Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Kansai Nostalgia

So it's been a while since I've made a blog post, and quite a lot has happened since then. I'm going to break this down into several posts to make it easier, so like the first post, I'm writing from the past! This will take a while to catch up on, since I don't have a stable internet connection/computer power source at the moment.

Kansai nostalgia.

So after spending about a month in Tsuruga, we headed off to Kobe to stay with a friend, and get re acquainted with Kansai. The last time we lived in Japan, we went to school at Kansai Gaidai in Hirakata, then spent three months living by Denden in Osaka.
This time around, we stayed in Kobe, which is still Kansai, but a little off to the west of Osaka. Though we still went to visit Osaka a few times. We only spent a week there, but our time was much enjoyed. We stayed with two folk.. one of Celes's old college friends, who I met in Japan the first time around, and hung out with in Finland as well. She's been working as an English teacher in Japan for about three years now. She has a Japanese housemate who works as a hostess. It was quite fun times staying with them! Our friend is a day time person, so we hung out in the days with her, and her housemate is a night person, so we hung out with her coming home from work at 3 in the morning.
From the few week experience of Kobe that we got, it seems like a pretty pleasant place to live. It's certainly a big city in US standards, but surrounded by mountains in sight everywhere, so you never lose quite so much touch with nature, as you would have it in Osaka or Tokyo. We spent much of our time in one of the centers of Kobe, Sannomiya. There's a mall there, with an anime/visual kei scene, which is pretty nifty and worth checking out! The mall was reminiscent of a miniature version of Nakano, which is the new, more "underground" Akiba of Tokyo, since it's lately become trendy.
Aside from that, we also went to Osaka a few times. Went with some friends to see a visual kei concert at our old venue, Holiday Osaka.. They have a free concert once or twice a month (600 en for a drink required fee, but still dirt cheap). Went back to Denden town.... it was all so nostalgic, and even Celes really realized how awesome life in Osaka is compared to Tokyo again. I'm cool with giving that region another chance, but Osaka people have a quality to them that is hard to explain. You could say that Osaka is the heart of Japan, and that Tokyo is the brain. Anyway, I think that's enough explaining with words for now, here's pictures!

I'm walking down an arcade in Shinsaibashi! We hung out with so many friends this day, it was super awesome times.

This is a random treat thrown in. On the last day we went to Osaka, I went off on my own back to Tsuruga to pick up the last of our luggage... there was snow everywhere around there! Here's a picture from the train ride.. I may have a few random uploads later.

In the Hyogo Museum, there was an exhibit on Studio Ghibli that Jen took us to.. it was pretty super massive and cool. At the end, we got to make Totoro origami! (left Jen, center Celes, right Sonya)

We also took a trip up to Kyoto for the glowing bamboo! The following pictures are all from that night. Later in the week, we went to Jen's conversational class, and never have I felt so fluent as to when we had an epic conversation entirely in Japanese about how instead of using lights, they should be genetically engineering bamboo to glow on their own, since they can make bunnies and monkeys do it.

This is the Kobe giant robot, created to compete with the Tokyo giant robot, which was eventually taken down.

Random Celeste! so cute! ^.^

This is what happens to your arm when rested on a wicker chair for several hours.. you turn into an alien.

If you've ever seen Miyazaki's Nausicaa, and ate some yummy omu-raisu, you know there's a terrible pun. We all made Oomu raisu one night! These are the processes went through to make it. You can see more by google image: オームライス。 We used bean sprouts for tentacle feelers, rice and vegetables for innards, ketchup for blood, omlet for skin, and tomatoes for eyes.

Burn Oomu burn!
Kobe tunnel from train station to mall in Sannomiya

A high up view of Kobe right around sunset. It's a pretty city. Pretty big too.

I used to live on the sixth floor of this building

If you happen to be in Denden town, feeling kinda hungry.. down the backstreets across the street from the mainstrip, there's this amazing tako yaki joint, owned by the sweetest old couple you'll ever meet, best prices in town and a real great meal!

Despite the magicon(r4, ttds, whatever you wanna call it) being illegal in Japan, you can find signs like this advertising it all about. It runs pretty expensive at about 5000 en for that alone though. It can be found online for less than a third of that.

shop in denden!

Classic looking streets in Osaka.

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