The Kansai Episode: The Assasination of Osaka Kansai by the Coward Tokyo Haneda

There are some gardens by the bay here.

After a most fascinating visit to the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, there’s a certain anti-climax that it evokes after you exit it. It hits you as swift as the winter fueled sea breeze chills your bones to the core – there’s literally nothing else in the city that will top the Kaiyukan. And certainly not a harbor cruise, which is why when Titus noticed it being part of the list of free attractions yielded under the Osaka Unlimited Pass, I was underwhelmed and less than enthusiastic about it. Still, he was like, “it’s only a few steps away, it’s free, so why not”. Still, I try to make the best of it. The voyage aboard Santa Maria, a rather loose recreation (in fact only in aesthetics since it was essentially, a fuel-powered craft) of a Spanish sailing vessel reminiscent of the early twentieth century, is exasperatingly monotonous and is quite positively, the epitome of a non-event. The “harbor cruise” turned out to be a short roundabout from the Kaiyukan to Universal City, the integrated development of Universal Studios Japan less than a kilometre away before routing us back to the starting point. A real anti-climax, really. Even the lake cruise at Lake Ashinoko, despite inclement weather obstructing the views of Mt. Fuji, was ions more interesting. On hindsight, I wonder why we didn’t read the signs: the fact that no more than fifteen people were aboard in a craft that could hold hundreds. The only positive, I surmise, was that the whole trip was momentarily fleeting.

Universal City. I missed this so someone else could have fun here.

We went for lunch soon after we disembarked. Well, I had lunch. Titus had bought takoyaki and yakisoba aboard the cruise. I chose to eat at KFC – a decision which stumbled my travel partner somewhat. I am never disappointed by the food in Japan – from convenience stores to local and foreign fast food joints, from ramen shops to restaurants – I know that whatever I eat is guaranteed to taste excellent. There’s just this element of respect and expectation that the Japanese have come to demand that ensures this unfaltering quality. Just last evening at Dotombori, instead of the many recommended restaurants, I insisted that we (or at least, myself) had dinner at a simple noodle bar, and it too blew my mind. Even Starbucks serves quite decent drinks. I throughly enjoyed my 2-piece (actually, three, since I wanted to proof to my disbelieving travel partner that my praise upon food in Japan was indeed, justified, and applicable to all of the nation) meal, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Our next visit was to the Tempozan Ferris Wheel located at Tempozan Harbor Village, the complex that also holds Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan. From as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to go up on a ferris wheel like this. I’ve always fantasized riding on a clear winter’s day with my boyfriend – a tale of romanticism that was painted by my friend, Jeremy. Not my life partner, but I suppose Titus would do this time, as we rode the 112.5 metre high structure for the seventeen minute journey.

Yes, we hop onto the glass cabin. It’s not as scary as the cable car in Singapore, or the Singapore Flyer. The ride, as all “scary rides” are in Japan, was safe and stable.

I like the look of this bridge.

The view to the west affords us the scenes of Kobe, Himeji and the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, the tallest suspension bridge in the world. It’s there, rather faintly.

Craptacular. The sun’s setting. The sun set at about 4.48pm this evening, and by our last night, the sunset was nearly 4.10pm.

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