Osaka, Japan 2012 – Day 9

10/02/12

The weather is amazing but the sun is strong. The girls wanted to sleep so I strolled around the streets and noticed that our hostel was actually situated beside a elementary school. It was undōkai (Sports day) and I asked the PTA if I could watch and take some photos which they had allowed.

We were confused about what ticket to purchase us to get to the Osaka Aquarium. Luckily we saw a caucasian man there. Our theory is if we get lost here, we look for a caucasian to help us out. We asked the man and he said his wife (Japanese) could ask for us. They apparently live a prefecture or 2 away and so the area isn’t that familiar to them either. From Fukushima station we connected to Bentencho then to Osakako. Once we arrived, we walked into the 7-Eleven and grabbed us some onigiri (triangle rice balls with seaweed on the outside and assorted filling) for lunch. We purchased our ticket at the Tempozan Ferris Wheel which gave us a deal for the aquarium and ferris wheel for 2600¥ (admission for aquarium is 2000¥). We decided to go aquarium first as it was around 1-130PM and the sun was roasting us.

My favourite part of the aquarium was the great barrier reef section as it reminded me of my great barrier reef experience in Australia but this time I had a camera that didn’t fail. The ferris wheel has 2 see through bottom carts but the wait was 30 minutes so we opted for the standard and up we went. It was nice to see Osaka from that angle. It’s outer limits are lined with mountains and then a few tall building but not too many and opposite of Hong Kong skyline.

Back to Osaka station then we walked to Umeda station to meet Georgina’s friend Kayo (kai-oh) in front of Kinokuniya (a bookstore) and 2 big screen tv named Big man. Kayo came over to Toronto on exchange to learn english and lived with Georgina’s neighbour. She worked for a magazine answering phones (in english). We told her we wanted to try grilling meat on a wire grill top. She told us its called Yakiniku (jap version of korean bbq but much better and on a wire grill top) and we ate at Aburiya Plus Grand on the 7th floor in the Umeda area. We ordered so much meat but the calbi beef and another thin one were the best of the meats. Kayo did all the ordering for us and it was the quietest thing ever. Both the server and Kayo spoke in hush tones. Kayo also ordered sides for us like salad and also huge lettuce leaves to wrap out cooked meat in. She also got us egg in a bowl to dunk our cooked meat into. 2 similar things that Chinese do for hot pot – crack the egg and duck meat wrap. We also ordered Calpis which is a Japanese soft drink that looks milky but tastes a little like lemonaid. We ended off with dessert and I had the tofu dessert with blueberry sauce and sago as well as the dough ball and black sesame mochi ball.

Since we landed in Osaka, we have been getting weird looks from people and we noticed no one around us was wearing tank tops. I asked Kayo and she said that it’s autumn so everyone’s shift to autumn attire although it’s still about max 27 degrees and low of 15. She also told us that the men we see only wearing plain white dress shirts with black dress pants are uniforms for the companies they work for. For women, its usually anything they want but business-y. There is no talking on the train/subways (unless hush tones), you can go on your phone and use it but talking is a no-no as part of etiquette.

After dinner we walked through E street which has gambling, arcades, and food. The controller hand pick game that you would play for toys could also be used for food. Kayo took us into the arcade and we got our photo taken in the photobooth japan style. Over here they use real DSLR cameras (Canon with 18-55mm lense) and the photos are enhanced so the eyes are larger and skin complexion is fixed. WOW is all I said. Our eyes were huge! But nonetheless what a fun time! I highly recommend getting photobooth photos done when you are out in Japan. There are also Photo studios available where you can dress up in cosplay to take photos.