Well, after a quick ride to Shin-Osaka, we managed to call Brookie Sloan and agree where and when to meet up with him. We called him again at 11:45AM or so and he gave us more details. We were to ride the subway (not the JR lines) to Namba station in Osaka. This would be a challenge because we were going to have to use the ticket machines, which turned out to be much cheaper and easier than imagined.
We made our way to the Namba station and met up at OIOI (pronounced Marui Marui). This was after a 45 minute wait. We headed top-side for some fresh air and to go get food. We found a Ramen shop nearby & got some great tasting, but fatty (pork) ramen. Afterwards, Brookie took us to an arcade where we played this cool drum game that caused me to get a blood blister and rip some of my skin off my thumb. We walked up and down the Namba area and explored many stores, as well as laughed and joked about Japan. We saw a lot more Gaijin (foreigners) in this area, which made me feel good.
Afterwards we hopped the subway to Osaka-umeda. This was a pretty nifty area with larger specialty stores instead of jam-packed streets with small stores. Additionally, there was an 8-story electronics store and a shopping center with a ferris wheel in it. Brookie took us to this shopping center and bought us some matcha (green tea) ice cream. It was VERY delicious. Afterwards, a scared Melissa and myself hopped on the ferris wheel. It had a great view of Osaka & I’m disappointed I didn’t take my camera.
We sadly had to depart from Brookie, but we planned to meet up with him tomorrow, the day after and the day after that. He told us which train to get on and we were off. It was amazingly quick for a local (non-shinkansen) train. We made it to the end and I had to figure out how to get to the Ryokan. We had only about 60 minutes to get there before we ran out of time for dinner. Luckily, some English-speaking Japan high schoolers helped me by telling me we needed to go back one station. We quickly did so, for an outrageous price, but I was able to easily find my way there. The subway system was pretty simple in Kyoto, too, so we followed the directions Kazuko gave us and we arrived with 20 minutes to spare. The hospitality here is great & we are able to communicate in Japanese so much easier than at the Onsen. The women all wear Kimonos here and have a lot of courtesy. The one who escourted us to our room was very polite as well as cute. The dinner was extremely delicious and just about as filling as the Kaeseki Riyori that we had at the onsen.
Well, that’s just about it for the adventures in Osaka and Kyoto for today. I will update tomorrow evening when we get to the Holiday Inn after all our travelling.