Osaka International Convention 2004
It was just me and my previous host family that went to Osaka. we took a flight out of Kumamoto at 8:00am and arrived in Osaka at 9:05. from there wee took a bus to a train station. After finding out the way to the train we took one train to somewhere. got on another buss that took us to the hotel taht RI was being held at.
I think the hotel's name was "the Royal Ryitz" or something Like that. we sign inand got our badges. We took a look around the convention center after getting lost in the guest room sectin. I was correct in saying that we should to teh next biulding over, but no.... they seid to go to the 3rd floor and implied that my host father knew that it was the other building. We get in the elevator press teh 3rd floor button and the elevator starts going, no minding the fact the light on the 3rd floor button wasn't on. after gettign to teh 6th floor we are puzzeled and other people get in with us. I do some translating for some people and tell them what floor we are on, I met an exchange student that seid there was a TON of people from michigan there. over 20 at least.
now we have tried the elevatores and various thing trying to get to the 3rd floor, my host father says we should go to the 4th floor, then use the stairs to go downa flight... the was nothgin on that floor at all, just more rooms. he greed that I was right in that is was the other biulding. The elevator would also not let us leave the 3rd floor eather so wee took the stiars back to th 4th floor and the elevator down.
We all are registered and all that fun stuff, I wanted to check out the RYE section on the 10th floor and we do so, I met a few exchange students and we left for Kyoto.
Kyoto was a short jump from Osaka, we got to the station and I remembered the place from my previous trip to Japan. IN the year 2000 I came to Japan and we seen the station and Kyoto Tower, then went home. But this time we got on a bus and went down to a famous river. It is on TV all the time and in many movies. I don't knwo about it but Okamura was enjoying seeing it. then we waled down some famous road that was way too narrow and linned with expenceive bars and resturants. Then after a long walk and I took a movie of walking down the road, we headed kyosuido... I think taht was the name of the place, IT is a big tourist attcaction for the waterfall that is there and a large temple there.
The accuall palace was up a long road lined with gift shops and I found a shop that sold swords taht kyoto and Osaka are famouse for... cheap, nice looking, aluminum swords!!! I knew that I would find one while on my trip and that completedd one of my goals for coming to the reigon. I was looking at the one ai wanted 7000yen, 70$ abouts, and another american that knows nothgina bout swords walks in and pretends he does, he "strenth tested" the aluminum sword..... Baka.... aluminum sowrds are for looking at only and have no real function, you CAN use then to start practicing sword fighting, but the ceap ones are never the right length, they are just set to whatever looks good, the blade is also about as dull as a table counter, It wont slice even the air correctly whiel swinging it. The swords that are fit for such training are about 300$ and up in Kumamoto. I suspect Kyoto and Osaka will have a much larger selection of price. Kendo shinai's are 1400yen for just the bamboo and 25 for a full shinai. the prices will go up a little soon though, the cheap ones will be discontinued.
Back we seen it did it enjoyed it and left, we picked up my sword as we left the temple, I didn't want to carry it and left it at the shop I bought it at. We walked down to the main street for shopping in that particular area and then a bus to the kyoto station and headed back to Osaka. After getting to Osaka and asking for directions we go to the Bussiness Hotel. THe room was smaller then anythign I ever seen and te beds we so close together I thought they were one bed. Becasue of teh convention there was no rooms left when my host family reserved the hotel... I told them to do it in december but no one lisened to me, every hotel was booked for this weekend by febuary. 58000 people in one city will tend to do that though.
THat night we just walked the streets of the shopping district witch was really close and ate some taco-yaki [Literaly means baked octopus; don't let the name fool you, octopus is really good!!! cooked or not. If you can eat a McDonald's chicken nugets, you can eat octopus. don't let the suckered stick to the roof of your mouth...]
For dinner we ate yaki-nikku[ cooked meat! isn't that a hard one to swallow] I suppose Osaka is famus for it of somthing, the sause is realy diffent, slightly sour compared to Kumamoto. we had to try 4 differnt resteraunts before finding any open tables. It was good stuff.
After taht we went to the hotel and slept. tath was pritty much it for the day. we did small pointless things and stuff and seem street proformers and a canadian or american sellign knock-off watches and other stuff get bused buy the police and he had to pack up his table. We seen another guy, the next day, get busted for the same thing in the same place.
The next day we got up and went to the conferance. we get there and eat breakfast, it was lunch type food, for breakfast. we stood at a table with no chairs out in a loby food center type place becaseu all the tables we taken in the dining hall already. during this time I talked to numerous people that were walkign by and convinced them to eat some things they never whoudl have if I didn't tell them it was good. One old lady shivered at the thought of tryign to eat taco-yaki... I wondered If I was ever like that and how you could have such a closed mind to other cultures... I must have adjusted to all of the things I see by now but I think I would eat snake or somthign like taht if I went to Veitnam or something. She wouldn't even eat Japanese food.
Whiole at this table a canadian came by and I got him to eat some chinese thing that was nearby, It waws rice and chicken wraped and steamed a bamboo leaf. while talking and reading his face at the surprise taht it accually tasted good, I translated a conversation between my Mr. Okamura and him. He gave Mr. Okamura a banner from his rotary club, Swan City Rotary Club. I thought that was cool taht I could do that, I had been doing it all the time at the conferance, helping people talk to eath other, I had been there about 4 hours between the 2 short days of being there.
After eating, we left for the Osaka Dome, where the opening Cerimony was to be held. We walk to the shuttle bus stop and the tell us we have to wait for 40 minutes before the first bus leaves for the Dome. Also they say that is is 1000 yen for Japanese and Forginers are free.... I would have a free ride but the lot of peopel I was with waiting were all Japanese! I was a little mad at that little fact, and they were too, I didn't think taht was fair. I also seen a lot of special deals that were for non-japanese people only, like all you can eat buffet that is normaly 60$ was 30$ for non-Japanese. there were numorus other things as well. Later I fugured out the resoning behind this. Japanese can figure out the way to get there withought the bus, Forigneres will likely get lost trying when the most of them don't speak ANY Japanese. It makes sence, but still isn't fair. They had over 30000 people to get form the hotel to the dome, You have to ensure the safty of the foringers that don't knwo what they are doing walking into the FRONT[You get on a bus in the center of the bus in Japan, not the front like Europe and other places] of a public bus.
We decide to use the free Kansai Pass taht was given to use from the conferance. Whith all registrations all regitrants get a pass that grants free public transportation use. Busses, subways, trains, trams. TAht stuff. We go and take a subway and get lost with this other Japanese couple. They were really nice and funny, we traded cards right before seperateing at teh dome. dduring the trip on the subway we were told to get off at the wrong stop and had to talk to the station maaster to get on the right track again. we needed to go one more stop and transpher.
When we arive at teh Dome finaly it was the same time that if we took the bus we would have arrived. The dely at the wrong station really set us back, we got to the Dome an hour before the gates opened to admit people in any case. We walked around teh perimiter looking for a place to get a drint or somthign but every table in ever resteranunt and every bar was paced with people. We finally JUST found a seat at Mcdanolds and grabed it like starved pigs..... Seats were hard to come by. Mr.Okamura went and bought drinks, He thought it woul be funny to bring my the 1 liter sized cup with coca-cola... I made thenm drink part of it. That was a massive cup of cola.
we finally get in to the dome, It was huge! peopel were slowly filtering in and then they started playing music. various live performances including traditional Japanes music and Korean music, an Orcastra, and soem orcistra from Newyork doing rag time style performance. the Korea girl song a song in English, teh theam fomr Titanic.... It wasn't good, but it was REALLY nice that she gave it a try. I thought that was much more important than the song in any case. The New York Rag Time guys also played a Japanese song and tryed to talk in Japanese, I kinda chuckeld at a few of there mistakes. When you say desu in Japanese, you say dess not desu the u is silent. No one told any of teh people who talked in Japanese. On the otehr hand, The song that the guy sung was REALLY good, He must have practiced a lot on that song. pronounciation was really good, but when he spoke in normal speak it was the same as all the rest of them. "desu"...... The point is they tryed to be multi linguale and considerate to the other parties involed.
after all the music,about an hour and a half, the stadium was full, hardly an empty seat to be found, there was an expecter 58,000 people there. The speah started half an hour or so late waiting for important people. that left us with 10 minuites before we had to leave to do the last thing on the list of things to do while in Osaka. But in the 10 minutes we seen a tranditional Noh play. My host father says that it is thing only Rich Japanese like to watch and understand. I kinda think I go tthe point a little bit but not really. we left right at the end of that.
What did we do? we went back to teh hotel to get an earing that mrs. Okamura forgot and eat Osaka modainyaki..... It was good. really good stuff, Osaka is famous for it as well, Kumamoto is famous for Basashi[horse meat] if your wondering. Basashi tastes bad at first but I got used to it and it is just a normal food now. I hope Mr. Bell back in America dosesn't read that... I won't be passing his class next year if he does..... ;P Mr. Bell is a science teacher that breeds horses, for those that don't know him.
after eating that late lunch we headed to the Osaka station. got on out train, got off at Shin Osaka Eki[New Osaka Station] and bought shuttle tickes to the airport. We get near the gate and a garurd says that we will miss our flight if you wait for th bus and should hurry to catch a taxi. WE go and get a taxi on teh uper level of the station and we are off, they driver "forgets" to turn on the meter and charges us 4800Yen... yea, right, FORGOT to turn it on... we made out flight with lots of tiem to spare, I got omiyagi[Gifts] for my host family and then had a glass of water while they had a parfae. I was too full form all teh other food I had eaten in the past 2 days to eat another parfae...
The plane ride took an hour and five minutes and we had no problem getting my sword though security, I did have it personaly HAnded to my when Exiting the airport though. It didn't come out on the convayor belt with the rest of the stuff.
That was teh trip to Osaka, I didn't get to meat up with a few frinds taht I wanted to see again, but they also didn't emat any of there friends either, There was just to many people to find each other without a cellphone, and the 4 people that I wanted to meet didn't have a cell phone...
I did find that I enjoy translating for people, that was really fun. And I got to see the Japan that people think of when you say Japan, shines and temples and then the night life. all teh flashing bilbordsa nd neon lights. the bums and foringers... A great ime in all, Even If I didn't get to see much of the COnvention itself.... accualy, I saw none of the accuall convention, we left before the first speach was given. there will be future years I suppose. I just have to figure out the whole haveing to be in Rotary to Attecnd these thing, and to be in rotary I have have a bussness. Small details I suppose.
Next planed trip, a trip to America. I wonder what that is going to be like. I don't Know if my ENglish is good enought to find my way around America, I hope there is lots of Japanese information boards.