Thursday, 5 April 2007
I woke up sore; looking forward to our comfortable softer bed at home. We took our time today, ending up again at the Boulangerie for breakfast. We did not eat right away though. A rapid train for Himeji was at the terminal, so we hopped on that. Two stops and we were in Shin-Osaka. We brunched here as it was past eleven, then caught a local over to Osaka before catching the Osaka Loop Line. We got off at Bentencho and walked parallel to the “subway” (it was above us but still called that) for at least two miles. We noticed Osakans crossing the street even on a red; Hoyt was going to cross but I insisted we should wait. This scenario is referenced in Azumanga Daioh, where an Osakan moved to Tokyo where the lights are strictly obeyed. Next to the Kaiyukan Aquarium was a gigantic ferris wheel. We headed towards that before spotting the aquarium. The aquarium was set up so patrons are taken to the top by escalator, then they walk serpentine-like around the major aquariums with other smaller ones lining the way. It was broken up by region along the Ring of Fire. The otters, penguins, and seals dashed around too fast to capture on camera. A lot of big fish would swim really close to the glass, and some were observing us as well. These animals seemed a lot happier. The whale shark was quite big but looked friendly. It resided in a very large tank with several other fish – quite a few sting rays and at least one mantis. After nearly nine hundred (or seven…) photographs we found the cute little jellyfish. With only seventy pictures left on the two gigabyte memory card, we took a ride on the 123.5 meter high ferris wheel for seven hundred yen a person. Osaka was hazy, so we couldn’t see very far, but we did spot the Akashi Kaikyo bridge in Kobe. Hoyt tried to rock the cabin a few times which was not cool. It moved slowly so no stopping was necessary to get on or off. Afterwards we won a piece of candy each, then took the “subway” from Osakaka back to Bentencho. Onto the JR line back to Osaka, we caught another rapid. This made the trip fast, for it is a ways from Kyoto, but our legs were sore from standing when we made it into the station. I wanted to buy some Japanese clothes, so we found a cute restaurant in the Porta underground mall, then went to Avanti. This sequence wasn’t the best thought out as I was stuffed and trying on clothes, but I found a cute skirt that somehow fit. The top was more difficult. After a few floors we did finally find an okay combination that Hoyt paid for as I put my shoes back on. We had also purchased seat upgrades for the ride to the airport tomorrow and snacks for the flight, so we were pretty spent – in both senses. When we returned to the hotel, we packed most of our belongings then shortly after went to sleep.