For our first day in Japan, we arrived at 8am, but immigration took a long time and included getting finger printed. I finally got off around 11:30. I didn’t really have anything planned for today except that I wanted to go to Osaka, one of the 9 major cities in Japan and only about an half an hour by train from Kobe. We took a taxi to get to a bank, and that was a bad idea. Taxis are very expensive and I paid about twice as much as it cost to and from Osaka. I met some friends at the bank and decided to travel with them to Osaka. One of the girls, Lucy, spoke Japanese, so it made things much easier. There are very little signs that are in English and the language barrier can be very tough at times.
The train system is very organized, yet complicated getting to Osaka was good practice for the rest of the week, which consisted of many hours on the trains. After getting to Osaka and having lunch it was already 3pm. A few of us decided to go to a popular shopping and just walking area. We walked down so many cool looking alleys with decorated with plenty of Japanese lanterns and such, with enough room for a single car to drive down. Despite there being plenty of alleys, overall, trash was very hard to come by; Japan does a good job at keeping clean. This is not true for almost every country we visited, except for Singapore maybe. We eventually settled for a local restaurant that served us rice, some sort of stringy beef and miso soup. Not everybody was satisfied afterwards and we were debating if we had eaten dog or not (im still not convinced it was beef) and we went to Subway. I haven’t gone to too many american fast food places, but I really enjoy seeing the international spin that each country adapts. Subway had a lot of the same food, but they also offered chicken wings. There was also no $5 foot long offer.
The shopping streets were very impressive and everybody seemed very stylish. You could find many name brands that you do in the states, but there were also many popular Japanese stores. I was with Kara and Chelle, and I decided to venture around while they shopped. I found some wifi at a hotel and skyped for a couple minutes with my family. I was having some financial problems this morning, so it was nice to sort out some of those issues. I left around 8 to try to meet up with my roommate Robert and a few other friends for that night. We all walked around for a while, but most of the clubs required high cover charges (Japan is really expensive!) We decided to just walk around for a little bit more and then head back to the ship. Fun, but not very eventful night.
Currently, we are back on the ship, sadly saying goodbye to our last main port. I can’t believe we are almost finished. It will be sad to say goodbye to all of the new amazing people in my life, but it will be great so see everybody back home, graduate, and start the next chapter in my life. Until then, it will be a lot of essays and tests in the next couple weeks and getting ready to say goodbye.