Spring in Japan: Odds and Ends

Spring is quickly coming to an end as the weather is getting hotter and hotter.  While I haven’t really traveled terribly far during this season, I have done a few small events that warrant some mentioning.

In April, there was a special event regarding the Rap;t train that goes from Namba to the airport.  I had never ridden this train before as I usually just catch a shuttle bus from my apartment to go to the airport.  However, I always notice how cool it looked, it looked really sleek with its shape and it’s dark blue paint job.  I always wanted to try riding it.

Well, I finally got the chance to.  In celebration of the conclusion of the Gundam Unicorn anime, they gave the Rap;t train a paint job to go with the colors of Neo Zeon.  As for me, the colors remind me of Char from the original Gundam series.  Being a Gundam fan, I just had to ride it.

The train with its temporary paint job was very nice.  It got a lot of attention from passerby’s.  The ride was really comfortable and fast.  Since we rode on it the first day it premiered, it got a lot of attention from people and the media.  We had a helicopter follow us the entire way to the airport and we would see random people standing on the hills, taking photos of us as we passed the rice fields and small towns.  I really enjoyed it.  Unfortunately the train has already gone back to its original colors by the time you read this.

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This chopper got a lot of footage of us.)

This chopper got a lot of footage of us.)

Early in May I went to another Hanshin Tigers game.  This time, they were against their long-term rivals, the Tokyo Giants.  We were sitting by the Giants fan side so cheering was a little more difficult to do.  But damn it, that didn’t stop everyone from trying.  The best part is when we score, everyone gets psyched up and start high fiving each other, even people they aren’t familiar with (like us)!  It was a pretty intense game but unfortunately the Tigers choked at the very end.  Oh well, it was still a great time!

The 7th inning celebration is always fun to witness

The 7th inning celebration is always fun to witness

Just the other week I went on a cycling tour with Cycle Osaka.  Cycle Osaka provides a bicycle tour of the ins and outs of Osaka.  There are different kinds of tours depending on the time of the day and how long you want it.  We went on the 3 hour day tour.  They’re pretty detailed with it, we covered areas that even I, a person who has been living here for almost three years, was unaware of.  I also forgot the joys of riding a bicycle.  While I’ll admit it was a bit stressful to cycle in the busy streets (where you’re dodging people left and right), it feels great to cycle down the rivers of Yodogawa while watching kids play baseball and people going on walks.  The weather was especially great that day and feeling the spring breeze was awesome.

Select your ride.

Select your ride.

The views while riding down the river were great.

The views while riding down the river were great.

Never knew about this Charlie Chaplin mural before.

Never knew about this Charlie Chaplin mural before.

The Pierrot Harbor feels like something from the 1930s.  I'd like to eat there sometime as well as hang out around the tunneled area it's in.

The Pierrot Harbour feels like something from the 1930s. I’d like to eat there sometime as well as hang out around the tunneled area it’s in.

An interesting spot to place a tea place.

An interesting spot to place a tea place.

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Our tour guide Sam was really informative.  As he is a history junkie, it was fun to see hear his passionate stories about certain sites of the city.  If you ever visit Osaka and like cycling, I’d highly recommend Cycle Osaka.  I only wish it was a bit cheaper, without the discount that we had, it’s a little pricey for someone who lives here.  But if you’re visiting, it’s definitely worth it.  I want to go on the evening tour next time, I can only imagine how great that is.

And with that, another spring in Japan has come to a close.  Summer looks like it’ll be a busy one, but I look forward to it, especially summer break!

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