My Trip to Japan - Part 1

Read on as I regale you with stories of my most recent trip to Japan. I'll include some pictures and such.

I'm sure that you will realise that I have a love affair with the beautiful country of juxtaposition.

On Sunday the 3rd of October at around 9pm I started to pack my bags for the next days departure. I left it so late, not because I wasn't excited but because, in a ridiculous nonsensical way, I didn't want the trip to start. I felt as though as soon as the trip begins, it has also begun to finish.

I had a lot of decisions to make before the trip had actually begun. How many t-shirts do I take, how many pairs of jeans will I need, do Chuck Taylor's have enough arch support for 13 straight days of consistent walking (no, they do not). The answers to these questions had a number of factors to take into account. The t-shirt dilemma was dependant on whether I thought I would buy any while on holiday, I had hoped to but on my previous trip I found that licensed anime shirts were more expensive than they are at home! As for jeans, I was certain that I would buy jeans from UniQlo, cheap, trendy and good quality, I had no doubts there, Unfortunately the only shoes I own are Chuck Taylors so, bad luck.

At 2am on Monday morning my wife and I finally decided that we were as ready as we'd ever be and went to bed for a whole 2 hours, our taxi arrived and ferried us, precariously, to the domestic terminal of Sydney Airport, bound for the Gold Coast. The driver got us there in record time thanks in no part to his blatant disregard for the road rules. He was a lovely chap but in no way should he hold a drivers license.

In what felt to be 20 minutes we landed at the Gold Coast Airport for our four and a half hour stopover. There isn't much to do at the Gold Coast Airport, we ran out of things to do after having a coffee, that being said, the folks at the airport were all very friendly. What more can you ask for?

Back onto our Jetstar flight bound for Kansai Airport Osaka. We received our entertainment devices and tuned out, I watched the movie "Boy" a New Zealand movie by director Taika Waititi, director of the fantastic "Eagle Vs Shark". It was a great movie, funny, heart warming and honest. My wife on the other hand decided to watch "Grown Ups". No comment. However, we both watched "Cyrus" with John C. Reilly and Jonah Hill. It was an enjoyable movie although because both players played semi straight roles it was hard not to expect gags which simply didn't eventuate. All in all, it was an enjoyable flick.

Soon enough we landed at Kansai Airport, Osaka.This airport is huge! How huge I hear you ask? Well to get from the arrival terminal to collect our baggage we had to wander down a lengthy corridor with the assistance of no less than 4 travelators. After this we had to jump onto an unmanned tram/monorail which whisked us to the main terminal. The size of the airport is only overshadowed by the efficiency of it's staff. By the time that we had disembarked our plane, had a quick freshen up and made our way to the baggage claim we found that we were the last to pick up our bags. Four lovely airport ladies were standing by our bags which had been taken off the carousel for us. We made our way through the customs areas and to the Japan Rail Ticket Office within 30 minutes of getting off the plane. The efficiency of pretty much everything in Japan is no less than astounding.

We boarded a JR train bound for Tennoji using our JR rail passes which are a must have for anyone travelling to Japan. They allow unlimited use of all JR trains except the Nozomi Shinkansen (the Hikari and Kodama Shinkansen are included). After changing trains at Tennoji we arrived at JR Namba station and made our way to our hotel, the Cross Hotel Osaka. The staff were really helpful and spoke a surprising amount of English. Although I still insist on trying out my embarrassingly minute Japanese language chops. I am in their country after all. The rooms were spacious and very modern. I wish I had some photos to share but alas, I lost my little point and shoot camera, but I will save that story for later.

After a quick freshen up the wife and I decided to explore the nearby Shinsaibashi and Dotonbori streets. Dotonbori was our first stop for some Okonomiyaki. A type of savoury pancake containing cabbage, pickled ginger, tennkasu, somen and topped with vege sauce and mayonnaise. In a word, yum. After this we made a hasty exit and wandered the streets aimlessly. My wife bought some fashion magazines while I stopped at every place that had a Neon Genesis Evangelion, Doraemon, Anpanman or Studio Ghibli display. It was hard not to notice how big Halloween is in Japan. I never found out whether Japanese kids go trick or treating but there was certainly a massive amount of decorations and marketing around.

At the end of the night we ended up sitting at Baskin and Robbins where I had a pop rock and strawberry cheesecake cup while my wife had a matcha (powdered green tea) cup with little mochi (glutinous rice balls), both were delicious but I'm always keen on some green tea. We the started wandering back to our hotel room, my wife with a handful of fashion magazines and me with a belly full of excitement. I don't try and hide the fact that I love Japan, it is an incredibly exciting country full of pop culture, fantastic food and a wonderfully rich history.

Tune in over the next few days for my ongoing story. Next, Universal Studios.


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