Saturday, May 11, 2019

Osaka & Kyoto: the Mikey Chronicles

If I did this the way I hope, Mikey’s account has already been posted on this blog. I should probably reread that before I type this up… (I won’t)

Months earlier, I passed some of my travel planning fatigue off on Mikey and asked him to do what booking and planning was necessary - I trusted his judgement (and I needed a break from trying to research places on my phone). We met up in a bookstore (how appropriate for two introverts) on the first of April and I almost didn’t recognize him, as his hair was the longest I’d seen it. It was a nice reunion and we started exploring the area shortly thereafter.

A dinner on the first night and a drink at a bar neither of us liked (make a note) and we were more or less ready for bed. We did a bit more exploring the next day, checkin out the Tsutenkaku Tower (and all the pocky inside), the Osaka Castle, and, after a very awkward rendezvous with couchsurfers, we went to a baseball game. Did you know you can buy baseball tickets at 7/11? I wish such a thing were available in Philly - getting Phillies tickets at WaWa would be amazing.

Going to a baseball game is a must-do if ever you’re in Japan. If I were in any place of power in Philadelphia, I’d offer an all-expenses paid trip for at least a hundred Orix Buffalo fans to come to a Phillies game (fun fact: Kobe is a sister city to Philadelphia, meaning I had to root for the Buffalos, despite the cute Hawks fans sitting next to us).

The next day we hopped on a train to Kyoto and spent some time on solo adventures - he went to a mountain and monkey park and I went to a library and city hall. We reconnected, checked into our new spot, and I went and got a drink (along with several recommendations).

Our only full day in Kobe was spent walking through the thousand gates, taking a selfie at Nintendo HQ, getting some recommended ramen, checkin out some temples, getting some recommended sushi, and making dumb mistakes trying to not be tourists on a very touristy street. Mikey wasn’t feeling 100%, so, before the sushi, I went and walked the Philosopher’s Path and wrote some poems in the Kyoto Prefectural Library.

The next day we got a McDonald’s breakfast and hopped on a train back to Osaka. Our final hostel was atop that bar neither of us liked (remember?), which we thought was pretty funny. We went separate ways again (honestly, what a healthy traveling decision) and I went to Osaka City Hall, Osaka Public Hall (where I was forced to go to a concert), and Osaka Prefectural Library (more poems). I also tried to get some good photos of cherry blossoms and Osaka Castle, but to no luck. Eventually, we reconnected and I took him to a karaoke bar I’d made some poor choices at and we had a decent time on his last full day.

We parted ways after a short week. Mikey went to Los Angeles and I moved to a capsule hotel I’d enjoyed previously. In all, I had an absolute blast - Mikey pushed me to do a few more things than I’d thought I’d be doing, I had a fun time sharing my own adventures with him, and we both recognized the wisdom of splitting up and being on our own once in a while.

Full photos from Japan can be found via this link.

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