BraceletJune 6, 2016 in Japan
Jonny the Backpackingman told me about how good it is to ride a bike through Osaka (well, basically a lot of Japanese cities) and so i thought it would be nice to rent a bike from the hostel and just ride around a bit. Jonny also told me about the Nihonbashi district in Osaka, which is basically a smaller version of Akihabara in Tokyo but not less geeky. I decided to bike in the general direction of the Osaka aquarium, a route that would lead me through the Nihonbashi disctrict. I tried to mount my phone to the handlebars of the bike but after a couple of near drops I found it to be wiser to just hold the phone in my hand and set the volume to maximum so i could hear to the spoken commands of my navigation app, which was a bit safer. I soon found out that my biking experience in the Netherlands and more specifically Amsterdam was very useful. Here you basically don't ride on the roads but on the sidewalks where the pedestrians also try to find their way. Apparantly rules and regulations don't apply to bikers. No speed limits or passing each other on the left side. Just make sure you get to your destination as fast as possible without hitting anybody. After a short and steep learning curve and swapping my sunglasses for my regular glasses i quickly found my way through the Osakan traffic. Only to be regurarly stopped by the plethora of traffic lights on every crossroads. One of the downsides of American style city planning with streetgrids. I passed the Nihonbashi district but a lot of shops hadn't opened yet so i pedaled on to the waterfront area. I stopped for a short while to spray myself with sunscreen. The first few days in the blistering sun i forgot to do it and although i didn't get sunburn i started to get this kind of "inverted panda face" look. :-D.
I got to the waterfront area with the big ferris wheel and the aquarium and got into the little shopping mall to cool down a bit and maybe get something to eat. The mall itself was nothing special but they had a Baskin Robbins ice cream parlor. The 40 different flavours did not make choosing easier but the "Temptation Island" and "Maple syrup something" i chose were pretty good. Although i have no idea what "Temptation Island" should taste like. Coral and sand perhaps?
Back outside i saw a sign pointing to Mt. Tempozan. At 3.54 meters it's arguably Japans lowest mountain. As posted on Facebook, the climb was cruels, hot and harsh but i made it. Unfortunately several of my sherpa's did not survive the climb, so i had to climb the last 23 centimers on my own. ;-) Only to find several schoolkids in their uniform relaxing on the top.
The descent went pretty smooth and fast and i pedaled back to the Nihonbashi district where a lot more shops had opened. I parked my bike and checked out the area. There were a lot of shops that sell only one type of item. I found a shop that just sold networking cables. But then in all different shapes, sizes and categories. I found a shop called No.1 Guns and was intrigued. They did not sell real guns but very lifelike BB-guns. These things are so realistic that i'm pretty sure they are not allowed to be sold in the Netherlands. Apparantly they even have play games with these guns. Kind of like a high-tech tag game. I got back in the Amemura district where i met up with Jonny again in the local Starbucks or "the office" as he would call it. We discussed the day and previous night and both decided to take it easy for once. I got back to the hostel with a couple of Highball drinks and after a shower and short nap I got back down to the common room in the hostel where i met David and Chris from New Zealand. My intentions on working on my blog were short lived as we chugged down several beers and talked about whatnot. It was around 1am and i was ready to go to bed when i met Yok from Thailand, a very sweet girl who was traveling through Japan with her brother and sister. We talked for a short while and she ended up giving me a wonderful bracelet her sister designed and her brother made. How sweet! We said goodnight but not before promising to meet up again the next morning before they would leave for the airport. After that i went to bed realizing this was a wonderful day!Read more