|Kyoto to Osaka, Sept 20th. Today I packed up from the Sparkling Dolphin on a rainy overcast day in Kyoto and headed south to the city of Osaka. Osaka,Kyoto, and Kobe are like a tri-city area. All within a short distance of each other. Once checked into my hostel, which took some time to find, I went for a small walk around the hood. I think the hood is the right name for this area. I could see it was a bit run down. It was the first time I saw some homeless in Japan. I believe the area use to be a bit of a large tourist area years ago. The zoo, and spa world are located here along with adventure land, a Calaway park type area, but I think it is closed by the fences around it and the large amount of construction equipment in the yard. Nonetheless there is still attractions in the area.
I went up the Tsutenkaku Tower to spend some time. The tower use to be the largest in the east, back in the 20's. It was cheap to get up, and had a nice view. I got up before sunset, and then hung around until the night lites came on. There is also a good luck charm up there called Billiken. I got my picture with him.
After, on my way to the hostel, I heard some singing from a small establishment across the way. I thought why not and stopped in. Sure enough it was a small Karaoke club. It had 4 waitresses, and 3 patrons. I sat back and enjoyed a cold Kirin and listened to songs I did not understand (except for Celine Dion). Maybe I will go back tonight and try singing myself, how bad could I embarrass myself.
Sept 21 - Waking up to the rain is not a good way to leaving full of energy to site see. So slowly, after a lazy get out off bed I made my way out. After a bit of subway confusion, I made it to the Osaka Aquarium, the largest tank of its kind in the world. It is a 7 story tall building that themes on the Pacific Ring of Fire zones. I must say I enjoyed being in out of the rain and watching fish. There was a whale shark in the main tank. Very interesting, but I did expect it to be larger. The area it was in was a nice harbour themed area, with a giant Ferris Wheel, shopping center, and I did see the first Busker on my trip. He was a fire juggler. I do not know what he was saying, but I got the drift.
Next I took the train to the Floating Gardens. Like the night before, it was an observatory. This one was much nicer. It was a ring suspended between two towers in a nice part of town. I spent sunset and nite rise there, like the previous nite. From there I headed to America Mura. A shopping district that is American themed. Lots of neon and crazy young kids. Did not spend too much time there, just enough to get it.
Once back to the hostel, I went for a soak in the Japanese "Onsen" or hot bath. It is kind of intimidating using it because tradition bans Tattoos, and you bath nude. I don't know what kind of thoughts were in the minds of the men in there. But I made it out alright.
Sept 22 - The rain has let off, but the clouds have not. It's OK with me, because it is not scorching hot. The Typhoon passed north of me, so I missed the eye of it. But the area that got hit with the earthquake and Tsunami got flooded real bad. It is all over the news. Today I headed out to the Osaka Castle. One of the few buildings that did not get bombed in WW2, as most of Osaka was. It was a nice area with a double moat, and an elevator inside a castle, hum. I just spent some time around there taking pictures, touring, and found my first caches of the trip, that made me happy. It is amazing that there is a single stone on the wall that is 120 tonnes. How did they move it back in the 1600's.
Later I hopped the train to the Marine Museum. It is such a small world. There for the second time in as many days I ran into my new friend from Korea Jaegun. We had stayed at the same hostel in Kyoto. His dream is to come to Canada and drive truck at Fort Mac. I am going to visit him in his home Seoul later on.
From the amounts of walking that I have been doing, I developed a sore right ankle and a limp as it is swollen. Luckily I had seen an Acupuncture and Massage store near my residence and stopped in. For 2000 Yen I got 30 minutes of a great massage from Kaz. My ankle feels better, but still needs more stretching. Hopefully a few more days and it will be better.
Will tomorrow I head to Hiroshima. More stories to follow.