Japan 2015 — Day 16: Osaka

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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For lunch, we head across the street to Sukiya with lug­gage in tow.

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D and I order essen­tially identic­al meals, except he gets his with beef and I with pork.

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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.

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Shortly after lunch, we catch the Nankai train to Namba.

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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.

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And we’ve made it back to Kansai International Airport, decked out in lights for Christmas.

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There’s always a strange calm at Kansai International Airport — it’s vast but it’s so quiet.

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Light kite-like struc­tures are sus­pen­ded from the ceiling.

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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.

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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.

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I eat at Maido Okini Kanku Shokudo for some Japanese-style home cooking.

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You pick your dishes from the shelves as you walk along. There are prices for each item listed.

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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.

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As it’s our last meal, D opts for some­thing dif­fer­ent — yakisoba — at Boteju Yatai.

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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.

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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 (13 pieces) of Hokkaido Red Bean KitKatSakura Matcha KitKat and Wa Ichigo KitKat (every­one was selling them in boxes of 103 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!

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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.

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We get a good view of our plane on the tarmac.

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At some ungodly hour in the morn­ing, we arrive in Cairns just in time for sunset.

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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!