Currently we’re holed up in our Airbnb here in Osaka. It’s 11:07pm and we hardly went out today, which was nice–we used the time to relax and be hermits. In two days we’ll be leaving Japan for South Korea where we’ll (hopefully) get to spend some time with Tara. Here’s a slightly shortened version of our time in Japan, from Tokyo to Osaka and everything in between.
We started out in Tokyo. Our first Airbnb host was awesome–seriously, if you’re going to visit Tokyo and will be using Airbnb, you should book with him if possible. (Email or message me and I can totally send you to his Airbnb page!) He was so helpful with everything. I don’t think we would have seen as many things as we did if it weren’t for him. We visited a lot of areas/districts/wards in Tokyo, including Akihabara (of course!), Shinjuku, and Asakusa. Highlights included:
- Going to a maid cafe (Maidreamin), a cat cafe (Neko JaLaLa), and the Gundam Cafe (where we ended up having a really nice conversation with an Englishman) in Akihabara
- Going to an owl cafe (Forest of Owl, or Owl Forest) in Asakusa
- Going to Robot Restaurant, Ladurée Paris, and Shinjuku Gyoen in Shinjuku
- Seeing the Hachiko statue at Shibuya Station, however briefly it may have been (and however annoyed I was at the time)
- Trying and failing to see Mount Fuji, and ending up in Atami where we soaked our feet for free at Atami-jo while overlooking the ocean
- Deciding to take a walk through Ueno and finding a really cute and small cafe where I was able to pet the owners’ golden retriever
After our week in Tokyo was over we headed to our next destination, which was our first WWOOF host (and I’ll talk more about WWOOF in a future post) somewhere in Nagano. Our Tokyo Airbnb host was more like an unofficial Japanese dad by now, and was very concerned about our traveling there. Our hosts in Nagano own a cafe/restaurant and also have a bit of farmland. It was lovely there, although the work isn’t something I liked (and I didn’t even work the land, whooo). They also had three cats–Pu, who never shut up ever and smelled pretty bad but love when people pick him up and pet him; Pace (Italian for peace) who was a weird indoor cat whose eyes, according to Bear, were too far apart; and Payon (French for peace, they claimed, but I don’t think that’s correct?) who was beautiful but wasn’t really one for human contact.
Once our week with this host ended, we traveled to Osaka and stayed at an Airbnb close to Shinosaka Station for a night. I chronicled the horrors of that Airbnb on Twitter. Other than that it was a nice place and a nice way to decompress after a week in the boonies. Then we headed off to our next WWOOF host, which was doomed from the start, honestly. They were located in Wakayama Prefecture and they were a lovely, lovely couple.
The troubles started when we were eating dinner and we noticed cockroaches running around. When we brought it up, they gave us a couple of roach traps and sort of brushed it off. They informed us that they had a lot of roaches, mice, and spiders. We just thought they meant little things (except for the roaches, which we already knew were huge). NOPE. Bear was really icked out by the roaches, so it took us a while to simmer down, and just as we were getting ready to actually sleep an enormous fucking spider came skittering into our room. Bear saw it first, and he paled so quickly I thought he was going to black out. After 2.5 hours we managed to kill it (and we had to get into VERY CLOSE PROXIMITY with it), but we didn’t sleep the entire night. We informed our hosts that we would be leaving in the morning, and we tried to convey how apologetic we were by helping out as much as we could. The wife took us to the train station, but since the train only comes like every two hours there due to it being a small area, she dropped us off at the beach first for a all bit, which was really nice.
We decided to book a short notice Airbnb in Nara for the duration of what should have been our stay in Wakayama Prefecture. My main reason for wanting to stay in Nara was Nara Park, home of the bowing deer, and while they were cute they were pushy as hell and got pretty nippy with you if you had deer crackers in your hand. Then I found out that Nara also happened to be home to Nakatanidou, home of the fastest mochi pounders. We were able to watch them perform mochitsuki, and it was incredible. Their mochi was to die for, so fresh and soft and perfect! We also made a stop at Harushika Brewery for their sake tasting offer.
Our last stop is here in Osaka. We haven’t done much here so far. For one, the location of our Airbnb is extremely residential and there don’t seem to be attractions nearby. For another, the transportation system is a lot different than what we’re used to. And lastly, we’re trying to spend as little as possible. So far we’ve visited Nipponbashi/Den-Den Town (Osaka’s “version” of Akihabara), the Pokemon Center (where I agonized over whether I should get a plush and ended up leaving with a soup mug), and the Max Brenner Chocolate Bar, although we just ordered a slice of their Chocolate Chunks Pizza to go. Tomorrow we’re going to visit Nifrel, the “Interactive Aquazoo”, which should be really fun and interesting.
That’s my quick rundown! The next post will be very brief and password protected. I’ll DM the password to “knowers” on Twitter, but if you want it email me and I may email it to you