Actually, the realisation that Nagoya is not particularly exciting has come as a relief. Since this is the only part of Japan that I had seen, I was starting to think that this was it - hence the moany groany posts - but now, I have seen the error of my ways: I went to Osaka and I'm a born again Japan fan.
An excellent omen was the fact that we got on the bus, not exactly excited about the three and a half hour journey ahead of us, til we spotted this:
Sega on a bus! On the back of every seat! Inspired. I played Sonic for a considerable amount of the journey. How long before Bus Eireann bring it in d'you think?
We squeezed just about all the sightseeing into one day, since you could get a one-day subway pass that let you into all the touristy stuff for free. It's like the Japan that I had imagined before coming here - crazy neon lights and weirdly dressed people and just lovely chaos really. And if you go further north towards the river, it's all gardens, families, farmers' markets, food stalls and buskers. Basically just a very cool city. Token tourist photos below.
|So we went to Osaka castle..|
|..got on a giant ferris wheel..|
|..saw Osaka from the sky..|
|..ate okonomiyaki - a delicious cabbage omelette thing..|
|..went up the Umeda Sky Tower..|
|..to see this (incredible)..|
|..went on a boat trip along the river..|
|..went to mental sweet shops..|
|..saw the groom turn up for his wedding with his best man dressed as the bride..|
|..ate super-delicious Korean battery pancake goodness with honey..|
|..went to the rose garden by the river for sunset..|
|..and saw a giant rubber duck.|
On Sunday, we went from Osaka to Nara, which is an old capital city of Japan and has the biggest Buddha statue in the country.
It is also famous for its deer, which there are hundreds of just wandering around, chilling out on the pavement, walking down the street and wreaking general havoc.
Why are deer always portrayed as cute and timid and loveable? These deer gave Bambi a bad name. You can buy special deer biscuits to feed them with, which we did straight away and regretted even sooner. I was attacked by three of the greedy buggers, all butting and pucking me for the bloody biscuits, and then one of them bit my leg. While I doubt deer bite was ever listed as a cause of death, it is quite a painful thing, let me tell you. No biscuits for them.
Nara feels quite small and it was a beautiful Autumn afternoon so we just wandered around seeing all the shrines and temples. There were lots of traditionally dressed people at the last shrine we went to, as there was a wedding and a christening (not the same couple), so behold my favourite photo of the weekend.
|Kimono girl at Kasuga-taisha shrine, Nara|