Thursday, March 5, 2009

My Month Away: Part 1

Hello again! Since I've been gone such an incredibly long time, I've decided that one blog post is just not going to cut it so I'll probably split up the last month into three or four parts depending on what happens. So today I will begin.

Osaka.

Osaka is actually very near Kyoto so when Rachel and I took the night bus there we actually passed through Kyoto. Since we were only going to Osaka for a concert (Fall Out Boy, one of Rachel's favorite bands) and had to sandwich it between our religions final and my departure for Minakami, we were only there for two days.

The first day we got there started out kind of lame. We arrived sometime after 7am but couldn't check into our hotel until 2pm which left us with our luggage (especially me since I also had everything I needed for Minakami) and no idea what to do (we were sleep deprived). We wandered the area we were in a little (near Shin-Osaka station I believe), got a bit lost, and then finally decided to find someplace closer to our hotel to explore. So we ended up going on a giant ferris wheel ride which was extremely cool.

As we entered the ferris wheel, Rachel and I had our picture taken and as it was near Valentines Day, the background and props were hearts and flowers and lots of pink and red. Very coupley :P We both bought copies of the photo as it was just too funny. Unfortunately, I don't have an electronic copy to post.

The view from the ferris wheel was absolutely incredible. Osaka is a port city and the ferris wheel was right near the water so we got an amazing view of ocean and cool bridges and some really cool buildings too. Sadly I do not really remember a lot of the names of places I took photos of from the ferris wheel. It was a month ago after all. This picture is of a bridge I particularly liked so I thought I might as well stick it up here. I believe the land to the left is actually the island where our hotel was.

After the ferris wheel ride was over, we headed to Kaiyukan which is a huge aquarium that was right next to the ferris wheel. It's a really cool aquarium with one of its main attractions being a whale shark which was super impressive.

Since the aquarium was so close to the ferris wheel, it was actually one of the buildings that we got a really good view of. I thought the building was really interesting especially when you can see the whole thing from a distance. I'm pretty sure it actually goes underground a ways too. You start at the top and spiral your way down through around all sorts of tanks. There were dolphins and penguins and sea lions and octopus and really huge crabs.

Mostly it was really hard to get any kind of photos especially with my camera which has an incredibly slow shutter speed (for a digital camera, it's pretty ancient). However, I took a couple of videos and the one with the crabs turned out okay so here it is. These guys are really huge. They probably would have made it almost to my waste were they standing next to me. There were also fish in the tank that seemed very content to just sit still and get almost stepped on by these crabs all the time. It was really weird and kind of creepy really.
video

After we checked in to the hotel, we napped, showered, the went in search of dinner and entertainment. Osaka, however, is dirtier and sketchier than Tokyo so after dinner (okonomiyaki) and some wandering to go back to the hotel and sleep.

The next day we mostly spent hanging out by the concert venue so we could get a good spot in line. Photos inside were not allowed so I've got nothing for you there sadly. I had a lot of fun though and met a really nice Japanese girl named Yoko who was also from Tokyo and in fact lives somewhere on the Hanzomon line (the same line I live on). I got her phone info so we can make plans to hang out now that I'm back in Tokyo.

The next day I again got to haul my luggage accross Osaka so we could catch our shinkansen back to Tokyo where I then went on to Minakami. However, that will have to wait for later since I feel this post is long enough and I'm tired of typing for now anyway.

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