Sunday, August 9, 2015

Day 21 - The Big City

Well, again a sad good-bye - this time from the half of our family that had to fly back to Switzerland. Since we were in Osaka anyway, we decided to spend the day in this huge city. As we travelled through Japan with only two big bags which now were going back to Switzerland, we first needed a storage place for our two backpacks and six (or seven?) plastic bags. Unfortunately, there was not a single coin locker available at all three locker sites in Shin-Osaka station! At Osaka main station, we finally found one available locker at the third locker site. What an effort to get rid of our baggage - but at least there are so many locker site around here.

A 8-storey department store, specialized on gadgets of all kinds. Thousand versions of cameras, camera bags, camera tripods, watches, mobile phones, smartphone cases (12 double-shelves full of cases for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus), hobby articles, headphones, TVs, computers, toilets, games, movies, CDs, kitchen stuff, home tools and of course fashion........
Our first stop was the so-called Floating Garden of Osaka. Originally being planned as a garden in the sky between four highrises, what was actually built was two highrises with an observation deck in between. After taking an elevator for the first ca. 40 floors, you go up the last three floors by an escalator in the sky, and that's how you get an amazing view over Osaka. For some unknown reason, everything has to do with couple and love here. There was a place for couples to hang an engraved padlock, or a big heart as a photo background - were my father and me posed for fun.

The escalator in the sky

Nice view for a café, though.

When we were driving to Osaka Castle by train, we realized that it started to rain. Because we knew from the weather forecast that this was supposed to be only showers, we took shelter under a roof. But the sky became blacker and blacker, and suddenly a lightning stroke very close to us. We experienced the heaviest downpour ever for about ten mins. As a result, the temperature was a bit lower, but the humidity rose to infinity. So even more sweating.......

However, Osaka Castle is worth the effort. It's not as large as we thought it to be, and there are a lot of tourists, but with its green roofs and the gold adornments, the green park and the broad castle moat, it's just beautiful. Also notable is that it is surrounded by a double system of water ditches and walls, and that the inner wall system is elevated to an extent that you can hardly believe it has been done without any bulldozers.

Our final stop on this day was a German restaurant in Osaka. Why should Swiss go for German food? No, it wasn't desparation after three weeks of sushi, sashimi, rice, okonomijaki, tonkatso etc. etc. Instead, we wanted to test this place as a potential venue for inviting our Japanese friends. Not much to our surprise (cheese is not a favorite food over here), you have to rely on a German restaurant for this purpose because there are no Swiss restaurants. The German food was quite authentic and good, by the way. We tried Schnitzel, potato salad, Spätzle, Gulasch and an Apfelkuchen for dessert - as well as our sparkling summer drink favorites like Spezi and Radler.

What I learned? Never, but never take a hat to a country with a hot and humid climate. It just makes you sweating even more, as you're already doing, even though you think that's not possible.

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