26 April 2023

2023 Japan Adventure - Part 2: First Day in Osaka

Welcome to Part 2 of my Japan vacation report! You can read Part 1 here. Today's entry will cover my first day in Osaka, which wasn't very long. My husband and I mostly explored the area around our hotel before beginning the boarding procedures for our cruise ship. Even with the short amount of time, however, we still found some cool stuff which I shall now share with you here!

Wednesday 15 March 2023 - Exploring Sakishima, Osaka

This photo is actually from the night before, but I'm including it because...
...I ended up taking the exact same photo, effortlessly, the next morning!
The tower on the left is Cosmo Tower, the third tallest building in Japan.
It wasn't even (astronomical) spring yet but many lovely flowers were abloom!

We enjoyed a walk in the sunshine 🌞 Cosmo Tower and the ATC building are visible behind us.
A map of the area we walked around in. We mostly followed the canal.
One of the best things about Japan: awesome vending machines everywhere!
This ship was a random find! It's a restored Kofun period ship named Namihaya.
This Asahi article from last October indicates people are trying to find a better home for it.
There were lots of lively birds in this area!
The blue and green ship in the background is the most vibrant ship I've ever seen!
Turns out this Osaka-themed manhole cover is an item in Animal Crossing: New Horizons 😲 My sister sent me an image of it! I discovered later that many places in Japan have their own specific cover designs, so I started taking photos of all that I noticed!
My first wild jellyfish sightings! I photographed several floating along in this seawater canal.
This was a cool driftwood art installation in our hotel, the Hyatt Regency Osaka.
Part of the artificial pond just outside the hotel.
I spotted several of these birds in the tiny park we walked to. I've now identified them as tsugumi, an Asian bird that I'd have never seen wild in my homeland!

That's all for this entry; I'm going to put our next step, boarding and exploring our cruise ship, into its own post. That will be next! Please look forward to it 😄

13 April 2023

2023 Japan Adventure - Part 1: Boise to Osaka

This month I'm using my blog quite differently from usual. Since most of March was taken up by my trip to Japan (and a single day in Korea), instead of a roundup post, I'm going to make several smaller vacation recap posts 😄 Think of it like a digital photo album, with lots of images and short notes that allow you to experience my journey, or even imagine your own future visit to Japan!

First, a little background information. My husband, Sean, and I were originally planning to attend the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. I had started saving up ever since the Rio Olympics closing ceremonies, where Prime Minister Shinzo Abe emerged from a green pipe dressed as Mario ❤️ But, of course, those plans were destroyed (with some false hope in between) by the COVID-19 pandemic. Even the replacement trip we decided on, a cruise around Japan in 2022, was cancelled for the same reason. But happily, the replacement for our replacement wasn't cancelled, and we got to have the most awesome adventure of our lives so far~!

Now begins a multi-post account of my three weeks in Japan! Please enjoy!

13-14 March 2023 - Traveling from Boise to Osaka

We didn't realize it would be like this, so it was an exhausting surprise to find our total awake time (not including naps on flights) ended up being over 24 hours, starting from waking up in the early morning on the 13th at home in Boise, and ending when we finally got to enter our hotel room in Osaka in the evening on the 14th 😅 The travel itself was great, we flew Delta One across the Pacific, which was sooo nice, especially since my last trip to Japan was via the cheapest seats, so I already had the least comfortable experience in memory as comparison. But I didn't expect to be so tired on my first day in Japan!

Me and Sean on the plane from Boise to Seattle.

My Delta One seat on the flight from Seattle to Tokyo.
I've never flown so fancy before~ The seat lays down into a bed!

As soon as you're seated, the first drinks service begins! We chose orange juice 🍊

All strapped in and ready for takeoff!

Included with this seat was a care packet containing an eye mask, ear plugs, hand cream, lip balm, toothbrush and paste, and an eco-conscious pen.

It also came with slippers, headphones (for use with the built-in media system), and a bottle of water 😊 All needs accounted for!

The media system was so cool! Not only could you watch movies, listen to music, or the like, you could see all kinds of data and visualizations of the flight itself and its progress 🤩

The first movie I decided to watch was Spaceballs, a childhood favorite! I'd actually been wanting to rewatch it for a while and I was pleased to find it just as laugh-out-loud funny as ever 😂

My vegan breakfast at the end of the flight was delicious!

I didn't have enough time to watch the whole thing, but the second movie I chose was The Last Samurai, another long-time favorite. Again, I was pleased to find it just as good as I remembered 🥹

We safely landed at Tokyo International Airport, and when I was allowed to turn off airplane mode on my phone, it officially became Tuesday afternoon for me! We skipped a bunch of time when we crossed the International Date Line; it was only just after midnight back at home.

The sunset was beautiful on the plane ride to Osaka~

Gorgeous twilight aerial view of Osaka 🌇

We stayed the first night at the Hyatt Regency Osaka, a very nice hotel!

The best everyday part of Japan is the toilets 🤩🚽✨
Almost all have a "washlet" with various features such as a bidet, privacy sounds (so you can poop with other people nearby and not feel self-conscious! I loved it!!!), heated seat, etc. I want one at home...

Was so nice to go to sleep in a comfy bed after over 24 hours of travel. I had zero jet lag because I managed to stay up until a normal bed time 😌💤

That's it for the first day of our journey! Next time I will cover our morning exploring around the hotel in Osaka and boarding our cruise ship, the Silver Muse. Please look forward to it!