So long Sasakis
Trip Start Oct 21, 2006
115Trip End Mar 21, 2008
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Because the guest room at Keigo's is not heated, it gets freezing it at night. To cmpensate, we are provided with several huge, thick duvets. It is boiling hot under the covers and frigidly cold for any exposed skins, making it difficult to know what to wear to bed.
It's another late start this morning so, by the time we get downstairs, the whole family is waiting for us. Keigo's mother and sister have been cooking all morning for us, so we are immediately bombarded with food from all angles.
Keigo drives us to the bus station and sees us safely on to the Hiroshima-Osaka express. The bullet train covers the 400+ kilometres in only 90 minutes, compared to the 4.5 hours on the bus, but costs twice as much, so our bus gets us in to Osaka at 9:30pm. There we are met by another favourite ex-roommate, Shige Shimizu.
The first thing we notice about Osaka, on the train to Shige's apartment, is how many people there are. Although Tokyo has a much larger population, it felt very spread out, with its four or five 'downtowns'. Osaka is a huge city in its own right, at just a shade under 9 million people, but it feels compressed and congested, like everyone is in the same place at the same time.
Shige's place is very different from Keigo's. Whereas Keigo lived in a traditional-style house in a semi-rural village, Shige has a modern one-bedroom apartment in a high-rise in a built-up part of Osaka. He has the flash TV, hardwood floors and the hi-tech toilet with all the heiroglyphic buttons on it. His wife of less than a month, Mayumi, is very friendly and speaks English, and she rustles up another huge feast for us.
Where I stayed