This week my body was like “you’re not gonna give me enough rest? Ok, then let me run you over with a truck and make you stay down until you do”. Ya, for five days straight I was in bed, surrounded by tissues, humidifier cranked, and coughing up my intestines. This is Remote Year too, right? Day 6 I finally decided to go to the doctor for some antibiotics. Feeling a bit better now, but work in progress. On the VERY bright side, my dad, the famous Rich Frongillo, IS IN THE HOUSE!!
Differences and notes:
- Taxis are quite expensive (took a $12 ride a mile and a half). Reason I bring them up is they’re exactly like you’d see in movies, classic black cars, seats covered in white doily, and a cool feature: the doors open automatically. The driver controls when the door opens because they’re liable if a bike or other car gets hit with the door.
- Two sort of ‘religions’ here: Buddhism and Shintoism. A person isn’t really one or the other, more they turn to different belief systems for different things. For example, someone may turn to Shinto for birth but turn to Buddhism on the topic of death for the belief of reincarnation.
- Buddhist temples have doors, Shinto shrines have large gates.
- When entering a shrine, there are often stone basins of water with little ladles in them. To cleanse yourself before entering the shrine you follow these steps:
- Use right hand to ladle and clean left hand
- Then use left hand to ladle and clean right hand
- Then use left hand to rinse your face
- Then stand the ladle tall and let the remaining water clean the handle for the next person
- Fun fact: the lanterns you see hanging in most shrines are beautifully done with Japanese symbols that are really advertisements. For example Starbucks may sponsor a lantern and put some lingo on it. I guess it’s better than a giant billboard, least it looks nice.
- Tattoos are frowned upon here as the only people who have them are Japanese mafia. If you’re a tourist, no one will really say anything although some people prefer to cover them anyway, but there are some hot springs that won’t allow you to enter if you have tattoos.
- Around 8pm, grocery stores discount their products. Local tip for trying to save money in this $$ place. Get there right on time because the locals clear things out quick.
- Work hard, play hard. As stiff as Japanese business people can be during the day, they party hardddd at night, every night. On a Monday night leaving the workspace, I bike by raging clubs with drunk people all about. It’s also known that people pass out anywhere and everywhere. On the streets, along the river, in cafes, you can always find someone sleeping. Drinks of choice? Japanese whiskey, plum wine, and of course lots of sake.
- August is the hottest month in Japan, woohoooooooo. Yeah most days are 95, with very little breeze. Lots of water required. Kyoto used to be cooler, but as Osaka (a southern city) was built up, the sea breeze died down.
- No shoes in the house here, all living spaces have a designated area in the entrance for shoes.
- Similar to Thailand, it’s customary to bow to people here. However, not with your hands, more a slight bow of the head and upper body. At the grocery store, the cashier will bow at you after ringing you up.
- Efficient doctors. Quite the experience at the clinic for my visit: shoes off which I found kind of nasty in a doctor, all old people in the waiting room other than me, walked in for an appointment and got a time, called in right on time, quick temperature and blood pressure check, quick consultation, quick diagnosis and prescription. They filled prescription on the spot, no need to go to pharmacy, I paid in cash and was on my way. (Used Remote Year’s subscription to the app International SOS to get connected to an English speaking doctor, have had a great experience with that service this year)
- Ventured to Osaka airport to pick up father
- Navigated public transit to our small (of course) AirBnb
- Thai food dinner and a lap around the beautiful and bustling Dotonbori at night. Dotonbori is the main shopping/entertainment district of Osaka near the Dotonbori River. Its walking bridges offer great views and a breeze.
- Chased shade in the 100 degree heat all around Osaka, hitting the major sights
- The most notable: Osaka Castle, a huge moat-surrounded, stone wall structure with a typical temple in the center. The whole area is a public park, tons of greenspace.
- Walked then to the city’s rose garden, though not in bloom, along the O River. Despite the heat, it was a really nice day to be out.
- Grabbed a grocery store lunch before taking the train back to Kyoto
- Dad meets my housemates and they immediately adopt him as the house dad. Hoping it’ll continue to be a good fit, but I’m enjoying either way.
- Takoyaki (octopus and cheese balls) from down the street for dinner and card games to close out the night.
Other than my sinuses still being clogged, I’m feeling good. Gonna be a busy week of exploring and oh by the way, we are expecting a typhoon.