Osaka Kita Ward
※ This article discusses the 15th of October 2016.
In the morning, all tables at the residence were dirty. Yesterday evening, a student from Finland organized the "International Students Welcome Party". For 500 Yen, you could join in, drink some beer, eat some snacks and chips and play beer pong. After class, we joined in with a delay (19:00 versus 20:20). I preferred to focus on the social component and so I talked to Japanese, Chinese, German, Austrian and British people. We talked about Japanese religion, ordering Austrian absentee ballots and university organization. In general, I think it was a pleasant evening and totally necessary in a residence where many new people meet.
The Finnish organizer cleaned all desks while I was looking at the map of Osaka. Today, I wanted to visit Osaka for the first time. For the first time, I am leaving Kobe via train and certainly it will be difficult to navigate within Osaka. I consider the lack of a phone with Android apps and mobile data more and more of a problem. I took some screenshots of the map and left the residence. Martina wanted to stay at home and study. So I was on my own. I started at 14:00.
I used a JR train for the first time. I estimate that it took close to 40 minutes. To go from Kobe to Osaka with JR costs 410 Yen, which is in global comparison very cheap in my opinion. I get more and more used to trains in Japan. It is annoying/confusing that there are two providers for the route from Kobe to Osaka (JR or Hankyu), but I guess this is how competitive capitalism works.
I reached Umeda, Osaka. Osaka has more tall buildings than Kobe. Certainly more people live here than in Kobe. It really can be a challenge to go from place A to B very fast as almost all people are rushing and you are always surrounded by them. However, with my size I can still get a good overview. Fukushima is a ward in Osaka. Osaka, like Kobe, is split into several individual wards with their own management and organization. Fukushima is one of them. The name Fukushima should ring a bell and remind you of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011. However, the name is used several times in Japan.
Basically I was just walking around and searching for some food. I got attracted by a supermarket. It offered many European goods, specifically French ones. Of course, I was not looking for a European shop, so it was actually interested in their combination of Japanese and French food side by side. I grabbed various snacks and a slice of pizza. They were strikingly good. Packing everything together, I went back to the station. I recognized that I went to the south of Umeda, whereas my initial goal was the north. I had one specific goal: I wanted to reach the sea. I planned to use Tokaido Main Line for reference of direction. Technically I was following it into the wrong direction when I went to Fukushima though I neither followed a train route nor this line consciuously. When I got back I mixed up Tokaido Main Line and Osaka Loop Line and therefore went into the east instead of the north. My maps/screenshots were not accurate enough and I recognized that I lost track. Therefore I simply followed the train route. As far as there are buildings of multiple floors side-by-side full of shops and I also came across a shopping street in Yamazakicho, I consider Osaka as a good city to go shopping. I am generally attracted by food and clothing, but I also found shops for entertainment, electronics, restaurants, barbers and supermarkets. In Umeda, the HEP FIVE shopping mall features a small Ferris Wheel on top of it. One person, 500 Yen. Two people, 1000 Yen. I decided to postpone it and do it with Martina at a later point of time. It is more fun with her. Also kind of fun was to find a bridge which allowed pedestrians to pass underneath. However, if you are above 1.8 meters, you need to duck down; not to bump your head.
I reached the sea (at least a branch of the delta) and went back a similar way. I took the Hankyu line (I also use for university) back home. I estimate that it took close to 1 hour by the local train. "Local" means it will stop at every small train station (15 stops from Sannomiya to Osaka). This is different from the JR train I used previously. But with only 320 Yen, I also paid less at Hankyu Line.
In the end, a nice day to get to know Osaka as a shopping city. Google Maps claims I walked approximately 10 kilometres this day.