of temples around and just then, when I was not too far from the house, it started raining, so I decided to go back because first, I didn’t have an umbrella, second I kind of didn’t have anything else to see and lastly, I had to be home by the time Pete was finished work so I could get the door for him. He had a late one at work but we had dinner together and as it was my last night there, we went for a beer outside, as I wanted to check out the atmosphere of the area at night. It was brilliant, everything was bright and there were lots of people considering it was a midweek day. Pete knew a lot of stuff and brought me to a very typical Japanese bar, one of those narrow but long ones and we had a beer and a skewer of chicken stomach. Then, we went for another one to a different place, one of those where you sit on the floor without your shoes and we had a beer and when I saw the ridiculous price of the whisky with soda, we had to get one of those as well. It was more like flavoured soda, but it was nice. After that, Pete had to work next day so it was time to go home. He went the extra mile and almost paid for everything, which surprised me but gladly took. As he said, we all need a bit of help when we are travelling and apparently it was his turn to return the favours. It made me think, I really hope I can return all the favours I am getting. Hopefully I will.

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Temples

Next day I said goodbye to him and stayed in my futon for a few more minutes before getting up and packing again. I had to make it to the supermarket to get cheap food for the day and also to the bus station. And that’s how I took my bus to Hiroshima.

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