Alright we are going to catch up before this busy weekend in one fell swoop. First of all, an update! I have now installed the third bike bell on my bike (grr) and this one has a compass. Excellent. Also! We have booked buses and planes! and hostels for Golden Week: a brief jaunt to Nagasaki! I also have a few class field trips then too. (Golden Week=a huge cluster of national holidays that form a vacation...with two school days in the middle -.-)
So! Monday my speaking partner Riyo has no class, and I only have class until 1, so we decided to give Namba a once over. Namba is the southern part of Osaka, featuring popular shopping and nightlife places such as Shinsaibashi and Dotonbori. It also has a small Akihabara-like area called Den Den Town. We also wanted to go to a observation tower known as Tsutenkaku, home of the Biliken, the God of Happiness (apparently it was originally an American charm, haha). Lots to do!
So we arrive in Namba and head to the famous picture spots: a giant freakin crab (see pictures) and the Glico running man, which is a running dude advertisement that people pose running in front of, which we also did. There was also this famous Waldo-looking dude to take pictures in front of, but there was a karaoke place near it and really loud advertising people were there, and Riyo managed to get a picture of us with him, but it was difficult. We also got some lunch before heading to Den Den Town, because I don't have enough One Piece stuff (in my defense, what I bought I was already intending to buy somewhere else, AND it was on sale. Win.) I did buy a magic trick though; a One Piece cards magic trick. Awesome, I just have to translate the instructions!
We then saw a Mister Donut and stopped of course. They started making cute teddy bear donuts; it was delicious :)
Next, we headed to Shinsekai to go to Tsutenkaku! It was a bit funky, because the one floor was obviously under construction, but the observation area was pretty. There were these cute dioramas on the way up too, but the descriptions were in Japanese. Of course they had a crazy gift shop, and we took a picture as we wished on the Biliken. At this point, the photographer asked Riyo what country I was from. I answered America. Everyone was surprised, and he said he studied abroad there (he spoke too fast, Riyo told me that's what he said haha). Gaijin surprise #1.
I didn't mention earlier we noticed this awesome looking ferris wheel on Don Quixote, which is a store you can buy literally anything at. We decided to head there next; meanwhile its getting dark and the buildings are starting to light up! Yay! But not the Glico man yet, boo. So we go to Don Quixote, and we buy tickets, but when we walk in we can't find how to get to the ferris wheel. Then I look at the tickets we bought, which were definitely for a boat tour, not a ferris wheel. Riyo returns them to the guy who thankfully gives us our money back, and he says the ferris wheel has been closed for 5 years. Fail. It looked really cool too.
Meanwhile, Glico still has not lit up, and night life is beginning. There are people standing around asking if you are looking for a bar, and they make suggestions. Happily, we were looking for a bar (for dinner) and this nice lady led us to one with a discount coupon. Win.
While she was walking us there, I was taking a picture while we were walking (I have developed such ability, whether the pictures are good or not all the time however remains to be seen) and she asked if I wanted to take a picture. When I answered 'I walk and take pictures' in Japanese, she made this face o.o Gaijin surprise #2.
The bar food, however, was so good, but like the other bars I've been to, expensive. Still, there was fried cheese mochi, and it was delicious. AND the waiter was also surprised with my Japanese ability, asking Riyo where I was from; Gaijin surprise #3.
When we left the restaurant everything was lit up! Yay! And the Host guys were out, oh boy. Simply put, Hosts are guys who serve and entertain you at a bar for a price. To put it nicely. So there were about 50 well dressed guys with crazy hair milling about; my speaking partner was freaking out. I laughed. Even they aren't dangerous in a country whose major problem is bike theft.
So that was a fun evening :)
Next on the list, yesterday after class I went to Iwashimizu Hachimangu, a shrine nearby my station for warriors (how could I not, right? lol) I get to the station, and stare at the map a while until I figure out the direction to walk, and it turns out I have to take a cable car...sweet!
....And my camera dies. Grrr. So I work off of some older batteries, which miraculously make it through the shrine for pictures and things. It was a beaaaaaauuuuutiful day, and there was a nice path to walk up before I got there, and it was really nice. They had ceremonial (untipped!) arrows you could get, but it was expensive and I'm going on an airplane. Haha.
Busy weekend! Now that time's running out, I can't travel enough!