The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Parents' trip to Japan - Part 1 (Osaka)

Thought I'd give you some idea of the stuff we got up to when our folks came to visit us. Rob had to make an impromptu trip to New York on the day our parents were to arrive in the Noto, so I had to take a couple of days off work. It was a good thing that we manage to schedule the flights so that Rob could spend at least half an hour at the airport with my parents and his mum after their arrival and before his departure.

Brief reunion at the airport before Rob's departure:

Around the Noto and Kanazawa

I planned for us to meet up with Rob in Osaka the following week, but for the moment I had to entertain our parents for a few days. I brought them to most of the places around the Noto and in Kanazawa that we brought Rob's aunt Chris to during her visit. Since time wasn't so much of a constraint in the itinerary like it was for Chris, we got to do more things like going to the Asaichi (morning market) in Wajima as well as show them around the local areas that we live in. And who can forget the earthquake that happened the day before taking them to Osaka, and the stress that followed post-earthquake as I was filled with anxiety over whether we could indeed continue with our travel plans.


Come Monday arvo, we finally made it to Osaka and met Rob there. This is our fourth time in this city, and thankfully we like this city so much that we would still want to come here again. First stop was lunch at Kiji Honten, that great okonomiyaki place that I raved on about last time. A pretty long lunch queue was in place, and we waited a good 45 minutes before we got a seat in the tiny place. No one really minded the wait as it was opportunity for our folks to catch up with Rob. I had to take short walks during the wait because I was still suffering from motion sickness from having to do my Japanese studies on the train ride (I had to cram for a test that was due in a couple of days' time). Parents loved the food and was quite entertained by the kitchen action.

We spent a bit of time at the Yodobashi Centre (7 floors of electronic stuff) before heading off to the Umeda Sky Building, which they thought was more interesting than Tokyo Tower.

Riding the escalator up to the top of the Umeda Sky Building:

Before we knew it, it was already dinner time so we brought them to the other great place to eat in Osaka: Nawa Zushi Shiten. This place was crowded (like it was last time) when we arrived and we were brought to yet another building owned by the same guys. Due to the size of our group we couldn't get a seat at the counter, and were seated on the tatami table instead. Like it was before, menu was in Japanese and the staff's spoken English were somewhat limited, so some knowledge of at least hiragana and katakana would help when ordering from the menu. Food was fantastically fresh, and my mum in particular was much delighted at the variety of sushi and sashimi available to us. We ordered lots of food!

First photo: we started out with ama ebi (raw sweet prawn), uni (sea urchin roe), kani (crab), and ikura (salmon roe) sushi as well as sake (salmon) and maguro (tuna) sashimi. Second photo: unagi (eel), hotate (scallop) and the notoriously expensive toro (tuna belly) sushi.

Third photo: Rob was not quite full yet so we ordered the more ordinary (and cheaper) sushi like tamago (egg), hamachi (yellowtail), and two others that I've forgotten:

I was stuffed when we left this place. The bill came to around 9800yen, which is not that expensive considering the type of food we ordered. If we lived in Osaka, we'll be coming here quite often.

to be continued

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