Osaka – my final fling

After having a lazy day yesterday, I vowed to be more active today, mainly because it’s my last day in Japan AND I had IC Card credit that needed to be used before going home. I’m on my last ¥1000 ($10) or so, and I set myself a target to go to only free things today, because I don’t want to take any more cash out of the ATM. And I still have to buy my lunch and dinner!

So this is what I did. Just down the road Amerikamura and Dōtonbori so I walked both areas, and people watched for a while. It’s a curious fact that babies and very small children find me fascinating. Maybe because I look so different to what the are used to, but they can’t stop staring and smiling. While I was at Amerikamura, a young family sat quite near me, and of course their baby was entranced by my face. And this led to an interaction with this family, which was quite lovely.

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I stayed for about an hour, and spotted some very interesting Japanese fashion choices (I’m here to tell you that shaved eyebrows look good on NO ONE!) and I’ve come to the conclusion that – as a race and in general, and business suits aside – the Japanese are not what you would call snappy dressers. I look positively stylish in comparison. They put together odd combinations of clothes and shoes that make no sense and would push Trinny and Susannah over the edge!

When I’d had my fill of strange fashion, I wandered the Dōtonbori area, famous for its neon running man and bars and restaurants. It used to be a former red light district, apparently, but it was very quiet when I was there. Not much going on apart from a few homeless men sleeping on benches and under the footbridges.

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So I hightailed it out of there and caught the subway to Osaka Castle and Garden, buying sushi and fresh pineapple from a nearby Lawson Station (a convenience store ubiquitous to Japan like FamilyMarts and 7/11s) for about ¥500 ($5), which still left me enough for tea! I headed over to the garden and found a nice, shady spot under a pine tree of sorts and had myself a picnic.

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And then I strolled through the garden, up to the Osaka Castle entrance gate, and sat and people watched (again – but it is fascinating) and had a conversation (not at the same time!) with an older Taiwanese lady who was part of a tour group and was on her third visit to Japan and a younger lady from Brunei, who was travelling alone and was heading to Hiroshima.

These tiny interactions and small conversations have reminded me, that for all intents and purposes, I have been alone for the last three weeks, and I haven’t had anyone I can regularly talk to. I haven’t minded at all. I have been content in my own company, running my own race, dancing my own dance, alone but not lonely. I don’t think I’ve ever spent this much time truly, physically alone*. And it’s been a good, healthy, timely thing to do. I feel more centred and balanced and – dare I say? – zen, than I did three weeks ago.

But I’m ready to come home. I miss running (I haven’t run for three weeks because I didn’t bring my running gear), my cat, my daughter, my friends and my lovely work family. I miss my bed and my pillows and my kitchen and my bathroom and my TV and being able to use my phone. It’s nice and a luxury to have been able to check out for a while, but I’m very much looking forward to checking back in.

* Thanks to free wifi in every hotel in which I stayed, I could talk to my friends and my daughter every day. So I wasn’t really alone, and still felt connected to what was going on back home.

2 Comments

  • Sacha July 6, 2014 at 4:15 am

    I also love people watching when I am traveling, for some reason 🙂 And the gardens around Osaka are a nice place to sit down and do that haha.
    I just love reading blogs like this to relive my own Japan trip!
    Feel free to read my stories about Japan on my blog too ^-^

    Reply
    • dileeshus July 6, 2014 at 6:39 am

      Thanks Sacha! I can people watch for hours and Japan was particularly interesting 🙂

      Reply

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