Searching for Cherry Blossom – Part Eight

It’s our last day in Osaka and I’m feeling quite sad. Although we really only saw Cherry Blossom on the first few days, we did have a great time here. I just love Japan. I still can’t put my finger on why but I love being here. I love the people, the culture, the convenience stores (haha)

Here’s a couple of pictures from my morning walk down to Dotonbori again. I’m going to miss this walk.

One thing I haven’t written about is the fashion here. In Australia, I can walk past a store and tell if it’s for younger or older women. I can’t do that here. And the fashion seems to be really really drab (in my opinion) boring suit style, or exquisite feminine prettiness. It’s all extremes! I can’t find an in between! I really really wanted to buy clothes here but even today, spent mostly at Rinku Town, didn’t yield any great finds for me.

IMG_5836For those that don’t know, Rinku Town is a discount shopping district.
We went straight to the area where all the high end brands are… Gucci, Armani, Billabong, Nike and believe it or not, Crocs, amongst many more names.

I’m not a name brand shopper so most of that part didn’t thrill me and I got a bit
disheartened.

IMG_5837Hubby had to get his Starbucks fix and while we were there, they gave us a sample of this new frappuccino that was going to start from tomorrow.

It was delicious!!!

It’s happened a couple of times since we’ve been here, that they will bring around a “sample” of something while we’re in Starbucks.

I love it.

Can’t say no to a freebie!

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After some lunch (above) hubby and I headed over to the “cheaper” part of Rinku Town and I found a few things there. I was really looking for a Winter jacket which I thought I’d find on special seeing as they’re heading into Summer and a handbag but sadly, found neither.

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Still I did find a few things so after that we headed on over to the airport and waited in line with the million other people bound for Australia.

It was a little comforting to hear the Aussie accent and to

see the flying Kangaroo (Qantas)
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Before we got on the plane we finally tried a noodle roll.

I’ve seen this around all over the place but hadn’t tried it up till now.

I mean carbs in carbs? It didn’t make sense to me however it was actually ok.

 

I don’t know that I’d have it again but I didn’t hate it.

We had a really good flight back. We made some beautiful memories and had a few new experiences.

We had a few hours wait in Sydney where I saw for the first time that there is a Qantas Heritage Museum in the Qantas domestic terminal. It was pretty interesting and if you ever find yourself in there, I’d recommend you going in! I loved seeing how the uniforms had changed over the years

Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of that area.

In a couple of months hubby and I will be bound for Europe so I’m sure I will be updating then!

Thanks for following this blog and as always, I’d love to hear about your own experiences travelling.

Until next we fly….

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In search of Cherry Blossom – Part Seven

One thing I haven’t talked about yet is the amount of bicycles here. Everyone rides. They are more likely to get on a bike than in a car. In fact, you’ll see “bike parks” more often than car parks and they’ll be full. A lot of the bikes aren’t even locked because that’s just the way they roll here.

The one thing I still can’t get used to is how the bikes will just whizz past you on the footpath. There is no right of way. There is no “keep left” or “keep right”. They will just come wherever they think they will fit and they go first. Walk at your own peril. I’m just so amazed that we haven’t seen an accident yet. Whatever the law is, it doesn’t matter, bikes rule and that’s that.

This morning I again walked down to Dotonbori. I really love being out first thing in the morning and now that the weather has warmed up it’s just so beautiful.

Hubby and I were debating whether to travel to another town by train again or just go to the Aquarium which is somewhere I really wanted to go. I couldn’t see the sense in being on the train for a couple of hours to travel somewhere when there were still things here we hadn’t seen. I couldn’t justify losing a minimum of four hours for a return trip to somewhere.

So off we went, bound for the Aquarium! I was pretty excited!!

We got off at Osakako Station and passed by signs for Legoworld.  We didn’t go in but we DID see this giraffe which was pretty cool… There’s also a huge Ferris Wheel here.


There were quite a lot of people, even given the fact that it was a Tuesday afternoon.

As soon as you walk in, you find yourself  walking through the aquarium with fish swimming above and alongside you. It’s pretty freaky!


And you follow a path that takes you through to different sections. Marine life from different areas of the globe. There is lots of information in English so that was good!

The penguins look so cute right!!

There were quite a few of these crabs in the tank and they just looked like huge ugly spiders!!! I was NOT a fan! I have to admit though, they may be ugly but they also look pretty magnificent.

The Jelly Fish area was pretty amazing!

We got to an area near the end where we were able to touch the fish (and sting rays) in the tank.  I did it too and it was so yucky slimy!!
They had a few warning signs up but I don’t know that I’d be comfortable letting young children just put their hands in the tanks

 

 

I did take tons more photos but don’t want to bore you all. We had a really good time in there and I’m glad we ended up going.

IMG_5810Next stop was Universal Studios!
Well, not Universal Studio’s itself but the Universal City walk next to it.
We found a free ferry to take us over which was handy because if we were going to go by train, Google Maps was telling us to allow over an hour!

The ferry ride was only a few minutes and if you look close enough at the pic on the left, you might see it on the left hand side of the picture.

The exit/entrance for Universal Studios looks out onto this walk and there are a lot of American Chains here.

I even got to sit on Forrest Gump’s bench!

We had a very late lunch at this Italian place. I’m pretty sure it’s a chain here. Hubby wasn’t happy with what he ordered (I tease him that he always orders the wrong thing) but I was pretty happy with mine!! Especially that Dori! Geez that stuff’s good!

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By the time we left this area it was getting towards 6pm and we’d been walking for most of the day. Hubby really want to go to Cosmos square Station. I’m not sure why because I hadn’t seen what he was looking at for this area but I trusted him…

We got there, and it looked pretty barren. He led us to this “interesting” building. It seemed like there were a lot of Government Departments there… There was also an International Ferry station. He kept trying to build it up but I wasn’t fooled. The best thing I found there was a Daiso Store.

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It was pretty light when we entered but a short time later it was dark. We took a few photos of this interesting area outside.


but there weren’t many people around and it just seemed like we shouldn’t be there. Nothing was happening..

I was so glad to be on the train back home…

And in case anyone doesn’t know, I’ll leave you with instructions on how to use a Western Toilet. Handy information.

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In search of Cherry Blossom – Part Six

Thankfully the weather wasn’t as brutally cold today! I left our little apartment just before 7am and it was quite comfortable to walk around.
I managed to walk down to the Dotonbori and took a pic to prove to hubby that I’d been there!

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When I got back hubby and I had some breakfast then headed for Osaka station. We were going to Kobe today!

When the conductors come into your carriage on the train, they bow, walk through, then bow again before leaving the carriage.

It wasn’t long before we got into Kobe. Hubby had looked at a few things he wanted to do there. One was the “Kawasaki Good Time” museum and another was the Shin-Kobe Ropeway up past the Nonobiki waterfall to some Herb Garden.
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But first, Starbucks.

I’m beginning to hate this chain as hubby can’t seem to function without it.

This Starbucks was in an interesting building (left) in an interesting area of Kobe.

We saw a few things in this area that I guess were relating to tourists?

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I only took a photo of the Sherlock Holmes one but there were more.

I’m sure if I searched online I’d find out the story behind this area.

After his coffee hubby was back on getting to the Rope Cars.

I just wasn’t into the rope car idea.

I hate the thought of being suspended like that.

I did really want to see the waterfall though so I persuaded hubby to just walk up there. I thought it would be a peaceful way to get up and enjoy… well enjoy the serenity!

 


There were a few steep bits but mostly it was a pretty mild climb up.

 

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We were able to see the waterfall from a few different levels. The sound of the water rushing past was also quite loud. I really loved it here. It was just so peaceful. I could have stayed there a little longer but it was time to move on to the next thing.
Here are a few pictures I took from a few different viewing areas.

 


What I love about Kobe is they have these beautiful hills on one side, and the water on the other. Kind of like Adelaide but even closer together than Adelaide. Really, it’s such a beautiful city.

Last time we were in Kobe, hubby and I lunched at this buffet place. It must have made a big impression on us as we found ourselves gravitating towards there again today.
There really was a great selection of foods from Japanese staples to Italian food and things like fries. It was lovely and familiar.
I’m just not adventerous when it comes to food and was really really craving pasta today.

The views from our table were pretty special too! I thought I took some photos but I can’t find them. Here are a few from the Observatory Tower that we went to earlier in the day and some while we were out and about.

 


We’ve seen a lot of naked women statues in Osaka and there were more in Kobe.

 


After lunch we were in search of the Kawasaki Good Times Museum. We saw it in the distance!

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But what we didn’t know is that it’s closed on Monday’s… argh!!! Will have to research that one better next time.

We decided to wander the streets a bit more and found ourselves going through China Town where hubby made a friend with one of the stall holders who really really really wanted to be Australian just like us.

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Sadly we did all we could do in the few hours we were there and were soon back on the train back to Osaka.

We found ourselves back at the Umeda Sky Building and went up again.

 


Riding down those escalators BETWEEN buildings at such a great height is really something!

 


IMG_5709We stopped for a drink and watched the suited people rushing by to get wherever they really needed to be.

This place was cute because it seemed none of the workers spoke any English. Hubby pointed to the drink he wanted (they had bottles behind glass).

It took two workers to understand what we were ordering.

Two minutes later they come back to us saying “sold out” and they were both holding four bottles each from which hubby could make his second choice.

They are just so accommodating here!

So sad that our trip is quickly coming to an end. How did that happen?

I’m leaving with a picture for an ad that I saw today. I don’t know what this is advertising. Perhaps you have an idea?

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In search of Cherry Blossom – Part Five

I feel like I need to change the title of these entries as the Cherry Blossom is just about gone and as much as I search, I don’t think I’ll be seeing any more in the Osaka area.

I went out walking early this morning and although it was still very frosty cold, there was little cloud and when the sun shone on you, it was almost pleasant.


I had been reading reviews of a couple of places just south of Dotonbori. One was the Shinsekai district and the other was the Tennoji Zoo. I’m not a huge fan of keeping animals in cages and when I read the reviews of Tennoji Zoo I was horrified. It made me more curious to see it though which probably makes me part of the problem…

Before the zoo we did see the Shinsekai area. This is what I read before going there.
Shinsekai is an old neighbourhood located south of Osaka’s downtown area. The neighbourhood was created in 1912 with New York as a model for its southern half and Paris for its northern half.

I can’t say that I saw anything that reminded me of Paris or New York. It seemed like any other district that had a lot of restaurants and a few shops.
Hubby and I have been having a difficult time (as usual) finding where to go to eat. Although I do like some things, I can’t say I’m a huge fan of Japanese food. We decided to get some lunch before heading on to the zoo but walked around this area four or five times before finally going into one restaurant. We regretted it almost immediately as we couldn’t really find anything on the menu we wanted but we couldn’t just walk out…

We ended up choosing a few things.

Oh, I forgot to mention, they brought out a bowl of raw cabbage (gratis) before our food. Hubby ate it but I wasn’t a fan.
The food we had was ok, it just tastes like everything else we’ve had here. Those round potato type things in the pic on the right were the best. They had some cheesy gooey mess inside and hubby loved them!

After that we headed on over the zoo which is right near this Shinsekai district.

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It’s only 500 yen to visit (about $6.20 AUD) and we didn’t have anything else planned so hubby and I walked down there.

I didn’t think it was as bad as the reviews I’d read until I saw the cages for some of the big cats.
In any case, here are some of the photos of the animals that I took.


I felt a bit conflicted being there I must admit.

Every time we’ve been in Japan, hubby and I have visited Brooklyn Parlour and mostly it’s been a great experience. We knew there was one in the Americamura section of Dotonbori so we decided to go there for a drink.

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I normally love the atmosphere of this place. Hubby and I got a couple of drinks and watched people at tables nearby doing nothing but taking selfies for the next twenty minutes. They didn’t even touch their food and when it did look like they were going to start touching their food, it was only so they could video themselves “eating” it. Strange.

We walked around Americamura, fighting for space with the rest of the crowds.


If you like people watching, this is the place to be!!

After a bit of shopping we found ourselves being drawn to Hard Rock Cafe.
I must admit, I did like the familiarity of it all.


Lots of tourists in there!! Almost felt like I was back home.
We ordered some loaded fries. We were waiting for them to come but I needed to use the restroom. As I got up I said to hubby “If they come while I’m away don’t start eating them!” which would have been ok but an English speaking server heard me and I was embarrassed. Food ownership is serious business in this marriage!

And after a couple of sangria’s I posed for a photo.
Hubby made me do it.

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Oh and speaking of hubby, he was beside himself with excitement when we passed a McLaren dealership. The photos are taken through the glass window so they’re not the best. We’ve even seen one or two driving around while we’ve been here.


Again, we did a lot of walking today and I was glad to be back in the room, soaking in a nice hot bath.

I’ll leave you with a few more funny signs I saw today. The first one was on the back wall of a toilet cubicle.

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In search of Cherry Blossom – Part Four

We got hit by cold weather today! It didn’t rain and it wasn’t overly windy, it was just frosty cold.
I went walking early this morning and was sorry I hadn’t rugged up more.

Surprisingly, even though it’s Saturday and I was out about 7am, there were still lots of men walking around wearing suits.

There’s some sort of convenience store every few steps but I can’t seem to find diet lemonade in any of them (although there’s lots of alcohol for sale there)

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By the time I got back to the apartment hubby was ready for coffee.

The Starbucks we went to was quite full.

I’ve mentioned before that the Japanese people will put their purses/phones, or any other personal item on a table to “save” it while they go up to make their order. (See this pictured right )

We saw this even in the busy city Starbucks that we were in.

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Hubby wanted to see the Umeda Sky Tower and I was kind of curious to see the Cup Noodle Museum as last time we were in Japan, we happened to visit on the one day of the week that it was closed.

We walked over to the Sky Tower first (left)

We tried to get there by going through as many underground passageways we could find as it was just so cold!

What an interesting building this is! The architecture is just amazing and we discovered that it was designed by the same person who designed Kyoto Station (we visited this yesterday – go back one entry if you missed it!)

You can go right up to Level 39 for free. If you’re brave, you can pay 1000 yen or so (About $12.50 aud) to go up another few levels to the open observation deck.
Level 39 was more than enough for us!


The basement level has an old world Japan feel. It was very peaceful (apart from when the tour group came through) and looked out onto some lovely gardens.


It’s open quite late and we intend on coming back after dark to see the city lights!

Next stop was the Cup Noodle Museum. I didn’t really know what to expect other than we were going to get to make our own ramen at some point.

When we got in we were ushered through to a section that showed the history of ramen. All of it was in Japanese and I think there was an English guide available but we really just wanted to make our ramen so we went straight through to the back to do that.

It was pretty full in there! We were lined up. When we got to the front of the line we were told we were going to personalise our cups, then go over and choose what we wanted to put in there.

We got shown to a table that had special markers on them. The instructions on the table said “Draw your own picture”
Hubby took that quite literally and started drawing a picture of himself. I drew pictures of flowers. He looked over at mine and said “Where’s your picture?” and I said “Right here!” wondering why he was even asking me… and then it hit me, he was expecting me to draw a picture of myself! I just got the giggles so bad after that and couldn’t stop laughing.
Here are the pictures we drew. Hubby’s likeness is pretty good no?


Still giggling we went on over to the back and chose the contents.

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After it comes out, you get to put it in the air locked bag which you can wear around you shoulders.

I thought we were going to be able to eat them right away but unfortunately no.

If you go to the eating area, you have to purchase the noodles from the vending machines and… well just add hot water!

So we did that but it was a bit anti climatic.

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I’m still glad we went. If nothing else, I belly laughed like I haven’t for quite some time.

Back to Osaka station we went. I really wanted to do some shopping. So many interesting things here.

I’m not sure what this thing in the bottom left pic is??

A spaghetti pie?
I don’t know if you can read it but the empty plates in the picture on the right say “Please Wait”

And I’ll just finish off with a few interesting things and signs I saw today.

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Peach coke? I don’t think so!!

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I saw this sign in a few places. I still don’t know what it was trying to communicate.

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