Last Wednesday afternoon right after class, I ran back to the apartment, grabbed my backpack, and caught a bus for the airport. Later that evening, I found myself landing in the Kansai International Airport right outside of Osaka, Japan. The reason for this trip was to visit a good friend (L) of mine and Sue's that we knew from both Yale and Seattle.
The covered markets around L's neighborhood. We went to a little Izakaya nearby where she knew the owner. We had dinner and a few drinks but didn't hang out too late. Went back to her apartment to plan the next day's activities.
So Thursday morning we took the train out to Himeji where there's a big castle. I'm told that this is the castle that puts the rest of the Japanese castles to shame.
Pretty picture of the castle framed with cherry blossoms. I apparently managed to hit the tail end of the cherry blossom viewing season (which only lasts about a week or so).
Warning sign in the castle. But what if write something using neat penmanship that's not a scribble?
Spears and muskets.
We then went off Akashi where we went searching for some of the octopus snacks (Akashiyaki) that the area is known for. (Refer to the food page.)
Some sign for a restaurant. I just found this really entertaining as the expression on the octopus' face is one of total surprise like he just won that fish in the lottery or something.
As the afternoon wore on, we made our way back to Osaka. We took a leisurely stroll from the train station along the water over to the Osaka Castle.
Along the way, we saw a very entertaining scene of a guy net-fishing off the side of a jet ski!
Close up of some of the stonework. After having seen Machu Picchu last summer, while very good, the Incan stonework is still at a level higher than that of this Japanese stonework.
Close up of the Osaka Castle.
After resting up at the apartment for a while, we went back out in search of dinner.
On the way, L showed me this silly "cafe" where basically you pay money and you can go and sit around and play with dogs and puppies. There are menus where you can but doggie treats and what not. I suppose its's probably less hassle than owning a dog in a crowded city.
Large Japanese cities seem to have a problem with old men making unwanted advances (accidental contact or even outright groping) on women. So during certain hours, there are some train cars that are reserved exclusively for women.