Sunday, May 01, 2005

Osaka - a city of stunning diversity and culture

I touched down at Kansai International Air terminal on friday noon, (29 april).... the word Kansai International Air Terminal is very very familiar to me. i did research on it for a project in school and it's designed by a very famous architect-Renzo Piano. and now.... i can't believe that i was stepping on this man-made island !!

well, japan... another very different place. I guess my experience really started at the airport...going thru customs, had my backpack searched.... but it was all good, they were friendly and i guess they were just doing their job.

i took airport limousine to osaka city center. osaka is a water metroplis. not only because of its proximity to the sea, but also because of the numerous rivers and canals that crisscross it. it was over the water that most commerce flowed to, through and from osaka. on the way to the city, i saw lots of sailing yatchs, industrial area, beaches....and flamingo ~~

my next big encounter was the mrt. what can i say.... its messy!! they have lots of routes, you got to spend some time to really look at the map. if you intend to travel to japan, make sure you get a 7 day or 14 day rail pass. travel without it is grosly overpriced. and much more if you want to catch the shinkansen (bullet train) anywhere else.

a few other strange things about japan. its not a very friendly place to visit if you are looking for friendly, hospitible locals. not many people speaks english here, and they always round of some japanese that i have no hope of understand. a japanese phrasebook would come in real handy. japanese are very kind and will try to help u as much as they can if u ask them. however, you will always seem to get strange looks from the locals, i guess i m 'gaijin' (foreigner)..... :)

so far everything has gone extremely well. the weather have been magnificent...sunny and warm during the day with a bit cooler evenings.