We woke up and the weather said RAIN. I ate the rest of my melon pan and prepared for the day. Though it was due to rain that afternoon, we decided to have an outside day since it was pretty certain to rain the following day. The usual uncertainty about which train to take ensued, and we watched a train bound for the station we wanted to be at leave right in front of us. Eventually we hopped on a train that would take us to the station we needed, and I overheated sitting on the warm seats above the heater.
Our first stop for the day was Osaka Castle – however on the way through the park we heard a band and shot out to the side – there was some kind of graduation or ceremony for police/other public servants. So we stopped and listened to the band and watched the cars, motorbikes and trucks go by, and watched everyone march out of time.
Before we got to the castle there was a small falcon-like bird and an eagle/hawk with an elderly man, who let both Swang and I hold him on our arms. The larger bird’s name was Yamato and we briefly gazed deep into each other’s eyes. Of course I swooned over the bird, and we made jokes about how our friend Chloe would feel at that moment, having a single awful experience with a baby bird scar her for life.
I took a photo for an Asian couple and Swang overheard her say in mandarin, “he knows how to use the camera!” In a shocked tone, as I walked away carrying my iPhone in one hand and my DSLR camera around my neck.
Up into the castle which had been converted into a giant museum – it was pretty good, lots to see and read, but a bit haphazard in my opinion – I have a feeling we were both templed out. I finished and went outside to eat some chicken, a rice ball, and a strawberry/vanilla soft serve. It began to spit and we decided to go to a market Swang had heard about, just out of Dotombori which is a place I’ve been told to go to; killing two birds with one stone.
We cruised back to Namba station and used the Namba walk to get across to where the market is. Namba wall was a giant mall really which linked two subways underground.
But it had a travellator and I love that shit.
It was raining once we got outside but the market was under cover. So much food, uncooked and fried, and all other kinds of wares. Swang had a stick of beef, an oyster and a soft shell crab burger (it was literally just a crab that had been battered and deep fried, and shoved between some buns), and we went out to see Dotonbori and the Gliko man billboard. It was raining and I got lost, but I found the billboard.
Then I lost Swang and it took a couple of phone calls to find him again – we decided it was time to visit spa world and maybe have a massage. The website said men have the ‘European’ spa selection, and he listed places like Greece and Rome.
Oh my fucking God. I’m writing this in present tense as I just got out of there and it was incredible. I don’t remember when we got in but there was an awkward moment where we were wearing togs and we didn’t know what to do or how to do it, but eventually we read the instructions, stripped down and waltzed on in wearing nothing more than what nature gave us (and a very small towel) and soaked. I’ve never seen so many Asian penises before (I don’t think).
Probably 45 mins in I went to the massage place and booked a time to have an oil massage.
My favourite theme of bath was Mediterranean which was in around the Spain section, one bath was a 40 degree Celsius waterfall, and the other was an outdoor pool with a section raised out of the bath so you could lie and have a warm neck and back, but my itchy thing wouldn’t kick in so I could enjoy it (if you didn’t know I’m basically allergic to heat and maybe my sweat) – I popped TWO antihistamines for good measure and chillaxed until my massage. I don’t touch most people so it took a lot of courage to book for 40 mins.
The masseuse was lovely. I couldn’t guess her age but.. older than I (so as to not offend any readers…) – she immediately asked if I was German, and I detected an accent that wasn’t Japanese, however she spoke fluent Japanese. And her English was good, and she knew German. We spilled life stories to each other and bonded over having loved and lost a German parter, and it wasn’t as awkward as I feared it would be (as through the thought of a random woman squeezing you all over isn’t weird to everyone!).
At one point she leaned into my ear and spoke I’ll about one of the women she worked with, who had just spoken rudely to her in Japanese and left. It was this moment that Swang appeared for his massage, and when I told her that he was my friend, she apologised to me for him, as that woman would be his masseuse. I had a nice iced tea and a couple of chocolates to finish, and as I left she said goodbye to me in three languages, finishing with her favourite German phrase, grüss Gott.
I popped out hoping I hadn’t made her too sad with our mutual reminiscing, and had a wash and a shave at the cubicles with the amenities provided. I checked the time and figured it’d be a bit before Swang was finished (assuming he got a 40 minute one too) so I got back in for a while. Then I washed myself again because why not? Got changed and finished writing this post as I chowed down on a strawberry ice cream from he vending machine which ripped me off – but I’m on holiday and money means nothing (for this brief period of time!!!).
Of course the spa/baths/massage area was a no photo zone.
None of the restaurants in Spa World were good enough for Swang so we set off into the rain – but the store right next door in the mall sold some good looking cutlets. We had a bit of trouble with these machines but after telling a bloke I didn’t understand he directed me in Japanese and I followed, pretending I understood the words (when in reality I just followed where he gestured) and thanked him for the help.
But then we found we waited and the number on our ticket was called out and we would go up to be counter. I didn’t even bother listening, Swang saw our food and we went up as she called out wildly.
Train Home Bed.
I noticed how much better, full of energy and happier I was after the spa and massage – the change is amazing.