Thursday, July 21, 2005

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Osaka ... finally

Posted by Hippo Bean at 11:03 PM
Today we adventured out to the station and got our reserved shinkansen tickets to Tokyo and managed to figure out how to get the JR to Osaka. JR, hardly the romantic rocky and noisy Eastern European trains that I love so much. We arrived early as we wont be meeting Alex until 1PM. So we went in to Daimaru to shop. Why not? A familiar name that brought back memories of Hong Kong. And what did we buy? Givenchy towels! Alex told us about the Osaka Loop line, so we JR again to the Osakajo Koen station and waited for the dude to show up. As usual he was late and we almost gave up hope. Suddenly he materialized, with sweat all over, carrying his usual overweight backpack, a plastic bag full of fragile gifts (can you please Mom, take em home for me?), and fanning himself just like a regular Japanese. The castle would have to wait just a while longer while we lunched in luxury at the New Otami Hotel, just across from the station. Super expensive sushi we got, but hey, the place was well ac'd, on the table, nice iced green tea which the waitress in formal Japanese Kimono kept refilling, the huge glass windows offered a direct sight of the castle, perched on the hill, wasnt it worth paying more (a lot more)?

Then finally we got to the Osaka castle

Osakajo


and it looked and felt just like the pictures in the magazines. Twice burned down, re-built and moved, this castle had had its days! Completely ac'd inside, a tourist haven. Up on the observation deck, 360 view of the city, gusty winds blowing my sweaty hair, and I could just sit there on the railing for the whole eternity. A soft cool breeze gently brushed my cheeks and suddenly I felt like being finally in the Japan of my dreams. All around the city showed signs of vibrancy, ancient wooden houses intermitten with modern cement and glass high rises, everything, everything revolving around the hill with its ancient but rebuilt castle, that towered above it all, commanding and protecting, with its golden roofs and shiny pure snow white plasters. This was the Japanese city that I liked. Finally.

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