Travels with friends

There`s a lot to talk about so this may end up being multiple posts.

I`ll start with the best bit. I had a visitor!

My friend came to visit me so I got to take some time off and visit another Japanese city. I met her in Osaka so took the shinkansen there. It took just under 5 hours to cover 765km and that included 3 transfers. To compare; Edinburgh to London is 658km and takes 4 hours 20 minutes direct. You can be confident that the platform your shinkansen leaves from will be the same one announced weeks before the train leaves. On the platform, there are markings to tell you where each car will be placed so if you’ve reserved a seat, as I prefer to do, you’ll know where to stand to get on at the right place. The trains are clean and comfortable; the toilets are clean; the tickets cost the same regardless of whether you buy one weeks, or minutes before the train leaves. It`s amazing.

Osaka strikes me as a place that’s probably better to live in than visit as a tourist. There’s not much in the way of your standard tourist attractions, although I’m about to completely contradict myself by saying that the castle, temples, shopping district all lit up at night, the food district, and rivers flowing through it all make for a lovely place. I was just so excited to be in a major city. And then there’s Universal Studios.

Joy. Unadulterated, visual, aural, olfactory, gustatory, tactile joy. Check me out with my big words. I had the best time.

Harry Potter – tick; Jurassic Park – tick; Minions – tick; the rubbish Spiderman – tick; Jaws – tick; then it veered off track a bit with Snoopy and Waterworld (?????) but who cares. It was brilliant.

There were so many best parts. My King Bob Minion popcorn container; the quiet despair in my friend’s voice when she found a giant Minion teddy bear she couldn’t get her arms around; the Santa Minion riding a unicorn reindeer popcorn container (you read that right, put all those things together and imagine the brilliance). Then, having forked out for an express pass , we got to jump the queues for the major rides; swanning past the poor sods who’d been waiting for up to 3 hours for one ride and getting straight on. Part of me died a little inside at the decadence whilst the rest of me (my old tired bones) rejoiced at the ease of it all.

Tokyo was, once again, the mega metropolis of my dreams. The definite highlight was getting last minute tickets for teamLab Planets and Borderless. Phenomenal. Just beautiful and breathtaking. The Borderless one is much busier than the Planets one so we got there really early; completely worth it. We actually managed to get into most of the rooms without queuing and had some of them to ourselves. The floating nest (massive hammock) was perfect. The waves had comfy beanbags and in Planets, the black hole is the exact beanbag filled cinema room I`d be buying if I won the lottery.

I love holidays.

Here’s Osaka;

And Tokyo;

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