Where The Wind Takes Me – Day 8

Where The Wind Takes Me Series - Table of Contents

EntryNotable Places/EventsStart of DayEnd of Day
Day 0 - Apr 21-22 2024Plane (Edmonton > Tokyo)Edmonton, CanadaTokyo, Japan
Day 1 - Tue Apr 23 2024Akihabara, Sensoji, Tokyo Sky Arena, Taiwan Food FestivalTokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 2 - Wed Apr 24 2024Nezu Shrine, Tokyo National MuseumTokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 3 - Thu Apr 25 2024Akihabara, Ginza, Yurakucho, Bocchi the Rock! Exhibition (with Quintopia)Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 4 - Fri Apr 26 2024Craft Gyoza Fes, Niku Fes, Odaiba, Kameido Tenjin ShrineTokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 5 - Sat Apr 27 2024Niconico Chokaigi 2024Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 6 - Sun Apr 28 2024M3-53Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 7 - Mon Apr 29 2024Train (Tokyo > Osaka)Tokyo, JapanOsaka, Japan
Day 8 - Tue Apr 30 2024Tsurumibashi, Expo Commemorative Park, Osaka Station (with Miyu)Osaka, JapanOsaka, Japan
Day 9 - Wed May 01 2024Kyoto, Takenobu Inari Shrine, SaiinOsaka, JapanOsaka, Japan
Day 10 - Thu, May 02 2024Train (Osaka > Tokyo)Osaka, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 11 - Fri May 03 2024Reitaisai 21Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 12 - Sat May 04 2024Japan Jam 2024 (with Quintopia)Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 13 - Sun May 05 2024National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (with Quintopia)Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 14 - Mon May 06 2024Haneda International Airport, Plane (Tokyo > Taipei), Liaoning Night MarketTokyo, JapanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 15 - Tue May 07 2024Taipei Main Station Underground Mall, Ximending Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 16 - Wed May 08 2024Shilin Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 17 - Thu May 09 2024Raohe Street Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 18 - Fri May 10 2024Songjiang Market, Guang Hua Digital Plaza, Shida Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 19 - Sat May 11 2024Dihua Street, Huaxi Street Night Market, Guangzhou Street Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 20 - Sun May 12 2024Gongguan Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 21 - Mon May 13 2024Plane (Taipei > HK), Train (HK > Guangzhou), Stayed with KelTaipei, TaiwanGuangzhou, China
Day 22 - Tue May 14 2024Zhongfu Square, Alpaca Sighting (with Kel), Dinner with Kel, Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 23 - Wed May 15 2024Panyu Square, Dinner with Kel, Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 24 - Thu May 16 2024Nancun Wanbo (with Kel), Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 25 - Fri May 17 2024Train (Guangzhou > Xiamen), Zhongshan RoadGuangzhou, ChinaXiamen, China
Day 26 - Sat May 18 2024Xiamen Railway StationXiamen, ChinaXiamen, China
Day 27 - Sun May 19 2024Mingfa Shopping MallXiamen, ChinaXiamen, China
Day 28 - Mon May 20 2024Train (Xiamen > Guangzhou), Stayed with KelXiamen, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 29 - Tue May 21 2024Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 30 - Wed May 22 2024Tianhe Computer Town, Dinner with Kel, Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 31 - Thu May 23 2024Comic City, Shangxiajiu Square, Dinner with Kel, Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 32 - Fri May 24 2024Train (Guangzhou > Hong Kong)Guangzhou, ChinaHong Kong, China

Tuesday, Apr 30 2024 (Day 8)

Morning – Tsurumibashi Shopping Street

It was drizzling again this morning, and on and off over the day. I feel like just like Akihabara, it rains a fair amount when I’m in Osaka, and as a result I never really get to spend as much time around the city as I like since my trips to Osaka are already kind of like day trips tacked on to a larger trip elsewhere.

I went to fact check this.

Trip 1 Day 1 (half day): No rain (0-0.5)
Trip 1 Day 2: Rain (1-0.5)
Trip 1 Day 3 (half day): No rain, though rain nearby/possibly while away (1-1)
Trip 1 Day 4 (half day): No rain (1-1.5)
Trip 2 Day 1 (half day): No rain (1-2)
Trip 2 Day 2: Rain (2-2)
Trip 3 Day 1 (half day): Rain (2.5-2)
Trip 3 Day 2 (today): Rain (3.5-2)
Trip 3 Day 3 (tomorrow – half day): Supposedly rain (4-2)
Trip 3 Day 4 (day after tomorrow): ??

I suppose it’s that I always have had just one scheduled full day in Osaka on each trip so far, and it’s always raining on that one full day.

Anyway, breakfast was a bowl of instant noodles from yesterday:

The main bulk of lunch eventually was too, from this second stack of groceries bought from another nearby supermarket after I went out wandering in the late morning.

What can I say, I want to try out different kinds of Japanese instant noodles as well, not just street food and restaurant food.

In between the two meals, I went out for a walk in the nearby Tsurumibashi Shopping Street. It was a really long street — the street started in this picture yesterday:

Went on for ages, and then finally ended at another intersection.

But I noticed that it actually carried on on the other side of the intersection too, and that went on and on until this intersection:

And hey, there were more shops on the other side, although the shopping street had been renamed to Tsumori Shopping Street by that time. So away I went:

Finally, it ended at this fourth intersection:

It looked like there were even more shops past that, but at that poin Tsumori Shopping Street was an outdoor shopping street, so it was quickly turning into something else altogether. I turned around there and headed back toward my lodging, located right by the east entrance of the original Tsurumibashi Shopping Street.

Along the way, I came across quite a few interesting shops. Like this secondary supermarket called Tamade, which also had a ton of bicycles parked outside of it.

I bought the groceries in the picture near the start from there, for just a little over 1000 yen.

Because there were so many bicycles, obviously there had to be an unmarked bicycle shop:

And there was also a flower shop with a bunch of Disney plushies on display above it:

And this bakery, from which I bought some yakisoba bread:

And this other unmarked shop, which was basically just a garage sale, full of boxes of mixed goods.

A lot of the shops were closed, either due to the rain or due to (assuming they copied Jujo Shopping Street) Tuesday being a rest day for some, and I also noticed that a lot of food shops were concentrated around the east end of Tsurumibashi, or the second junction, the one that divided the Tsurumibashi and Tsumori Shopping Streets. There weren’t a whole bunch of food places outside of those. There were plenty of other odd shops too, and this felt more “independent” and “local” than even Jujo Shopping Street was. There was only one convenience store in the entire row, for example, a 7-Eleven right in the middle which I withdrew another 20,000 yen from (and learnt two things: one that I had to withdraw yen from it in multiples of 10,000 yen because that was the only bank note they had, and the other that my Scotiabank card was indeed better than the direct exchange rate at the kiosk — it cost me $182.50 and no service charge by charging it directly to my debit card in yen, and would have cost $186.09 if I had let the 7-Eleven automated banking machine do the conversion).

Another significant portion of the shops were clothes shops, selling clothes either in the 100-500 yen range or the 1,000-2,000 yen range. There were quite a few of them, sometimes virtually next to each other, and I spent time browsing through many of them but did not end up buying anything.

Also, although there were a ton of people on bicycles clogging up the path, there were also a small but surprisingly notable population going through on wheelchairs and walkers, I saw at least 10 of them, some travelling by themselves and others being pushed along by friends or loved ones. The general population of the shopping street, at least on a rainy Tuesday mid-morning that was also a school holiday, skewed older than other shopping streets that I had seen. It was a nice walk though, made nicer by the music that was playing over the loudspeakers, something that I remember from the other main Osakan shoutengai that I’ve been to as well, but not from most of the Tokyo or Kyoto ones that I’ve been to.

Afternoon – Expo ’70 Commemorative Park

Expo ’70 Commemorative Park, or Banpaku Kinen Kouen in Japanese, was about an hour north of me, but I had a couple hours to kill before meeting Miyu at Osaka Station in the evening, so I wanted to go out and do something away from downtown, and I picked this park to go to. I didn’t actually spend a ton of time here, and in particular I only paid the 260 yen entrance fee to walk around the park, and not the more pricey 500 yen ticket to enter the museum or other attractions in the park, because I was on a strict timer before I needed to head to my meeting. Even before hitting the park though, I passed a nice-looking mall and abandoned ferris wheel:

And then started seeing this giant mascot guy in the distance.

Okay then. How weird. Apparently it’s called the Tower of the Sun. Apparently the Osaka 2025 World Expo mascot called Myaku Myaku (local) is even weirder though.

The park itself was pleasant enough, there were wide swathes of green grass, many paths to walk along, big ponds and shops, and a random giant golf ball in the distance.

There were some events going on, linked to something called the Golden Expo (local). Specifically, I saw a bunch of food carts:

I wasn’t going to pay the 500 yen entrance fee just to go into that food area though. Both because I had the meeting with Miyu soon, and because the scant shelters didn’t seem like they would help with the rain. There were apparently tangential events that seemed to be part of this Golden Expo too, but they were all closed. Like this sauna thing:

And this Lohas Festival thing:

There was also a monkey tamer doing his routine for a frightfully small audience:

It was okay all in all, not particularly spectacular, but it was a nice walk against a very cool breeze, a nice place for people-watching (there were lots of locals as well as a fair number of tourists still), and Miyu later said that she liked coming to this park too. At this point I hadn’t met her yet though, but with about 35 minutes or so to go before our meeting time I hopped back onto the monorail that I had taken to get here from Senri-Chuo Station, which itself had a nice-looking array of shops, and changed trains from there to the Midosuji Line and the Kita-Osaka Kyuko Line, which got me to Osaka Station.

Evening – Miyu and Osaka Station

Or rather, we had planned to meet at Osaka Station but we found that we were both going to have to transit to Osaka Station via Umeda Station, which was a two minute walk away through underground shopping passages (and might as well be part of the Osaka station), so we met at Umeda instead.

It was still raining at this point, but Osaka Station is connected to a huge network of underground and building pathways, and she led me down a veritable maze of paths and up and down escalators as we exchanged niceties and then started slowly chatting over the course of the next 6 hours. It didn’t feel like 6 hours, but we met at 4:00 pm and finally parted around 10:00 pm, and it was great to see her again and spend so much time with her, finding out about her courses and future plans and her recent study abroad trip to Malta, and more.

In particular, she showed me a viewing gallery set above Osaka Station, where there was a sheltered rest area, which had a roof but was open to the elements on the far sides of the building. People could, and did, come to visit and chill out here, and it was high enough above the ground to be relatively quiet so people could carry out leisurely conversations without much of a problem, while being serenaded with train station noises in the background. Some people were also just watching the trains pass by below, and in that aspect it really reminded me (and Miyu) of the airplane viewing gallery in an airport.

This very nice place was called Toki no Hiroba. There was another chillout place a bit higher on a nearby rooftop called Kaze no Hiroba, but that area was outdoors so it was a no-go.

We walked alongside and occasionally through many shops, doing a bunch of window shopping in places like stationery shops, department stores, snack shops, restaurants, anime and franchise character goods shops, and so on.

I bought two things on our window shopping trip, two packs of tea that I wanted to try from a shop that was selling all sorts of weird food items.

We passed by a Lego store with some really nice recreations of scenes and places too.

Eventually the rain seemed to lighten up so we briefly went outside as well.

Finally, we settled down for dinner in a shop (probably) called Kazoku-tei. Apparently they give free noodle size upgrades on the 8th, 18th, 28th, and the last day of every month, which happened to be today, so that was coincidental and nice. While waiting for our food to arrive, I brought out Tigey, and Miyu and I both snapped pictures with Tigey and Kitsune, which was a little fox from The Little Prince that she had hanging on her bag.

Very cute. Poor Tigey. Finally our food arrived and we dug in.

After dinner, we slowly walked over to the entrance of the Nishi-Umeda Station on the Yotsubashi Line, which was also part of the underground maze and which I was going to catch a direct train from to get home. Before leaving though, we posed for another few pictures with Tigey and Kitsune:

That was fun! I gave her one of my postcards, and we tentatively exchanged hopes that we would meet each other again in the future.

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Where The Wind Takes Me - Day 7

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Where The Wind Takes Me - Day 9

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