I recently went on a short 3 day trip to Osaka (大阪), where I had my first realization of how much the city of Nagoya has become my second home. This was my first time planning and taking a trip outside of Nagoya by myself, which was not very difficult, but a new experience in itself. Along with two other friends, we took a night bus, arrived in 大阪 in the morning and spent our first day at Universal Studios Japan. I have never been the the Universal Studios in the United States, so it was very interesting the visit and experience the equivalent in Japan. It was extremely crowded, which is typical of Japanese amusement parks, but it was still very fun. My friends and I rode every ride and saw almost every attraction, including the newly opened Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
We spent the next morning at Sumiyoshi Taisha (住吉大社). At the shrine, we did a search for stones that had the 大、五、and 力 kanji on them. If one finds them all, one can buy a good luck charm (お守り) to put the stones in and gain the power/luck for good health, wealth, etc. We all found the stones and were able to buy the お守り, which I think made a pretty great souvenir of our visit.
Next, we went to Dotonbori (道頓堀). 道頓堀 is the area in Osaka with the running Glico Man is and has a ton of restaurants that feature large and extravagant displays of the food they serve. We didn’t spend much time browsing since it was very cold (and snowed off and on that day), but we did get a chance to try some Osaka yakisoba (焼きそば).
Lastly, we went to Osaka Castle (大阪城). I have been to quite a few castle during my stay here in Japan, but I think this one was probably the most beautiful. Unfortunately, my friends and I were only able to see it from outside, since by the time we have gotten there, it was already passed closing.
This trip was very fun and we stayed with one of my friends relatives (who were extremely nice and helpful), but the trip in itself was rather exhausting and confusing. We spent most of our time trying to figure out where we needed to go, and the comfort that usually came with how easy it is to navigate around Nagoya was not really there. On the way back to Nagoya, one of my friends told me that she was happy she did not pick a study abroad program in Osaka, because the ease of Nagoya had really come to feel like home to her. As much as I love traveling and trying new things, I definitely agree with her. Nagoya has become a second home for me, too.
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<p>Hi, my name is Ashley Bell and I am a Junior Political Science major at Santa Clara University. I'll be spending my spring semester in Nagoya, Japan and am very excited to share my experiences with you. I hope you enjoy seeing Japan through my eyes!</p>