Thailand Vacation, Part One: Osaka               June 2006

We went to Thailand!  But first, we got bumped off of our flight.  This was a blessing in disguise for many
reasons...
First, the reason we got bumped is because they had oversold the flight to a huge youth group going to
Japan.  No doubt riding in that long of flight with that many teenagers would have been the embodiment
of hell on earth.
Second, because of the bump we got to take business class on our later flight, and sweet jesus was it
nice.
Third, because of the bump we spent the night in Osaka.  Obviously not the longest trip to Japan, but it
was still nice to take in the culture if only for a brief spell.



Those smiles can only mean one thing - with the vacation plus the 4th of July holiday, that means
no work for over 2 weeks.  



Not long before we landed we passed Mt. Fuji, Japan's legendary mountain.  I actually got a decent
shot of it - i'm guessing being able to see it this clearly must be somewhat rare as at least one of the
flight attendants was also taking photos of it.



Exciting photos of the Osaka airport.  



this photo is probably only interesting to me.  When we got there, I got to watch some Japanese
baseball!  It helped with my A's withdrawal.  One noteworthy thing about the game - it's tough to make
out, but if you look at the field on the TV screen you might notice there is no infield grass on the field
the teams are playing on.  It was really strange, the only grass at all was in the outfield, and the dirt
was this dark, ashy substance it looked like...as if they were playing outside of a volcano or something.



We spent a lot of time on the train going to Osaka.  The airport and hotel were well out of town, but it was
pretty interesting looking out the windows and people watching in this strange land.  Poor documentation
skills means we didn't get any photos of the kareoke joint that was the size of an arena, the business men
getting drunk in public, and the females in uncomfortable shoes walking like their ankles were broken.



We got of the train in the center of the city, it was awash in neon like some mini-Times Square.
And I've never seen such orderly street-crossing.  We just kinda wandered around, ate some junk
food, and took in the sights.



Vending machines, claw games, weird photo booths, and pachinko - apparently, you can't have
enough of these things in Japan.  We wanted to take some photos in the machines but they were
too complicated to figure out.  



We did figure out the vending machines though, and I enjoyed myself a fanta from a tin
container shaped like an oil can.  You can also buy beer from vending machines and drink
anywhere in public, something that would probably increase the death rate of the morons
in this country exponentially.



And that was pretty much it for Osaka...spent more money than I probably should have on "cute"
candy at the convenience store, and didn't have any money left to try the tasty gelato shown above -
mmm, black sesame, red bean, aloe yogurt, can I have one of each???  Oh, and did I mention how
cute everything was?  Every commercial and item for purchase was sold by cartoon characters.  The
photo on the right is a pretty tame example of everything you see.

Finally, after a day delay, we were off to Bangkok...