Sunday, February 1, 2009

Japan! for 5 days


We checked into the Raizen hostel. Fantastic! Own private rooms, twin size bed, fridge, tv, and public baths = 25 usd. We stayed there 3 nights, would gladly do it again! So that night…we met up with Risa and her friend. She took us to the BEST sushi and sake! I still can’t believe how she spoiled us! By far best sushi I’ve had (the strips of fish on top of rice..) and then had tasty foods ---and she paid for it all! Ahh, I love having great friends, I thank her so much for making this trip fantastic! We even had a lava cake! Haha, I almost laughed when it came out---her favorite Japanese dessert and its probably made in America. ;)

Tanjori (sp?) temple in Osaka. Pictures on Angela’s camera… I met this guy from…no joke…Charlotte, NC. His name is Johnny and he has to go to a foreign country to graduate in International relations. Chose probably the most expensive at this time, but hey, he’s making it work! So we laughed that we even know the same people and hope to meet up once I return to charlotte. He lives in Waxhaw and might in fact teach in Korea after hearing how fun it is. At the temple there was this elderly lady…quite old and tiny, adorable. She was trying to come into the temple and I leaving…she was sooo polite and kept saying “gominosai” = I’m sorry/excuse me, and that I was so kind and it made me happy. I didn’t need to know all the words…just the look was so raw and real! That’s what I like best about language barriers---the human body can have a LOT of communication. Well, fun times and walking a lot more…we had a gorgeous lunch (these 2 older ladies were so intrigued by us, we talked to them for a bit, laughed, not every day they see 4 foreigners that don’t know any Japanese) After, we walked and shopped in these great shopping towers! Like 8 floors of clothes and stuff. Angela went total girl mode---bought shirts and jewelry. Us guys found a manga store and an arcade room. Ah, you’ve never seen so many games and spending coins like its nothing…it’s a whole different world.
After shopping, went out to eat with pretty much the entire foreign group from the hostel, the greatest curry! Then sleep.

Kyoto! Risa was able to find time and was excited to treat us to an adventure! After getting a bit lost, and seeing the Kyoto temple…quickly, we saw monkies! Saw this amazing Japanese garb (guy’s kimono…) and wanted it but I couldn’t get the price down. I gave up, came back later---it was already sold! I was sad the whole train back… we ate and I got Katsu-ju (breaded pork stacked on top of an egg and rice)! Just like in Musashi’s at charlotte, and it tasted JUST like it! Like scary how I found a place that’s very true to its taste. After eating, we go our separate ways…and I got surprised by Risa---she bought me the kimono!! Ahhh, it made my day. Aya and I grabbed a Japanese special sake only in Japan (ryokai? No idea…) and I got to travel the Japanese train alone. First time taking a train alone. Ever. Haha, made it back safe, of course, watched an AWESOME sumo wrestling match on TV and then planned the next day.

Osaka castle. We first checked into our hotel – Sheradon (that’s how they spell it) and ate a cheap rice ball (so yummy and simple) and then made for our 2km walk. Took a while, but worth it! This castle had a moat that was HUGE! And inside was fun to see all the things… and then the view from the top! It was a great clear view, yet again Angela has the pictures. Johnny came with us again, we enjoyed---haha, we did a hand stand in front of the castle---we got quite a crowd of Japanese with that picture, oh my. Then we enjoyed a nice….Italian restaurant? We went looking for good food, and good price, we decide on that one---then realize its Italian. I got tempura shrimp and a niiice piece of steak and rice (instead of noodles). Haha, trying to say “substitute” was quite …difficult to explain. I’m so just glad they have like plates of fake food on display! Asia is so smart in having food on display so we can just point! Johnny had never taken the train…EVER so after dinner we pointed him in the right direction and away he went.
After returning, we called it an easy night of just waking up early to shop some more and then take the plane back.

Tuesday we just went shopping for about an hour---the shopping was horrible around the sheradon, either really expensive or non-existent. We ate some fresh bakery bread and sorts, grabbed the “limousine” bus to the airport and enjoyed just relaxing…I literally spent all my money down to 1 cent! Was awesome trying to buy some socks…the lady paid a few pennies she knew I was trying so hard! Ah, the Japanese people we met were very friendly and very inviting. I would say go and enjoy, just make sure you’ve got deep pockets!

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