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Published: August 18th 2009
stunning Jelly Fish
7:30pm and I was on a train in Osaka watching an atmospheric buzz of Kimono clad Japanese, while on route to a fireworks display, wondering how only three hours in Osaka could possibly have been so awesome!
I arrived at Shin-Osaka station around 3:20, Oh sorry 3:21 Shinkansen time :-), in usual style I quickly made my way from Shin-Osaka, through the mayhem that is Osaka station and onwards to Fukushima (where I was booked to stay for the night) I checking in, dropped my bags all with a total turn-around time of 1hour 10 minutes, I’m learning how to optimise time! Subway map in hand I headed for my first Oh wow experience in Osaka, the Aquarium. I think if you had seen me walking around the aquarium you would have thought I was 8 years old, it is just the most unreal place! The entire place is a masterpiece and at 35 meters deep astounding is perhaps a good description! They have curated the aquarium in such a way that flanking the main tank are smaller tanks all simulating different environments all of which house some of the most unbelievable aquatic creatures that you have ever seen. Watching
the Whale Shark is great but seeing the weird and wonderful species in the smaller tanks was even more exciting for me. I was completely captivated by the Great Barrier Reef tank and standing watching the resident Emperor penguins in the radiating chill of the Antarctic tank was super!
After my fair share of gawking I eventually emerged from the depths of the Aquarium to be greeted by a brilliant 1ft-balloon eating magician/clown who was equally as good on the tight rope as he was at getting a laugh out of the crowd. Since I had already begun my afternoon regressed to childhood I figured I may as well top things off with a ride on the massive, massive 112.5 m Tempozan Ferris Wheel and boy what a treat!
With all due respect to the writer of the excerpt in the lonely Planet that describes Osaka city as “gray” they clearly missed something and clearly haven’t been to Seoul before! My view of Osaka city, from so high up, could not have been more contrary. Osaka looks like a living Miro painting from above it’s an architectural masterpiece boasting an array of some of the most incredible buildings,
bridges and road works. I am convinced that every time a new building needs to be erected they send the architect up the Tempozan Ferris Wheel so that they can visualize what their new rivalling architectural structure will look like in the existing architectural forest, before they put pen to paper!
17 minutes later, it felt like 40, I’d completed my visual journey of Osaka’s living Miroesk cityscape and with less than 24 hours in another of Japans most incredible cities I had to make the most of my time and as luck would have it, it was fireworks night in Osaka!!
Heading way down south of the city was well worth it cause Asian fireworks are brilliant and it seems everyone you go to is just that little more impressive than the last, this one was no exception. What made the fireworks that much more memorable was that at one point around the middle of the show they somehow managed to get the fireworks to go off in such a way that they sounded like a proper drum crescendo! I have no idea how they got it right (I’m sure firework’s band practice can’t be held too
regularly) but it was astounding, if you’d had your eyes closed you would have thought you were at a music concert! Admittedly I didn’t stay at the fireworks till the end cause there were just 1000’s of people and only one train heading back into the city and I definitely wasn’t going to spend till midnight in a crammed station trying to catch a train so I rather opted out after the fireworks drum roll, suitably impressed and I promptly caught a train back into the city and headed to Namba, Osaka’s entertainment central!
Wow Namba is a mad place, similar to Shibuya in terms of the crazy amounts of psychedelic flashing buildings complete with 1000’s of equally psychedelic people accessorising the pedestrian streets. I happened to bumped into a couple of girls I’d seen in Kyoto and they invited me to join them for a night of Karaoke so off we went but sadly my wallet was finally heading into an economic recession and when I found out how super expensive Karaoke is in Japan (unlike the Nurae bangs in South Korea) and knowing that I would also have to factor in an 'extortive' taxi ride back to
Fukushima from Namba after the fun and songs, I made the more responsible choice (ok admittedly I did try and draw more money but, perhaps luckily, international ATM’s in Japan are few and far between) and headed back towards the hostel to start getting my head around the fact that my amazing trip was at an end and in less than 24 hours I would be back in the ROK :-(!
And departure day arrived much to my disappointment! A word of warning to anyone planning on taking the airport shuttle bus to Kansai it’s a flipping mission to find! I think the powers that be figured that since I had an incident free trip it would be funny to watch me (whilst at an all time loss of personality) walking up and down flights of steps adding a whole bunch of kilometers to my already well walked legs annoyingly in pursuit of this bus! Let’s just say I was practicing my finest “Japanese” while on the hour and a half shuttle bus search! Thankfully I finally found my transportation and I would now no longer have to bide time in the airport cause the morning bus hunt had
absorbed the extra time! Man ending an adventure is not cool, I wish I could travel permanently!
Japan is just the most spectacular place, I loved every minute of it and I hope that I get the opportunity to go back! If you are reading this blog I suggest you get saving and planning cause it’s a country not to be missed! Another fantastic adventure completed and now the planning starts for my next epic exploration while living it up in South Korea for the next two and a half months!
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