Before I left Sydney I decided that Japanese youth culture and I were just not going to get along. For a start, I prefer the top of my pants to be ABOVE my knees. Anyway, my work was paying for me to fly to Japan for a week, so who was I to complain?
Despite being a JetStar flight, things were surprisingly comfortable for the 9 hour flight into Osaka. Being in a wing exit row helped – I could stretch out a bit – and the personal video-on-demand unit didn’t hurt either. I was able to watch a couple of movies that I wanted to see (“Love the Beast“, “Fast and Furious“), and was able to jump back to my childhood with a couple of episodes of “Pinky and the Brain” (“Are you pondering what I’m pondering, Pinky?” “I think so Brain, but if you swap the ‘P’ with an ‘O’ my name would be ‘Oinky’!”).
Arriving in Osaka, I was struck by the fact that there were not one but two air bridges allocated to each terminal gate, to help load and unload quicker (or to keep first class away from cattle class), and that we didn’t walk to the baggage carousel and customs – we got on a train! After clearing customs (the cavity search was surprisingly gentle), I was able to catch a bus for the ride out to Moriguchi (about a 70 minute ride).
The area around the hotel (Royal Pines) is not very touristy, Moriguchi being more of an industrial centre, but nevertheless I packed my camera and took to the streets in search of points of interest and food. I wasn’t very successful in either attempt, so I present you with a view from my hotel room. The area at lower left is the train station.
Since I had been unable to buy a power adapter in Australia, and had forgotten to get one at the Osaka airport, I used my short battery life to Skype my wife, read a chapter or two of Jeremy Clarkson’s “Don’t stop me now“, and went to bed.
Morning came. To be honest, today has been a bit of a mad rush and I haven’t had much time to process it yet, but a few salient points stick out.
Firstly, I have decided that the Japanese wouldn’t recognise a good cup of coffee if it fell on them from the top of Mount Fuji. The cappucino I had tonight in the hotel restaurant looked and tasted a little like frothy dishwater. The ‘American Brew’ I had for breakfast this morning was like said dishwater after it had cleaned a good number of sushi bowls. Still and all, it contained caffeine, and so was a necessary evil. Interestingly, the hotel room doesn’t have coffee sachets. Green tea and noodle cups, but no coffee.
Dinner tonight (at the aforementioned restaurant) was quite good, despite the coffee. I ordered ‘Aussie Beef and Vegetables’, being the adventurous type. I should have known better. The meat was excellent, but was served on a plate of bean shoots and onion, with potato, beans, pumpkin, and some red substance with little flavour and less texture. Could have been tofu. Oh, and the eating implements? Chopsticks! How Aussie! Well, we are a multicultural nation, are we not?
The meal was surprisingly cheap: 1500 yen for the main dish (about $18 or so). What was less appealing was the cost of a Johnnie Walker and Coke – also 1500 yen!
Anyway, time to wrap up for the day. I leave you with a smattering of Engrish signs hanging around the hotel room. You’d think that it wouldn’t be hard to hire someone who speaks English natively to translate, but apparently it is. Very hard.