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03 August 2007 @ 02:08 am
Kansai vacation day 1 - Osaka-jo castle  
I'm baaaaack!!! =^.^= *mwah*

There's so much vacation to talk about, and so many pictures, that I decided to split it up into multiple days. (Of course, the fact that it's already reeaaaally late at night has absolutely nothing to do with this...)

My vacation was great!! It was wonderful to spend days surrounded by two of my close friends, and getting away from Tokyo was just what I needed. Despite the fact that the vacation was more running around and less relaxing, I feel refreshed and ready to face the world! Nothing can bring me down!! ^o^

I had a great time, and took a TON of pictures!!! =^__^= There were a lot of in-jokes that came from this trip, and overall, I think that it was one of the nicest and most exciting vacations that I've ever taken. And even though I somehow spent way too much money (and I have nothing to show for it!! Almost no souveniers...... it was all spent on phenomenally high train fares and good foods), and am flat-broke, am still a bit physically tired from it, and somehow gained 10 kilos (!!!!) on the trip, I am soooo glad that I was able to scrape together the money to go! *pumps fist* I'm so energized, life can only keep getting better and better!! =^___^=

So... yeah! ^-^ I want to talk about the trip!

Day 1 was spent on a bus ride into Kansai (for me) and bullet train (for my friends). LOL I have this to say.... if I can help it, I will NEVER take the bus again! It's very uncomfortable and really, really hot or cold. There doesn't seem to be a medium! Although I would consider taking it if I was with a friend. =D

This is the overnight bus that I came in on (It took about 10 hours). The Seishun Megadream night bus.

We're on our way! =D

Just camwhoring. ^^;; But oh well, this is what my journal's for! To talk about my life..... ^_^;
Anyways, when I got to Osaka station, I had a few hours to kill and the only thing open was Chococro (a cafe). It was really nice inside, and I stole the bathroom to freshen up after such a long ride. ^^;; But I did buy a GREAT yuzu smoothie!! <3

In the same building that the cafe was in, it turned out that there was a Jump store. Not too exciting, but I killed some time staring at the absolutely GIANT (taller than me!) stuffed Gintama dog outside!

Through the eye of the hound... (Ami had loaned me her camera for the trip, btw. So a lot of these pictures are taken with it, though the amusement park ones and a few random ones weren't.. I didn't want to bring it to the park of course ^^;;)

So after I met up with Eda and Erin, we stowed our luggage in a locker and ran off in the heat+humidity (it really wasn't so hot temperature-wise, but it was clear so the sun was a bit brutal, and it was really humid so it felt hotter..) to check out Osaka-jo, which is a famous castle. Japanese castle, which always throws me off, because I think of castles as the King Arthur kinds. But this one was quite awesome in its own right!! =)

On the way, the grounds outside the moat are quite... interesting!

A pretty fountain..

And continuing on the grounds.... I love the.. pillars... of trees. XD;

They're so big!!

Eda told me to take a picture.. It say on the sign "No tents (etc) allowed". And yet right nearby.. Actually, the homeless "city" there was kind of fascinating.

Nature vs. The City.

I thought this looked a little bit like a picture on a postcard. ^^;

The bridge that crosses the castle moat.

Approaching the "castle".

There was a rock garden below the castle. I forget the significance, though.. But it was really pretty. We had a rather pesky japanese lady try to become our tour guide. So persistent! I didn't mind really, but it seemed like the others wanted to shake her off, so we did eventually just after this..

I forget whose grave this was, but there was pop bottles and the like set in front of it. It seemed tacky, but there is so kind of significance to it, if I remember correctly. Well, I covered it up with my body, in any case. ^^;;

Completely by chance, I set the camera on timer and put it on a rock to take a picture, and it came out framed perfectly! ♥ So awesome!! ^o^ What a smart camera! =D;;

Steps leading to the castle path... I love taking pictures of things full of texture, like this. ^^

And here is the castle!!

And me vs. the castle! Sadly, castle trumps me. =D It's bigger, and seriously, you eventually learn to get out of the way of things bigger than you (my rule of the road, though this does not hold true for semis..)

Me and Erin ♥

And some detail of the castle..

Trees around the grounds had special wind chimes in them that blew softly in the light breeze that day.. ^^

After this, we were beat and it was time to check into our hotel near Nara. I will talk about the beautiful hotel later, and it's amazing food, but for now I will leave you with this: Osaka has the BEST okonomiyaki (japanese pizza) EVER. Hands down! I like okonomiyaki, but I wasn't a huge fan until we got some from a chain store on a whim for dinner that night. Now I understand why Osaka is famous for okonomiyaki!!!! The difference is almost a 180 from Tokyo okonomiyaki! I don't know how to adequately describe it, but just let me say... the flavor is so intense and delicious..!! I'm forever in love and SO having okonomiyaki whenever I go back that way <3

Here it is in the process of cooking:

And after that, we were beat! Considering the heat and the fact that I'd had no more than 4 hours sleep on a bouncing, uncomfortable bus, I'm sure nobody was surprised that it took me all of 5 minutesto conk out after hitting the pillow. XD;; And so ended the first day of Kansai!! I'll update more tomorrow, now it's definitely time for some sleep!! ^o^ Oyasumi ne!
Current Location: home in Tokyo
Anguilaelectragretchen on August 2nd, 2007 05:16 pm (UTC)
I would cry if I see that castle, is so awesome, the details.
くらやみひみつkurayamihimitsu on August 2nd, 2007 05:33 pm (UTC)
ooooh~ i'm heading off to Osaka and such in just a few hours!!! Are there any places you really really reccomend?
Hi-chan (火ちゃん)hinoai on August 2nd, 2007 11:08 pm (UTC)
Definitely go to see the deer in Nara, and the Osaka Kaikyukan aquarium. I think those were two of my favorite spots. ^^
Francesca {フランチェスカ}fantasy2004 on August 2nd, 2007 06:24 pm (UTC)
Wow awsome pictures. thanks for sharing. I am also glad that you had a nice vacation.
Kira_Shadow: Myselfkira_shadow on August 2nd, 2007 07:35 pm (UTC)
You already went!!
I hope my travel tips arrived in time?!?!

Aah...looking at your pix makes me miss Japan and Osaka and you so much already...the japanese exchanges students I'm working with at the moment aren't helping that fact either T.T


the best okonomiyaki are still from hiroshima XD
home of okonomiyaki I tell you!!
no I'm not biased because I lived there for like 3 months...

Hi-chan (火ちゃん)hinoai on August 2nd, 2007 11:10 pm (UTC)
*hugs* Thank you for the tips! I did get them before I left, though I didn't get a chance to look at them because the two or three days before I left were so hectic. I didn't have time for even blinking, it felt! ^^;

Hiroshima is the best? Oooh, if it's better than Osaka, then I definitely have to try it!
Kira_Shadow: Myselfkira_shadow on August 3rd, 2007 09:24 am (UTC)
ah gomen!
things were a little hectic here as well after I came back @_@

yeah do visit hiroshima.
it's well worth a visit and well...the people there say that they have the best okonomiyaki... (and they do...even my friend said so after trying the hiroshima okonomiyaki...they're cheap and there's LOADS of stuff on them...)
Vickytoldtojoinlj on August 2nd, 2007 07:58 pm (UTC)
Welcome home~
Glad that you had a wonderful time. :3
That castle is gorgeous, and the homeless "city" reminds me of Tokyo Godfathers.
Rei: マッスおにぎりrenge_kun on August 2nd, 2007 08:21 pm (UTC)
Beautiful pictures! You have a wonderful perspective. The okonomiyaki looks absolutely delicious. ^.^ Can't wait to see the rest of your trip.
Mindamindaroth on August 2nd, 2007 10:59 pm (UTC)
If you ever get a yearning for good okonomiyaki, I know a good place in Asakusa that is equally good as the Osaka stuff.
Hi-chan (火ちゃん)hinoai on August 2nd, 2007 11:11 pm (UTC)
Ooh, promise? If it's really as good, then I'm THERE! ^o^
Mindamindaroth on August 3rd, 2007 12:34 pm (UTC)
Yup! Unless my palette is just not as refined as yours, but I get mouth-watery when I think of it. I'll take you sometime.
Glenburning_batsu on August 3rd, 2007 12:35 am (UTC)
Good to see you had such a great time, the pictures you took turned out really nice ^____^
C L O V E R: Fallidyllica on August 3rd, 2007 01:06 am (UTC)
Beautiful pictures. The okonomiyaki (sp?) looks delicious. Lovely pictures. I especially love the castle. It looks...so grand and I love the green pillars.
Kei: *snugs*aoi_tenshi on August 3rd, 2007 01:39 am (UTC)
Uwa awesome pictures!! OMG LIFE SIZE SADAHARU FROM GINTAMA *w* Guuuuuh I wants to see in person!

Yey for pictures and yey for being back though *luffs on*
sailorstarsun: nya!sailorstarsun on August 3rd, 2007 01:59 am (UTC)
Gorgeous pictures! .*_*
Sana-chan: Familysana_chan on August 3rd, 2007 03:32 am (UTC)
Wow that is a gorgeous castle *o*

I'm so glad you had a good time!!
❮CHIIAE❯chiiae on August 3rd, 2007 04:02 am (UTC)
Welcome back~~
Looks like you guys had an awesome time! Those are beautiful pictures.
Raynermundist on August 3rd, 2007 04:53 am (UTC)
Yeah, definitely need to get to Japan to see stuff like that. Reminds me of the stuff I saw in China (on some levels). Dunno when it will happen but I'd like it to be as soon as possible.

Good to hear that you had so much fun and I'm happy to see you arrived back home safe and sound.

I'm looking forward to the rest of the pictures.
Chiakichiaki777 on August 3rd, 2007 05:00 am (UTC)
ahh, welcome back. Okonomiyaki is so awesome ^^
ephi: ngilerivles on August 3rd, 2007 08:59 am (UTC)
wow, lovely okonomiyaki. yum
Miyumiyu_princess on August 3rd, 2007 11:44 am (UTC)
you made me hungry with the okonomiyaki pictures ^^
Great to hear you had a good trip. Looking forward to reading more about it!
百加☆nitaspitas on August 3rd, 2007 01:53 pm (UTC)
omg giant Sadaharu! Where was the Jump store? I want to go to one now... I heard there was one in Fukuyama, kind of near me, but I dunno how to get there ><

I love your last pic of the okonomiyaki! Hiroshima okonomiyaki is different--they layer everything instead of mixing all the ingredients together like in the osaka version. I don't really care which version I eat, as long as it's got lots of sauce XD

btw, what's the station nearest your new house again? I wanted to go over and drop my things off before I met up with my friends if I have time. I'll be getting into Tokyo around 12 or 1pm on the 12th. Do you think you'll be around to let me in then?
sacredwindsacredwind on August 6th, 2007 03:44 pm (UTC)
That castle is absolutely stunning....
And the okonomiyaki looks extremely good! ^^