It was kind of funny, when I mentioned I was going on holiday, there were a few odd people who asked me “So are you going snowboarding in Japan?”
No, because it is Summer in Japan and it is so hot! The temperature was around 34-37 degrees. But I couldn’t complain. I was on holidays! Instead, I eventually stopped going out during the day.
To survive the summer heat, one of my best investments was a fan bought from Diaso (100 Yen Store) which is a multi-level (I think 7 levels) store that sells probably everything you can think of for 100 Yen (about $1.25 AUD). Similar to the $2 shop, but better. We totally get ripped off at $2.80 here.
It also helps that there are drink vending machines all over the place. You don’t have to look far to find your next cold beverage. There are some interesting drinks. The Salty Watermelon drink was talked about a lot, so I had to try it. Tastes like watermelon, just not very sweet.
After my visits to Nagoya, Gifu, Toyota & Koyasan I stayed in Osaka for the rest of my trip. I didn’t care about staying in a nice hotel, so I found the Osaka Namba Guesthouse. As I was traveling alone, hostels & backpackers are usually a good place to meet new people. (But this didn’t happen cos French guys only speak French…and my French is limited to…Bonjour?)
The place was comfortable and in a great location. There were just 3 private rooms. I had Wifi, fridge, T.V and air-conditioning, plus didn’t have to share my room with anybody. Plus I didn’t have to go out and look for a laundromat. For 2700 Yen ($33 a night), it was a pretty good deal.
The Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan was a really great way to escape the heat. This aquarium is the biggest aquarium in the world, and I found it very impressive. There were so many different species of animals and underwater life. The aquarium spirals naturally down level by level, circling the main attraction – the Whale shark.
I sat there for hours, watching all the different types of fish swim around. Especially the large school of fish that twisted and turned, creating different shapes. It was really hard to capture on camera.
It made me think about when we were young we use to say…
“When I grow up I want to be a Marine Biologist.” (Because every girl loved dolphins) And then the girl in me picks up a soft toy as I exit through the gift shop. It squeaks.
As the temperatures start to cool down in the evenings, I make a visit to Osaka Castle at sunset, which is quite stunning.
There was a Kendo & Karate practice session happening in a nearby building in the park.
Night time is a good time to visit to the Tsutenkaku Tower to see the city lights of Osaka.
Osaka is FOOD city. NOM NOM NOM! It’s a little hard to get around not knowing any Japanese. But there are plenty of places with pictures menu’s or plastic model replica’s of the food on the menu for you to point, smile and nod at.
I still get confused when using the vending machine system at ‘fast food’ diners in Japan. As I clearly had no idea and the staff kindly tried to help me also by pointing and smiling at the machine. The system is otherwise quite efficient.
Famous foods in Osaka are Takoyaki (Octopus Balls)
Okonomiyaki (A pancake of noodles mixed with egg, flour and ingredients of your choice)
It is also very fun to drink Sake & SoChu at Izakaya bars and try a variety of skewers grilled on the charcoal BBQ. Delicious! This is my favourite!
The Japanese are very adventurous with food. I even tried raw chicken at one of the Izakaya bars. My mum was not impressed.
I think I was pretty lucky to find fun and friendly people at the bars in Osaka. It was a no brainer to try choose bars with English influences, as it was my best bet to find someone who spoke some English. I had a great time at The Dublin Bay Bar where I met some friendly local Japanese people.
As I was missing home, I also dropped into Coolabah, an Australian owned bar. It was footy season, so the bar was buzzing with Footy conversation as the Hawks vs Geelong game had just ended. I’m not crazy about football, but it’s a slice of Australia in Japan 🙂
So i returned to freezing cold Melbourne with a loaded suitcase filled with new clothes, chocolate, lollies, and souvenirs and my heart filled with great memories 😀 xx