“So they’ve emailed me to say that check in closes at 10.30PM… but our flight doesn’t land until 10.20PM…. I might bribe them and see if they’ll stay open for us because I really don’t want to spend our first night in Japan sleeping outside in the cold…”
And so went my conversation with Mike, just as he was about to board his flight from Perth to Kuala Lumpur to meet me. The prospect of being locked out of your accommodation at midnight on your first night in a foreign country was not one we’d faced before, but here we were, 24 hours before flying into Osaka, Japan – with this exact problem.. Fortunately for us, my bribe (and multiple emails pleading our case) worked to a degree – our hostel offering to stay open until midnight but no later. As our plane landed on the tarmac, Mike and I were full of adrenalin, feeling as though we were on the Amazing Race. We were on a mission, and time was of the essence…
Seatbelt signs were off, and we were first at the door, our carry on bags strapped on. Racing down the walkway, we jumped on the shuttle to take us to immigration, the doors closing seconds behind us, leaving the rest of the passengers behind. As we ran down the escalators, praying that there were no queues, we couldn’t believe our luck when immigration was completely empty – we were first out, through customs and at the airport station within six minutes of our plane landing. We’d managed to get through so fast, we even made the express train at 10.32PM to our station – a guarantee that we would get to our hostel well before midnight…
It was that efficiency, the ease of navigating around a complex building like an airport, and the helpful people that made us fall in love with Japan in those first few adrenaline filled minutes. One of our most anticipated stops on our adventures, we have been absolutely blown away by everything we’re seeing, eating and experiencing so far. These are just some of our first impressions.
The Japanese follow the rules…
It’s so QUIET
On our first day out and about, Mike mentioned that something was different but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it. We’ve been in plenty of big, busy, Asian cities – but here it was so different. It’s quiet, I said – and the penny dropped. The difference between here and everywhere else we’ve been is the noise levels. Sure, there’s traffic. But they don’t honk their horns constantly, or take over each other, or hurtle down the road. There are people EVERYWHERE – but they use their inside voice, outside – no shouting, no yelling to get anyone’s attention. Even inside shopping centres and department stores – every one goes about their own business, in silence. It’s such a change from the constant noise we’re used too.
It’s not THAT expensive!
Every toilet in the world should be a Japanese toilet.
Japanese food is amazing!
It’s insanely beautiful.
Even the bustling tourist spots, with their neon signs and oversized giant food – it’s an absolute feast for the senses. Whilst exploring Osakajo-koen (the Castle Park), the contrast of the bare trees next to the shimmering multi-storey skyscraper both reflecting in the lake was simply stunning. Taking the train into the country side and seeing the mountain sides full of pine trees, their leaves green with hues of reds and orange with a traditional Japanese inn nestled in amongst them was breathtaking.