The flight was pretty uneventful. We watched National Treasure 2, Dan In Real Life, 27 Dresses, and some Bali-wood movie everyone slept through. Kansai International Airport is huge, despite being a manmade island that continues to gradually sink into the ocean.
Going through immigration was interesting, we were fingerprinted, photographed, and briefly interviewed by the immigration officers. Going through customs was pretty uneventful though, just a few questions on where we were from and where we were going… they didn’t even ask the standard questions about fruit and vegetables.
We met our host Hiro outside baggage claim and he got us train tickets for the trip to his apartment. Japan has a great public transportation system. Trains and subways can take you anywhere you need. Moving the luggage was really easy in the airport, because there are many escalators and elevators. However, lugging the large bags got very tiring as we moved from the express train to the local trains (subway) because there are lots and lots of stairs.
My (Sean’s) first impression of Japan, upon stepping out of the train station, was being greeted by a huge flat-screen ad for a movie on the side of a building. I imagine those are in New York too, but I’ve never been there. The train ride and walk to the apartment was really like walking into any anime with a cityscape. Everything I’ve seen in anime (regarding architecture, city lights, etc, not monsters) came to life and it was a struggle not to stand around and stare. Too much of a struggle really because Robyn was quite un-impressed (this is her 3rd trip to Osaka) and soon realized she had left me on the curb of the train station, like a deer caught in the headlights from the street level city glow.
Hiro asked what we would like for dinner, and Robyn suggested nikuman because she thought it would be easy and fast. He then led us to “551 Horai” or “go go ichi”, where we picked up nikuman, which are Chinese buns filled with meat and onions. We also got sticky shrimp rice balls wrapped in leaves and caramelized sweet potatoes. Everything we had was very good, but I’m sure it’s just the tip of the iceberg because our host now works at a okonomiyaki restaurant – and it’s a local specialty I’ve seen food network hosts rave about.
I’m very excited to get our money exchanged today and start exploring Osaka. I will be glad to shed the luggage and just walk around with time to enjoy the new scenery.
We have posted some pics in the Honeymoon gallery, the link is at the top of this page.
-Sean & Robyn (mostly Sean)