Kami Watch Over Me (Japan Day 24 – Osaka)

Monday, Nov 14 2022 (Day 24)

Table of Contents

ට  Day 0 – Thursday, Oct 20 2022 to Friday Oct 21 2022 – Flight from Edmonton to Tokyo
ට  Day 1 – Saturday, Oct 22 2022 – Tokyo, Saitama, Ikebukuro
ට  Day 2 – Sunday, Oct 23 2022 – Autumn Reitaisai 9, Shinjuku
ට  Day 3 – Monday, Oct 24 2022 – Akihabara
ට  Day 4 – Tuesday, Oct 25 2022 – Hakone
ට  Day 5 – Wednesday, Oct 26 2022 – Kamakura, Enoshima Island, Enoshima Shrine
ට  Day 6 – Thursday, Oct 27 2022 – Hannō
ට  Day 7 – Friday, Oct 28 2022 – Shinkoiwa
ට  Day 8 – Saturday, Oct 29 2022 – Akihabara, Matsudo City
ට  Day 9 – Sunday, Oct 30 2022 – M3-2022秋, Moto-Yawata
ට  Day 10 – Monday, Oct 31 2022 – Akasaka, Shimokitazawa, Shibuya Halloween
ට  Day 11 – Tuesday, Nov 01 2022 – Shinjuku, Sophia University
ට  Day 12 – Wednesday, Nov 02 2022Sophia University, Kabukichō
ට  Day 13 – Thursday, Nov 03 2022 – Shinjuku Loft
ට  Day 14 – Friday, Nov 04 2022 – Shinjuku, Hanazono/Asakusa Tori no Ichi, Sensōji
ට  Day 15 – Saturday, Nov 05 2022 – Nagano, Zenkōji
ට  Day 16 – Sunday, Nov 06 2022 – Ueda Sanada Matsuri, Ueda City, Sanada Shrine, Nagano
ට  Day 17 – Monday, Nov 07 2022 – Zenkōji, Kyoto, Nakagyo Ward
ට  Day 18 – Tuesday, Nov 08 2022 – Otsu, Omi Jingu
ට  Day 19 – Wednesday, Nov 09 2022 – Fushimi Inari, Kasho​ji, Tofukuji, Shōrinji
ට  Day 20 – Thursday, Nov 10 2022 – Ōhara, Sanzenin, Arashiyama
ට  Day 21 – Friday, Nov 11 2022 – Kiyomizu, Ryōzen Kannon, Yasaka Shrine
ට  Day 22 – Saturday, Nov 12 2022 – Osaka, Jūsō
ට  Day 23 – Sunday, Nov 13 2022 – Sukunahikona Shrine, Namba
ට  Day 24 – Monday, Nov 14 2022 – Kobe (with Ran) (You are here)

After she had cancelled yesterday’s meeting, Ran had prepared an alternate itinerary for today that involved us skipping out on Osaka (and skipping out on her friend) and heading over to nearby Kobe instead. This was a city that I was initially going to skip due to time, so the opportunity to actually visit it for a day was great, and I jumped at the chance to do so, despite this meaning even less overall time in Osaka. Even better though, was that there was a direct train from Jūsō Station, which was right by where my 3-day rental apartment was, right to Kobe-Sannomiya Station, one of the central stations in Kobe where she said we should meet up. It was just a 4-stop ride along the Hankyu-Kobe Line (at least on the Limited Express train along that line), although those 4 stops took over 20 minutes. Still, what a convenient station to be staying near to.

On my way out from my apartment, I stopped for a goshuin from the shrine I was staying next to, as this would be my last full day here. This was Kamitsu Shrine, and this was the goshuin I got for 300 yen (and a 50 yen donation at the altar):

After that, I hopped onto a train. I arrived at Kobe-Sannomiya Station about 30 minutes ahead of Ran.

Like every other major station I had been to, it was quite crowded. The station opened up to a nice, outdoor-style shopping street, with awnings for protection against the rain, but had the aesthetic effect of dividing the buildings into a lower layer and upper layer. I love architecture that looks like it has layering.

I went to grab a curry bun from a nearby 7-11 since I had not had lunch yet and Ran was bugging me to eat something.

It wasn’t much, but it was Something! I then took a walk around the neighbourhood, and found this quaint little narrow shopping… alley.

It was named Piazza Kobe, and it reminded me of a particular place in Singapore, Bugis Junction/Bugis Street Market. I had briefly visited it back in my Singapore Day 2 blog entry, although I apparently found it disappointing then. More the prices than the aesthetic though, I liked the aesthetic. I then looped back around and went back to meet Ran at the station once she arrived.

Chocolate Museum

Ran looked great. She had dyed her hair a darkish shade of red — she said she had actually tried for pink but that was what the hairdresser gave her in the end. I still liked it though. She led the way along the Kobe downtown streets as we walked over to the first stop on her itinerary, a chocolate museum that she had wanted to visit and that cost $10 for one person alone, or $8 per person for groups of 2 or more. I was here to make her entry cheaper. She had booked the tickets online yesterday afternoon. We chatted like old friends as we walked, talking about our respective Universities, current/future jobs and other things.

She pointed out a couple of landmarks as we went along, and I asked her about the standing on escalators thing as I had noticed that people in Kobe also stood right, like Osaka (but unlike Kyoto and Tokyo). She said that yes, that was a thing, but she had no idea why it was the case! It just was.

We reached the chocolate museum, the “felissimo chocolate museum”, more than 30 minutes in advance of when our ticket was to give us entry, but the staff let us in anyway, as it’s not like there were a ton of people banging down the door to get in. There were several other schoolgirls in uniform walking around in twos and threes, and I wondered if they were there for the museum or for the chocolate. At least, I’m pretty sure some of them were eating chocolate, we didn’t notice where they got it from though. There were a lot of chocolate-related things in there, most, but not all, from a Japanese perspective (branding, artists, etc). There were also design aesthetic things in there that had nothing to do with chocolate, like a browsable bookshelf section that we passed about halfway through that had a book comparing Singapore and Japan business culture or something.

There was also a random room with a small colour pencil exhibit in the same building, just outside the chocolate museum part of it.

Mosaic

After exiting the museum, we walked several blocks over toward a waterfront shopping centre called Mosaic. i snapped pictures of fish, colours, and clouds as we went. Ran wondered if I was cold in my short sleeves and skirt, I reminded her of what the weather was like in Edmonton. It was a balmy 14-17 degrees Celsius or so in Kobe that afternoon, which was perfect for me.

The mall itself was three stories tall and partially outdoors, with that outdoor part looking like a little village, while there was also a main building with an indoors portion. There were also steps and a seating area that faced the harbour. It was a really nice (if seemingly pricey) place.

We walked around and visited a couple shops in here, firstly a Hello Kitty merchandise shop that sold many of the same plushies that I had seen on Day 14 in Tokyo, though the selection wasn’t quite the same. Both had stuff that the other shop didn’t have. I ogled over some Kuromi plushies as I now found her cute too thanks to Oaisa.

Next, we visited a candy shop, or dagashiya. This was my first time in one, and wow it was interesting. We picked up little shopping baskets, and with my blessing and her mirth, she filled mine up with things that she knew and liked from her past (and some things she didn’t know at all but looked interesting) and thought I should try. I ended up with a combination of ramune candy, umaibo (she had no idea that I had already picked up and eaten a bunch the day before for 12 cents each — these ones were 13 cents each but there were more flavours), and more. But everything was so cheap that it cost just 334 yen altogether in the end.

She told me to just take it along with me on my trip and eat it slowly as I went along!

Lastly, we visited a Calbee Plus shop and bought two small cups of fries for 310 yen each. We both picked different flavours (hers was cheese and mine was salad) and took and shared fries from both cups, while sitting on some of the steps that oversaw the harbour.

The wind was gently blowing and plucking as our clothes as we chatted a bit more and watched the beautiful scenery. This was amazing. A girls’ outing together that I’d never experienced before. She laughed when I brought out my Calpis drink from yesterday and commented on the similarity between the words Calbee and Calpis. I said I had noticed the same thing and thought she was taking me to a Calpis shop at first when we were approaching it! She offered me her last wet napkin for my fingers as I had no tissues with me. I pointed out that it was raining rather heavily far away in the horizon on our right, but for some reason it was clear where we were here.

I then brought out Tigey, and asked for pictures. She was happy to oblige, and got inducted into the Tigey cult after I explained the benefits and perks of worshipping him. That or she was amused when I told her that I had him for over 20 years. She had seen him at Lake Louise and Moraine Lake when I had brought him out on our trip there two years ago, but we hadn’t really been close enough yet at that point and she didn’t end up touching him then. But she did now!

Homeward Bound

After we were done sitting around, we started to head home, though we first took a couple detours, one to walk through a  nearby open lakefront area called Meriden Park, and another to a tea shop that she wanted to try.

There’s a general gallery below, but here are some highlights.

Here’s a picture of two men in the Meriden Park area seemingly singing and busking by a park bench to absolutely nobody (they weren’t bad, just an odd place to do it I guess):

Here’s me taking a picture of Ran, and her subsequent picture too:

I told her that I really liked taking pictures of people taking pictures. She googled for a bit, trying to find out a suitable phrase fo this phenomena, before quizzically looking up from her phone with a perfectly innocent “…spy photo?” No, no, I said, not a spy photo. I just liked to capture people in the moment of them lining up and taking the perfect shot, I think it’s a special moment that I liked to capture. She seemed to be satisfied with the “in the moment” definition of the photos I liked to take.

We took a detour past a Chinatown street on the way because it looked interesting. It had lanterns everywhere and was really pretty. We found a little shrine and took pictures by it too.

Here’s a picture she took of just Tigey. She gave it to me later.

Here’s a picture I took of two different pairs of people taking photos in two different directions, back to back with each other. I thought it was a pretty great capture.

While walking around, we saw wo lights on hills in the distance. It turns out these two lights were an anchor and the Kobe city symbol. We weren’t in a spot to catch a good picture of either or both of them, but we at least somewhat saw both of them in the distance.

Better pictures of them can be seen here (local) or here (local).

Lastly, these are the teas we got from the tea shop that we stopped by:

These were both Dark Honey warabi mochi drinks from a store named Torori Tenshi no Warabi-mochi. They cost 730 yen each. They were full of cream and what apparently was mochi (it felt like crunchy ice). Cold, difficult to eat and my straw split halfway through — it sucked. Still an interesting experience though. We talked about how bubble tea was probably better.

And here’s an outdoor patio of restaurant with kotatsu tables. Ran was surprised upon seeing these too and insisted we stop for photos. I wasn’t one to argue, I was already pulling out my phone as well!

Finally, it was time to take the train home. We took the train together, as she needed to take the train to Jūsō Station as well and then catch a transfer from there. It was a really crowded train, but we reached Jūsō Station without incident.

Just before we parted, I gave her the omiyage that I had been lugging around all day in a bag, the Bath and Body Works bag that I had mentioned picking up from Edmonton in my Day 0 post, and the cookies that I had picked up from Nagano in my Day 17 post. That second one was meant for her friend initially, but was hers now! I also slipped in one of my postcards into the Bath and Body Works bag, the Lake Louise one, since we had gone there together (and I had no idea who else I could give it to). She apologized for not giving me anything, but I said her coming out here to meet me (and planning the day to boot) was the best gift she could have brought. Thanks Ran!

We then parted and I stopped by a shop named Miyamoto Munashi, in the Jūsō shopping street area, for dinner. I had a fried oysters/fried mackerel meal set for 930 yen.

And then it was time for a bit of time with work tickets, and then bed. I also had to do my laundry, and struggled with this — the washer/dryer machine in the apartment, like many apartments in Japan, was really bad at the dryer part of it, and clothes ALWAYS come out damp, as though they expect everyone to air-dry their clothes afterwards as well. I’m not sure this saved any energy, which was probably the original aim, since I put my clothes through the dry cycle four or five times to try to get it dry before giving up and sticking everything on hangers underneath the heater. The heater dried it remarkably fast because it was really strong, but I hate this aspect of Japan and their obsession with trying to save electricity and space in stupid ways.

Shinkansen Running Total

I have a 21-day JR Pass that kicked in on Nov 05 and should last until the end of my trip on Nov 25. It cost $568 CAD, which cost around 61,769.08 yen, as per Google as of the first writing of this section. So I was curious and wanted to keep a running total — was this thing actually worth it?

That’s what I hope to find out with this section. For the full explanation blurb on this, check this corresponding section of the Day 15 blog post.

Trips

ට  Nov 05 2022 – Asama 611 (Tokyo to Nagano) – U: 7810, R: 8340
ට  Nov 06 2022 – Hakutaka 556 (Nagano to Ueda) – U: 1470, R: 2790
ට  Nov 06 2022 – Asama 615 (Ueda to Nagano) – U: 1470, R: 2790
ට  Nov 07 2022 – Kagayaki 509 (Nagano to Kanazawa) – 8920 (reserved seats only)
ට  Nov 07 2022 – Thunderbird 24 (Kanazawa to Kyoto) – U: 6490, R: 6820
ට  Nov 08 2022 – JR Kosei Line (Kyoto to Otsukyo) – 240 (unreserved seats only)
ට  Nov 08 2022 – JR Kosei Line (Otsukyo to Kyoto) – 240 (unreserved seats only)
ට  Nov 08 2022 – JR Nara Line (Kyoto to Inari) – 150 (unreserved seats only)
ට  Nov 08 2022 – JR Nara Line (Inari to Kyoto) – 150 (unreserved seats only)
ට  Nov 09 2022 – JR Nara Line (Tofukuji to Kyoto) – 150 (unreserved seats only)
ට  Nov 10 2022 – JR Sanin/Sagano Line (Saga-Arashiyama to Kyoto) – 240 (unreserved seats only)
ට  Nov 12 2022 – Super Hakuto 7 (Kyoto to Osaka) – U: 1230, R: 1760

Running Total

Unreserved: 28,560 yen
Reserved: 32,590 yen

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Kami Watch Over Me (Japan Day 25)

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