Sonntag, 8. April 2012

April 8 - Osaka

This morning we got up very late and had a brunch from 11:45 to 12:15 at one of the noodle restaurants in the underpass. Then we tried to find an internet cafe and only with the help of an information center we could find one. We checked and replied to our emails and 1 hour later we were bound for Osaka castle. There I saw my first cherry blossom tree and lots of them were about to follow.

Cherry blossom
One of my requests for that trip was to see or let`s better say to follow the cherry blossoms in Japan. The cherry blossom season starts at the end of March/beginning of April in the south part of Japan and goes southwards. It depends on the weather and the wind, but usually you can enjoy the cherry blossoms at one place for about a week. This is why Yuki and I met in Osaka and were continuing our trip northwards. Actually my arrival date in Osaka was a little late for the cherry blossom season over there but as one of my japanese friends said: "Katja, you are such a lucky girl!!!" Because of the cold weather at the end of March and beginning of April the season started a little bit later and so I just arrived with the cherry blossom season in Osaka. We were able to follow the wonderful trees all the way up to Tokyo! So thanks a lot to the weather good:-)

Osaka, close to the castle
my first cherry blossom tree
Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle

Some information about Osaka Castle
View from the observation deck of the Castle to Osaka

About the Castle
The castle is an 8 story building. What I liked the most were the displayed screens on the first floor, the full-scale replica of the golden tea room on the 3rd floor and the pair of dolphins (one is seen on that last picture) embellished the top roof of the main tower of Osaka Castle. Restored in 1931 according to estimates of the original, the pair was repaired in 1996. The present-day dolphins were cast in bronze and covered with gold leaf applications.

When stayed at the Castle for about 2 hours (15:00 to 17:00) , than we ate pancakes while we were walking along the river "Kastera".
Impressions of our walk:

Several dogs were dressed like this in Osaka
Yuki eating pancakes

I had a "Tapioka" drink
Next to the river were a kind of cherry blossom alley were people celebrated: most of them were gathering on huge plastic sheets, having a barbecue together and drinking alcohol. One guy was crazy enough to jump into the river, even though it was very cold outside:-) Were were strolling around, oberserving people and enjoying the cherry blossoms:

People enjoying the cherry blossoms

garbage collection

cherry blossoms
Our next and last destination for that day was a district of Osaka named "Namba". Namba is known as an entertainment district and hosts many of the city's most popular bars, restaurants and nightclubs. The area is also known for shopping and the huge neon signs comparable with (and in my opinion better than) Times Square in New York.

Octopus restaurant at Namba

shopping street

the huge crabs in the tank were still alive
We had dinner at the "Creo-Ru" restaurant at "Doutonboristreet". For me as well as for Yuki it was the first time to order our meal like this:
We got a kind of "talking ordering stick" and had to select our meal by touching a special field under the picture of the meal we wanted to eat. Like this:
ordering my meal
 Then we had to press a button showing the amount of the just ordered fries and after finishing the order there was a return button. In case we needed some help there was also a button to call the waiter and a button to prepare the bill.
Here are the buttons that needed to be touched for the amount

Eating fries "Kushikatsu" (famous food for Osaka) and drinking Calpis

entrance of Creo-Ru restaurant

advertisment for swallen fish
After the very delicious dinner we continued walking along the street and enjoyed the neon signs:

neon signs at Namba

Yuki and I


We were back at the hotel at 22:30 and finally - after talking about next day`s plan - laying in bed at 1:15.

For those you don`t know me very well, here some explanations about my friend:
Yuki and I met in Vancouver in 2005. We were housemates for about half a year and since then we`ve been in touch. Truly I can say that she`s become my very best friend over the years.
We try to talk via Skype regularly and usually when we call each other it doesn`t last less than 4 hours:-) I already visited her once in Japan in 2006 and she visited me in Germany 2008. Now it is my second time in Japan and I can be really lucky because she took all her vacation (2 weeks!) to travel with me in her home country. In advance she made a perfect plan how to travel from one place to the other one, where to sleep and what to see. Actually I didn`t need to prepare anything for that trip - thanks to her!:-) THANK YOU YUKI!!!

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