Yesterday’s entry left off with the laundry, which we completed successfully. Like everything else here, the soap is different from what you can buy in the United States, but it seems to work fine. We didn’t find dryer sheets, but I don’t know if they don’t exist or if we just couldn’t read enough to find them.
After the laundry, we walked up the street to the Osaka museum of history. It turned out to be a well-done museum with some fantastic views of Osaka castle across the street. We had assumed that pictures wouldn’t be allowed, so we left the camera at the hotel. Unfortunately, the tickets were a little too expensive to go back just for the purposes of looking at the castle. The museum shares the building with the NHK broadcast studios, and they have some small exhibits there as well. We went over and looked around, and they let us play in front of the blue screen. We read a newscast and presented the weather (but no tear-offs).
By then it was time to meet Yuki, so we walked back to the hotel. Richard and Yuki had a few minutes of delighted reunion, and then we all walked over to Osaka Castle. We rode a little “train” around the grounds so we could see the whole place and then we went inside. Yuki explained some of the signs to us, but mostly he and Richard caught up on the last ten years. Yuki had invited us to dinner with his family, and it was time to leave, so we split up from Jamie and Rob and went to the restaurant. We met Yuki’s mother and father, his brother, and his brother’s wife. They all spoke a little more English than we spoke of Japanese, but Yuki had to do most of the translating. As for the food itself, it was delicious, but I lost track of all the things we ate. The cooks made many different types of food and brought them out one by one. Each thing was breaded and fried, but each course was a different type of food. We had shrimp, several kinds of fish, various vegetables, and probably several other things I don’t remember. We had a great time conversing and looking at a large set of photos Richard had brought for a couple of hours, but at last it was time to go. We said goodbye and Yuki’s family headed home.
We then went with Yuki and headed to downtown Osaka for some karaoke. In Japan, karaoke is not done in a large bar with people you don’t know. Instead, you rent a small room with a bunch of equipment in it and make a fool of yourself only in front of people you know. We spent about an hour doing that, and then it was late, so we headed back to the hotel for bed.
The next day, we woke up late. After getting ready to go, we headed back to the main Osaka station to change money. This was successfully accomplished, so we went down to the harbor to see what was going on. We climbed up Mt. Tampo, the lowest “mountain” in Japan. Then we walked over to the Aquarium. The Osaka aquarium is one of the largest aquariums in the world, and you can tell immediately upon walking in. The main tank is about four floors tall and full of a large variety of fish. Around the sides are a set of smaller tanks with fish from around the Pacific. We spent a couple of hours walking through the aquarium, then rode the subway over to the maritime museum. This museum has a little history of the Osaka maritime industry, but the big attraction is a life-size cargo ship replica from the 17th century. In 1999 they actually sailed the ship around the harbor, and then they hoisted it into the museum with a crane.
After the maritime museum, we decided it has been a busy enough day, so we headed back to the hotel to unwind.