Minke and Eelco are here! They arrived at KIX airport at 8:55 this morning, took a bus to Osaka and then met me at the bus stop in Umeda! I’ve been looking forward to their visit for quite a while, so it was really good to see them! Fresh of the plane, all the way from Europe, with hardly any sleep, yet they were eager to see more of Japan already! First stop was Fukushima, to drop off their luggage at their hostel. The hostel looked really nice and clean, and I could even imagine myself staying in such a place, and I really dislike hostels, so that says a lot.
Next: lunch. And what is more Japanese than sushi, and not just sushi but kaitenzushi! Minke and Eelco really enjoyed the sushi-go-round, and I was astonished to learn that the staff at Umeda’s Kurazushi is fluent in English! One lady explained everything to us, even ordering with the Japanese computer system, and I just couldn’t believe it. Minke and Eelco enjoyed picking interesting looking sushi from the conveyor belt, tried lots of delicious things and basically loved the whole experience.
After lunch they got drowsy and tired so we stopped for some coffee and espresso at the MBS building but not before taking some silly pictures of us in the building’s mirror windows (what must the people inside have thought about the crazy foreigners).
After a shot of caffeine we took a train to Namba to check out Dotombori and it’s many sights. It was raining quite a bit, so sightseeing was a bit challenging, but the bad weather also made the streets less busy and that’s never a bad thing in Japan.
Eelco tried to make some new friends on his first day in Japan, but the candidates weren’t very responsive. The very popular Kuidaore Taro, who left Dotombori last year but returned after popular demand, just kept drumming his little drum and some kushi-man ignored Eelco completely and instead just stared angrily at potential customers.
Dinner was nomihodai (all-you-can-drink) and tabehodai (all-you-can-eat) at Kushiya, a Japanese fondue restaurant. We basically fried a lot of meat, vegetables, fish, some unknown and questionable stuff, but the most interesting we fried was ice cream. We actually fried ice cream!! It was a disc of rice cake filled with really cold and dense vanilla ice cream, which we fried for 45 seconds. It wasn’t bad at all! A little strange but pretty tasty.
We ended the evening with some karaoke! Yumiko came along to help me get the Dutchies interested in singing a few tunes. It wasn’t hard to get them to sing, they weren’t that comfortable with it to start with, but soon they did wonderfully. But the jet lag was really starting to kick in after a couple of songs, so we left after a short hour to let them go ‘home’ and get some sleep. Yumiko really liked Minke and Eelco and kept telling what a nice couple they are ;).
What a fun day, hanging out with my friends in Osaka! Minke and Eelco really enjoyed walking around and taking in all the Japanese things and sights. And all the Japanese really enjoyed looking at us. I usually get stared at a lot, but today with two other Dutchies at my side, including a very tall man, the stares were a little more intense and frequent. Of course we stayed friendly and even greeted some very ‘stary’ people, who didn’t seem to believe their own eyes. We are quite the celebrities, with our foreign looks and unfamiliar language.