Roommate Fieldtrip! YAY!

Aright, so I’m skipping ahead a couple weekends, but I figured I should blog about today/yesterday since it’s fresh in my mind, and for some reason I’m feeling especially motivated right now.

Saturday, October 10th, as in 1 hour and 24 minutes ago (according to the current time). Go!:

First thing is that I wake up around 9 a.m. to get a head start on the day. Some of the flatmates, as in Jenay, Karoline, Lain, and Maiko, decided weeks ago that we wanted to go to Osaka this weekend because apparently there was some sort of Pokemon party of the Pokemon center. Being the subtle otakus that we are, we ended up making a Floor 3, Unit 1 field trip.

11:00 a.m.- Ikimashita (we went)! We decided to bike to Hirakata-shi because later on that day, aka that evening we were planning on going to Ringo for karaoke. Not just any kind of karaoke, but inexpensive, 8 hours karaoke. That’s right. You read that correctly. Anyways, our mission for the morning was to get to the Osaka aquarium AND to climb the smallest mountain in Japan (because we wanted to see what qualifies as being a small mountain).

Maiko (one of our Nihonjin- Japanese- flatmates) was our guide for the day and successful brought us to each place we wanted to go. We were very enthusiastic because our day was planned out so well and exited the train with a child-like excitement. Before we went to climb this mountain, we stopped at a Lawson’s because we were super hungry. After we bought the necessary food items to keep us energized during our adventure, we made our way to Japan’s smallest mountain. On the way we decided that after everything we said we would have a tiny celebration and yell out the word “YAY!” So the next 10 minutes of our walk was, “We’re going to the aquarium… YAY… We’re going to Japan’s smallest mountain… YAY… It’s such a beautiful day today… YAY…” and other random phrases along those lines. We were walking and walking and in the distance saw a really pretty and very big ferris wheel. We arrived in front of the big ferris wheel, which is located near a park that houses the smallest mountain in Japan. We looked at the park and saw a hill, eyes gaping in disbelief, “This can’t be the smallest mountain in Japan, it’s a hill…” was all we could fathom. To our satisfaction, Maiko told us that it wasn’t the smallest mountain in Japan, and that the actual smallest mountain in Japan was on the other side of the park. So we enthusiastically pressed onward and upward, looking for a mountain-like, well, mountain. Not sure what to expect and not knowing what we were looking for, we glanced around curiously. We then saw a monument that stood only meters away from the large hill that we thought was the mountain. Maiko ran to a sign opposite from us and announced that this mountain, which was in a depression lower than the large hill and did not look anything like a mountain, was the smallest mountain in Japan. HA…. HA…. HA…. HA. I cannot put our disappointment into words. It was so disappointing that all I could do was laugh my butt off and watch as the group collectively and immediately decided to leave and go to the aquarium.

Still excited about the aquarium, we went through the routine of saying “Yay” after everything. We also got our picture taken in front of the aquarium and then finally entered. The entire aquarium was build around a huge tank that is about 6 floors high and I’m not even sure how wide. This huge tank housed a whale shark, which reminded me of the humungous fish in Miyazaki’s “Ponyo”. Seriously, Miyazaki has a great imagination and all, but he was definitely inspired by the weird sea creatures of Japan. They were big and creepy. The aquarium was definitely interesting and I saw everything from confused-looking penguins to dolphins being fed. We also took a tourist picture, which Maiko will hopefully upload on her Facebook. Overall, the experience was a lot of fun, and no amount of words can ever do justice to it.

After the aquarium, we hit the gift shop and blew our moneys on amazing plush animals, plush purses, and postcards. I love gift shops. They are so bad, but so great at the same time. So after squealing over cute toys and what not that we wished we could buy, we went to find a place to do purikura. Unfortunately, the place that Maiko knew of in the mall closed down, so we headed towards the LARGEST GIANT FERRIS WHEEL in Japan! YAY! We wanted to get into a purple car, but ended up in a green one, which was perfectly fine and inevitably exactly the same as any other color (whoda thunk it?) Since my camera ran out of batteries, I had to use my cell phone camera. Oddly enough it took better pictures than my actual camera. So after an unknown amount of time and debating wßhether or not we were going to get off the LARGEST GIANT FERRIS WHEEL we actually did get off and went to our next destination for the day: POKEMON CENTER! YAY! BUT WAIT! Onaka ga suitaaaaaaaa!! (I’m hungryyyyyyyy!!) Therefore, FOOD! YAY! So the hunt for food ensued. We went to the mall and ate in the food court. I had the udon seto: Udon (type of noodle), tonkatsu (pork), and gohan (rice). Wonderful and oishii (delicious) and wonderful. :] Okay, now POKEMON CENTER! YAY!

The walk wasn’t very long, especially since Maiko-sensei did such a fantastic job at navigating. We made it to the supposed Pokemon party, BUT! (DUN DUN DUNNNNNN) when we entered, there was no party to be seen!!! Clearly a marketing trap (either that or poor translation of the flyer…Nah). Once we got our fix of Pokemon merchandise, we headed back to the train station to catch the next train back to Hirakata-shi.

Once in Hirakata-shi we walked to Ring, an inexpensive karaoke place- 800 yen (around $8.00) for 8 hours of karaoke. 8 hours of karaoke sounded incredibly intimidating, and we planned on staying just for a couple of hours. The room that we stayed in was smoky and little. We were a bit disappointed and debated getting a bigger room. However, our ideas were trumped once someone put a song on the screen: “Sakuranbo” by Ai Otsuka. I was only able to sing about 2 lines accurately. During the rest of the song, I could only pretend to know the kanji (complicated Japanese characters, that are basically taken from the Chinese language). Other songs began to appear on the screen and soon we were dancing and clapping to every song that people were choosing, whether we knew it or not. I’m really glad that Maiko (Japanese flatmate), Nana (Japanese flatmate), and Karoline (Norwegian flatmate) can sing Japanese songs. Jenay (Florida roommate), Lain (North Carolina flatmate), and I covered the English songs. It was a decent music selection for what ended up being a 5 hour time period.

After 5 hours we decided that it was probably time to go home, so we went back to our bikes, formed a parade from unit 3310 and hiked our bikes and tired bums up the giant hill that leads back to Kansai Gaidai and eventually our neighborhood Katahoko.


October 23, 2009. Uncategorized.

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