This was the first real week of classes, and after having gone through them on top of visiting Osaka this weekend, I’m ready to take it easy for the next few weeks.
I ended up moving into a higher level Kanji course; the Japanese teachers are big on people challenging themselves to get better. I’m a bit nervous, but I’ll try to live up to their expectations.
As interesting as my classes are, I’ve got to say, I’d rather talk about my trip to Osaka, ha!
I ended up going to the train station the day before I was planning to go, scoping out the different lines and their stops, because I was afraid to just hop on a train and go. I felt very awkward just wandering around, but I’m glad I went ahead, because I figured out how to buy a pre-paid card, which makes riding on the trains and buses a lot easier.
The next day, I left our seminar house around 8 AM, so I could get an early start on the day. I managed to get to Umeda fairly easily; it was pretty much a straight ride from Hirakata-shi Station to Yodobayashi, and then I took a subway to Umeda.
My destination was, of course, the Osaka Pokemon Center! I’ve always wanted to visit one, ever since I was a kid, because Pokemon was such a pop culture phenomenon, and I still think of it fondly.
The Pokemon Center was on the 14th floor of a larger building, so after I shopped there, I wandered down the different levels, and got to see what a Japanese Department Store is like. I was surprised to see that there were various gachapon machines on some of the levels. I knew that gachapon are popular here, but the extent to which is actually pretty surprising!
The same with vending machines; there’s quite a few just scattered around in neighborhoods, right next to apartment buildings.
Besides going to the Pokemon Center, I ended up walking back down to an area called Den Den Town. There’s a lot to see in Osaka, and as I walked, I got to explore various streets and outdoor malls.
It’s very interesting going from traditional Japan (Kyoto) to modern (Osaka); it’s a nice juxtaposition. Hirakata is a wonderful area, as we’re about halfway between the two. It’s just a straight train ride, either way, and you end up somewhere interesting.
While I think I’m going to take it easy this weekend, give my body (and wallet) a rest, I’m already thinking about things I want to do in the future, and places I want to visit!
Until next time!