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05 January 2011 @ 12:19 am
Japan Travelogue: National holidays, second hand stuff & Nara (2nd, 3rd & 4th of January)  

Hi, minna!

Okay, second entry.

Well, on the 2nd of January, we basically only moved to Osaka. And that was quite some moving. Moving from Tokyo to Osaka is like moving from... well, Tokyo to any other huge city. XDDDDD It's just that the contrast hit me as REALLY huge. Osaka is really much wilder and not nearly as clean as Tokyo. Well, B.A. and I had thought we would like to spend some more time in Tokyo, so we only went to Osaka after lunch. I got around to buying some fangoods for vivi000 andyoko_maru , even though the shops were incredibly crowded. Then we left for Osaka. Once we had found our hotel it was already quite late and so we decided to just get out and find some dinner. (Eating has become our main activity lately, I think. XD) It was still late when we got back. Well, I had found a "Tsutaya", which seems to be something similar to a "Book off" and decided I wanted to have a look around. And OMG I got so lucky!!!!!! I found the LE of Phi, both dvd and cd, and the latest NewS tour for half their original expenses. ^_^v B.A. scolded me for buying all of them, but I had already left the entire 39 collection, an Endlicheri dvd and the Font de Anniversary tour behind and that was about all I could bear. ^^" After that B.A. wanted some cake, so we settled down in a cafe. Woah, never sit down anywhere randomly, when you're in a night-life area. I spent our day's lunch and dinner money on a cup of tea and a piece of cake. XD But hey, we had gold covered spoons in our cups. ^^" Well, once we were in our hotel again, we had the shock of the day: No internet. *faints* The hotel is altogether not exactly a huge win. Our places had generally been nice, but this one... well, you can sleep in there. And we were so tired that once we were in bed we didn't wake up before noon. Well, the past days had been very eventful.

So, on the 3rd we didn't really do much. But that wasn't because we had gotten up late. For one, a lot of the sights were still closed for holidays. For another, I had gotten a rather nasty rash and B.A. and I spent about 2 hours finding a pharmacy that was open. @_@ Osaka is... well... different. I like how people are more open and outgoing here. People even approach to ask you whether they can help you out when you look lost. The thing is just... when it's about signs and maps, Osaka is really totally confusing. Like, one sign will give you a direction and when you reach the next sign, it'll tell you something entirely different. B.A. and I have also come up with the theory that Osaka keeps re-building itself about hourly, because even when you come back to a place you've visited before, it will look completely different. @_@ The underground ways are a labyrinth in themselves. Well, we spent the day getting medicine for my rash, which is fortunately already much better again and... eating. ^^"

Oh, oh, oh, and we visited the Umeda Sky building. It's quite a sight, really, but most of the shops there were still closed as well, so we just rode up to the first platform, had a look around and then went back down. Then we made a short-become-actually-rather-long stop at Umeda's biggest shopping mall. WOAH!!!!! O_O What a building! And omg, as soon as you're in, you feel like you're getting absorbed. Like, in every direction it's electric devices. Well, on the first floor anyway. It's SO HUGE!!!!!!!!! WAH, B.A. and I spent hours in there, just strolling about. In the end we were really tired and decided we wanted to eat (for a change XD), but the restaurant floor was super crowded, so we headed back to our station to eat there. Then back to the hotel and going to bed early, because we had big plans for the 4th.

Umeda Sky Building

So then, the 4th of January, which would be today. FINALLY I got around to seeing Nara. ^_^ Moving there took longer than we had expected so that even though we had gotten up early as we had planned, we still arrived for lunch. ^^" So, after eating properly, we started our tour around Nara, which (according to the nice lady from the tourist office) was supposed to take us about 3 hours. I think it took us much longer in the end, but there was really a lot to see.

First we went to Kofukuji with the huge 5 stories Pagode. It's really impressive. The buildings also hit us as very different from the rest right from the start, because you could tell they were really old wood buildings. A strong contrast to the well-kept buildings we've seen in Tokyo and Kyoto. It had that kind of ancient feeling that makes it even more special somehow. We strolled around the rather large area and before we even passed the Pagode, we could see the first deers lying under a tree. A strange Korean guy came to talk to us and had us buy two of his self-written books. Well... it was interesting. As we finally moved on, I bought some crackers and fed some of the deers we met along our way. It's really totally amazing. Almost bizare. Almost. There are deers everywhere, out in the open field, there are streets going around the area. I've never seen so many "watch out for passing animals" sings in one place in my life. XDDDDD And they seem to accompany you right to the Todaiji Shrine, our second big stop of the day.

Smaller Pagode on the way to the bigger one

Smaller temple building

There is is, the big Pagode

Deer!!!!!! *_*

Feeding deer

Kawaii!!!!!! <3

Todaiji, with the huge Buddha in the world's largest wooden building. The wood construction alone is an impressive sight. I am again and again amazed at how humans can create such immense buildings. Well, the daibutsu, the big Buddha, is even more impressive. It's incredibly high and surrounded by two... well, actually I'm not all the way sure what they are. I'm pretty sure that Buddhism doesn't have actual gods, but they are still higher than guards... Well, they were huge too. ^^" You get a nice walk around the statues. Unfortunately, it's so dark that in order to get decent pics of the statues, you HAVE to buy the booklet at the shop near the end of the walk. XD Well, it's not really expensive and it also has nice explanatory texts in very decent German in it.


And with an angle


Guardian statue

Next along our way, the Kagusa Taishi Shrine, famous for its 200 stone lanterns. I have to say, that was my highlight of the day. B.A. pointed out that the quantity wasn't really something to be impressed by (but even so he was pretty impressed at Fushimi Inari Shire by the hunrdeds of Tori, ne? ^^ ) and he preferred the Daibutsu. Well, not that it really matters. :P Kaguga Taishi covers a huge area and it must be one of the most beautiful places on earth when the lanterns are lit for festivals. We strolled around the area, went through gates and Tori, always finding new passages and things to see. I really liked that. They still had the New Year celebration going, so we got to see part of that in moderate mode. A  very imressive thing to witness. Just as the ball season is the main season for dance teachers, I think the New Year's celebration is the source of the main income for the shrines and temples. So the shops get alrger and the prices a bit higher. XD I still bought lots of charms as omiyage for my friends and family.

A few of the 200 Kasuga Taishi Shrine lanterns

Shrine entrance

Board stuffed with oracle papers

Gift shops

Lanterns, lanters, lanters

Small Pagode

The only thing I regretted was that we didn't have the time to visit Yakushiji. I would have loved to see the place where they had recorded Tsuyo's live. But it was already dark when we finally left Kagusa Taisha, so we decided to make our way back to the station. We made a short stop for a cup of coffee, which became a stop for pizza, cake and coffee. XD The pizza was really good - and really expensive. I think I've never spent so much money on food. Not even in Nizza, really. Well, we were REALLY cold and hungry. Yes, that's right. B.A. was feeling cold. That's like a once in your lifetime things to get to witness. @_@ No need to mention that I was (seriously, I'm not exaggerating) packed in 5 layers under my winter jacket and hood, ne? ^^"

In the end I was quite happy when we were back at the station, because it had really gotten very cold. We went back to Osaka, which turned out a bit more difficult than we expected. We wanted to go to Namba Station in Osaka. The problem was just, we weren't sure whether we were on the right train, but whenever we said "Osaka", everybody directed us to a train that was headed for "OSaka Station", which we did not want to go to. @_@ We made it in the end and got off exactly where we had wanted to. ^_^v Then, dinner. ^^ And after that, off to the internet cafe where I am currently sitting, writing this. Mah, it'll cost me a fortune, writing 2 reports. ^^" But I'm glad I could finally write my thoughts down again.

Well, basically this is it for today. It was a beautiful and eventful day. Tomorrow we want to have a look at the castle and the Aquarium. Other than that, we'll take it slow, because the journey back home will definitely be exhausting. As it is, I really love being here, I will absolutely visit Tokyo and Nara again, but I am starting to feel that I'll be very happy to be back home soon. I miss my room, the space that I usually have, the heated house I live in and generally that I won't have to live out of a suitcase. ^^" Not to mention that I really miss my family. Guys, I'm almost home again. Two more days only. Well, three for you. ^^ But we're already getting started on preparing everything. Like, we got our reservations for the train to Tokyo, the ride to Narita airport and everything. I'm also already considering what I can leave behind here in oder to get all of the merchandise, dvds, cds, etc. home. XD So, I'll be back really soon now. I'm really looking forward to going home. ^^

Osaka Castle

Okay, I'll better stop now and get back to the hotel. We still want to see a thing, or two, tomorrow. I'll try to post tomorrow.

Greetings and hugs around the world to everybody who made the effort to read this! <3 *bows*

Current Mood: happyhappy
Ranmaharan1 on January 5th, 2011 12:05 pm (UTC)
I hope you have a great moment in your few last days in Osaka.
It was amazing to attend the concert with you <3
Hikaruyoru_no_hikaru on January 5th, 2011 12:52 pm (UTC)
Oh, thanks. ^^ It was nice. But I think I liked Nara better than Osaka. How come, I wonder? ^^" But it's a really nice place. And I couldn't stop imagining a chibi Tsuyoshi running around in Nara park and playing with the deer there. KAWAIIIIIIIII!!!!!!!! <3

Thanks a lot, it was really cool going to the concert together, meeting other people from lj and you be sure that I'll be back.

For now it's time to go home, though. Mah, but I'm really looking forward to seeing my friends and family again. ^^ Having my own room back will also be very nice. Oh, but we're lucky. We had to move back to Tokyo today and the hotel we pickedspontaneously is really nice. Tomorrow we get up early and then we're headed back home. YAY!!!!! \^o^/ I'll write again once I'm at home. Tomorrow we can only make it to Vienna, so I'll only REALLY be home the day after. ^^
Ranmaharan1 on January 5th, 2011 01:11 pm (UTC)
have a safe flight and take care <3