Osaka Through My Chopsticks

DAYS 4 & 5


Here I am, riding the shinkansen yet again, this time on the way back to Tokyo where Sean and I will spend the remainder of our holiday in Japan. We have another full day left on the trip before we have to fly out at noon on Friday.

The last two days were primarily spent in Osaka, with quite a bit of time wasted when we decided to change our accommodation. We booked a place on Airbnb, and we checked in late Friday evening,  but the place turned out to be way too small, and had a few amenities that were faulty/broken, so the following morning, we contacted Airbnb and made a complaint. We got a full refund, including the night we spent on the very thin futon in a very tiny room. We then booked a room for two nights at Hotel Mystays Otemae. This meant half of our day was wasted going from one place to another, but we still managed to salvage it as best as we could.

In fact, we went to the Pokemon Center at Osaka Station, where Daimaru is located. Sean picked up a new flip cover for his phone, while I grabbed a few things as souvenirs for certain geeks in our lives. We then went downstairs to Tokyu Hands (we discovered it by accident) where I found some marble-printed wallpaper sold by the meter (yes!) and the perfect pair of chopsticks to commemorate this trip, with the added bonus of them engraved with my name at no extra cost. Perfect.

Sean then headed off to Expocity to dine at the KFC All-You-Can-Eat buffet, while I went to the Yodobashi building to find CHABUTON. My friend, also a vegetarian, recommended this place for a delicious all-vegan ramen and gyoza meal, and I can not thank her enough for this tip. The meal was absolutely delicious, and well worth the 40-minute trouble I had trying to get to the other side of the street to be able to access the building. I had to go up the stairs to take the bridge to cross the road, go down, and then take two more crossings to get to the Yodobashi building. I have no idea why there isn't a crossing on ground that takes you directly to the building when it's right there in front of you, but you could also go underground if you want an alternative route.

Just so you know, CHABUTON is on the 8th floor of the building, not the ground floor. It is part of what is basically a foodcourt, only that all of the establishments are restaurants. Don't do what I did and spend 15 minutes walking around in circles trying to find the restaurant, it is on the other side of the floor from the lifts. If it still boggles your mind, there's an interactive map in front of the elevators as well. Some of the staff spoke English, some more fluently than others. However, you don't order your food through the servers, you order it at the entrance instead, where there is a machine on the wall with pictures of the food and prices below them. You press the button featuring the item you want, pay for it and then collect the ticket at the bottom of the machine, which you give to the waiter.



The ramen and gyoza were ¥1160 all together, which is cheap for amazing food. The green colour to the noodles is a result of spirulina added to the dough, which I think is a clever idea, as it provides a small amount of much-needed protein, vitamins, and minerals. I was really tempted to buy another plate of gyoza, because good vegan gyoza is hard to come by, and when I do come by some, I just want to keep on eating more and more of it, and this one was really, really delicious.

It turned out that I forgot to give Sean enough yen for his trip back from EXPOCITY, so I had to travel all the way there to rescue him. Poor thing was stranded for almost two hours. We didn't get back to the hotel until after 11, and by then I was exhausted.
 
The next day we went to Universal Studios, and I was most excited about this part of the trip out of everything else we visited and saw. Why? Wizarding World of Harry Potter, obviously. Nothing, I repeat, absolutely nothing could get in the way of my going home to Hogwarts. I may sound like a massive Pothead, but you know what? I'm bloody well proud of it! I was like a kid in the candy store, almost literally, at Honeydukes, where I bought a few treats to bring home. I also got butterbeer in the premium stein, because I wanted the stein to be the official souvenir to commemorate my acceptance into Hogwarts (giggles). I went inside the castle and was amazed by the attention to detail, and I thoroughly enjoyed the 4D ride, as tacky as the graphics may be. The Quidditch scene was quite exciting, as I could feel the air rush past my face as I sped after Harry.


(God, I just realised how dorky I sound)

I also got a Snitch necklace, because it was such a perfect little accessory that doesn't blatantly expose my obsession with Harry Potter. Sean got two souvenir flagons for his butterbeer and Hogs Head Brew, which obviously doesn't compare to my fancy metal stein, but hey, it's perfect for Harry Potter Marathons!



For lunch, we stopped by The Three Broomsticks, and the meal was quite disappointing, not just for me, but also for Sean as well. For food that was bordering on cold, and quite ordinary in flavour, the price tags were crazy, and definitely not worth considering. It appears that Universal Studios were banking on the experience of dining at The Three Broomsticks to rake in the money, instead of supplying good food for the visitors. I had to ask for a vegetarian menu, and the wait staff presented me with the one option. The only good thing about this dish was the pumpkin juice I ordered.


We visited the rest of the park after lunch, and then visited the Hard Rock Cafe, which is located in Universal City. Unless you have the annual pass, I do not recommend leaving the park to eat at the restaurants in the City, because you won't be granted reentry despite having the day pass. We were finished with the Studios for the day, so we left at around 4pm. We each had a cocktail to end the day, and then I found Popcorn Papa, a gourmet popcorn joint selling 32 flavours. I had been craving their garlic butter popcorn for years since my last visit, so I grabbed a large bag to take home with me. Super excited to nom on these in Australia.

We went back to the hotel to rest for a little bit before heading out for dinner. While we were resting, we realised that most of the restaurants near our hotel either closed at 8pm or were completely devoid of vegetarian options. And too tired to even consider anything further than a ten-minute walk, we decided on Hooters, because at least Sean could enjoy his food while I had a plate of curly fries to myself (it was actually all that I craved during the day).

Food-wise, it was as far from Japanese cuisine you could get in Japan.

Eventually, when I get back to Melbourne, I will upload a post on everything we bought but for now, enjoy some of the photos I took of The Wizarding World!














A friend of mine, Cat Miranda, a soon-to-be-blogger, wondered what were the differences the between the Japanese and American Wizarding Worlds. Does anyone care to shed some light on this? I'd love to know!

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