May 14th, 2012

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We woke at the early hour of 5:30 AM and couldn't get back to sleep. After about an hour, we ventured out of the hostel to locate some form of food. We eventually bought something from a Family Mart, though not the Family Mart within a block of the hostel, and returned to eat it. We set out again shortly afterwards, passing by suited salarymen and people on bicycles headed for work.

Katsu Very Bruce greeted us every day as we set out. It was somehow empowering.

The hostel manager had explained that if we went past the 0101 building, we would come to Dōtonbori, which is a well-known shopping district in Ōsaka. We wandered up that way, but wound up turning in the wrong direction, and for some time we must have just skirted the main streets of Dōtonbori. Part of the trouble was that it was 7 AM and nothing was open, but our getting lost and walking in circles wound up being the norm for our short stay on Ōsaka. We wandered the nearly empty streets for a good two hours before sitting down on a bench by the river to rest our feet and wait for things to open up.

The empty shopping arcade.

The Dōtonbori canal.

At 10 AM, we made our way over to the nearest street, where things had finally started to open up. There was noise and activity, and soon enough we stumbled on one of the true main streets. We walked down the length of it, and on finally reaching the end, we ate lunch at a restaurant advertising okonomiyaki on the next street over. We walked back up partly on the parallel street and partly on the main street, making a few purchases along the way--stationery, checkered socks, and the most amazing Engrish T-shirt.

The foot traffic starts to pick up.

Finally we decided to return to the hostel. This was a small adventure in itself; since we had arrived at Dōtonbori in such a roundabout way, we couldn't quite remember the way back. Several wrong turns, circles, and back-trackings later, we recovered our bearings and found the hostel, where we rested our feet a few hours.

We ventured back out around 6 PM, intending to visit the temple just next to our hostel, only to find it closed. Failing that, we decided to go obtain ice cream, stopping at a cafe which served parfaits and sundaes, in addition to more substantial food that we completely ignored. The host attempted to speak to us in English, which worked out okay until he led us to a table and said something neither of us could make out. He repeated it several times until I told him in Japanese that I didn't understand. He then remarked, "Oh, you speak Japanese," and promptly left us standing at the table while he walked off.

In confusion, we sat, which was apparently the correct action as he returned shortly with menus. Once we'd decided what we wanted, we discovered there was a button on the table to call a server over, which may have been what he was trying to explain to us. Katie had some kind of pudding parfait, while I had a sundae with green tea ice cream and red bean paste. It was listed as a "wafū" or "Japanese style" sundae, and also included a piece of waffle in it, which I can't help thinking was an intentional pun.

We successfully navigated our way back to the hostel this time. Tired from all our walking, I turned on the TV to just vegg out-- but after about half an hour, I realized Katie had fallen asleep and I was having trouble keeping my eyes open. It was only 7:30, but I turned off the TV and the lights and crawled into bed.

December 2016

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