After being in Switzerland for five months and thinking about going back to Colorado, we received a call from one of our five sons who lives in Japan. A new member of the family was going to arrive in early summer. Could we come to help with the little one due? Quite often we live by the seat of our pants, so this was simply another wonderful invitation to explore and enriching our lives. A call to our travel agent for a 180 degree turn around from Colorado to Osaka was no surprise to this longtime agent. Everything was rescheduled within a few days. It was suggested that we stop in Hawaii for a week of R & R on the way back to Colorado with no additional charge. Why not? Ueli wanted to see the Astronomical Observatories atop �The Big Island� and Joan wanted to hike the Lava fields to the ocean.
We once again reviewed the packing and changed our plan from very little baggage to the additional rain and walking gear needed in Japan, swimwear and hiking gear for Hawaii, etc. So the time arrived and we set off to catch our plane in Zurich for Osaka with four check-ins and four carry-on bags. This is not easy, even for two seasoned birds like us. We�ve been banged and bruised, gotten sick reroute, torn shoulders, dropped suitcases on our legs and feet, not to say anything about lost bags and little, if any sleep. Nothing new, we love to travel!
The trip to almost the other side of the world went off without a glitch and we arrived in great shape with all bags in tow. Our son and very pregnant daughter greeted us and we had the pleasure of touring the Osaka area with them for five days before baby �Skye� arrived late one Saturday night. The weather was even perfect for a week. Then the skies let loose and never again could we venture out of the hotel without all available rain gear. From the 24th floor of our hotel room we had a bird�s eye view of everything! We saw it all - the complete weather picture with it�s sometimes horizontal torrents of rain produced from monsoons, millions of people pounding the streets of Osaka (which resembled an ant colony day and night), planes approaching Kansai International Airport, traffic to beat the band (speaking of band, the loud noise from the streets below was present day and night), mountains in the distance and shopping for any and everyone. During our stay we had the unique experience of taking a local flight over the Inland Sea of Japan. See "FLYING JAPAN"
Throughout our stay in Osaka, we walked miles and miles each and every day, took the trains everyplace, including Kobe and Kyoto. The interesting thing about Osaka and other places in Japan is that there is a three level underground network of walkways lined with shops of every kind and these walkways extend for many miles in and around the City. Several times we had to surface to see where we were. Some of the locals told us that they also have to do this. The City itself was very clean, no graffiti anyplace and the people were lovely gracious souls. Our visit was no less than spectacular in every way. We felt quite at home because there was a Starbucks on every corner � we lost count of how many we stopped at. This does not mean that we did not visit sushi bars or other places offering every kind of unimaginable eatable food and beverage. Sometimes we did not know what we were eating until we asked or were told. It was certainly a great surprise at times and we loved it all.
Mission accomplished with the new little family happy, healthy and well settled at home, we were once again off to the airport with the huge amount of luggage to our �free� stop in Hawaii and Maui.
Following we put together a small selection of picture impressions, not the standard tourist view.....
Traveling underground has the danger of getting lost. It is crowded day and night.
The most convenient way to travel is by train - clean, fast and comfortable.
Often all the seats are taken. Many take the opportunity for a nap. No cell phones, please.
We had the chance to see his collection of Didgeridoos for sale in Pat's shop.
The typhoon was arriving but did not slow us down in our discoveries.
Above ground, navigating your umbrella can be a real challenge.
While you do your business or shop, the essential umbrella is securely locked .
Stress for some is relieved at the slot machines like any other place.
Another way to relax is to test the massage seats in Yodobashi's household department.
Computer and household equipment on eight floors in the heart of Osaka. Surly a delight for any computer addict or just fun to spend time.
A pleasant little store in Kobe offers quiet shopping at your leisure. You can watch your tea being cured.
Somewhere in most cities is a little alley bustling with activity, fancy cars and elegant customers.
Fashion of the Youth
With the growth of population, it sometimes becomes increasingly difficult for the younger generation to create a personal image to attract attention. Only fantasy sets the limit. One or two handies / cellphones are an absolute must to keep up with the times.
There is always a way to take the children along to do the shopping
The little ones get used to group interaction.
On the way to the Imperial Palace, all is neat and orderly.
How would it be to have a large family? Check out the local stores!
The youth is eager to learn English and often practice with foreign visitors. The boys leave it to the girls to get the job done!
Lots of walking calls for a break. Find some rest and joy at a rose garden along the river.
The large department stores offer an abundance of food, often on two underground floors. Just stop and help is waiting for you! Great service with a smile.
in the Park
Occasionally traditional art is still an honored practice.
Many of the tall buildings exhibit a fascinating range of architecture.
Practical inventions are being applied on the streets!
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This page was serviced last on 28. March 2005