On the last day of almost any adventure (long or short, awesome or fail) I just want to get home. Tokyo feels like home to me for the time being. It’s been my base in Japan and it’s the only place in the world where there’s an apartment rented in my name.

I showed up to the reservations window in Fukushima Station, Osaka at 11:11 and told the guy I wanted the next train to Shinagawa. He told me “we recommend you allow 30 minutes to get from here to Shin-Osaka.” (Shinkansen often stop at “Shin” stations. A linguistic coincidence but a convenient one.) He wrote two times on a piece of paper: 11:40 and 12:05. I pointed to 11:40. Hey, let’s go!

It turns out this was no problem. I even had time to buy breakfast in Shin-Osaka. I’m now on a huge (16 car) 700 series Shinkansen running as a Hikari super experess.

The last few days were fun. I explored the Akiyoshi-Do cave then sat at the bus station for almost 2 hours, giving me no time to explore Kibi. I suppose I could have backtracked and done the ride today, but like I said I want to get home :)

Umbrella Shop Rice fields

I found some really interesting food in Osaka: tomato ramen. It’s a bowl of noodles, but in tomato sauce with various toppings (my favourite is cheese, in other words about half a cup of parmesan, which soaks up the sauce and gets all stringy.) I went there 3 times :) Now this is fusion food.. fuck all the restaurants that use that term because they happen to serve Chinese-style food and Pad Thai.

2 nights and a day in Osaka also let me sample the nightlife – drunk Japanese people are great because they stop caring how bad their English is and just want to talk to you. Some of us tried to get on the ferris wheel at the Donki (a chain of discount stores best described as “the Honest Ed’s of Japan”) in the nightclub area, but it wasn’t running for some reason. On the way home, last chance: I grabbed my camera from the hostel and there was a convenient post across the alleyway so I didn’t even need to wait for someone walking by to take this photo:

me & my kitteh

Meow! Just under 2 hours now to Shinagawa, then a few minutes on the Yamanote line to Ebisu, then home!

Originally written February 6, 2010