So being orphans in Japan for Christmas we decided it was a good time to do some travelling. There were no public holidays in Japan but with Paul getting the Aussie holidays and Joss' work also shut down over Christmas it was an ideal time to get away for a long weekend.
We embarked upon our first shinkansen (bullet train) trip from Tokyo bound for Osaka on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. Equiped with beer and a few of our favourite snacks from the tasty bakery at the station, including calzone, custard cream and apple filled sweet bun and chocolate custard scroll, we were set for a fast and exciting journey.
The Shinkansen pulling into Shinagawa station.
On board, any transport where you can drink beer gets a tick. In fact they sell beer on the train so you could say beer drinking is encouraged.
We arrived in Osaka and made our way to our hotel, which seemed to be in the strangest neighbourhood. By the time we headed out just before 10pm for some dinner, nearly everywhere was closed... something that is rare in Tokyo!
After a satisfying but uneventful dinner we settled in for a night of Santa Claus the movie from 1985, safe in the knowledge that Santa knows where you are even when you are on holidays!
Our version of a traditional Christmas breakfast. Yummmm.
JH: Unfortunately I had started to get really sick the day before we left for Osaka, and I just kept getting worse. My head was all blocked up, I had aches & pains everywhere and I felt exhausted. I also couldn't taste anything for what ended up being 5 days...so although I still ate all the Christmas treats (one has to hope), it was a bit pointless!
After our Moët we headed into the main area of town. Through the wonders of facebook we also knew that a friend of Joss' - Ed - whom she met on her previous tour of Japan would be hanging about in a small area called Triangle Park. We met up in the evening and had a few beers.
On our way to dinner. Yes it was cold!
Looking down Dotonbori on Christmas Night - this long street is a big attraction with lots of restaurants and bars. unfortunately we didn't stay out too long as Joss' health was preventing us from having a big night, which was probably a blessing in disguise!
After some day time exploring around the area we were staying, we stumbled across some great little restaurant areas, with a lot of places that sold the Osaka specialty, Fugu or pufferfish.
This is a small fugu at the restaurant we had dinner on Boxing Day. With a whilst in Rome mentality, we decided to try some fugu, and we had it karage style, which is basically lightly battered and deep fried. It was very tasty, a really sweet and delicate meat. Next time fugu sashimi! Oh, and yes fugu can be poisonous if not prepared correctly - but yes we survived.
On our last day in Osaka, we went to Osaka Aquarium. It is regarded as one of the top aquariums in the world, so of course it was a must see.
The photo above are Emperor Pengins (Japanese spelling) outside the front of the aquarium.
Japanese rainforest section of the aquarium.
The big sea tank. That is a whale shark with a school of fish hanging about. There are 2 whale sharks in the massive tank.
This guy came up and gave us a smile.
A turtle picture of course
A tank full of anchovies and sardines, a lot of tasty snacks in that tank... if only they let you take in nets.