After a week in Japan, I’m now out of Tokyo and over to Osaka! It’s a 3 hour bullet train (Shinkansen) from Tokyo, very near to Kyoto. The city is much calmer and more open than the massive city of Tokyo, and so far it’s been very nice and quite beautiful!
We arrived just as the cherry blossoms were said to be in full bloom and at their best viewing, but unfortunately our first day here was freezing cold, rainy, and windy. We spent the day checking out the area near our hostel and getting some food, and then retired to decide what to do when the weather improved on our next day. Our hostel offers free drinks for guests on Friday nights, so we went down to see other guests and get a drink. We found that it’s apparently very common for locals to come by and take advantage of the gathered foreigners to practice English! I spent about four hours sitting in the common area, talking to locals, learning more about Japan and Osaka, and apparently being a part-time English teacher of sorts.
Today was our second day, and the weather was perfect. The cherry blossoms were in full bloom, the weather was great, and everyone was out because it’s a weekend! The parks were full of people having “hanami” parties, in which families or friends gather together and spend the day amongst the cherry blossom trees. It was pretty cool to see so many people out and enjoying the beautiful trees. I have too many pictures to put on just one blog post, so check them out in my Japan album on Flickr!