Just got the first half (!) of my pictures developed for hopeful scrapbooking this week (if I can keep myself motivated) and I am now struck with the urge to post about the trip although at this point it has already been over for 3 days. :(
Kelsie and I made it home safely, but not without like 3 hours of turbulence on the Tokyo – LA flight, and then frustration in LAX (again). But more on that later. As I’m sure most of my f-list knows, we spent the whole last week (just about) at the KAT-TUN concerts, and as we spent a LOT of time at Tokyodome we didn’t take nearly as many pictures… I mean other than the first day and then when all the KAT-TUN posters went up, but otherwise the amount of picture taking drastically decreased. But I haven’t really posted since before we went to Kyoto (and I don’t think I posted about Osaka at all) so … well let’s start with Osaka. XD;
First off, this is PROBABLY when Kelsie and I started eating too much katsu-don, for the record. In any case, it was a very good thing that we had the JR Rail Pass which allows you pretty much unlimited non-NOZOMI Shinkansen use as we went to Osaka on a Saturday, forgot the rapid line didn’t run on weekends, and ended up missing our morning Shinkansen by about 10 minutes. Major oops. Luckily the nice officer at the ticket counter re-booked our tickets and reserved seats for the train immediately after so we had time to grab bentos (the lovely katsu you see there) and sit on the train waiting for it to leave.
Let me say, I LOVED the Shinkansen. Looked like a plane, almost as fast as one, and enough leg room. Plus, the trays didn’t move when someone leaned their seat backwards. Why can’t plane seats do that? I hate getting hit after meals when they haven’t cleared trays yet. Anyway, experienced the odd sensation of ear popping due to the speed I think… and then after the first hour I fell asleep. So totally missed Maihama and a few other stops in between after Shin-Yokohama. Oops.
Thanks to Kazumi, we were lucky enough to meet our guides in Osaka, Rika, her boyfriend Minoru, and Setsuko who Rika had described as her ‘English-speaking friend’. This turned out to be a GODSEND and the Public Health Department had been trying to call Kelsie and I to make sure we didn’t have any swine flu symptoms as Japan had just confirmed their first case… and of course it was someone who had travelled to Alberta. Setsuko was able to tell the agency for us (in Japanese) that we were feeling fine, and no, nothing ‘suspicious’ appeared to be happening (ways swine flu had at this point sidetracked my trip somewhat = 3).
Our tour guides were absolutely amazing ♥ ♥ ♥. We hiked to Osaka castle, opted out of actually going all the way up as it was about 35C and ridiculously sunny at this point, and then walked through the park before getting lunch as Kelsie and I had asked for something that was ‘really good in Osaka’. I would like to point out that it was VERY gratifying to see Minoru, Rika, and Setsuko take out maps. Kelsie and I no longer felt like losers for needing to pull ours out every 10 minutes in Tokyo. XD;
I liked Okonomiyaki which is weird as I normally hate cabbage and won’t eat it, but this was delicious and a lot of fun! Very odd to have beer with lunch but Setsuko reassured me that this was ‘very normal for the Japanese’ and I liked Japanese beer a lot more than Western stuff. Not that I’m a fan of beer. Okonomiyaki was very fun to cook and I managed to flip my pancake over with no splatters! Kelsie accidentally hit Minoru with a flying bit of cabbage but we all thought it was funny, and there were no stains, so it was okay. :)
I have a lot more to talk about / squee about but this entry is getting kind of long so it will have to wait until later. I’m still a teeny bit jet-lagged so I think I am going to take a nap! And then maybe go for a walk. :D