Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Just back from a few days in Osaka. We went by bullet train [Shinkansen] and it only took 3 hours from Tokyo to Osaka. [About 300 miles I think - it slows down for station but otherwise I think we were going about 130 miles an hour]. It was a great experience. The staff leave carriages backwards, bowing to the carriage before the doors close - how nice is that?

The only issue was that sometimes it's going so fast that when it passes through bridges, the passing bars can create a strobe-like effect which is a bit uncomfortable.

I saw cranes and Mount Fuji, and there was never more than 5 fields between more houses. Never-ending people the whole way.

I did chicken out when I realised that we had to be at Tokyo station [7-8 stops away from Shibuya] during Tokyo rush hour. We went down to the desk to ask for advice - who agreed that it would be an utter-cram fest on the train.

Tokyo taxis are notoriously expensive but I didn't care. The trains are so busy at rush hour that if you have a panic attack or faint no-one else will notice and you can't even move your arms. No thanks... The taxi was fun to do - the doors are operated by the driver so you don't touch them - and there's no tipping!

This was our Shinakansen - the Hikari Tokaido Superexpress. 14 carriages of high-speed delight.

Found these funky little posters all over the Osaka stations - there were more in the series but we only snapped this one. Look at the drivers placid happy little face ... then the stern order "Stay out of here!" below. I'm sure these are done by the artist that does the Miffy books, but there was no mention [maybe there was and it was in Japanese]

We visited the Osaka Aquarium after dumping bags at the hotel - we also picked up a gap-year Australian student who was doing around the world on his own *gulp* the confidence of youth! This was me next to the King-daddy of the spider-crab tank.

We missed the whale shark - it's not in the tank for 3 days out of the year, and we chose to go on one of those days *sigh* The tank it was in was full of tuna, schools of fish, etc. - it was truely amazing and I probably can't convey just how big the whale shark's tank was. It took up 3 floor levels in depth - and each time you went down a floor you could view it from a different angle.

This was one of the cute little signs posted around the aquarium - this was in the jungle section and means 'watch out for falling leaves'. I love how all the Japanese cute signs convey their messages - they always graphically illustrate the reason why you aren't allowed to do something, but then soften the blow with kawaii little characters. Like to mind your fingers in the closing lift doors - they have stickers of cute little crabs grabbing at fingers.

This was us outside the aquarium.

And the next day we went to Universal Studios - which was hot, hot, hot and lotsa fun! The Spiderman ride was immense - but I was too scared and ended up hiding under the boy's armpit! Ditto Back to Future ride. Made all the more scary by the fact they're in Japanese so I don't know what's going on, when monster's are coming and so on. I liked the ET ride though, and managed to get my way and go round Snoopy's kiddyland - nice and safe.

The highlight of my life! I met the actual Japanese Hello Kitty!!! She was lovely and held my hands and posed with me for this photo. I smiled for a long time :-)

Tomorrow - Yuzawaya in Kichijoji - prepare for immense yarn purchases!


Midsummer night's knitter said...

'Osaka' - sounds so Japanese somehow...

Lynette said...

Ooooo...I wanna go on that train, too...

sienna said...

That crab looks like something out of the movie Aliens!!