Japan – Day 2

Well-known Hanshin Tigers Fan Col. Sanders

Shrine Entry, Arima Onsen

Day two. I was reminded again today of just what a little miracle the Shinkansen really is. One of my guidebooks calls it “frighteningly punctual” – and that really fits. Kyoto is perhaps 40 miles from Osaka, and you can be there in 15 (14 actually) minutes. Imagine being able to go from LA to Long Beach in 15 minutes, or SF to San Jose. It’s easy to see how the Japanese might take it for granted – even as an occasional traveler I begin to. What a great thing it is.

Televised HS baseball

I saw a semi-final game of Spring Koshien today, where a team from Kyushu trounced a team from Tokyo 9-2 before a national TV audience and 35K fans. And that’s just the #2 ranked HS tournament here. Koshien Stadium (Kobe) is a bit of a pilgrimage for me. It’s Japan’s most revered stadium, and also the centerpiece of many manga and anime, most notably for me those of Mitsuru Adachi. It looks like a cross between Wrigley Field and The Polo Grounds, and was built in 1924. The level of fundamental execution is stunning for HS baseball, though I don’t see much boyish enthusiasm out there. I guess that’s the trade-off.
After that, visited Kobe’s Arima Onsen for a good soak, and then dinner in Osaka. If I had to descibe Osaka in one word, it would be “boisterous”. Even manic Tokyo has a bit of dignified order to it, and Kyoto borders on put-on grace – but Osaka is oure energy. Very fun and unpretentious.

This one just fit my eye.  Temple bell and Chevy Bel Air.

I certainly noticed a lot fewer European and American tourists than I would have thought – the only real sign (apart from the half-mast flags and donation stations at the ballpark) that something is amiss. What a shame – the sakura are starting to open, the weather is gorgeous and the people as friendly as ever. I’m 600 miles from Fukushima and not even the most pessimistic reputable scientists think there could be a problem here – yet here it is. I guess it’s easier to get a window seat on the Shinkansen and a table at the restaurant, but it makes me sad nonetheless.
Tomorrow is the Kiso Valley, way out in the middle of the Japan Alps. No idea what net access will be, but if I can log on, you’ll hear from me!



  1. d

    You also went to Japan?!! I'm jealous haha. Why did you go? For fun?

  2. This was my third time, actually. I love it there! They've all been vacations, though if I could find a way to work and live there I would gladly.

  3. d

    Japan for me is for fun. Vacation and retirement only. Not for work. I can overcome the language barrier, but those Japs work so hard and with so much passion. I love my anime too much to work so many hours.

Leave a Comment