Japan Trip I – Osaka Journey

Today is already our 3rd day in Japan.
We have completed our 3-day Osaka tour and just arrived in Tokyo 5 hours ago. I am now typing this blog in my hotel room while Harshad and Elkan are gluing their eyes on some interesting Japanese channel (watching UFO and young girls stripping into Bikinis etc). Felicia and Tracy are crazy out there shopping in the cold. It is 3 degrees tonight. The windy condition bring the chill right into our bones. Certainly not for the boys. 

Our trip to Japan was filled with many unexpected surprises. First, it was Felicia’s premonition. 5 hours before our flight, she woke up with a very bad dream about some horrific accident. That was not comforting for someone like me – who suffers from aerophobia. Still, we went to board our flight at 10am. Guess what, the unexpected happened. After stranded onboard for more than 30 minutes, the pilot announced that there was some technical problem and all of us have to leave the plane and board another plane.

While waiting for our 2nd plane, the counter manager made another announcement. Guess what? The plane which supposed to take us to Osaka was detected with another technical problem and therefore all of us were asked to board the original plane (which the manager claimed that they have fixed the technical problem!).

With Felicia’s premonition plus my aerophobia, there is absolutely no way we are going back to the original faulty plane. Felicia and I made our voice heard and we insisted to board another new plane to Osaka. In the end, we took the 4pm flight (our original flight was 10am) and part of Cathay’s goodwill, we were all given business class tickets! (What a treat for all of us, especially for Felicia and Elkan – it was their first business class experience!)

Japan is filled with some of the most bizarre and beautiful things. And it is certainly a confusing place for us. Those train rides and the ever-confusing routes and exits – we spent 10% of our time trying to figure how to go from point A to point B. Lucky we have our GPS phones with us to lead us to the right direction. Ordering food is another adventure for us – especially for Tracy (who is a vegan). We kinda mentally prepared for all these inconveniences so this language barrier didn’t affect us at all. Take this from us – it is so much easier to find someone who speaks Mandarin than English in Japan. There are a lot of Chinese working at the restaurants. (So, do go in and order in Mandarin.)

Here are our Top 4 favourite Moments in Osaka:

If Singapore Zoo is regarded as the world’s best zoo, then the Osaka Aquarium is easily one of the largest and best aquariums in the world! Huge tank housing exotic species (like the Mola, Giant Spider Crabs, Tiger Shark, Giant Mantas and even dolphins!) that you may not find in any other places. Excellent layout that brings you from the top level to the bottom. The star attraction is the 2 whale sharks (the largest fish in the world) plus many other sea animals like penguins and sea lions. It is worth the time and money!

It was formerly the World’s Largest and Biggest Ferris Wheel (now ranked 3rd behind the London Eye and the Singapore Flyer). Still standing at 112.5m high, the Osaka Giant Ferris Wheel offers a great panoramic view of city. It carries 60 cabins and 2 of the cabins offer glass-bottom view! We can’t resist the "transparent floor" and so we took one of the 2 special cabins! A romantic ride for lovers as this place was pretty quiet. Lucky for me – I have taken the London Eye and now the Tempozan Wheel.. leaving me the Singapore Flyer – to complete my Ferris Wheel Experience Collection.

Cross the popular Ebisubashi bridge and take photo with the famous Glico "running man" – this is the heart of Osaka’s shopping districts. Certainly a woman’s heaven, this is a very crowded place. Be sure you have enough stamina to roam this place. If not, sit and relax at many of the starbuck joints and wait for your lady ro return. One of the newest attractions is the odd-looking "8" building "Namba HIPS" – It is an entertainment building with gaming and casino inside and a 74m FreeFall ride on the outside.

Built in 1583, the Osaka Castle (Osakajo) is one of Japan’s famous and largest castles. The park is one of Osaka’s most popular hanami spots during the cherry blossoms seasons, which usually takes place in early April.

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