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Osaka: A Wonderland-Birthday-TB Meet-up with Alice in Takoyaki land

Osaka Travel Blog

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Osaka: Umeda Sky Building

I arrived in Osaka two hours later than planned because I got on the wrong train from the hostel to Kyoto Station and I had to transfer to 2 other trains - and the next train to Osaka was 45 more minutes. Blah! Thankfully, Eiko (momiji) didn't mind waiting for 'lil lost and late' me.

While waiting for the train, I found one of the things my friend from NYC asked me to get for her - green tea KitKat! Awesome~! I bought 3 big ones (I think they were 700yen each). Thinking about it now, I should've bought more since I ran out of it so quickly when I got home...

It was only a 25-minute train ride from Kyoto to Osaka on the JR train.

Osaka: Umeda Sky Building - indoor mini-traditional Japanese village
The transfer from Shin-Osaka station to Osaka Station was a breeze with the signs easy to follow. Then I caught the JR Loop line Uchimawari train and got off at JR Fukushima Station. There I was welcomed by Eiko (momiji) whom I have already met in April at the NYC TB Meet up. I apologized for my lateness and she helped me with my luggage as we walked to the hostel that turned out to be close than I expected.

We arrived at the hostel, J-Hoppers Osaka, to drop of my stuff since we were too early to check-in. Then we walked to Umeda Sky Building - one of the places we had on our itinerary - the other was Osaka Castle. But before that, we were hungry. I barely had any breakfast before leaving Kyoto and it was past noon already, so Eiko and I decided to go somewhere close, cheap and fast.

Osaka: Umeda Sky Building - 'island'
Ah! A Yoshinoya! There was one around the corner from the train station. We went up the 2nd floor and ordered. People sat down, got their order, ate, and off they go! I think there were 3 people who sat beside Eiko from the moment we sat down until we left... And I knew we were there less than 45 minutes.

From the JR Fukushima station it was about a 20 minute walk to the Umeda Sky Building. It was very humid that day, too. We went up to the observatory part of the building. Osaka skyline is very different from Tokyo - with its river, bridges, skyscrapers, low buildings, and train tracks. For some reason, I found it more interesting than Tokyo. Hmmm... We went down to the lower level where they had an indoor mini-traditional Japanese streets  littered with restaurants, and went to the outdoor 'island' where the waterfalls was located.

Osaka: Umeda Sky Building - from the 'island' view
It was cooler there for sure.

We initially planned to go to Osaka Castle but we were too lazy! Well, not lazy per se but we wanted to do some shopping so we opted to skip Osaka Castle. I wanted to buy shoes. I have a thing for shoes. Whenever I travel, I always buy a pair of shoes. I bought one in Paris last June - one of my shoes got ruined because of the rain when I was there. And I bought 3 pairs in Buenos Aires, and one pair Chile. A pair of boots and pumps in S. Korea. But none of the shoes I liked were available in my size! Damn the Japanese for their small feet! So Eiko and I shopped for clothes. Eh, Japanese style of layering clothes isn't really me, so I couldn't find anything I liked. Except one. It was simple, cream colored top.

Osaka: Umeda Sky Building - whyd oes he have a big nose? a Japanese version of Pinocchio?
Good material - it wasn't itchy. It was light. And it didn't cost an arm and a leg. I think it was 3500yen. Yay~! I got to buy something! And I plan to wear it the next day, too! We also bought a luggage - for me. The local delicacies and the KitKat I bought were taking up a lot of my luggae space and I wanted one with those funny wheels I see everywhere. With that done, we decided to go back to the hostel so we have some time to rest before meeting everyone for dinner.

After checking in, Eiko and I rested in our room. I also took a quick shower to refresh myself and do some laundry. We chatted up with one of our roommates from Germany and invited her to dinner - she initially said yes but decided not to go because she was tired. The hostel was very clean.

Osaka: Umeda Sky Building - going up on the escalator to the observatory deck
The room was cramp for 4 beds but it was clean. And so were the toilet and shower stalls which were located by the hallway. The laundry machines was very convenient to have, and the hostel was relatively quiet. [read more about the J-Hopper Osaka Central review by momiji]

We left the hostel and walked to the meeting point. Eiko found Chris and Ayaka easily enough despite the crowd outside. A few of minutes later, Elisabet and Richard arrived. Yay~! The group's complete. We said the introductions and walked to the restaurant where Ayaka made reservations.

Alice, is a theme restaurant, where all the female staff were dressed in Alice costume and they all introduce themselves as 'Alice'. The restaurant is dimly lit and the decor - very Alice in Wonderland.

Osaka: Umeda Sky Building - city view
Richard and Chris had a ball! We could hardly understood our server because she spoke so low. She constantly curtsy before leaving, too, which just bothered all of us. And at the same time, I pity the staff for having to curtsy all the time. The food was surprisingly good. Except the cold soup. That one tasted icky - but I attempted to eat mine nonetheless. Only finished half before I gave up. The pasta, beef stew and the rest were yummy. It was a fun night. I think we were a very loud group - with Chris turning red from Richard's teasing, or was it the beer? I order a drink where I thought I'd get a whole blue alcohol in a shoe glass but it was not so - it was only Blue Hawaiian in disguised, served in a tall glass. What a disappointment. Richard picked on everyone - most of all, Chris.
Osaka: Umeda Sky Building - with Eiko
Ayaka was quiet and shy but very nice. I was surprised to hear she was still in college. I can't recall it now but I'm sure Richard picked on Ayaka, too. We all were not spared by Richard.

When it came for dessert, the server arrived with a plate that had candles on it. I guess I was really slow because I didn't realized why it had candles on it until Eiko nudged me and said it's because it was my birthday. A surprise! One I never expected at all. It was so sweet of everyone. My birthday cake was in the image of the crazy feline in Alice in Wonderland. I blew out my candles and attemped to eat all of it but no, it was just too much. Everyone received a little dessert, too - a pastry type with cream and all that - a slightly the same but yet different and smaller version of mine.

Osaka: Umeda Sky Building - city view
Photos were taken and we took a picture of our "Alice" before leaving. 

We all parted at the train station. Richard and Elisabet returned to Kyoto, Chris and Ayaka for home. Eiko and I were to go clubbing in the nightlife area of Osaka. Honestly, I wasn't up for it. I was tired but hey, I was only in Osaka once and I really couldn't say no to partying out, you know. So we caught the train and walked to where Club Pure was located. It was early yet so we paid the entrance fee and found the place near empty. We ordered a drink, sat down, chatted a bit and decided to walk around outside. It was interesting to see sso many guys in suits on a Friday night. Young guys whom, according to Eiko, were most likely hosts! Very interesting.

As we walked around, we found takoyaki stand with a long line of people.

Osaka: Umeda Sky Building - Eiko's favorite chair
Takoyaki in Osaka? That's just thing we needed! The place boasted to be the place for the "best takoyaki". And I have to say, their takoyaki was very good indeed. The one in NYC was still my #1 pick though. Eiko and I ate it and went back to take a photo of the place before returning to the club.

By then, the club was already crowded. Wow. And it was so smoky. I was already losing my voice and the smoke was definitely not helping. Eiko's friends arrived. We danced and I forgot when but I started getting really tired. I went out to get some air. I guess I was out longer than I thought because Eiko got worried. I fell asleep, too! LoL. Man, I was exhausted. We left when the club closed. Said our goodbyes to the guys, and took a cab back to the hostel.

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Osaka: Umeda Sky Building
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Osaka Hostels review
Clean and great location
A clean, affordable hostel in Osaka located less than 5 minutes walk from the JR Fukushima Station and 20 minutes to Umeda SKy Building area. Great… read entire review
Osaka
photo by: yasuyo