I managed to wake up around 5:30 AM, about 30 min. before the ferry arrived at Osaka. Lucky me 😀
I took some pictures of Osaka as we pulled into the port before joining the long line of people getting off the ferry. Upon entering the ferry terminal I was reminded of how poorly thought out/planned my entire Osaka trip was. I had absolutely no I idea where I was and only a vague idea of where I wanted to go. As the line of passengers entered the terminal they broke off in two directions, I was a bit unsure about where to go until I remembered the advice Chef had given me. “If you don’t know where to go, just follow the large masses of people. Since it’s Bon Yasumi if you just follow the other tourists you’ll end up someplace interesting.”
After walking a ways I ended up at the entrance to the monorail. I took a moment to browse through the guidebooks and stare at the map of Osaka that was posted. After staring at the map for a bit, a guard came up and asked me if I needed any help. While I didn’t have a solid plan, I did know the first place I wanted to visit.
Me: Um…can you tell me how to get to the aquarium?
Guard: Oh, the Kaiyukan (name of the aquarium, literally means Ocean Play Place).
Me: Oh yeah, the Kaiyukan.
Guard: You want to take this monorail all the way to the end, then you’re going to transfer to the subway and then get off at Osaka– Station.
I thanked the guard and ventured down the walkway that lead to the monorail. And was immediately confused again. I knew where I wanted to go on the map, but they didn’t have the pricing listed in any obvious place. After a minute or so of searching I finally asked the station attendant.
Me: Excuse me, I’m trying to get to the Kaiyukan…
Attendant: Oh OK, you’re going to want to take this line all the way to the end and then transfer to the subway and get off at Osaka– Station.
Me: How much is the fare?
Attendant: 310 yen
Me: [putting money into the machine]
Attendant: [in English] 310 push.
Unfortunately for me, even after asking for directions twice I still didn’t get the name of the station right. I made my way towards Osaka Station instead of Osakako [Osaka Port] Station. Curse you Japanese.
I ended up overshooting my destination and buying the wrong ticket on my journey to Osaka Station. Luckily before I got on the JR train to Osaka Station I noticed the KAIYUKAN posters laid out all over the station pointing in the direction of the train I just got off of. I managed to get refund on my JR ticket and then took the train back to Osakako.
When I got to Osakako, it was about 7:00, two hours before the Kaiyukan opened; the streets were empty. After killing some time walking around I got in line to get into the Kaiyukan; I also got a free postcard for being one of the first 1,000 customers that day.
After the aquarium I ate a Turkish buffet and then went to see an IMAX movie, Sea Monsters 3D. It was fun to see an English movie dubbed in Japanese. Especially since everyone was dubbed in Japanese except for one little girl. Though all she did was discover a bunch of dinosaur bones while calling out her dog’s name.
I decided to head to Nihonbashi, a place in Osaka famous for its electronic stores. While I was walking around I saw a group of people asking for blood donations. Seeing the middle school student volunteers pleading for help with a rehearsed chant while people just busted ass past them made me feel a bit bad so I decided to go donate some blood. Getting through the health check was a bit tricky since I’m not really well versed in the Japanese names of diseases (AIDS was pretty easy though). I managed to stumble through with the help of the people there (at times they just filled it out for me saying, “You probably haven’t done this”) and eventually got approved to donate 400mL of blood. I had a nice chat with the nurse while she drained me of my life force. The nurse told me to drink as much as I could of the drinks they provided before I left, wasn’t really a hard request to fill 😀
I spent the rest of the day bouncing between various arcades before finding an internet café to stay for the night. I stumbled through another registration form and secured a room for 10 hours. I drank juice, watched TV, and read manga.