There are moments in life when you can’t help but keep a big grin on your face. If you were me, your voice would all be high and squeaky from all the excitement, and there’s the perpetual smell of coffee that means things are just looking up.
I have always loved traveling, and just recently, I decided to see a friend in Japan — I booked my ticket on a whim without a visa, because of course I tend to do things like that (usually for domestic vacations), but even more so because I really need a break from reality.
I also get to go on a trip outside the country without family for once, and I get to visit one of my favorite people on the planet (although to be fair, I happen to have a lot of favorite people) in time for his birthday.
I most likely enjoyed his celebration more than he did, but then again, he had been living in Japan for four years, while all I know about the country are food (I love sushi!), anime, and their efficient transport system.
I know exactly four Japanese phrases, too, and only one of them had been useful. Except that I couldn’t even say it right because my friends tend to think it’s funny when I say “arigatou gozaimasu.”
As it is with me, I hit a travel snag: things were all great and dandy until I hit immigration at Fukuoka and forgot the address of where I was supposed to be staying. Things went okay, but by the time I finally got through, Dave almost ran out of patience because by then I had been off sched for two hours — okay, almost three. I’m just glad he didn’t leave me at the airport to fend for myself, what with my vast knowledge of the Japanese language and everything.
Besides, it’s not like it’s the last I’ll see of the airport, we have an early flight to Osaka the next day.
Guys, it looked like Anime!
Here’s the thing: Japan was never actually in my list of places to see — shocking right? However, the trip did push through and I fell in love as the train rushed through the outskirts of Osaka. I am not a big anime fan, but I kept telling Dave that the residential district looked like it came straight out of an anime, and okay, mainly because duh, it did come from Japan.
Also, I tend to love trains. I loved the Singapore transit, and I loved Japan’s as well, although I did notice that it is way more expensive to commute around Japan than it did Singapore.
Back to my trip, though:
Mixing the Old with the New
From gorgeous architecture that makes the city feel so far away, to a bustling central district with lots of shopping and more importantly, food — let’s just say that Osaka is a city after my own heart. I love parks that will allow me to get away from the city, without actually leaving the city. As much as I want to be nature girl, I am pretty attached to the fast-paced lifestyle. Which is why I would love a place where I could go escape once in a while. Besides, have you seen the castle behind me? It’s gorgeous.
By the way, Dotonbori with all its shopping is also considered Japan’s kitchen, and I swear the streets made me so hungry because it smelled that good. We saw Pablo’s and decided to indulge in tarts, but just a little over an hour later (and a lot of walking, because we walked a lot) we were treated to an Osaka dinner by Mama Redd, our friend from university, and honestly, I never knew how much Japanese restaurants ripped me off here in the Philippines. Authentic Japanese food tastes a hundred times better — and at more reasonable prices, too.
And then we went to Hogsmeade…
But that’s a story for another day. 🙂