Once I’d recovered from my Tanabata frivolities (not quite as painful as I’d anticipated – although I did have a bruised tailbone, from my Japanese toilet experience), it was time to head off to Kansai/Kinki. Have to admit that I find great amusement in the fact that a whole region in
(for those curious ones among you, Kinki is 近畿. It means something along the lines of ‘near the emperor’s place’…)
Actually, you can read about all of the adventures on Sandi’s blog. It’s seems kind of redundant to write everything twice – and Sandi has written so nicely about it all. And despite what people say, ‘Fame! I want to live forever’ is an excellent karaoke song…
Needless to say we had a great time.
But if you EVER go to
One thing that was really weird was being like a fish out of water. I hadn’t realized how comfortable or used to being in Kawasaki/Tokyo/Yokohama I was. Of course this is home, but I have a tendency to think that ‘Japan’ is home. Well, traveling around the Osaka/Nara area, I realized that ‘Japan’ is not home, but Kanto is home. Everything in Osaka is kind of the same but different. People stand on the wrong side of the escalators; all the TV channels have different numbers; people speak differently and lots of other little things. The biggest thing though, was having absolutely NO idea where I was or what train lines I needed. I was in a JR station in the middle of Osaka somewhere looking at the train map. I knew where I wanted to go, but I couldn’t find it on the map. If I were in Tokyo, looking at a JR map, I know left side=Kanagawa; right side=Chiba; middle=Tokyo; top=Saitama. In Osaka, I knew where I wanted to go, but I had absolutely NO idea where to look on the map. I ended up giving up and asking a random salary man, and he pointed it out to me & showed me how to use the ticket machine…must have assumed I was a helpless foreigner. Oh wait…I was!!
It was just a really bizarre feeling for me. Guess if I were to spend more time there, it would be different, but I have to admit that I did feel a little twinge of relief to be back in Kanagawa again…
We also stopped of for a quick visit to Nagoya on the way back. Went over and had a look at the castle, which was pretty impressive. Especially as it is a very very VERY old castle AND it's made of concrete. (No, it's not very old. Well, it is. But as it's been burnt down, hit by earthquakes and several other natural disasters, it's had to be rebuilt a few times...same design though)