Sunday, May 30, 2010

Day 1 Birkdale to Osaka

Today was the day that we would finally leave for Japan after months of planning. Cara and Kate were extremely apprehensive as they are leaving home for 2 years for the first time.
We had a late night on friday night as both Kate and Cara were both still packing and finalising some stuff. We finally made it to bed about Midnight although weren't sure why we were bothering when we would be up in 4 hours anyway.
So 4 hours came and went very quickly. we rose at 4am and got ready and then eventually left birkdale at 6.10a.m, a little later than we had wanted.
Cara's parents drove us to Coolloongatta airport where we were greeted by Cara's eldest sister and new brother-in-law. We found our way to the desk and checked in with no dramas. then we went to get some breakfast and conversed for a bit. suddenly it was time for us to leave.

this was pretty emotional seeing as though Kate and Cara both weren't returning to Australia.

we went through x-ray and then through customs without any trouble at all. we also got money back for Cara's eepc which was good. then finally the boarding call went out and we got on the plane and there we sat for 9.5hours. we thought we would never get there.

coming into land in Osaka was a beautiful sight as the sun reflected off the water as it was close to sunset. unfortunately i didn't have the camera at the ready but it was stunning. so we finally landed and with the crowd walked through immigration and were fingerprinted, then we went through quarantine where they didn't even check our bags, stamped our passport and irasshaimase, welcome to Japan.

We walked through the terminal to the train station and then tried to figure out where to validate our train tickets, we were in the right place as it turned out but not really being sure and being tired and not game enough to try japanese we walked out again. eventually someone asked if we were lost and pointed us back in the direction we had come from.
we validated our pass and then found the entrance to the platform. while we were waiting we met this crazy dude who was telling us a crazy story. we walked throuhg and then down onto the platform to wait. there was already a train there but it was not our train. so we waited about 25min.

the train finally came and so the journey began. 75minutes to kyoto. we arrived in kyoto and decided that it was easiest to get a taxi to the hostel as it was about 9pm and we were all tired and not used to heavy bags. we found a taxi and then came the fun part trying to communicate. we had the address written down and the driver thought he knew where to go. he took us to the wrong place, but then i wrote the address in half hiragana/half katakana (as i discovered this morning) and we were on our way again. fortunately it didn't turn out to be in the wrong area. we were in the right place.

so we finally checked in and paid the difference and then set off to dump our bags and then set out for food. we started walking and ended up taking a detour down a side alley. We were not having much luck when we saw the universal sign for a 7/11 which was good. we found something in there to eat and headed back to the hostel to eat it. back at the hostel we met a few english people who decided to rub in the fact that they won the 20/20 world cup. Cara and Kate didn't care, but i couldn't let that slide so i threw in a dig about them not being able to win the ashes in australia. we had a bit of a jibe and a bit of a conversation. eventually we threw in the towel and went to bed.

there ended our first day of this Japanese adventure. the language barrier is interesting but i think between cara and i we have enough to survive plus most people in a lot of places do speak some english.

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