June 15 (Day 18): Highlights & Instagram

IMG_0404cThis was the last day of our walking tour, but there wasn’t nearly as much walking involved. Then we took a train back to Osaka for one more evening. Here are some highlights, followed by the photos I posted to Instagram that day:

We started the day with another huge Japanese style breakfast at Yunomineso. One of the people serving this morning is a young man from the US named Matt, and he seemed to enjoy talking with some fellow Americans.

Then we caught a bus. Our new friends Tracy and Lee-Anne caught the bus with us, but they got off after a few minutes, to continue their next day of walking. We stayed on for about an hour until we arrived in Shingu, where there’s another grand shrine that’s an important site for the Kumano Kodo trail. We didn’t have long to look around before we had to catch a train back to Osaka.

Sadly, I discovered that I no longer had my Fitbit. I was hoping I had just left it in the last place we stayed, but I wasn’t sure. I emailed the tour organizers and they were able to confirm that it was at Yunomineso, and they said they’ll have it sent to us in Tokyo. Hooray! I have a backup Fitbit in my luggage in Osaka (because this was an extra one that Jason bought because he forgot his charger, and my other one uses a different charger). So, I’m without Fitbit only for part of one day. Whew!

Since we were only staying in Osaka one night, we had booked a room at the InterContinental. We picked up our suitcases in the luggage room at Shin-Osaka, and made our way over to the hotel, which was right next to Osaka station, one stop away. Apparently, thanks to some work trips last year, I have gold status on IHG. So they upgraded our room to an absolutely ridiculous residence suite. It had two bedrooms, a kitchen, a dining room, a full bathroom and two half-baths, and more closet space than probably all of our other Japan accommodations put together. And it was a corner room on the 30th floor, so the views were insane. 基本 CMYK

We wanted to hang out there, but on our way in we had spotted an exhibit called Nonsense Machines, and we wanted to go check it out. Turns out it’s by/about a pair of brothers who started an art group called Maywa Denki that creates a lot of really nonsensical machines. Some of their music machines have been mass produced and I’ve seen them on sale at MoMA and probably in weird toy shops. Others are purely art pieces that would/should never go into production (see the Honey Hanger in the gallery below, which is a device that when you hang clothes on it, it shifts the balance of some weights which lower, causing honey to squeeze out of bunch of tubes, staining the clothing). I’m glad we were there in time to see the exhibit.

Then we went out and did two things we didn’t have time to do when we were previously in Osaka. We went to Dotonbori, an area that runs along a river and has lots of neon. This is a very active area in the evening, and we found a nice place to have dinner. We also went to a bar called Mr. Kanso. Even though Jason doesn’t drink, he really wanted to go to this place because, in addition to cocktails, they serve canned goods. You choose what you want from a shelf full of cans. We had Japanese white peaches and Foie de Volaille (chicken liver pate). Then we took a taxi back to our huge, luxurious hotel room.

Walking tally (estimate): Based on Jason’s readings, plus readings from my old Fitbit after I was reunited with it in Osaka, I’m guessing I walked about 16.5k steps today, which is about 7.5 miles. That’s a total of 165 miles of walking for the trip so far.

And here are the photos I posted to Instagram on this day:

And there are a lot more photos from this day in this set on flickr (with photos from June 16th & 17th also).

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