After a glorious 2 and a bit weeks in Japan, it’s back to Sydney and back to work. We have an evening flight. The downside to Airbnb accommodation is that there’s no reception to hold your luggage after you’ve checked out. So, we essentially spend most of the morning and early afternoon lounging about Namba until it’s time to leave for the airport.
Breakfast is again at Chococro, but this time, I order a different drink. It’s a Vienna Iced Coffee (left), which is a normal iced coffee (right) with a marshmallow-y meringue piped on top. It’s fun and stirs into something that resembles an iced latte, but without triggering lactose intolerance.
D kindly lets me have the only eggs Benedict muffin left, and opts for a cheese and bacon pastry instead. It’s not bad, but not as good as the eggs Benedict.
There’s a smoking section inside almost all chain cafes. The one here is separated floor to ceiling from the rest of the seating, unlike some cafes that leave an opening at the top (so everyone can still smell cigarette smoke from outside the smoking area). Many outdoor areas in Japan ban smoking.
We try these pomegranate gummy candy. Companies like to pack their gummy candy with collagen and market them to women who want firmer skin — D and I did some quick research online and these claims sound better than they actually work.
After spending a good two hours in Chococro (many students had set up camp there with their laptops) we migrate back to the basement of Namba Parks to the seating around this mechanical contraption/Rube Goldberg machine.
We found these seaweed puffed corn snacks at a Daiso earlier. You can’t really taste the seaweed flavouring on them and they’re not as moreish as cheese puffs.
For lunch, we head across the street to Sukiya with luggage in tow.
D and I order essentially identical meals, except he gets his with beef and I with pork.
Pork sounded more juicy to me (left), but it turns out the beef (right) was more tender and delicious, so we end up going halfsies.
Shortly after lunch, we catch the Nankai train to Namba.
In 2011, we’d caught the JR train, which is above the Nankai line as we cross over to the artificial island where the airport is situated. The JR line gives you a view of the sun that brings to the fore ‘the land of the rising sun’ without the bridge structure interfering.
And we’ve made it back to Kansai International Airport, decked out in lights for Christmas.
There’s always a strange calm at Kansai International Airport — it’s vast but it’s so quiet.
Light kite-like structures are suspended from the ceiling.
One one of the first few nights of our trip in Japan, we’d seen a television segment showing airport visitors pushing two of these rows of four seats together to form an eight-seed ‘bed’ of sorts. They were outraged and avoided the situation by attaching the seats to the ground with wire as above.
After checking in, we go on the hunt for dinner downstairs in the dining court. We check out the food in the international side first, before deciding they were too expensive and heading downstairs to the domestic food options, which were much more wallet friendly.
I eat at Maido Okini Kanku Shokudo for some Japanese-style home cooking.
You pick your dishes from the shelves as you walk along. There are prices for each item listed.
And this is my assembled: Mackerel pike – it’s usually salted and grilled whole with intestines intact, and served with grated daikon. The Japanese enjoy the combination of the bitter intestine flavor with fresh grated daikon soy sauce, but I cannot stand the bitter intestine flavour! Beef croquette with cabbage — good croquettes are served piping hot, and unfortunately, this one had been sitting awhile. Stir-fried eggplant – I love eggplant and these had just enough bite with the sprinkle of sesame seeds.
As it’s our last meal, D opts for something different — yakisoba — at Boteju Yatai.
This is the Pork and Squid Modern Yaki, something like an okonomiyaki with a yakisoba base. There’s not as much pork and squid as D would have liked, alas, and laments that he should’ve gone with the unadon at Sukiya.
We visit a bunch of souvenir shops behind the gates, but before the driverless train to our boarding gate. We’d been walking around the land-side of the airport trying to find individual boxes (1 x 3 pieces) of Hokkaido Red Bean KitKat, Sakura Matcha KitKat and Wa Ichigo KitKat (everyone was selling them in boxes of 10 x 3 pieces) to no avail. And just as I’d hoped, they sold them airside! We also saw those regional Shinshu Kyoho Giant Pocky and Yubari Melon Giant Pocky, but we had no luggage space left and they’re featured in the Rainbow Giant Pocky boxes. Next time!
And we’re at our gate! Our flight is scheduled to leave at 20:55, but it ends up leaving 15 minutes early. There’s a bunch of Jetstar/Qantas executives taking a tour of the plane, and the staff were eager to please — for the first time ever they actually checked your plane ticket against our passports.
We get a good view of our plane on the tarmac.
At some ungodly hour in the morning, we arrive in Cairns just in time for sunset.
Who knew Cairns was so mountainous? Anyway. After a flight back to Sydney some three hours later, we conclude our Japan 2015 trip. Until next time!