Arigatō, Nihon!

Title Translation: Thank You, Japan!

For the final few days of our visit to Japan, we did a lot of shopping for ourselves and family, eating new foods, exploring, and relaxing. The new Airbnb that we stayed in was right on Dotonbori Street and over looked the river. It was surprisingly really cheap for Ada, Jessica, and I to stay there and very comfortable. Since we had 4 more days in Osaka, we tried to knock a lot of stuff from our list, but we overslept a lot of the time because we were exhausted from classes and the other exploring the first couple of days. Even though we did get to relax a lot, we knew we had to do as much as possible before we left. There was a lot of stuff we wanted to do, so we just picked the most important ones and tried to do that.

It is very popular in Japan for many locals and tourists to go to the spa (onsen) for the day and we decided to check it out. When we first got there, we were surprised at how cheap it was and thought that we would have to pay more at the end because the price wasn’t the same as online. When we went to go pay, I saw a sign that said that people with tattoos are not allowed into the spa. I have a small tattoo on my leg that isn’t very visible and I got scared that I wouldn’t be let in. The rule comes from the Japanese culture of not liking the Japanese mafia. The mafia members usually have tattoos on their backs and arms and they are very visible. I thought that I wouldn’t be let in, but lucky enough I was. The experience as a whole was interesting, but it was a great way to relax and distress before we have to go back to Hong Kong to take our exams.

For shopping, we went around Dotonbori and other areas around Osaka to find gifts for our family and ourselves. Since we are in Japan, a lot of people were requesting gifts and we had to do our best to find them. It was hard to fine some cheap gifts for everyone, especially ones that they will like. My friend wanted some Japanese snacks that you can’t get in America, so we went to a lot of supermarkets to find different snacks. We also bought sleeping masks for our parents that you can only get in Japan because my roommate Youli introduced them to me and they are amazing! In Japan, there are taxes on everything unlike Hong Kong. When you buy items at stores and you hit 5,00 Yen, you don’t have to pay tax on them. The only downside of buying tax-free is that you cannot open the package until you leave Japan. I made the mistake of opening my bag in the Airbnb, so I had to go back to the store to get a new bag. We ended up buying a lot of $1 USD items at a store called Diaso. It was a big mistake for us because we overspent on a lot of stuff. We wanted to make sure that we made everyone back home happy, so we did end up buying a lot.

The last place that we visited in Japan was Nara to see the bowing deer and mochi pounding. We got to Nara really late because we woke up late in the afternoon. By the time we got there, it was dark and most of the deer were gone from the park. We got to see at least a couple of them and they were so calm. It was surprising because the deer in my back yard usually attack you or run into your car, so it was a different experience for me. We got to feed and pet them and they were just so comfortable with us being very close to them. After the deer, we went to see if we could catch the mochi pounding, but we missed the last pounding by two minutes. Since we missed it, we just bought mochi and shopped around a little bit. After Nara, we came back to Osaka and got Kobe Beef since it is something that you have to get when you come to the Osaka area. The beef was amazing! The beef practically melted in your mouth and it was great! For dessert, we got the jiggly Japanese cheesesteak and it was delicious.

Being in Japan for 11 days was definitely an experience and it was a great one! Japan is a very expensive country, but we surprisingly didn’t spend a lot here. Transportation alone was a lot of money because of the long distances, but it was definitely worth. Japan is a unique place to visit and I am so happy that I got to come. I know that I will definitely be coming back to visit Tokyo because Youli is from there. I loved being in Osaka and can’t wait to travel to other countries in the future.

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