Why Blighty?

November 19, 2009 at 12:34 am | Posted in holiday, Me | Leave a comment

A Festival in “Summer” purely dedicated to a month of comedy.

A bookstore on every corner.

A second-hand bookstore on every corner.

Comedians on par with film stars.

The BBC.

Lush countryside.

Giant supermarkets in the middle of a country town.

Waitrose.

Moody weather.

The local pub is the family restaurant.

The tube, the trains and the buses.

2 1/2 hours from Paris.

Production.

The people.

When in Rome, do as the Japanese do (Osaka leg)

August 8, 2008 at 9:54 am | Posted in holiday | Leave a comment
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Caught the train from Kyoto to Osaka and spent about an hour trying to find the bloody hotel. It turned out to be right next to the subway (duh!). The main difference I found with Osaka and Kyoto is that Kyoto seems to be catered towards tourism. Maps for the city of Kyoto are everywhere, the street names are all in english and the transport system is easy. In fact you don’t really need to actually catch public transport anyway in Kyoto. Not really like Osaka.

Street signs are hard to find or not put up. If your hotel is outside of central Kita or Minami, then it does get difficult.

What did I like? That it was crazy! You really only needed to visit two cities to get a sense of what Osaka is like. So here we go:

Umeda – here is where you’ll find department store, after department store, after department store. Not just that, massive underground shopping malls and one of the biggest bookstores ever (Japanese original version of Kinokuniya – which is found in Sydney).

Osaka-Jo – when I went there was a massive summer festival happening at the time. So there was a food festival and live concert. Only problem was to actually buy anything to do with the festival you needed to buy Osaka King dollars. Back to the castle

Den Den Town – or Electric town. Massive street full of electric shops. Namely Bic Camera. If you’ve ever been to Japan you will have seen Bic Camera (they are in every city). It is at least 7 floors full of any electrical goods! I picked up a camera that I don’t believe is available in Australia yet for around $100 less than the price in Oz.

Doguyasuji – An arcade that is completely packed with stores that sell catering equipment. As well as the plastic food displays that are located at the front of restaurants! I picked up frying chopsticks for 6 cents!!

Dotombori – going to Osaka is about checking out the city at night lit up like a Christmas tree. The whole city is lit up with masses of neon lights and there is also the lovely motorised giant crab that features in many photos. Oh and lets not forget the Pachinko parlours that litter the streets (their version of the pokies).

Shinkansen – We ended up catching the Nozomi Shinkansen (or bullet train) by mistake, but what an amazing trip! It was brilliant. I fell asleep unfortunately but it was great flying past the countryside.

Osaka was a step up from Kyoto in terms of city, shopping and people. Tokyo will be three times that! Next!

Mixedlollies adventure – Japan leg (Kyoto)

July 30, 2008 at 8:21 pm | Posted in holiday | Leave a comment

I promise to get pictures up as soon as possible. I am trying to make the most of my internet time. So here we go:

Day 1

Sydney to Osaka

Went from Sydney and flew Singapore Airlines (I believe it was an Airbus) to Singapore. It was pretty good. The screens were big for each person. I sat next to another Australian who was on their way to Tokyo. Landed in Singapore, and went and checked out their airport. It is amazing. Everything looks so new and state of the art. I couldn’t believe it. It was around 10.30pm and there were still heaps of people around. Then flew from Singapore to Osaka (it was 1am!!). It was a smaller plane, but still good. Felt sorry for the guy sitting next to my sister because I kept needing to get past him.

When we landed in Osaka we ended up catching something called the Haruka Airport Express. It’s this nifty train that takes you directly to Osaka station. The train stops at the Airport, then cleaners line up at the doors. They get on the trains (once passengers are off) and then clean each of the carriages! Then the chairs (they are facing the wrong way) automatically spin to face the direction of the train, none of this manually lift the train chair!

Arrived in Kyoto and was greeted to 30+ degrees! Lovely. It was sooo hot, and dragging my suitcase to the hotel almost killed me. Went to check out the following places:

International Manga Museum – brilliant like a giant library where you can take any books off the shelves. It’s based in an old primary school

Nishiki Market – Huge with a whole lot of interesting foods and lots of little shops around. Ended up going into a shop – that is actually locted just off Nishiki – that sells Washi paper and was established in 1663.

Nijo-jo – Ancient castle which used to be the residence for a Shogun. Incredible mainly because of the ancient paintings as well as the Nightingale floor. I think I would have enjoyed it more had I not been melting.

Kiyomizu-Dera – Huge temple at the top of a hill with an amazing view. Went quite early in the morning when there weren’t as many people. The whole building is held on wooden pillars but there are no nails! When I was leaving, there were a lot of people ready to pounce on the temple!

Gion – I think I saw some Geishas, but I can’t be sure. It was a strange part of the city with a lot of beautiful stores that sold a lot of Japanese goods mainly make up, fans and hair ornaments.

Department Stores – Went to a few and won’t name them because they are everywhere! I thought our Department stores were quite good, but they take it to another level of extravagance. Beautiful doors, detailed lifts and incredibly clean.

Food – One of the best places I went to, found by accident. It was almost like a fast food joint, but not quite. It was a udon place where you pick the type of udon you want then you can add toppings and soup. It was fantastic!! An absolutely tasty.

What I love about Japan is the fact that whenever you walk into a store they great you! Or even when you walk past them. The classic was when I went to the loo, and one of the workers was drying her hands and she greeted me the same way if I was in the actual store. You’re in the toilet! You don’t have to greet me. It was lovely though.

Kyoto was brilliant, didn’t have enough time to go to all the places we could have gone.

Osaka next post…

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