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osaka and kyoto

January 5, 2004


Well, Happy New Year. Let’s hope 2004 turns out better than 2003 for all involved…

At the stroke of midnight (PST), I was with Alex, frantically trying to pay for a coffee and ice-cream in a late-night café in Osaka, in an attempt to get out in time for the countdown. Having got outside to find not very much happening (lots of people milling about smiling, but none of the fireworks or shouting or kissing or anything that makes Edinburgh exciting at New Year), we went back inside and ended up chatting to three very nice young women until the early hours.

I arrived in Osaka and met up with Alex in the late afternoon of New Year’s Eve, and returned to Okinawa on Sunday the 4th. In the intervening period we went to temples and gardens in Kyoto, up a skyscraper in Osaka, met a strange old man who claimed to be a professor of comparative linguistics and who got us to spend twenty minutes correcting a draft of his ‘dictionary’ while standing in the draughty entrance to a railway station, met a young Japanese man selling takoyaki (barbecued octopus) who when at high-school had done an exchange with a school on one of the Outer Hebrides. We stayed in a capsule hotel, a very creepy house in Kyoto, and a nice traditional Japanese-style hotel which turned out to be right in the middle of Osaka’s red-light district. We also saw a Jesus Christ theme restaurant and managed to very nearly run out of money completely. Since I went to a lot of places and took a lot of pictures, I will put them up one or two at a time, as I get the time and inclination…

Another piece of bizarre Japanese television, seen as I was writing this – a woman, lost in the woods, comes into a clearing and screams in terror at what she suddenly finds herself confronted with: a large tree, whose trunk is covered with unrealistic plastic arses…

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