I had planned to move to Asia for a long time before things finally came together. A few months ago, I accepted a job in Japan, and hoped to escape the Canadian winter. But, unfortunately, I sat around waiting through the cold as the paperwork process took much longer than expected. I went for months without hearing anything back, and for a while I started to wonder if I was destined to stay in Canada after all. But suddenly there I was, walking through the airport. YYZ. Probably my last time here for another year – and I now believe it will also have been the last time I ever take for granted being able to read and understand the world around me. After about 20 hours of traveling, and some help from a very kind Japanese businessman, I finally made it to my accommodations in Osaka.
The next day began my exploration. My first stop: the Pokemon Centre.
In addition to all the plushies you can imagine, nearly any product you can think of has been rebranded by Pokemon. From Popplio glass cups to Pikachu instant ramen. I even got myself an Eeveelution notebook. It was incredible to see the scope of things I could get with Pokemon on them. As a Pokemon fan, this was a fun and worthwhile visit.
Next, I made my way to the Umeda Sky Building. An elevator shoots you up to an escalator that stretches across to the other side, giving you an awesome perspective as you go up. But it doesn’t stop there. When you get to the top, the view is magnificent. And I managed to get there right around sunset.
There’s a cafe that offers snacks and drinks you can enjoy as you peer out the window and take in the view. I bought myself some tea and did exactly this. By the time night fell, I decided to go back up to the sky walk before I headed back down. To my surprise, a whole different aspect of this marvel of a building had come to life. When the sun disappears, black lights turn on, revealing something new and unique. The path was illuminated by neon specks as I made my way around the sky walk again.
As I looked around, the view stunned me once more. Just as before, in every direction, the city stretched as far as the eye could see. But now, it was filled with lights like shining jewels that pierced the night.
On my way back down, I discovered more and more that this place was also like a museum. There were many displays, as well as a lot of information about the building. There was even an anime playing near the cafe about its construction. I was constantly impressed by every new discovery.
I went back to Osaka station, but instead of going straight to the trains, I decided to look around. I was overwhelmed by how absolutely massive it was. I think it would be accurate to say that it was the biggest place I had ever been in. Even if I spent an entire day exploring it, I would never get to look at everything (and it would be exhausting). I found a lovely “green park” above the tracks where I could relax and stare in wonder. Across from me was a cafe devoted to the anime Detective Conan, which seems to be quite popular here. The cafe was quite popular, too. There was always a line.
I left this green park, only to discover another one a few floors higher up. I really liked the idea of these. They offered a nice, peaceful spot to stop, with the busy, bustling city only a few steps away. And once you stepped out into that station, things were chaotic; and the crowd never ended.