It was time for another big city: Osaka!
We arrived in Osaka after an easy train ride, and then proceeded to spend an hour and a half in the train station. Maybe it was less, but it sure felt like that long. First, we had to get the next train reservation for when we leave Osaka. We always want to know which train we will be taking so we minimize time in the stations before we travel. The first ticket office was really busy, so we went to find another one. We walked from exit to exit, trying to find one with fewer people. Finally, we gave up and just waited in one of the lines. Then, we needed to find a post office so we could use an ATM that actually works with our foreign cards (note: Everyone uses cash here. It is kind of nice because it is easier to keep track of how much you are spending). Hubby parked us in front of a (really cool, amazing, fantastic!) fountain with all the luggage while he went off to go find it. He was gone for 22 minutes. I know this because the fountain had a clock function on it. We arrived at 17:45 and we left at 18:07. Sheesh! But, we had money, we had tickets, and we knew where we were going.
Next, we were off to the taxi stand, for which we had to walk halfway back around the station. We got in and told the driver “City Plaza Osaka”. “Huh?” We repeated it. Twice. “Oh! Hai! Shitty Plaza! Honmachi!” Apparently the only way to get someone Japanese speaking (of the taxi driver variety – our only empirical test subject) to understand where our hotel was, was through pronouncing it “shitty plaza”. This made our day. How hilarious is that?
We got to the hotel and needed to go out and get dinner. We decided to go to a big shopping area around Nanba, which had an electronics store where we could buy something to connect our computers to the LAN network in the room so we could get internet. We had some trip planning to do. I was starving all of the sudden, so after the electronic store we went into the first restaurant with udon on the pictures. MISTAKE! NEVER CHOOSE THE FIRST RESTAURANT!
They served cold udon with a fishy brown sauce for dipping. It was really unpalatable, and when I first tried it I made a face, which Hubby didn’t like. (I make horrible faces when I don’t like things, and I am trying to be a better role model for Kiddo.) So I put my big girl pants on and ate the noodles. When I was about 20 bites in, Hubby said, “Let´s go somewhere else, life is too short to eat bad food.” But I dug my heels in. I would eat enough to get full. I didn’t want to waste. I finished about half the bowl, but between Kiddo´s antics, and the cooling lukewarm brown sauce, I just couldn’t get any more down. So we left, and went looking for some dessert. We found some, alright!
We got a “Famiry pack” of 6 custard filled buns. Basically they were just a custard delivery system. I ate THREE and then wanted to die. Hubby ate two, and also wanted to die. The sixth, luckily, was sweet potato flavored, and neither of us dared to eat it. If I gain a kilo upon my return, I will blame at least half of it on those 3 custard bombs.
The next morning the plan was: aquarium. After a failed plan to sleep in and thwart the hours of the free breakfast, we were grumpy and stuffed leaving the hotel at 10:30am. It was really easy to get to the aquarium by metro, but it did take us about 20 minutes walking around the station at our end to find where we could buy the special deal metro pass/aquarium tickets that we read about.
When we got to the aquarium, we were confronted with what must have been hundreds of other families with kids, checking it out. No seriously. That place was JAMMED. Also, I had to pee, and they had no toilets at the entrance. Who does that? So I had to wait, and then I saw an opportunity to sprint the 145m (it was marked on the wall) to the closest restrooms while Kiddo was happily watching the sea otters with Hubby. It took me ages to get there and back because there was nowhere to walk. Kiddo was a bit clingy, but we had some good moments and saw some pretty cool sea life there.
The aquarium is famous for its fancy building, the layout, and the crazy wide collection of sea life. When you come in, you go up a frightfully tall escalator up to the top of the building, and proceed slowly downwards, winding around a series of multistory tanks for sharks, penguins, sea lions, and fish. On the top, you see the seals hopping around on the rocks, while down below you see them gliding under the water. It is pretty cool. The sad part is how little space some of the animals have, especially the penguins and dolphins. About 2/3 of the way through, Kiddo announced she was hungry, which she never does, so we hurried out to find her some food. We got some udon, and she ate a few noodles before passing out in the Ergo. We went home, put her down, worked on the blog (me), napped (Kiddo & Hubby), and faffed away the rest of the afternoon.
For dinner, we went out to Dotonburi, another part of the pedestrian area we checked out the night before. It was insanely crowded. We got some takoyaki (fried octopus fritters) that I liked by Hubby didn’t. Later, Kiddo wanted to get down and walk around and then we had a problem, because we had just entered the bridge where apparently young people go to hit on one another, and it was jam packed with young people holding cigarettes down by their sides – exactly at Kiddo´s eye level. She didn’t want to be picked up though! So, we hurried back to the other pedestrian area, found an udon shop that we had scoped out the night before, had a tasty bowl of noodles, while Kiddo made a huge mess and we tried to tag team to minimize it, before heading to McDonald´s to get her some fries. (Judge away, it’s fine, you are not the one living with Kiddo when she refuses to eat anything. 😉 She just will go hungry rather than eat food she doesn’t like. FRUSTRATING!)
Then we headed back to the hotel, in a taxi, partly just so we could tell the driver “Shitty Plaza, please!”