Monday, 28 June 2010

The weekend that was (very wet and misty)

As the title says: the weekend was blurry misty. Saturday it rained, a lot, Sunday was sunny, a lot. That's my obligation as British national disposed of I can now actually talk about what I did. Which to be fair wasn't much either.

Friday night I managed to sort myself out so that I could go out with some of the guys from the lab. Unlike typical trip to the local pub (certainly for my department anyway) here it meant we went to a bar which served good food as well, frankly this was a double wammy of win that was improved by the fact it was pretty cheap. About 5 rounds of drinks as well as about 15 different dishes worked out as about ¥3,000 each (about £25) given that in London 5 drinks alone will set you back most of that I consider it a good evening.

The food was really good, mainly small bits but it mounted up and by the end I was full(ish). Some interesting things I tried included: chicken cartilage (chewy but nice when deep fried in batter) octopus and squid in various forms (all of them dead) as well as something that was a called 'mountain potatoe' and when cooked had something close to the consistency of mucus, that being said it still tasted awesome as it absorbed pretty much any flavour put in it.

Saturday was a lot wetter than I was hoping for but I'd planned to be inside so no real loss: I went to the Osaka Aquarium (Kaiyuken) which like the biggest aquarium in any country instantly makes it something not to miss (according to the guidebooks and most likely the money given to the guidebook's authors). In this case it was reasonably justified as I doubt it'll be many years before I see sunfish, finless porpose or whalesharks in the same place (or at all given their survival chances).

From Osaka Aquarium

From Osaka Aquarium

I felt a little bad as a lot of the tanks there seemed small (especially for things like dolphins, sea lions and the whale sharks) but nothing seemed actively insane so hopefully they're ok. Obviously I saw more than those listed but a lot of what I saw were fishes: interesting to me but I'm not going to list them here (although I have to say the Jellyfish were awesome... but maybe that's just me).

After my pseudo-aquatic adventure (and negotiating all those children and people without GBH was something of a trial) I tried to take in the sights of Osaka through the medium of Ferris wheel (apparently the Tempozan was the largest wheel until 1997 when it lost to a rival within Japan, which lost to the London eye before several others successively claimed the title). Unsurprisingly this ended as mainly an exercise in watching the mist, and the clouds, and the rain but was nice and on a good day must be stunning (or terrifying depending on your love for heights).

After my trip I returned to the bar I'd eaten at the week before in Shinsaibashi and had more octopus (I really like it, ok?) and it's at this point the mist really rolls in. Japan is pretty easy to drink in for less than I'm used to in London and the people are very friendly: I made an friend at the bar and several hours were spent trying to understand each-other (phrase book = most useful thing ever). The excitement left me a little stranded at the end of the night when I managed to get the last subway home but missed the connection to the last monorail (pretty much all public transport bar taxis shut down at about 12:30, which is when I arrived in Senri-chou for the connection).

According to some of the people in the hostel it's traditional, upon getting stranded, to find an internet café where you can get all you can drink drinks and 'net time for a fixed fee that will cover several hours kip, unfortunately I was stranded away from a café so had the pleasure of walking home in the rain. It was actually quiet nice: my umbrella kept me dry enough (lesson the second as well as a phrase book carry an umbrella) and it was interesting (in a torrential kind of way) although any longer and I may have enjoyed it less (2 hours was more than enough time to sober up).

Home safe I slept it off on Sunday and have a coffee and reading day back in Senri-chou in the sun shine.

and now it's back to another week of poking circuits and science!

I think the heat has gotten to me .... this is a disturbingly chipper upbeat post... ah well maybe its tiredness.


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