Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Finishing up Osaka

OK, I've now been in Kikai for about 30 hours. I'm pretty tired, but I'll get to that.

This 1st pic is me eating at the lovely restaurant where Sho took me the evening of my arrival.

So, the next morning after waking up in Osaka at like 3:30 am and not getting back to sleep (thanks, jet lag), I got up when Sho did, at about 7 am. We took the light rail system and subway of Osaka 1st to stuff my luggage into a coin locker at the bus station. Then we hit another spot in Osaka where we volunteered for 3.5 hours at a soup "kitchen" for homeless/destitute people in Osaka. We actually just kind of stood around and chatted for almost 2 hours, occasionally feeding a few fires under the big soup pots, before we were actually put to work, but that was OK - we got to talk about a lot of interesting and useful topics. You know, not the weather. 'Twas good to be able to deepen our friendship that way. Anyway, once the soup started being served, we (having already eaten the soup to test it out) set to work rinsing the bowls that were used by the people. You can see in the succession of pictures above how it looked. It was basically a big dirt block in the middle of urban cityscape. About 400 people showed up to eat, but quite a few came back for seconds, and I saw at least one return for thirds. So we rinsed dishes (someone else earlier in the washing-line had washed them) for about 90 minutes and then took off when all was finished. We then rode the rails to the Osaka Castle, which was the site of a couple of important shogun-related actions in Japan's history. Cool outside family park place. We toured the castle, whose interior was moderately interesting, but its top (as you can see in the pic) had a great view, so that was nice. There were some juggle/comedy performers hanging out outside and doing their thing, and there were lots of kids and people just hanging out. It was a nice place, to be sure.
So the whole time we were blessed w/ good conversation - I thank God for that, had been praying for it.
Anyway, took the night bus to Kagoshima that night and I had expected to sleep great since I was so tired from not sleeping well and walking around all day in Osaka, but such was not to be. I think I got about 4 hours on the bus, which ain't great but is enough I guess.

(I apologise for the disorganisation of these photo posts - I can't figger 'em out. If anyone has hints, I welcome them.)

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