Osaka, Japan: Our Experience and Tips

Osaka, Japan
大阪市

Population:
2,500,000 people

Osaka is amazing. People are friendly, food is fantastic and public transport is so good it is scary. With so many great properties I am sad we only spent 4 nights in this beautiful place, but we had a ball.

Public Transport
JR Station
Main station is pretty easy to figure out and well set out. JR pass will of course be easiest way to use the JR lines.

Subway
Again a great array of stations for your convenience. We picked up a map from our hotel which made it heaps easier!
Buses
Didn’t really use buses at all in Osaka due to great train system.

What we did in Osaka

Osaka Castle
Renovated castle which housed the Toyotomi family and is now a great example as to what life was like and the history of the 16th century. Keep in mind most of the information is in Japanese. The atmosphere and the food around it is more than worth it. Bring comfy shoes as you will be doing a lot of walking.

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Umeda Sky Building
Umeda floating garden is one of the tallest structures in Osaka. Even though there was no floating garden you get great views of all of Osaka. PS. The garden is on the ground next to the building. There are so many restaurants around the sky building so bring your appetite!

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Kyocera Dome
We really fluked this one. We woke up one day and asked our hotel if there was any baseball on that day. We were in luck. It was a pretty simple train ride to Dome-mae Chiyozaki Station.
We saw Hanshin Tigers VS Orix Buffaloes. Tickets were $40 for the two of us, $60 on Tigers kits we were off to the ball park! Great venue and easy to get to via train and the atmosphere was awesome! You have to get a beer from the ladies with kegs on their back!

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Tsūtenkaku
Right next to Spa World is the Shinsekai district of Osaka. This is a fantastic little district full of amazing restaurants, bars and the Tsūtenkaku Tower. Home to a lot of Glico memorabilia and Billiken Shrine, The God of Happiness who is an very important figure in Osaka. It a beautiful building and fantastic at night, so bring your camera!

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Asahi Brewery
You need to book this! For one Asahi is an amazing brew, two you get a 30 min free tasting…… so that is 3 beers and snacks! You go through a 30 min tour with your guide speaking Japanese, but never fear you get an english translated book for everything. It was amazing to see. Take some time and money to look through the Gift store as you can find some awesome gifts like mugs, bottle openers, beer, whiskey and anything else Asahi related.

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Spa world
Wow what an experience. It was our first time in an Onsen…..  Wow. Separate floors for male and females which change monthly. Please read carefully the information your given in english as it’s hard to ask questions if you have little to no Japanese. I think I am going to do a separate post just on this!

Tips

Check In Time
3pm is standard check in time over in Japan and some hostels are not staffed, key to check times as most places will hold your bags till check in.

Suica and Pasmo Cards
Load and go cards for public transport. Most handy things I have seen and 100 times better than Aussie Myki.

Google Maps and Portable Wifi
Again was fantastic in all conditions. Nothing better than getting directions and costs for a transport system your unsure of.

We had a fantastic time in Osaka with beautiful good food and fantastic people. If your traveling Japan its a must stop place!

じゃあまたね
Ja mata ne!
See you later!

Series Recommendation: Food Wars!

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(Credit Wikipedia for the Image)

Shokugeki no Soma or more commonly know as Food Wars!

What can I say about this manga and recently made anime?

Shonen mixed with ecchi with a sprinkle of romance and comedy, yer that will probably do it…..

Maybe not!

Author: Yuto Tskusada-Sensei
Illustrator: Shu Saeki-Sensei
Debut: 26th of November 2012
Serialization: Weekly Shonen Jump
Genre: Cooking, Comedy
Volumes: 11
Light Novel: Yes
Anime: Yes

Plot:
Soma Yukihara has been in the kitchen all his life, dreaming to one day take over his Fathers restaurant, Yukihara’s. Though as Soma’s passion for the Japanese diner only gets stronger his dad shocks him with saying he is closing the restaurant for 3 years. With Soma’s head spinning from the news, he is told he will go to cooking school to improve his skills, but this is not any culinary school. This is the best cooking school in Japan, where the pass rate is only 10%!

The manga is amazing and you will be hooked on this as you delve deeper into this series.

The anime is starting off at the time of writing this and currently has 3 episodes, Crunchyroll is similcasting the whole thing!

10/10!

じゃあまたね
Ja mata ne!
See you later!

Kyoto, Japan: Our Experience and Tips

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Kyoto, Japan
京都市

Population:
1,500,000 people

What a city to explore. After spending three nights in Kyoto we got a real appreciation for how Kyoto has evolved though kept all its history, beauty and charm. Nicknamed “The city of ten thousand shrines” of which we saw plenty!

Public Transport
JR Station
Kyoto doesn’t have to many JR operated stations though it does help out when wanting to go to a few sightseeing things like Fushimi Inari Shrine and Nara.

Railway
There are a few other train lines around Kyoto though we stayed pretty central with our trip.

Subway
We used the Subways a lot! They are easy to use and there are quiet a few around Kyoto. We found Google maps the best way to get advice things like directions and pricing as some subway stations are not staffed 24 hours a day.

Buses
We used buses heaps in Kyoto. We found the bus system easy to use and very easy to understand. We got a map from our Guesthouse though you can get them from Kyoto JR station too. Remember two things. There are two types of fares, flat fare which is 230 yen and outside of flat fare which is your standard 230 yen, plus the distance of how far you travel outside of it.

Sight Seeing

Kinkaku-ji
Breathtaking Buddhist Temple and a vast garden surrounding this golden example of period architecture. Must see as its amazing!

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Bamboo Forest
A picture speaks a thousand words. About a 45 minutes from Kyoto. Amazing restaurants all around and is famous for its ice cream!

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Fushimi Inari Shrine
Most beautiful setting and truly breathtaking place to visit. Even had the Inari Konkon anime and manga use this as a setting.

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Kyoto Manga Museum
My heaven. More of a library than a museum. Fantastic place in Kyoto to learn a little bit about how manga became and developed through the war to what it is now. Some awesome purchases to be made! Check out the cafe and it’s awesome Manga drawing walls.

Kyoto Imperial Palace
Amazing how the grounds and palace are so well kept and enjoyed by everyone. We were lucky and seen some beautiful plum blossoms which were a treat. You can book with the reception building out the front of the grounds for a tour though we didn’t get a chance.

Nara
Nara is a beautiful place. We stopped over there for a night on our way out of Kyoto. Beautiful shrines, scenery and deer….. A lot of deer. You cab buy deer crackers though they are wild animals in the end.

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Tea Ceremony
A beautiful thing to experience. We did it at the Golden Temple, was 500 yen and a great 10 minutes just enjoying green tea and the scenery.

Tips

All day bus pass
500 yen! Best purchase when traveling by bus. Can purchase from Kyoto Station.

Subway Stations
Not always staffed so you need to be careful with your fare amount, there is a fare adjustment machine like in Tokyo.

Suica and Pasmo Cards
Load and go cards for public transport. Most handy things I have seen and 100 times better than Aussie Myki.

Google Maps and Portable Wifi
Again was fantastic in all conditions. Nothing better than getting directions and costs for a transport system your unsure of.

Walking Shoes
YOU WILL DO ALOT OF WALKING IN KYOTO! The attractions and sights are huge and will give you a great workout. Especially Inari Shrine and Bamboo Forest.

We stayed in a guest house in Kyoto, its is a MUST DO ONCE IN A LIFETIME THING. We were as tall as the doors and was as small as a queen bed! The photos don’t do it justice! It was a great base for our trip into the former capital.

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じゃあまたね
Ja mata ne!
See you later!

Tokyo, Japan: Our Experience and Tips

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東京都
Tokyo, Japan

Population:
13,500,000

Tokyo has many fantastic, vibrant and fun areas to explore. It is not short on pop culture, anime, manga and Japanese inventions.

In Tokyo we did:
Mt Fuji Tour-
Fantastic though a gamble with weather.

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Disneyland & Dinseysea-
Makes you a child again. Most things are in Japanese and English is not fully spoken.

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Akihabara-
What a place filled of joy and so much wants! A must for Otakus.Need a few hours and a comfortable set of shoes to explore. Maid café is a must.

Harajuku-
Amazing place full of fashion and personalities. Make up, clothes and crepes!

Ueno and Ueno Zoo-
If you hit this place during cheery blossom season you will be in a white wonderland! The zoo is fantastic with plenty to do and see. PANDAS!

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Studio Ghibli Museum-
A superb way to view animation at is best! English tour guide book provided. Take you time around this place and grab a Ghibli beer.

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Pokemon Centre and J World-
My childhood in a nutshell. Mega Pokemon Centre and J-World located in Sunshine city. Again all in Japanese though you don’t need English for the Pokémon Centre though you do get English translation in J-World.

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Top Tips:
Pasmo/ Suica Card-
Top up card for Trains. Makes your life so much easier and means the fact that you don’t need to use your precious cash all the time.

Pocket WiFi and Google Maps-
The combination of these two things made our time in Japan care free. Google tells you cost for trains and subway and obviously knowing where you are is a big stress in an exploring holiday.

Learn SOME Japanese-
I am not fluent and I doubt I will ever will be, though having a small understanding will make your experience 100 times better.

Use your Hotel Front Desk-
Every thing that you get and every website you view is in Japanese. Ask questions and let them help you as much as they can.

Our experiences through out Tokyo were amazing! We found everyone friendly and helpful. A few words in Japanese mean the world to them as you show them you understand and appreciate their country and customs.

Google Translate is a great way to teach yourself key phrases to learn as no one expects you to be fluent and you don’t expect the Japanese to speak fluent English.

Keep an open mind and have fun with it and you will always have a great time in Tokyo 🙂
Thanks!

じゃあまたね
Ja mata ne!
See you later!

Series Recommendation:Tokyo Ghoul

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One of most well received Manga/Anime series of the last year or so is the phenomenon which is Tokyo Ghoul.

With a well told and drawn dark fantasy story which walks the line between humans and ghouls. It gives twists and turns and colorful back stories, this series gives you many vessels to explore this deep, dark and dingy story of a very different Tokyo.

Author Sui Ishida first posted Tokyo Ghoul as a “Oneshot” in 2010 which is how many Mangaka’s first publish work, depending on reception from fans it normally starts a serialization.

Tokyo Ghoul started serialization in 2011 in Weekly Young Jump. It recently ended serialization in 2014.

Rumors of season 3 of the popular anime and a stage show add to the list of different adaptions to  Sui-sensei’s work.

Below are current offerings of the Tokyo Ghoul franchise.

Manga:
Tokyo Ghoul
Tokyo Ghoul:re
Tokyo Ghoul: Jack

Light Novels:
Tokyo Ghoul: Hibi
Tokyo Ghoul: Kuhaku
Tokyo Ghoul: Sekijitsu

Anime:
Tokyo Ghoul
Tokyo Ghoul√A

Note:Both anime seasons hold 12 episodes at about 24 minutes each

This is a lesson on how to show multiple character back stories yet keep it true to the main protagonist and their journey through the story.

10/10 🙂

Thanks!

じゃあまたね
Ja mata ne!
See you later!

Credit Wikimedia for the image.

Japanese Vending Machines & You

Hi all!

Japan has a population of 126,999,808 which is almost 1.75%
of the worlds population!

So of course they need 5,200,000 vending machines!

That’s 1 for every 24 people in Japan.

Convenience, convenience & convenience.

During my time in Japan I used a vending machine every day and we can confirm it is AWESOME!

Here is a general vending machine:

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Now this is a basic vending machine serving hot and cold drinks 24 hours a day.
Here is the inside:

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With all of Japan being so convient and user friendly for Japanese and visitors alike, the vending machines make for easy access to your food, drinks and a few other “necessites”.

From what we have seen here is a few of the our favourites:
• Disney Merchandise
• Milk
• Eggs
• Ice Cream
• 24 Hours Hot Food (Hot Chips, Chinese Rice, Hot Rice balls)
• Cup Noodles
• Cigarettes
• Alcohol

Here is our favourite we found ☺

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Who needs a person working this shop when you can replace them with vending machines!!!

Have a look through google to find some weird and wonderful vending machines, there are some awesome videos on YouTube about how they work.

Cheers guys

じゃあまたね
Ja mata ne!
See you later!

Japan I love you!

Hi Guys,

We have been home 2 days now and we are already having withdraws!

Thinking about this I have thought of some key things I took for granted in Japan.

1. Great food being at 7 Eleven:
I was craving a Pork Cutlet Bento so bad last night at midnight. Now in Japan I could’ve gone to 7 Eleven or Lawson and got a Bento for $5! Crazy!

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         Note:Bento above was $10

2. Kindness of the Japanese people:
Now i deal with the general public in NY job so I am no stranger to rudeness though when we left Japan and got to Vietnam for our stop over, we were met with RUDE PEOPLE EVERYWHERE! If you go to Japan you will hear two things a lot.
1.すみません – Sumimasen: Excuse Me
2.いらっしゃいませ – Irasshaimase-     Welcome

You will always feel welcome in Japan!

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3. Country pride:
Japan love their country so much any sport it support unconditionally. Football, Baseball, Rugby etc. They love all their country does to beer to sport!

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Cheers guys!

Xoxo

Welcome! Enjoy my life!

Hello,

As this is my first post I’ll do a self intro!

Name: Scotty
Age: 25
Nationality: Australian
Marital Status: Engaged

After the last 4 years of my life being stuck into anything Anime, Manga, Japanese Pop Culture etc, I have finally convinced my better half (Not Debated) to go to Japan with me!

This Blog is going to be a lot of things to me, but mainly to get a lot of my Otaku feelings out in the open and hopefully entertain you the readers!

Hopefully you like it.

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Scotty