Day 8 - Saturday 4 April - Osaka

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Well the weather forecast was for rain today, so we decided to do some local "indoor" things.

First stop was the Umeda Sky Tower. 700 yen entry but there are plenty of places that have discount vouchers which made it only 630. Stu looked at the glassed escalators and lifts and decided to give it a miss heh. The rest of us went up and it was pretty cool, but it was very hazy so couldn't see much into the distance.

Umeda Sky Building
Umeda Sky Building 

Windows in the Floating Garden Observatory of the Umeda Sky Building
Windows in the Floating Garden Observatory of the Umeda Sky Building 

Escalators in the Umeda Sky Building
Escalators in the Umeda Sky Building 

Bridges over the Yodo River
Bridges over the Yodo River 

Osaka (Kita) buildings
Osaka (Kita) buildings 

Yodobashi Camera
Yodobashi Camera
Most of this building is a massive department/electronics store


Came back down and picked up Stu who was waiting in the garden below and then went to Yodobashi Camera which was next to Osaka station. Spent quite a bit of time in there drooling over camera equipment but they have every other electronics product you can imagine over about six floors. Was way cool. Wish we had stuff like that in Australia. Decided that compact flash memory was too expensive (can get it a lot cheaper in Australia), but did end up getting another USB stick for downloading our photos to.

Gardens outside the Umeda Sky Building
Gardens outside the Umeda Sky Building 

Andrew looking through a 874k Yen lens
Andrew looking through a 874k Yen lens (the 1.5M yen lens was in a cabinet next to it!) 

Rows and rows of toy machines
Rows and rows of capsule machines

It was well after 2pm by this point and we hadn't eaten and we all had sore feet/legs. In the end we went to Bentencho where we had to change trains, and there we found a Scottish Restaurant. So blood sugar levels were restored :)

After eating we went up to tackle the non-JR ticket machines. Even with English instructions it wasn't clear what we had to do, so in the end an American dude who was getting a ticket next to showed us how to do it :) Turns out we just had to put enough money in to cover the fare, then hit the button matching the fare as indicated on the big station boards above the machines. Easy if you know how heh.

Pondering the ticket machines at Bentencho
Pondering the ticket machines at Bentencho

So ended up at the Osaka aquarium (Kaiyukan) around 3pm. The aquarium was insanely over crowded which made the whole experience quite distressing. Couldn't get near the glass without a lot of jostling :(  We all got separated quite quickly. The displays were pretty good though, although they repeated themselves several times as you spiralled down and saw the same tank further and further down. The biggest tank was basically in the middle and you spiralled down around it. Their whale sharks were very cool. But I couldn't help comparing the place to the Sydney Aquarium, and thinking the Sydney one is quite possibly better. The aquarium is open fairly late (like 7pm or 8pm), but at 5pm they turned the lights down in the tanks, which made photographing things more difficult :(  Not that I should have worried - Natto's camera is about a thousand times better than mine, and as soon as I saw her shots I thought well why bother taking any on my camera heh.

Osaka Aquarium
Osaka Aquarium 

Fish in Osaka Aquarium
Fish in Osaka Aquarium 

Otters?
Otters?
Photo by Natto 

Crowds at the aquarium - made seeing things very hard
Crowds at the aquarium - made seeing things very hard 

Penguin
Penguin 

Tropical fish (discus and tetras)
Tropical fish (discus and tetras)
Photo by Natto 

Whale shark
Whale shark 

Dolphin
Dolphin
Photo by Andrew 

Sunfish
Sunfish 

The two whale sharks
The two whale sharks 

Turtle
Turtle 

Spider crab
Spider crab
Photo by Andrew 

Jellyfish
Jellyfish 

Jellyfish
Jellyfish 

Up close and personal with a penguin
Up close and personal with a penguin 

Andrew patting a sting ray
Andrew patting a sting ray 

Sharks outside the aquarium
Sharks outside the aquarium

After leaving the aquarium we made our way back to Bentencho where Stu caught a train back to the hotel and the rest of us headed for Namba (after stopping at an Italian place for dinner). We didn't have much of a plan for this area other than a Super Potato 7 store that was somewhere in the area but we didn't have a good map of where it was. So we just thought we'd go for a wander. Wandering in Japan is so much fun, you see such random stuff. We headed east through the underground Namba Walk. This was amazing all by itself. Just this underground string of shops, much like the ones under Town Hall station, but it went on for *ages* between all the Namba stations. And this country is sooo user-friendly in terms of maps on every other pole. It's very had to get lost here! Anyway, after walking through the underground stuff, we went aboveground and headed for the lights. It was fricken awesome. Alleyways had been covered over and turned into walking malls. And every so often you'd end up outside next to whole buildings covered with lights. It seemed endless. It was only the fact that we were ready to collapse with exhaustion that we decided to head back to the station. It took three trains to get back to the hotel, and a lot of standing around :/

Public art. This would be graffittied in about three seconds in Australia
This art would be graffittied in about three seconds in Australia 

Cichlid
There were *fish tanks* in public thoroughfares!
Photo by Natto 

The Glico Man.  Supposedly famous.
The Glico Man. Supposedly famous.

Had a quick team meeting about tomorrow. The others want to go to Kyoto tomorrow but we're not sure we're up for another exhausting day. We may have a quiet day and go to Kyoto on Monday. I also have a sore throat which I'm not too happy about :(

Steps walked today: 17743
Photos taken by me: 622
Photos taken by Stu: 79

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