12 November 2005
Went to Osaka Aquarium (Kaiyukan) in Osaka Bay Area. The aquarium is nice. We got to see big fish, small colourful fish, sea lions, dolphins swimming REAL fast, giant whale shark and manta... They even have penguins!!! They make the penguin's 'room' as cold as the pole. I saw them standing, walking, jumping into the water and swimming - they're so cute! At the last part we saw very beautiful, glowing, colourful jellyfish - really wonderful!
Outside the Aquarium building we could see the Giant Ferris Wheel, one of the attractions in Osaka Bay Area.
In the evening we met up with Ayurin, whom I met on another travellers online web site. She came with her husband Hiroyuki, and her mother Takako. She had made a reservation in an okonomiyaki restaurant near Tennoji station.
Ayurin, Hiroyuki, and Takako-san are so nice. We had fun eating and chatting and taking pictures. Apparently, Ayurin had booked a karaoke box for us later that night, as she'd known I'd been curious about Japanese karaoke! So after having dinner we walked to the karaoke called Jankara (ジャンカラ). So that was the KARAOKE BOX I'd been wondering about! Not like karaoke in Jakarta where you have to sing in front of strangers (which I never went to) - which later I know to be called a 'karaoke bar', not karaoke box. Ayurin said karaoke bars usually cost higher than k'boxes - making fool of myself in front of strangers and pay more? No, thanks Surprisingly, they had so many collections songs - in English as well as in Japanese. Again, it's not like karaokes in Jakarta, from what I know. Anyway, we had fun singing together - english and japanese songs.
13 Nov 2005
Been staying in Osaka but making daytrips to Kyoto Kemarin Didi harus pulang jadi kita harus bergegas pagi untuk berangkat ke Kansai Airport, pesawatnya jam 11. Naik Kansai Airport Express HARUKA ke Kyoto. Went to Gion and around. Then got a chance to make a phone home with Rani's calling card from outside Yasaka Jinja (Shrine). Then my mobile phone beeped - an email from Gelli. Since we were both free, we managed to meet up yesterday afternoon for coffee. I finally met a fellow TP member! hehehe... (Actually how would I know if it was really Gelli or Rich? hmmm...) After coffee we walked to Toji. It was already closed actually, but we just had our picture taken with the famous pagoda in the background (and with typical Japanese pose ).
So yesterday we walked and walked, got hungry and had dinner near Kyoto Station, then went to see Pontocho, walked around through the alleys. I felt the weight of my backpack which contained my camera got heavier, Rich finally couldn't stand it and he offered to be my porter I wouldn't say no. We tried to find somewhere to sit. Most bars were expensive - or is it because I'm on a tight budget? Anyway, we finally found a way to sit without paying much - we bought drinks from a vending machine and went to sit by Kamo River. After that I had to go back to Osaka because I was moving to another hotel (due to room availability) and it would be pretty late when I get to Osaka.
So I got to the station near the hotel late. Picked my backpack in the locker, and walked to find the hotel. The shops along the streets were closed. I found a few homeless sleeping on the sidewalk. I started to get nervous when I'd walked too far (from what I remembered when I tried to recall the map in my mind). A man on a bicycle rode slowly past me and talked something - I began to get a bit scared. I didn't dare to stop walking and check the map, for I would look obviously lost. Finally I saw a young couple walked from the opposite way; I stopped, took the map, and asked them about the hotel. As I rechecked the map, it turned out that I had walked too far, so I had to walk back to the direction of the station. I asked them if I could walk together with them. And how I was lucky to find them - they helped me find the hotel (I guess the boyfriend checked it on his mobile phone - maybe via the Internet or GPS?), they even walked with me till we reached the hotel. I thanked them very much - I'm so thankful I found them!
So that was yesterday.