Japan is the hot destination right now, at least that’s what I feel. Every time there’s a long holiday, my instagram and facebook feed is filled with photos of sushi, Cherry Blossoms, Matsusaka beef and all things Japan. I’ve convinced my family to spend the Christmas vacation in Japan – Osaka to be exact and it did not disappoint. It’s one of those places that you won’t get tired of.
The Japanese are very warm and friendly people. There are still many I met on this trip that do not speak English but that never stopped them from helping a lost tourist (me!) to get to my next destination. Most would even go out of their way to bring me there. They’re very disciplined and clean too. You’ll notice that there aren’t many garbage bins around the city but you’ll hardly see any trash lying around the streets.
They’re also very honest. I cannot imagine leaving my bag or mobile phone unattended in a public area but there, they do. Luxury bags left on tables while patrons buy their food, mobile phones left charging unattended – these are just a few things I observed during my trip. As our tour guide said, in Japan they are very spoiled.
From the airport to the city itself to exploring other cities, the Japanese made travelling in and around their country very easy and safe. There are buses and taxis but for me, taking the local trains to go around is the best. They arrive on time and the subway system is very easy to navigate. They also have trains connecting you to Universal Studios and nearby cities like Kyoto and Nara. How I wish that travelling around the Philippines can be this easy too!
8 floors of heaven! Okay, maybe not all the 8 floors but Tokyu Hands is a big department store that provides you with everything you may need. Household items, beauty, cooking, clothes and my favorite, the stationary area! This is where I bought the famous frixion pens and washi tapes of Japan. I wish I’ve gotten more but I had to practice some self-control. I can spend half a day just browsing through all these small and cute items which are very Japanese. They make good gifts to bring home too!
Chocolates Chocolates Chocolates! That’s just about what I bought in Don Quixote. Boxes of my favorite KitKat in unique flavors, Poppin Cookin for my neice & nephews, all flavors of Pocky and other Japanese goodies. What’s great is that you can get your tax refund in the store and they will bag it up for you. There are also other floors but I spent the whole time browsing each aisle for a new find.
The famous Takashimaya department store. It won’t be hard to spot from the street or the subway. There are multiple points of entry – I think the store covers a whole block! I spent a lot of time browsing through the beauty department since I love Japanese brands. Of course I stopped by Shu Uemura and got myself a few products and my personal favourite, Shiseido. The girl at the counter was very friendly even if we couldn’t communicate very well. But hey, beauty knows no language! I love how they take the time to test their product on you. There’s a proper seat and table and they’re not rushing or even worse hard selling anything. You don’t feel obliged to buy after (but of course I did!). The whole experience is so relaxing and actually encourages you to buy more – and I did.
Arigato Japan! I really did have a good time over the Christmas break. My tummy was most especially satisfied and thankful. I’ll be posting my Osaka food post soon. It is after all the