On the way to Osaka
I was really nervous when I got up in the morning because I'd never traveled alone in this country before, and I was just praying that all would go smoothly. To my relief, when I got to Hikone Station I found a fellow JCMU student named C waiting for the same train as me! We rode together, and along the way an American woman also boarded the train and sat with us. She's lived in Japan for 17 years, and she currently teaches at Tenri University. She even gave birth to and raised here son here, so even though he doesn't have a drop of Japanese blood in him he speaks the language like a native! How cool is that? As an expat, this woman could understand our position as foreigners in Japan and had a lot to say about her experiences. "How's it been interacting with Japanese people? You say two words and they tell you how good your Japanese is, don't they? It's annoying, right?" The truest and most remarkable thing she said was, "Japan is uglier, it's prettier, it's different from what people think it'll be like." The three of us had a wonderful conversation, and I was at ease as she and C got off in Kyoto and I had to travel the rest of the way alone.
First stop: 四天王寺 (Shitennō-ji)
Second stop: 道頓堀 (Dōtonbori)/Okonomiyaki
Botejyu. Okonomiyaki is hard to describe, but it's basically a savory fried pancake that's stuffed with deliciousness. It's one of several foods that Osaka's famous for. We ordered one with negi (green onion) and a "modern" one with shrimp and shared them.
Both were scrumptious!
Third stop: 大阪城 (Ōsaka-jō/Osaka Castle)
We took the subway and a train to get from Dōtonbori to Osaka Castle Park. This place is huge! It's not only a public park, but it also contains Osaka Castle, athletic fields and Osaka Castle Park Hall, where concerts are often held. In fact, while heading to the castle Fumiko and I passed droves of people waiting in line for a Mizuki Nana concert.
Japanese feudal lord Toyotomi Hideyoshi had Osaka Castle built in the late 16th century, and like Nagoya Castle it has been damaged and restored numerous times. Osaka Castle is much bigger and more refined-looking on the inside, but if I had to choose which one I liked more, it'd have to be Nagoya Castle. That was the first Japanese castle I ever went to, so maybe that's why I remember it so fondly. Also, instead of climbing all the stairs like I did at Nagoya Castle, Fumiko and I took the elevator up Osaka Castle then took the stairs down. There was no
Read part 2 to find out where we went!
|View from the top|
70 Days in Kansai photos (JUNE)