Tag Archives: japan

Osaka Adventure – Day 6

Well, the trip is winding down to a close, and just in time (I think I’m just about out of fuel). We spent the day at a nearby amusement park that JC was jonesin’ to go to. The rides were pretty tame, but the company was good, so it made for a fun day. Managed to sneak in another nikuman for dinner, so I’d call it a day well spent just for that!

I’ve had a fantastic time here. We pretty much nailed every kind of experience I wanted to hit in the short week I was here, and I am extremely grateful to Scott and his friends for hosting me. Thanks, you guys!

Tomorrow we’re going to chill out in Osaka before I have to go to the airport, maybe hit up an arcade or two. Who can say! Anyway, that about wraps it up.

Hooray for Japan!

Osaka Adventure – Day 5

I really should have called this series “Kyoto Adventure” and been done with it, since we’ve been spending way more time in Kyoto than Osaka. Anyway, today Scott and I went to Monkey Mountain, which is exactly what it sounds like.

On the train out, two little old ladies sat down next to where we were standing and started doing origami. Scott commented how unusual that was to see – people randomly doing origami on the train – and we laughed and chatted about it a bit. When they were done, the little old ladies handed their origamis to us without a word! It was the cutest thing ever! Scott thinks they were intending to give them to us from the start.

The monkey part was, like all things cool in Japan, at the top of a very tall and steep mountain. But the climb was worth it! The monkey colony that lives in the park is very chill with the presence of humans, so it was great to sit and observe them and feed them in the feeding area. Plus, the view of Kyoto was fantastic! Photos of monkeydom found here.

At the base of Monkey Mountain we did some shopping (I got so much Kyoto-style mochi candy to bring back, you guys. Insomniacs, prepare yourselves, because it’s coming to work!). We then went into the city for dinner, and I had two nikuman all to myself. NOM!

We went to one of the conveyor-belt sushi restaurants, only this one had a second track where you could place orders and a little shinkansen would bring it to your table. Glutted on fish, we set out for home, and I am exhausted! I think I’m done climbin mountains for a bit, you guys. Still, it was worth it!

Osaka Adventure – Day 4

More of Kyoto adventure again, sort of, kind of. Today we ventured out to the boonies at the very end of the rail line to visit Mr. Kurama, which is host to the Kurama Temple and a fantastic natural onsen. We climbed about a billion stairs and winding paths up the mountain, but every step was a magical corner, so it was totally worth it.

I’ll let the photos tell the story of that place.

Meanwhile, the natural onsen was amaaaaaaaazing. I feel like the onsen is the one experience that I truly can never get in the United States, so I soaked up as much of it as I could. Japanese treats can be sought out and bought if you try, but I don’t have my hopes up for the public bathhouses to ever catch on in the States. Alas!

After a busy day on the mountain, we came back to Scott’s city and played about at the arcade. Here I was introduced to purikura, which OH MY GOD WHY DO WE NOT HAVE THIS IN THE US?? It would go over SOOOOO well with the fledgling teenage girl crowd! Hells, it would go over well with the ballers.

For those who don’t know what purikura is, it’s essentially a photo booth that prints out stickers, only way elaborate. You can fit like 5 people into the booth, and you pick your backgrounds and whatever, and then you have countdowns to get into your poses. The photos are lit really well, so when you’re all done, you get to draw on them and put stamps on them and add fake eyelashes to people and change peoples’ hair colors. All kinds of fun stuff like that. The photos you get are tiny, of course, but they’re super cute and fun to stick on whatever.

After arcading, Scott, JC, Marius and I did karaoke into the wee hours (look, midnight is a wee hour for me these days). It was my first Japanese karaoke experience, and while it was fun, it really just made me miss my Rock Band sessions with Nick and Nathan. I will be full of songs upon my return, guys!

Osaka Adventure – Day 3

Well, Kyoto adventure today. Scott lives in a town that is smack between Kyoto and Osaka, so it’s great for day trips to either one. After a tasty gyoza lunch, we set out on the train to visit Kyomizu Temple.

I love temples and shrines in Japan! They are so beautiful! It was very busy today, since it’s Saturday on holiday. It was pretty big and sprawling, but we made it to the top eventually. There was a beautiful view of Kyoto on one side and the mountain foresty area on the other.

I’ll let my photos do most of the talking for this one (on facebook for now, I’ll get them up on Picasa eventually)

At one moment I noticed a worm worming its way across the footpath, and was like “oh noes he will get squished!” so stopped to capture him and transport him to safety. This apparently utterly baffled an older lady who passed me, and she looked at Scott in amazement. Can’t help it, the worm was in danger!

On the way back down from the temple, we found a nikuman stand, much to my delight. LOVES ME SOME NIKUMAN!

It was an exhausting day at the temple, so we’re just takin it easy for tonight. The future holds museums and onsens.

Osaka Adventure – Day 2

Yesterday was the one day on my visit that Scott had classes, so I took it easy and did the vacationing part of my vacation (meaning lots of naps). I did venture out for a walk around the neighborhood, hence the most recent batch of photos.

When the crew came back from class, we began preparations for the night’s nabe party. Nabe is like hot pot, except there’s just one big pot that you shove everything into and everyone dishes out from it. We went to the grocery to pick up ingredients, and I rode on the back of Scott’s bicycle. It kind of gave me flashbacks to when I was little and rode in that plastic seat attached to the back of my dad’s bike, though less terrifying and more painful over bumps.

The nabe party was delicious! There were 11 of us packed into the room, so we needed 2 pots, but there was plenty of tasty food to go around. Scott explained that nabe parties are pretty typical for the college crowd in Japan. I think I’d like to wrangle one together back home!

Now, even though I’m pretty much over my jetlag, I’m still an early bird and get sleepy way early. The plan was to go to karaoke after the nabe party, but 11 rolled around and I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I do not have the stamina to keep up with these college kids! Granted, when I was in undergrad I rarely had the stamina to keep up then, so maybe it’s just me. Anyway, I ducked out of karaoke, and it’s a good thing because they JUST got back (it’s like 6am over here). There’s no way I would have made it.

Anyway, a fun day!

Osaka Adventure – Day 1

We got right off to an adventurous start today. After waking up and enjoying a tasty Scott-cooked breakfast, we made our way to The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum.

Lo, the educational wonders of the rich history of instant ramen! A large timeline wall displayed every product since instant ramen’s inception in 1958! A colorful cartoon clearly geared for 10-year-olds explained the birth of the idea for cup noodles! And best of all…

That’s right, I got to make my very own instant ramen! And I mean the noodles themselves – we got to roll them out and cut them and decorate our own package! Let’s ignore the fact that Sena and I were the only two adults participating. Don’t worry, photos will be forthcoming.

Other than that, I got reacquainted with all the little things I loved about Japan from my last visit: the textured sidewalk paths for the blind, CC Lemon, those little shortbread and chocolate things in the shapes of mushrooms, etc.

This evening, Scott cooked a delicious dinner of rice and pork and veggies. They have lemon-infused soy sauce here! I want to bring some home, if I can, but the logistics are tricky since I don’t have any checked luggage. Anyway, Scott’s mom would be proud of the cooking prowess he has inherited from her 🙂

Osaka Adventure – Travel Phase

I am safe in Osaka, all! Chillaxing at the airport, currently, as Scott went to the wrong airport to get me, doh! Worry not, through the magic of Skype and free wireless internet, we were able to touch base and he is on the train bound for the correct airport 🙂

Meanwhile, the traveling phase went well enough. One of my super powers is my ability to sleep like a rock in even the most uncomfortable of situations, so I snoozed soundly through the long flight to Seoul. On the brief moments I was awake, the lady next to me was very enthusiastic about chatting and sharing her life story. She was bound home for the Philippines, she has seven children (all grown up), she and her husband have been married for 50 years and just got done driving up the coast of California and back. She was very nice, and envied my ability to sleep for the majority of the 14 hour flight.

Meanwhile, I had the longest layover EVER in Seoul. I got in at about 5am and my flight out wasn’t until 1pm, so there was ample time for killing. I’d never been to Korea before, and even though I don’t technically count being in just an airport as having visited a place, I did find the place enjoyable. For one, I think all airports could do with more large touch screen displays that give you step by step visual directions from where you are to whatever gate you need to go.

Also, they had these classy relaxation/lounge areas on the upper floors of the airports, with really comfy lounge couch chair thingies. I promptly took a nap for several hours 🙂

I killed the rest of the day with naps, a nice breakfast/lunch/jetlag meal (gyoza and orange soda, does it count as ethnic? I think it’s still airport food, but it was tasty), interneting (I wish all airports in the world had free wifi!) and playing Phoenix Wright.

The hop from Seoul to Osaka was short enough, and now I wait for the arrival of Scott. What remains to be seen is if I can hold out for real food or if I’m going to buy 3 boxes of pocky and devour them before he gets here. Only time will tell!

General Update

Things are going well in the Lisa-verse! Life is busy but good and generally on the up-and-up, though Derby season always makes me a little homesick for Louisville.

Last night, Nick and Nathan and Ross and I spent the evening playing Arkham Horror, which was my first time playing the game. I liked it quite a bit! I’m a sucker for cooperative board games anyway, but this one had a nice adventure element going on with it. It is very much like playing a one-shot session of D&D without the planning overhead that the DM has to do. Thinking about it in this way made it much easier to stomach the fact that it’s a 5 hour game.

Granted, we all were devoured in the end, but I’d happily devote another evening to it. Next time I play I’ll have a much better understanding of how things work, and make a more educated choice in my character.

Other updates!

1. Mr. Davis is doing really well – he loves the clicker training, goes out on walks with me, and is generally all about affection and snuggles. However, he has recently taken up the habit of climbing up the screen door when he’s riled up and playing, which is problematic. What I need is a long, narrow strip of carpet that I can mount on the wall for him to climb up. Any idea on where to procure such an item?

2. I’m going to Japan in like 2 weeks! SO EXCITED! I’ll be visiting Scott Coffrin, who I haven’t seen in years, so that will be fun. It’s a short, week-long trip, and I’ll be in Osaka for most of it, with a day trip to Kyoto somewhere in there. Can’t wait!

3. I have a boyfriend! That’s old news to most of you, but I know not everyone keeps up with facebook relationship status changes 🙂 We are going out on a fancy-pants date this very evening, in fact.

4. Work remains busy and fun and exciting and awesome.

That’s about it from me for now, I suppose.

Japan Trip Update Number 4: Stitched Pictures

This next entry is more for my own gratification than for easy viewing. You see, I am no photographer. I have no concept of proper composition and any of that, so when I am in a stunningly beautiful place with a camera, I tend to stand in one spot, and take a series of pictures in rotation, hoping to stitch them together in a panorama that is somehow closer to the true experience than one frame.

This never works.

Firstly, stitching photos together is no closer to being in the real place, and the end result just looks like…well…a bunch of photos stitched together. Secondly, the pictures are HUUUUUGE, and you can’t really view them in their entirety on screen. In this case, the thumbnails will probably be more interesting than the actual pictures. But, I still try my hardest. Some of them are pretty rough, others (like the bamboo forest) went together rather well.

Photo stitching