It's been almost a week since I got back from visiting Osaka, Kyoto and Nara with Gabby, and my head still hasn't settled back into Miyakonojo-mode. It was a pretty fantastic trip - although saying goodbye was even harder this time.
I'd been quite apprehensive about making my way to Osaka by myself, but it was astonishingly easy - my bus arrived at each stop on time to the minute, and it took me a grand total of of 13 minutes after arriving at the airport to be seated at my gate, coffee in hand. Japanese Efficiency strikes again.
I couldn't resist taking some shots from the plane - the sun and the prospect of seeing G again in my most daydreamed-about city made it one of the better journeys of my life :)
Osaka sprawled out beneath us as we landed. Famous for its food, Kansai-ben dialect and friendly locals, it promised to be a fun place to spend 3 nights.
We somehow managed to reunite in Yodoyabashi, and headed out to see Osaka-jo, the city's 16th century castle. The current building is a 1931 reconstruction of the original, which was destroyed by various armies and rebuilt many times.
G got straight into the Japanese spirit of things.
That evening we made our way to the famous Umeda Sky Building, described as a "space age Arc de Triomphe and designed by the same guy who did Kyoto Station. After wandering through the Kita underpasses and super-malls for a while, utterly lost, two locals took pity on us and escorted us to the right tunnel.
The two towers are connected by a circular viewing deck, sky garden and vertigo-inducing escalator ride, all of which turned out to be the apparent hot spot for first dates in Osaka.
Hello, UV lights.
We finished the evening in a tower block of trendy pub-eateries, people watching and ordering Peruvian nibbles, Italian anti pasti and French fries. The people in Osaka were intimidatingly stylish in general - just about every woman on the tube would be dressed impeccably and wore heels with even the most casual outfit.
The next day we headed to Amerika-Mura, an area in Minami full of young shops and bars, that was the place to buy Zippo lighters and Americana after the war. We were to fulfill a long-held dream of mine by visiting a CAT CAFE!!!!!!!! aghhh dj fioeifj
As you can see, I was QUITE happy.
Yes, that is a Halloween-themed bandana on his head.
We rounded off the morning with some pork ramen by the river. Each station had folding partitions in between, and a blind could be drawn down in front of you after you circled your options on the paper menu and your food arrived from the kitchen.
I'll post more about Osaka very soon. Tomorrow I run a 5km race in Aya with a fellow ALT and 2 co-workers - let's hope my hours of training (a grand total of 1 hour) pay off...