Alright I have to admit, I love Osaka and I’m glad it’s only a one hour train ride away. Not bad.
So I was in class today and at the end my professor asked if anyone was interested in using his JR pass that expired that night. No one wanted it, so I happily accepted the offer. My class gets out a bit late at 4:20 p.m.; so I knew that I wouldn’t have much time to spend in Osaka. However I figured it would be a good learning experience to take the JR line and it would also be more than enough time to go buy more cheesecake.
Right after class, I hopped on my bus to go home and prepare my stuff to go to Osaka. While I was at the guest house, I decided to even invite a friend to come tag along with me since she has her JR pass already.
We made a 30 minute walk down to the train station and quickly hopped on to the JR line. I was surprised because the JR was much more packed with people coming home from school and work compared to the average trains I’ve been taking. Making my way through the station was incredibly overwhelming because it felt like I had to fight through a mob of people all rushing to get to their destinations. I don’t know how the locals are able to do it! The whole process is a blur between chaotic but also organized. Everyone is bustling around and bumping into each other; but yet at the same time they seem to do everything in an organized manner. For example, on one side of the escalator there will be people who are standing, while on the other half of the escalator is kept clear for those who choose to walk. Everyone also seems to know exactly where to go despite the masses of people and complex train station layouts.
Once I made it to my destination, it was the same story, but worse. Osaka is a bigger city than Kyoto, with much more people. Combine that with a bigger train station, and it was bound to get hectic. Since the station had over 15 floors, our GPS was having a hard time locating the cheesecake store, so we did get lost for quite some time. But eventually, we found it and purchased our cheesecake and then went outside the station to get some ramen from a local restaurant.
To my surprise though, this restaurant had people casually smoking cigarettes inside. I do notice that cigarette smoking is far more common here in Japan than in the States, but having to sit next to people smoking while I was eating made it feel as if I was breathing the air in a Vegas buffet casino. Least the service and the ramen was good! So I was pretty happy.
Before heading back home, we made a quick stop at a small store that sold clothes, cosmetics, and other items. What intially caught my eye though was that they had a sale on some cute umbrellas. My mom loves umbrellas and I figured buying her a $10 umbrella as a souvenir would be nice. I picked a really pretty sage green and brown umbrella!
After making my purchase, most of the stores were already closed and the mass of people greatly diminished; so I took the train back home and it was a nice peaceful ride back home to Kyoto.