(六) さようなら (Goodbye, Japan)

We had to check out of our airbnb by 11AM so we packed all our luggage before leaving the place, lump in my throat the entire time but I kept it under control by reminding myself to not let negative emotions ruin the last day I had in Osaka.

We visited Kuromon Market first where we had breakfast (fresh scallop and octopus aka the absolute best)

IMG_8306

IMG_8308

IMG_8307

IMG_8309

IMG_8310

IMG_8311

IMG_8312

IMG_8313

IMG_8314

I took this photo cus of the Totoro
I took this photo cus of the Totoro

IMG_8316

IMG_8317

IMG_8320

IMG_8321

♡‿♡
♡‿♡
The best 100 yen matcha latte which, if given the chance, I would buy in bulk to bring home
The best 100 yen matcha latte which, if given the chance, I would buy in bulk to bring home

Our last sightseeing spot in Osaka was Osaka Castle, and we took the subway to Osaka Business Park which was the station nearest to the Castle.

Shortly after breakfast, my stomach started grumbling in the fashion of a stomachache, and I was left to divert my full concentration to keeping it in check throughout the entire subway journey. Hence, as soon as we reached Osaka Business Park, I dashed straight for the nearest toilet at the station.

Whenever I have to do a number two in public, the first worry that immediately jumps to mind is the availability of tissue paper and a bidet but because I remembered I was in Japan and not Malaysia, I waved the concern away as a baseless worry, having sown incredible faith in Japanese public toilets. So you can imagine my utmost shock when I discovered that the toilets in the Osaka Business Park subway station had no bidets. No array of buttons stuck to the toilet bowl that to this day, still amuse me greatly with its efficiency and, uh, precision. Not even the manual taps that some toilets in KL have in place of separate bidets. What they did have though, was a sensor on the wall that played nature sounds and the chirping of birds when they detect movement ie when you move to sit down on the toilet bowl (allegedly to cover the sound of your peeing so you don’t get embarrassed).

What an unnecessary contraption!!!!! An investment in the wrong type of infrastructure when they could’ve invested in bidets instead!!!!!! The nature sounds only served to agitate and mock the entire time I pulled on toilet paper endlessly, thinking about how bad an idea this was and how I wouldn’t wish my current predicament on my worst enemy, especially not if they were having diarrhea. (Like I was.)

Thank God when we exited the station we stumbled upon another toilet in the business building adjacent to the station and this time, I could almost cry in relief at the sight of the little buttons connected to the toilet bowl that were readily available for my needs. I was so glad and thankful that I even took a photo of their sinks that had a three-way use – soap, rinse and blow dry.

I love Japan technology
I love Japan technology

Finally liberated from the clutches of my stomachache, we headed for Osaka Castle.

DSCN5095

DSCN5096

DSCN5099

DSCN5102

DSCN5106

DSCN5108

DSCN5109

DSCN5110

DSCN5111

DSCN5124

DSCN5113

DSCN5112

DSCN5116

DSCN5120

DSCN5125

Photo credit: Rujia
Photo credit: Rujia

DSCN5126

same
same

And then it was finally, finally time to head back and we stopped at Dotonbori for ramen lunch at Ichiran. Throughout the trip, I’d heard Rumin’s aunt mention Ichiran a couple of times but I had no idea what it was like so when I entered the place, I was taken for a huge surprise ride.

IMG_8328

At the entrance was one of those machines I’d seen at fuji restaurants and I thought it would be like that so I placed a 500 yen coin into it and pressed the button with the most basic ramen selection. After getting my ticket, I thought that was it. I thought it would be the same procedure wherein I give the ticket to the person behind the counter and wait for my number to be called.

So I was surprised when we went up one floor and were given a piece of paper each by a server. On the paper were several rows of food details such as “soup consistency”, “spiciness”, “hardness of noodles” etc and in different columns, choices like “concentrated/normal/diluted”, “very spicy/normal/non-spicy”, “hard/normal/soft” etc for us to circle our preferences and I was both very shocked and fascinated (it felt like a cooking game). We brought the papers with us and went up another floor where the seats were (perhaps the next part should be explained with pictures).

Each person gets a cubicle like this (there are partitions separating each person’s cubicle which you can fold up if you want to)
Place ticket + survey form in front of the gap (which is actually the kitchen)
Place ticket + form in front of the gap in front of you (which is actually the kitchen)
Drinking water tap for your bottomless refilling needs
Drinking water tap for your bottomless refilling needs

DSCN5133

DSCN5134

When your order is ready, someone will place your bowl in front of you through the gap
When your order is ready, someone will place your bowl in front of you through the gap
...and close it so you can enjoy your meal in peace
…and then close it afterwards so you can enjoy your meal in peace

DSCN5138

DSCN5139

How neat is that!!! So very neat and the ramen was good too 10/10 would recommend and come here again

We still had time to spare before we had to head for the airport so we did some shopping at Shinsaibashi where I got some gifts and a new phone case.

Takoyaki! It tasted weird
Takoyaki! It tasted weird

And then commenced the dreaded journey to Kansai Airport where it was finally, reluctantly, time to say goodbye to Japan. 😥

The last photo I took of Osaka city as we walked to the subway station. I was trying to absorb my surroundings as much as I could, paying extra attention to sights, sounds and smells because they would all be gone soon
The last photo I took of Osaka city as we walked to the subway station. I was trying to absorb my surroundings as much as I could, paying extra attention to sights, sounds and smells because they would all be gone soon
Sad face at airport means sad right
Sad face at airport means sad right

IMG_8339

IMG_8340

Obligatory pose for da Instagram masses
Obligatory pose for da Instagram masses
Want to go home already still haunted by anime
Want to go home already still haunted by anime wherever I go

We had gyudon at Sukiya at the airport and I ordered a gyudon with spring onions and egg but I had no idea the egg would come raw so for a while I was so incredibly confused to have my rice bathed in raw egg white until I found out that this was how it was supposed to be. I still didn’t finish it though, a heavy weight sitting on my stomach from the sadness and nerves.

Our flight was 2335 hours and my first step onto the plane was also my last step on Japanese soil.

EPILOGUE
KL at 5AM from the plane
KL at 5AM from the plane

For some reason, I got a Quiet Zone seat on the Osaka-KL flight which meant that there were few enough people in the entire section for me to occupy an entire three-seat row for myself. I spent the first few hours watching Hyouka on my laptop and trying to sleep (but failing miserably because 1) I have a history of never sleeping well on planes and 2) some idiotic part of my brain reasoned that since it hadn’t been cold on the KL-Tokyo flight, it wouldn’t be cold this time either! so I wore pajamas shorts and it felt like the freaking Antarctic Circle).

When it was finally announced that we would be reaching KLIA2, Japan already felt like light years away, like a wonderful dream I’d just woken up from.

This epilogue wasn’t written without reason because there is a story to tell about our domestic flight back home to Alor Setar.

We reached KLIA2 at approximately 5AM and our flight to Alor Setar was scheduled at 7AM. At this point, I was feeling as gross as I had been during the Osaka bus ride but worse because I was functioning on at most an hour of sleep and I was walking around in pajamas shorts and I just wanted to go home and sleep like a dead log for the next five million years or so. So that was all I thought of during the one-hour flight to Alor Setar.

However, after an hour, I was anticipating the pilot to announced over the system that we would be landing shortly but it never came. In fact, at one point, I felt the plane steadily ascending again and someone started retching very, very loudly and I could feel my stomach drop along with the contents in it. It didn’t help that the person next to me was also reaching for the vomit bag. As if I didn’t dislike flights enough already, I was absolutely terrified pinned to my seat, trying my hardest to focus on watching Haikyuu on my phone and not my surroundings.

And then finally, the pilot explained that we were experiencing really bad weather in Alor Setar and had been circling around in the sky so now we had to stop at Penang airport to refuel and wait for the weather condition to get better. This set my mind more at ease although not much because we had been in the air for almost two hours and my ideal location right then would be a bed, not an airplane experiencing turbulence.

At Penang airport, Rumin’s aunt opened up some packets of biscuits we’d bought from Japan for us to snack on and I was reminded that oh yeah, Japan was a place we’d just been to it didn’t even feel real anymore

Half an hour later, we got back into the air again and finally landed at the Alor Setar airport safely. I felt so tremendously relieved to be back on firm ground and even more so to see my parents waiting for me. In the car, I recounted the entire airplane experience excitably and incredulously and when I finally reached home, after taking a long cold shower and swallowing some mihun, I fell into a deep, dreamless sleep.

 

Advertisements

Author: Michelle Teoh

23-year-old cynical Asian, book enthusiast and purveyor of fine sarcasm.

Got Something to Say?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s