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July 2, 2004

In the land of sake and sushi!

The Travel Channel

Japan Day 1 and 2 - Osaka and Hiroshima
After getting up early and spending the next 9 hours on Japan Airlines morning flight to Tokyo me and Carina arrived at Narita Airport tired and confused. Lots of people, mostly strange signs everywhere but intersped with some numbers and a few words in english, we tried finding our way out of the airport and deciding what to do. It was getting late and our original plan of heading to Hiroshima straight away appeared to be impossible as we were told that no night-trains were operating. Using or JR Railpasses we booked tickes for Osaka instead, hoping to find somewhere to stay once we got there.

When ordering we had been very unsure if a Green (first class) railpass was worth the extra money, but getting an almost empty train-car with large reclineable seats and plenty of space was definitively worth it after the long flight from Brisbane in tourist class.
Getting beds at a youth hostel also turned out to be impossible, as they close the doors at 10p.m, enforcing a curfew even for guests. A big poster at the train-station exit came to our rescue, despite beeing completely in japanese and the prices beeing the only thing we could read, we managed to locate a hotel with free beds and have a taxi take us there.
The hotel had plenty of availability, so despite ordering the cheapest room they had for 7200 yen a night we got upgraded to a executive class that confirmed many of the rumours I've heard about Japan. The bed and pillow was rock hard, the only seating was at a straw mat with pillows and a low table, and the toilet had internal heating, automatic startup when you sat down and showers and hot-air drying from below!

A night in a decent hotel (of which we still don't know the name) did good, so we could start the day fresh and well rested. We began by a short tour of Osaka were the only attraction was the Osaka Castle, an impressive structure built by the local Warlord in the 1600's. The inside of the caste was a bit dissapointing however, as everything was converted to a modern museum that wasn't even very interesting, and had most of the exhibits in japanese only. After a few hours we returned to Shin-Osaka station and boarded a Shinkansen bullet-train headed for Hiroshima.

Beeing happy with the quite cheap hotels in Japan we booked into the Toyoko Inn right in the middle of Hiroshima city, which is where I'm writing this at one of the hotels free internet terminals in the lobby. It was only after checking in and while walking around the Memorial Peace Garden the fact that I'm actually in Japan sank in. I was actually walking around in the city of Hiroshima, looking at the Atomic bomb dome, the only building near Ground Zero that was left standing after the nuclear bombing of the city at the end of World War 2. The historical importance of that moment seemed to linger in the air still with dozens of monuments, memorials and symbols of peace placed around the large park covering several acres of Hiroshimas inner city.

Shaking off the chill of a brutal past, we walked over to another park where a reconstruction of the Hiroshima Castle was standing. Japanese architechture is definatly something of its own, with all the bent roofs and dragon-gargoyles everywhere, one must wonder why they went to such lengths with details even in the guard-towers and castle-walls. Taking our mind off of history, we then walked back towards the hotel through the main shopping district, an enourmous shopping mall/covered street with hundreds of shops with the distinct japanese traits of neon and happy, colourful, figures. Going on we passed through the nightlife district were clubs and pubs were just opening, and were we located a small and cozy japanese resturant to have dinner at. it is a good thing I have mastered the art of chopsticks, because the beef-cutlets and rice I ordered was delicious! And made even better by the soy-sauces they serve here that are so much better than Kikkoman that it is almost beyond description... YuM!

But now it's time for a shower after a long day out in the hot summer sun of Japan, before we'll take a walk back through the nightlife area to see if there is anything happening tonight. Maybe we'll stop by one of the many Karaoke bars we've heard so much about...!

Comments

Japan høres ganske tøft ut, men virker også litt innviklet - slik jeg forstår det på din fortelling står mesteparten på japansk?

Nå er vi uansett innlosjert her i Spring Hill, og har kunnet kalle oss brisbanere i en uke. ADSL er til og med på plass, og vi ser frem til studiestart.

Posted by: Knut at July 4, 2004 8:45 PM

Forresten, har du noen bra plasser, butikker, steder - noe i det hele tatt - å anbefale som vi må få med oss, nå som vi er her i Brisbane?

Posted by: Knut at July 6, 2004 5:48 PM

*kremt* Carina and me *kremt*

Posted by: Erik at July 10, 2004 4:04 PM

Erik: pfft. jeg synes det høres mye bedre ut når det skrives andre veien. sådetså!

Knut: japan var litt tungvindt ja, som er utførlig beskrevet i de neste innleggene, for anbefalinger er det jo bare å lese igjennom arkivet på siden her, så får du med deg alt det jeg har gjort og opplevd :-)

Posted by: Telcontar at July 10, 2004 7:50 PM
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