Freitag, 6. April 2012

April 6 - Travel Day

At 5:45 german time and 12:45 korean time (time difference between Germany and Korea/Japan: +7 hours) we landed in Seoul. At the airport I was a little bit confused to find my way because the "transfer sign" pointed in 2 different directions and I was the only one (as far as I could see) who didn`t follow the arrival sign. I decided to follow the first sign I saw and this was the right decision. After passing another security control I looked for my gate and then laid down on the upholstered seats. I was lucky because at that airport they had this upholstered seats that were not separated by an armrest, so people could lay down and sleep for a while:-) I took a short nap, streched my legs and enjoyed watching a worker who was watering the plants at the airport:
It took him about 1h to water that plant!
We boarded at 14:50 (flight KE 725, flight carrier "Korean Air", real flight time: 1h 15 min), took off at 15:20 and landed in Osaka, Japan at 16:50. Compared to 2006 this time my fingerprints and a photo were taken by the immigration officer. I didn`t have to wait at all, when I arrived at the baggage belt my suitcase was already on the belt and I could pass the customs area without any problems.
When I arrived I was very nervous to find my way to the hotel. (I was supposed to meet my friend Yuki in the evening of April 7th and from my first visit in Japan in 2006 I could tell, that not so many people spoke english at all). But everything went very well. When I arrived at the arrival hall, there was an information desk right in front of me. The friendly woman explained to me that the limousine bus station was just in front of the arrival hall (I had just to get out). I looked for bus stop no 5 and next to the ticket machine where I had to buy my bus ticket was another friendly lady who in fact bought the ticket for me. My bus left at 17:45, arrival time in Osaka was 18:43 and they had english announcements on the bus. My bus stop was the first one so there could be no confusion any more!:-) During the ride on the bus I could enjoy the beautiful view from the bus to the water, harbour and the red sun, that was about to set. When I got off the bus at the New Hankyu Hotel in Oasaka, I caught the first taxi I saw and made the same mistake I already did 6 years ago: I didn`t pay attention enough: japanese taxi drivers open the back door automatically and when I approached the taxi I first wanted to put my suitcase into the trunk and so run into the opening door:-) Anyway, so far I haven`t make the same mistake again:-) The taxi driver didn`t speak english at all but he knew my hotel name "Hotel Kansai" and I had also printed out my hotel`s name and address that I could show him. I reached at the hotel at 19:00 and after checking in I was first frustated about the smell in my hotel room (almost impossible to breathe in that room and at that time I couldn`t find the window: next morning I realized that the window was covered by a kind of "sliding panel" or "wooden door"). I turned on the air conditioning in the hope of having better air and then I took a nap for abouth 1hour.
After waking up I decided that I didn`t wanna go out anymore. I was still so tired (again 2 nights without any sleep and all the travelling "stress") and so I had dinner at the hotel`s restaurant. I was the only customer and the waiter - who couldn`t speak english at all - and I had a good time: When I entered the restaurant I had to ring a bell and then the waiter or chef (didn`t know exactly) appeared. I asked if I could have dinner here. He disappeared, came back with a menu (japanese only) with only one picture on it and started to telling me sth in japanese. Then he pointed on the picture and looked at me. I shrugged and told him in english that I didn`t understand anything. Then he started to explain even more than before, he talked and talked and I only looked at him and said "sorry, no japanese". Finally he looked back at me, smiled and said "Spaghetti":-) I nodded (even though I didn`t wanna eat italian food in Japan but I was lucky that we came to an agreement). I took a seat and when he returned he served me some "japanese spaghetti", which means, that the noodles indeed were spaghetti, but the sauce was some oil with lots of japanese herbs and vegetables. I enjoyed my meal and when I asked the guy about something to drink (this time using gestures) he insinuated following him. There was a big machine, everything in japanese of course, but the guy showed me how to use it. Unfortunately I had no idea, which button was for which drink, so I had to try some before I found something that wasn`t bilious green:-) After a while of talking to me in japanese again, he finally remembered some english words "again, and again". I concluded that I could drink as much as I want:-) The two of us laughed and after finishing my meal (I had soup, bread, Spaghetti and 2 cokes:-) he came to my table and asked "where are you from?" I answered "Germany" and after a while he smiled and said: "beer and sausages". It is really funny what people have in mind when they think about Germany.... At 21:00 I returned to my room, but before that I went outside and bought something to drink from the vending machine.

Food and beverages in Japan
In my opinion japanese food is very very delicious. I`ll post a lot of food-pictures from my trip. They might look akward but it is really tasty. Each city or region in Japan has special local food, you can only eat or buy there, so my trip from the southern to the northern part is a kind of "food trip" as well.
When it comes to beverages it is very easy to buy something to drink in Japan: there are vending machines everywhere, you only have to know how to use them:-) Once you learned you can buy drinks whenever you are thirsty. They offer a various range of green teas (honestly I prefer adding sugar to my green tea but among japanese people this is like a sin!) Now I am trying to get used to pure green tea but sometimes I still need some sugar. SORRY GUYS!!! One of my favourite drinks here in Japan is called "Calpis" in english and "Karupisu" in japanese. It is a kind of yoghurt drink, mixed with water and some other ingredients and it tastes pretty sweet.

Then I went to bed. Unfortunately it was pretty noisy and the hallway and so I fell asleep not before midnight.

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