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Published: March 5th 2016
Osaka came and went. And it is quite the place - but I'm very glad all the cities in Japan we visited were drastically different from each other.
Our arrival to Osaka took us to Dotonbori, this is a pedestrian only zone with lots of shops, street food, and yet nowhere to sit down. Well... nowhere to sit down except the "beer garden" we stumbled upon. That afternoon it was a balmy 16 degrees and sunny so it felt perfect grabbing a few brews, even if the Japanese pour draft with a quarter head... We also grabbed some Takoyaki which is an Osaka specialty. It's a delicious dumpling with green onion, ginger, and most importantly the octopus (Tako). They're served up covered in mayonnaise and some other sauce and go down real well with beer.
The rest of the day we wandered around, went to a crazy arcade, and had some more fantastic sushi. The following day I went to the Osaka Aquarium - which is something I tend to do on all my trips. This one was not a disappointment, not even close. I did not see a whale shark in SE Asia while scuba diving - bit
did see 2 in the aquarium. Not to mention the penguins, seals, cuttlefish, giant crabs, and an amazing jellyfish display. Our last day in Osaka and Japan was reserved for some souvenir shopping as well as taking the train out of town to go to Nara. It's home to a park full of sacred Sika Deer. They're protected and considered an important part of the Shinto faith. Oh, and they're totally docile and just roam around the city. For the low low price of 150 yen (1.65 CAD) you can buy your own stack of deer crackers and then be their God as they surround you looking for food. Even without the food you can get some pretty rad selfies and hang out with them.
Beijing has been... interesting. It's seriously dirty and disgustingly polluted. I have been quite annoyed with the people as well as they sre the opposite of polite, hauk up loogies and spit everywhere, and generally show no respect. Also as a pedestrian you have no rights apparently regardless of the signals. The air pollution is atrocious. It's like a foggy day outside but you can taste the smog, then at the end of the
day when you blow your nose it's as if you've been grinding or working with something dusty all day. Not to mention everybody smokes. Oh, and all this shitty air is pulled into the HVAC system at the hotel. The lack of convenience stores or any shop to buy something to drink compared to Japan or elsewhere in Asia was seriously inconvenient. All that aside we weren't super impressed by the Forbidden city or Tienamen square. Maybe the hour long security checkpoint queue with a million pushing shoving Chinese people had something to do with it...
Anyways, we're headed to Pyongyang in North Korea in a few hours. I am certain that I won't be heard from until we get back to Beijing in 6 days.
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