Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Toto, We're Not in Kyoto Anymore

Day 3: On Sunday we headed over to D's friends' apartment to steal their cats and feed their magazines. Or the other way around. Although I did want to steal their cats.

Presenting the linebacker and fullback of my Feline Fantasy Football League.

Duties accomplished, we set off for Osaka. First stop: glass box of horror! We went 140 meters up to the 35th floor of the Floating Garden Observatory in a clear glass elevator. It was a little bit terrifying. If by a little bit I mean very, which I do.

After the elevator, the escalator: up one more floor we go.

Being on the 35th floor was a bit less terrifying because there is a closed-off platform surrounding it, making it impossible to jump off or be pushed off (sideways glance at D).

Of course I spotted Loft from up there.

Osaka is a much bigger city than Kyoto (3 million inhabitants versus 1.5 million for Kyoto), and the people are both friendlier and more rebellious than Kyotoans. For example, they will cross the street when it says 'Don't Walk.'

Near Osaka Station.

We had some eel for lunch, and then walked along Midosuji, a boulevard that goes across the city.

We stumbled across the love hotel district. Make of these what you will:

We stopped in the stores, admired the malls, and finally made it to our destination: the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium. Yes, that's right, we went to Osaka to ice skate. Wouldn't you?

This picture is horrible, but it's hard to take photographs while wearing ice skates. Plus, the skaters kept moving.

The last time I went ice skating was in Andorra, which was about a decade ago. Which was also the last time I went sledding. And the last time I went skiing. And the last time I got my head run over by a Spanish skier. Which was the last time I went to Andorra. What I'm trying to say is that I was terrible at it, but it was still fun. An elderly gentleman had been trying (successfully, I think) to skate with D, and then trying (unsuccessfully) to lure me away from the wall that I was gripping. Later, when I sat on a bench by the rink he came over and started talking to me. He also gave me two sticks of gum (one for D).

The conversation was marked by near total incomprehension on my part and much smiling and nodding on both our parts. It started out okay. He said he was 75 years old, and I said I was 28. Then he told me, "Kireina desu." Kireina sounded terribly familiar, but I couldn't quite remember what it meant so I decided that it meant "young" and jokingly responded, "You're young." It was at that point that I realized:

a. Best not to joke in a language in which you have a 15-word vocabulary, 10 of which are numbers.
b. "Kireina desu" means "You're pretty."

For this I received two more sticks of gum. Our chat continued and only got more confusing. At one point, he said "10" and having no idea what he was talking about, I threw out a number: "14," I said, as if we were playing some sort of card-free, verbal game of War (I win!). D joined us and he told us he had been a ski jumper (he said "ski" and then mimicked jumping).

We also met a young guy who spoke English extremely well. He told us he had learned it at J House (J for Jesus, he explained). He invited us to a skating party, but we had to decline. As he was leaving, the 75-year-old gent had the J-House guy translate all that he had been saying to us and apparently we hadn't missed anything because J-House guy just told us: "He's 75 years old and he was a ski jumper."

After the ice skating, we went a few floors up and I let D stare longingly at the basketball courts. Then we went to the pool. D swam laps like a normal person. I swam laps like myself, which is to say like an old Japanese woman: I went in the walking lane, and walked laps. Then we went in the jacuzzi, which was lovely. After all this athletic activity we were famished, so we went to a Hawaiian fast-food joint in the Namba mall.

Pumpkin soup and an avocado-bedecked burger.

Coming up: I do nothing for many days.

1 comment:

baj said...

The bit about throwing out random numbers reminded me of this strong bad email re japanese trading cards -


also, i want avacado!

also, how's the new job?