Natalie Goes to Japan

40 year old very married blonde woman having a midlife crisis who heads to Japan alone to follow her dreams. Be careful what you wish for ... you just may get it.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Wandering Continues

I had originally planned to stay in Nara for 2 nights, but decided I had seen most of what I wanted to see in the first day. And I hadn't realized exactly how close Osaka was. So, I decided to wander in that direction. But first I still wanted to go to Horyu-ji. This is the first Buddhist temple to be built in Japan, and is a Unesco site several miles out of town. So, I asked the hostel staff the best way to get there. They said the bus that goes right by the hostel could take me there. Oh, that's convenient, especially since it had started raining. So I stood at the stop at the appointed time, and nothing happened. Since Japanese buses are never late I went back inside. They said, oh no, it's the next bus stop down. So I walked down. Well, to make a long story short they were full of crap. After many questions to people who don't speak English, several wrong turns and an hour later I was finally on the bus. Which turned out to be a stupid move anyway. The train would have been much faster and much cheaper, and I wouldn't have gotten motion sick. So by the time I arrived at Horyu-ji I was thinking that I shouldn't have even gone. But Horyu-ji changed my mind. It was a lovely place, even with a black sky and rain. It's a whole compound, with a pagoda, Golden hall, great gate, a cool octagonal hall, a museum and multitudes of smaller buildings and gardens. Afterwards I hopped on the train to Osaka (which cost me less the the bus to Horyu-ji). The youth hostel was near the Shinkansen station (Shin-Osaka), which isn't very centrally located. But then again, the sites in Osaka aren't exactly centrally located, and the subway system is awesome, so it didn't really matter. After checking in (really nice hostel!) and a nap, I headed down to see the bright lights of the big city. I walked around the Dotombori area, until I found a nice place to eat dinner. When I came out it had gotten dark, and the streets were starting to fill up with the nightlifers. I was hoping to take a night cruise, but when I got to the dock I had missed the last cruise by an hour. So I just wandered and took pictures until I had had my fill, then took the subway back again. Two days ago, I'd had no idea I would be doing this. Spontaneity rocks!


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