vrijdag 17 december 2010

Last blog from Japan

As the train took us into Osaka, we realized we were entering a city that could only be rivaled by the likes of Tokyo. Seemingly endless grey blocks of flats, electricity wires looping in and out of streets and buildings, numbers of commuters rising with every stop closer to Osaka Station. Even though Nara had been relatively large -bigger than what we had anticipated- nothing compares to a Japanese big city. Once we ventured into Osaka Station, we promptly got completely lost (they’re renovating, and so it was like walking through Amsterdam Central but then x100 and in Japanese) and had to ask directions for the exit (which in any other country might have inspired a fit of laughter, but not in Japan- they take everyone seriously and no questions are stupid questions).
It was pissing rain, so we decided to spend our day at Osaka’s best indoor sight, the aquarium. Not just any aquarium- by true Asian standards, it involved things that had never been done before, in this case housing not one but TWO whale sharks and a great white. Worth the visit, obviously. So we and the rest of Osaka’s temporary residents (inculding lots of small children whose voices are greatly amplified by glass just in case you were wondering) spent a day admiring the latter, and everything else you can find in any ocean anywhere on Earth (it was big). We were impressed, but also decided we like aquariums as much as we like zoos- not much. The animals looked like they could use a lot more room. We also went to Den Den Town, Osaka’s manga district, where we fought the crowds of businessmen and Japan’s geeks stocking up on manga literature and figurines (it is serious besiness! So much so we wondered how some of these guys’ houses must have looked). 8-story buildings, and not just one but ten in a row, all selling books, dvds (even months in advance), magazines, action figures, do-it-yourself figurines of any and many sorts.... However, all literature is sealed and described in Japanese, so we ended up buying a souvernier manga magazine which was VERY explicit and VERY illegal in the Western world (although not in Japan, suprisingly), as it contained animal sex and even a story that involved children. Needless to say, we donated it to the nearest garbage can the next day... Oops. Fortunately Daniel’s other souvenier, a figurine of a maid (hot stuff in Manga world), was more than enough to take home.
We also spent a day wandering Osaka’s two hip-n-happening districts, America-mura and Dotombashi. The outfits got weirder and weirder, but were totally fashion-savvy at the same time. If either of us were to dress like that we would look like complete idoits, but the Japanese somehow make it work. Daniel shot 10 rolls of film taking portraits of Osaka’s young and fabulous, so we have lots to look forward to when we get home!

Ah, Japan. You were over before we knew it.

It was wonderful knowing you. We’ll be back.

1 opmerking:

  1. Very good. Thanks Heather. I CAN do it!!! Love all the postings and photographs. Daniel you're doing a wonderful job. In the middle of a blizzard here...dad about to get stuck in Brussels as he tries to get home from Dublin. He thought he'd be clever and go via there as Schiphol as is closed. Unfortunately I don't think the trains are running either. I slid my way home from Naarderheem- it took me 1 and a half hours instead of the normal 20 mins. You guys are well out of it! Love to you both. Big hugs. XX