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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Adventures in Osaka and getting caught...

Day 1 Osaka, Japan

A good night's rest won over and I made my way to the city around 630PM. I also got in a lot earlier than I expected and finding a place for just Y2200** a night, I would be stupid not to! The train ride was also not that bad, only Y890 one way and took about an hour. Initially I thought I didn't want to waste the time nor the money but in the end, it was inconsequential.

My flight out to Hong Kong the following day was at 10:00AM, with the hour train ride, I figured, I should try to leave around 6:30AM to give me some extra time to get to the airport even though the guy at the hotel told me that I could leave at 7:30AM?! I didn't really need to be in that early since I was already checked-in but the lady in Honolulu didn't give me an onward boarding pass and I didn't realize it then so didn't ask for it. Anyway, I would go early because I didn't want to miss Hong Kong. So that was the plan...

At first I didn't know where I was; waking up in a tiny room with a wall only a foot away each way I turned. Then I realized I was in Osaka and that I had to be at the airport at 8:00AM! First I looked at my wrist watch and then my iphone, both read 5 to 12. Oh my God, I'm supposed to be at the airport and it is almost noon?! I looked up at the wall and there was another wall clock that said 6:55AM. Half awake, I still managed to get into my phone settings to see what time zone I was in...HONOLULU. Which explains why my 6:00AM alarm clock for Japan Time didn't go off! I quickly gathered my things and rushed out of the room.

Made my way down to the train station. Station attendant advised that I should catch the Express Train; he failed to mention that it would cost me more. Though I had seen the sign when I got in the day before so I had an inkling. Got on to the train and found a seat. Next stop we pull into, a man comes up to me and says 'excuse me'. I guess I was in his seat. I moved my things to the seat next to him so that I could sit there but before I knew it, a lady came up to me and said 'uh, excuse me'. I guess it's reserved seating? So I gathered my things: backpack and ukulele and stood in the compartment between the two cars. Usually the train attendant comes through the train checking tickets. I was only 4 stops away so I was hoping I could slide through.

It didn't work. Two stations away from the airport, the train attendant asked me to show her my ticket. My first reaction? In English: "What do you need?" In Japanese, she asks me: "Can you speak Japanese?" With a blank stare, I look at her with a confused look? A product of the younger, American influenced generation of Japan, she says in English: "you need to have a ticket; it's going to cost you Y500." I give up. She caught me. My foreign card days are over. I can no longer pretend I don't understand when it's convenient for me. damn. So I pay her the duty and she produces me a receipt through her hand held device. Now I have 27A for the 1 station ride to the airport. So close.

Take off to Hong Kong, again in beautiful business class. It is a short quick ride and I arrive in Hong Kong.

** At the tourist information desk at the airport, there is a pamphlet (available in English) on cheap places to stay in Shin-Imamiya. I tried to scan it...

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