With May 20th being my five-year Japanniversary [sic] and an itch to visit Osaka again this year, I swapped a shift with a Sunday coworker to give me an extra day off this week, grabbed my backpack, and headed to Shinagawa. This year, instead of going solo, I had convinced my friend Christian to go along.
He and I met at Shinagawa Station on Tuesday afternoon, bought our tickets, and boarded a well-populated Nozomi. We had decided to stay at the Hotel Raizan (where I’d stayed the previous year), and Christian had already booked our rooms. The main guy at the counter vaguely remembered me, which says a lot, going by how many people must pass through that place. The hotel itself hadn’t changed much, except the darts machine had vanished at some point (not that I used it anyway).
Christian wanted takoyaki from a specific restaurant that had been recommended to him, so we took the subway into the city and walked around ’til we found it. (I’m not a fan of takoyaki, so I declined.) Once he’d had his snack, we wandered through the city toward Den-Den Town. Along the way, we stopped for dinner and had huge bowls of tomato-chili noodles in an otherwise-empty restaurant. Damn good, and filling, but a little pricy.
We didn’t have too long before things would start to close, so we popped into a couple stores and a few (mostly indie) game centers. There wasn’t anything we really wanted, though we spent time in one place trying to win a prize at the urging of the cute staffer there. Neither of us could, so we gave up, but the girl — who went by Non (のん) — asked us to come back to visit on Thursday, promising that if we won something, she’d take a photo with us.
It was still relatively early and I was in the mood for a drink, so we found a semi-near 鳥貴族 and had a couple rounds. We’d done a lot of walking since we’d arrived, so once we’d had our fill, we were to tired to do anything but go back to the hotel. We both took advantage of their heated bath. It not only gave me an excuse to clean up, but the hot water took away a lot of my fatigue and footsoreness. By the time I got back to my room, sleep was not far behind.