Osaka, Japan

Towards the end of January I had the chance to visit Japan with my brother Philip. It was a holiday simply to get away from all the worries in the past few months, as well as a chance to see each other after two years apart.

The passing of our mother made me want to weave a better web amongst us brothers, Philip, Kevin, and I, simply because the original bond, my mother, isn’t here anymore.

I am sure mom would want us to stick together, through good and bad times as well.

During this trip, Philip and I travelled through Kyoto, Osaka, Shusenji (in Izu), and Tokyo. These are the pictures that describe our fun times during this two-week trip.

It’s pretty easy living in Japan, even if you don’t speak the language – all restaurants have these display cases with pastic/wax food models that show you their entire menu… if you see something that looks appetizing to you, just tell the waiter/waitress which one you want by pointing

Walking by an electronic store, I checked out a “newer” version of my digital camera, the Nikon CoolPix 880 (I have had the 800 for the past year or so)… While no one was watching I popped in my Compact Flash card into the demo unit and snapped the next picture…

Round two of “deciding what to eat”…

The problem is that all these restaurants are “sans-window”, so we really don’t know if they are packed with customers (due to the great-tasting food, perhaps?) or empty… one important criterium of restaurant-choosing.

Finally, we decided to have Oden, a Japanese specialty meal consisting of grounded fish patties and meat lightly boiled in broth. It’s hard to explain, but it really is a lot more delicious than it sounds!

Me biting the head off a small broiled fish

A slightly embarrassing story at the Oden restaurant. The food was great, but the bill was quite expensive – so jokingly Philip and I spoke in Mandarin about how it was crazy to be paying this much for ‘simple’ food. Then the Japanese owner suddenly spoke to both of us in Mandarin too, saying that he lived for many years in Taiwan, and that even though the food is simple and the restaurant is cozy, it is a labor of love and hard work.

Oops. In shock, we apologized and quickly walked out in shame.

On the way back from the restaurant… I saw a poster for a “capsule hotel”… these are little confined spaces that one can “rent” for the evening, much cheaper than an actual hotel.

The drawback – each “capsule” is only slightly bigger than a coffin… so if you are claustrophobic (or think you may be), do not try this…