January 13, 2008

Our Last Day In Osaka

In today's morning paper (Japan Times), we discovered that Japan actually has a professional basketball league, called the bj league. The sports section featured a page long feature on some guy named Ryan Blackwell (who apparently played at Syracuse), the star of the Sendai Eighty-Niners: "We have four solid American guys and the Japanese guys are stepping up." Its been nice getting an English language newspaper in the hotel each morning. In handouts and pamphlets that you see all over the place, English is often prominently used in the title and cover page. Huge tease. When you open it up, it's completely in Japanese.

Of course the real sport here is baseball, and there are two local teams - the famous Hanshin Tigers in Osaka (who play the Red Sox role to the Yankee role of the Yomiuri Giants) and the Orix Buffaloes in Kobe. There was also an article about the foreign sluggers of the Buffaloes this year, including Alex Cabrera, Greg LaRocca, and Tuffy Rhodes. The Red Sox and Oakland A's are visiting the Tokyo Dome in March this year - it would be cool to be able to see them take on some of the Japanese teams.

Tomorrow we are moving out of Hotel Monterey and into our apartment on Rokko Island. On Mike's morning run today, he spotted some baseball players warming up and practicing. When we all went to check it out together (at Jacob's request), we encountered (next to the field the baseball players were practicing on) groups of white-clad Japanese men rhythmically counting and chanting at the top of their lungs. No idea what was going on over there. But it was certainly interesting.

We spent most of the day on Rokko Island, checking out the scene, the shops, etc. It really is going to be a great place to live. The inner part of this man-made island is totally residential, with fountains and waterways, and raised sidewalks that go between the buildings. There is shopping galore. There is a nice view of the mountains of Kobe from everywhere. (The outer rim of the island is commercial, with big shipping yards.) From door to door, Mike will probably have to walk outside all of 300 feet to get to the train station, because of the covered walkways, etc.

We finally gave in and got our first fast food of the trip at McDonald's - most of us had "Shaka Shaka Chicken" off the 100 Yen Menu (the dollar menu). Shaka Shaka chicken is a friend chicken filet that comes with choice of flavor powders (cheese, or lemon pepper). You put the chicken and the powder in a paper bag and then you "shaka shaka" it to get the chicken coated with the flavor.

Dinner was more traditional and far better, as we shared Yakisoba, Gyoza, and Okinomiyaki, and Miso Soup at a nearby restaurant with a hot plate built in to the middle of the table. Jacob was a big fan of table-top cooking! Proudly, we were able to tell the waiter that it was delicious in Japanese on the way out!

Here are Jacob and Lauren riding the train, with some random Japanese people. They insist on riding on the complete opposite side of the train car from us. They are still the only people talking on the train. And, as many of you know, they only have ONE VOLUME.

This is a Flower Garden near our apartment. Couldn't resist!:


jmgesq said...

"Frower Garden" is a joke...right? Please tell me it's a computer generated joke!

Good luck with the move-in and enjoy your first night in your own place. Having a bit more space iwll be wonderful.

What great things do you have planned for the next couple of weeks until the kids are in school -- or do I have to wait and read about them??

jackaw said...

Although Japan continues to intrigue, and I will read the baseball link soon, I'm completely souped up by the Giants beating up on Dallas. After SD defeated Indy this was like whipped cream (a little sugar -- no vanilla!) for dessert! Manning had no turnovers and nurtured his team through some rough spots. A delight to watch. Finally!

I'll talk about the important stuff another time!

Love to all.