Osaka sunny day tour

Trip Start Apr 25, 2006
Trip End Apr 25, 2007

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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Getting up at sparrow's, I confirmed the forecast was indeed correct and I'd been blessed with an entire sunny day. Unfortunately, the forecast also revealed the remainder of my time in Osaka would most likely be shrouded in rain, hail, fog, cloud etc etc... and as fate would have it, it was also the only day that Keiko had to work and couldn't show me around.

That bummer aside, I set off for the Osaka Zoo where I found that today was in fact the allotted day for every school kid in Osaka to go on an excursion. There were hundreds of the little tackers all over the place - I think they make an appearance in every single bloody photo! Not to worry... they ended up stealing the show at an otherwise mediocre zoo. Highlight for me was when one of the kids spotted the Australian coat-of-arms on my Wallabies top (that's with a roo and emu by the way) and he started going crazy pointing at my top and then at the kangaroo enclosure that we happened to be standing next to. Secondary highlight was going into the koala exhibition - in darkness - and basically trampling a few kids because I couldn't see them and they were absolutely all over the place. That's right folks, the Osaka Zoo highlights involved a kangaroo and koala - who would have thunk it? I must also mention that out of all the animals in the zoo, our lovely natives were by far the laziest and could well have been stuffed toys. The kids loved them though.

Next stop - Osaka Castle. More kids. Everywhere. At least now there were high school kids and that meant schoolgirls. Giggling schoolgirls, saying "Hello" and asking "How are you?" as I waded through the masses of people inside the castle. Not exactly your stereotypical ancient castle - complete with lifts, escalators, plasma screen displays etc. Still made for a nice bunch of photos, but definitely not the #1 pick castle in Japan.

Then it was the History Museum, which was not short on classy displays with projectors, sound effects, scale models and whatnot, but it was unfortunately completely void of any english translations so I had to make up my own stories.

Across the road was the International Peace Centre, which basically told the WWII story from Osaka's point-of-view. Plenty of gore, tragic witness accounts, and lots of mentions of "indiscriminate bombing by the US". Was interesting to a point, but really was just a precursor for the Main Event in Hiroshima.

At this stage it was getting a bit late so I made a dash for the Maritime Museum - the bloody thing was closing just as I got there, and I wasn't able to talk them around with my sound effects of whooshing wind and running on the spot (supposed to translate to "I'll be fast"). I was a bit disappointed because it looked pretty cool. Fortunately it was very near to the "CosmoTower" where I had planned to watch a bit of sunset action, so I headed there just in time and started the ascent to the ridiculously high observation deck. The trip included a few minutes in a lift, followed by a few escalators, followed by a super-duper long escalator to heaven. Getting married up there must be popular, because there were bridal shops and reception halls all over the place! The city lights were great, and I even got to watch a bit of a rooftop game of soccer before heading off on the long journey back to Keiko's place (about 1.5hrs).

The Inada family were waiting for me at the train station near their place, and took me to an awesome restaurant where we got to BBQ a selection of meats right there at our table. It was all amazingly presented (as you'd expect in Japan), and as a bonus was damn delicious too...
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