Thursday, February 4, 2010

Anyhow walk in Japan - Osaka Castle got lift

Osaka Castle is surrounded by Osaka Castle Garden. Which essentially means that no matter which subway or JR train station that you start from, it takes equally long to reach the castle. Like fifteen minutes...

Bridge outside Osaka Castle
Man in deep thoughts on the bridge. Was he thinking "!@$@%#&! The castle is THAT far?"?

Osaka Castle Garden, Japan
This man cycled all the way to the Osaka Castle Garden to... read newspapers?

Osaka Castle Garden, Japan
This man was running up and down the stairs for his morning workout.

Osaka Castle Garden, Japan
You can always count on the Japanese for being creative. They can even add some kawaii birdies on normal railings!

Osaka Castle Garden, Japan
Two old folks walking up the slope towards Osaka Castle.

Osaka Castle, Japan
This is how far the castle looks from the garden...

Walking towards the Osaka Castle
Reached the main door, but the castle still looks far...

Time capsule and Osaka Castle
The Japanese buried this time capsule at the Osaka Castle in 1971, to be dug out 5000 years later. That is, if the world doesn't really end at 2012. Hmm... wait a minute... have we found the time capsule that we lost already? The one that was buried somewhere in the National Stadium and nobody bothered to make any markings or leave any documents? Seriously, can we find it in time to reopen it?

Osaka Castle, Japan

Osaka Castle, Japan

There are 8 levels in the Osaka Castle and take this... there is a lift IN the castle! Talk about modernisation! And the best part? On the 8th level, you can go out on the balcony to view the Osaka Castle Garden and Osaka city, and on this same level... there is a... souvenir store! The Japanese are damn good at doing business!

Roof of Osaka Castle, Japan

Osaka Castle, Japan

大阪城 (Osaka Castle) - Take the subway to Tanimachi 4-chome station or Osakajo Koen station.
大阪城 (Osaka Castle) Official Website

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Anyhow walk in Japan - Why is there Hello Kitty in Universal Studio?

Why is Hello Kitty sighted in Universal Studio? Well, because it is Japan and if a Hello Kitty shop in Japan is always crowded, when even Hardrock Cafe has a series of Hello Kitty crossover T-shirts, it does make sense to have Hello Kitty in Universal Studio.

A little X'mas parade at Universal Studio Japan

The Spiderman ride was pretty cool, with 3D cartoon characters flying all over the place while our little ride zoomed around in high speed, with Spiderman's superhero friends flying all around to save us from his enemies all over the place.

Spiderman sighted at Universal Studio Japan

The Waterworld show is a must-watch show in the Universal Studio. There you can find all sorts of stunts, from boat chase to act-act fights, with actors climbing up high only to fall down into the man-made pond. They must be pretty cold during such cold winter though!

Waterworld at Universal Studio Japan

Though we were at the Universal Studio in January when Christmas was long gone, the Christmas atmosphere was still pretty apparent in the park. Hey, even JAW was wearing a ring of mistletoe!

Santa at Universal Studio Japan

Couples taking picture with Jaws at Universal Studio Japan

First of all, you don't expect much from theme park food. Though the dinosaur-shaped beef steak was pretty niche, the taste was nothing fantastic. Wonder if the new Universal Studio in Sentosa will have merlion-shaped steak...

Dinosaur-shaped beef steak for lunch at Universal Studio Japan.

Hey, Singaporeans are not the only kiasu people around, okay! At 7pm, the locals were already sitting on the street and waiting for the 7:30pm Magical Starlight Parade!

Waiting for Magical Starlight Parade at Universal Studio Japan.

With my elbows supported on my knees (because I didn't bring tripod and I don't think there is space for one anyway) to prevent too much shaking of my camera, I'm glad that I managed to take some reasonable looking shots!

Magical Starlight Parade at Universal Studio Japan
Wow! Didn't think the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland can get this big!

Magical Starlight Parade at Universal Studio Japan
Yap, I only remember Alice having tea-break in the whole Wonderland, so she deserves to be served in a gigantic tea cup!

Magical Starlight Parade at Universal Studio Japan
There are also dressed-up actors going around to mingle with the crowd and making the kids laugh.

Magical Starlight Parade at Universal Studio Japan
When it comes to the Aladdin theme, there are dancers dancing in bulbs-lit skirts. Kinda worried for them that they might get electrocuted accidentally!

Magical Starlight Parade at Universal Studio Japan
A woman was actually doing some belly dancing in the camel's stomach!

Magical Starlight Parade at Universal Studio Japan
Not sure which part of Aladdin does this peacock belong to, but it does look magical.

Magical Starlight Parade at Universal Studio Japan
The Fairy Godmother was the first to appear in the Cinderella theme. Well, it makes sense since Cinderella won't live happily ever after without her help!

Magical Starlight Parade at Universal Studio Japan
This is my favourite! A group of well-dressed men in tuxedos pushing carts of white pigeons flying into the sky!

Magical Starlight Parade at Universal Studio Japan
One thing about the Japanese, no matter how cold the night, no matter how difficult it must be to dance with bulbs-lit skirts, they'll always do it with a smile!

Universal Studio Japan - Take JR rail to Universal Studio station。
Universal Studio Japan Official Website

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Anyhow walk in Japan - surrounded by fishes in Osaka Aquarium

We chose to visit the Osaka Aquarium after 5pm in the evening because we were intending to get the discounted Osaka Aquarium + Tempozan Flyer ticket. The normal price of an Osaka Aquarium ticket is 2000yen, S$31.50, and a Tempozan Flyer ticket is 700yen, S$11. However the after five Osaka Aquarium + Tempozan Flyer ticket is 4300yen, S$68, for two. That's definitely a better deal!

It is cool that the Osaka Aquarium has discounted prices for late visitors, rather than charging a flat rate for all like what the Sentosa Underwater World does. In fact, before five, the visitor pays S$22.90 for the Underwater World + Dolphin Lagoon package. After five, the visitor pays the same S$22.90 but the Dolphin Lagoon is closed! DUH!

Amazing lights outside Osaka Aquarium

The Osaka Aquarium has some real beautiful lighting decorations at its doorstep! Whalesharks, stingrays, dolphins! All of them look so realistic that it is as if they have life in them! It is as if the dolphins are jumping out of the water! Why don't we see such vivid lighting decorations at Orchard Road during the Christmas?

Amazing lights outside Osaka Aquarium

The biggest tank in Osaka Aquarium is the one that houses the two wharesharks (DUH!), with the glass stretching from the ceiling to the floor, with the tank wrapping all around us! Besides the whalesharks, there are also numerous sharks and stingrays, and countless little fishes! You feel so surrounded by the fishes that it is as if you are scuba diving!

Whaleshark in the Osaka Aquarium

Stingray in the Osaka Aquarium

Due to the low light condition in the aquarium and that flashlight is not allowed (DUH!), it is easier to do video than to take photo.

Eventually it was getting late in the evening and our lunches were long digested. When we reached the mola mola (sunfish) tank, my almost-fainting-from-hunger friend exclaimed,"Wow! This looks like curry fish head!"...

Sunfish (mola mola) in the Osaka Aquarium

And these looked like fried chili crabs to her...

Crabs in the Osaka Aquarium

At the end of the visit is the hall of jellyfish exhibits where all sorts of jellyfish swim gracefully in their colorfully lit tanks! Simply beautiful!

Delicate and beautiful jellyfish in the Osaka Aquarium

Delicate and beautiful jellyfish in the Osaka Aquarium

Delicate and beautiful jellyfish in the Osaka Aquarium

Delicate and beautiful jellyfish in the Osaka Aquarium

Delicate and beautiful jellyfish in the Osaka Aquarium

When we walked out of the Osaka Aquarium at 8pm, we were very hungry but still very excited to take the Tempozan Flyer. But to our disappointment, the flyer was closed because of strong wind! Though our fares were refunded back to us (luckily they didn't ask us to come back again another day instead!), we were still kinda disappointed... Oh well...

海游馆 (Kaiyukan) - Take the subway to 大阪港 station. Expect a bit of walking.
海游馆 (Kaiyukan) Official Website

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sayuri Sugawara - Because you are here

君がいるから kimi ga iru kara. Why does this sentence sounds so much nicer in Japanese?