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Japan: What we Wore in the Fall

Ok, so what did we pack for 16 days in Japan? The 16 days were spread across Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Okinawa in October. The first 3 cities: average 56-73 degrees during the month of October. Okinawa? The stats say 72-81 during October but … it’s a HOT 81 degrees. High humidity and unrelenting sun make it unbearably warm during the day, if you are out and about trying to see as much as you possibly can. Which is kind of our thing.

So we had to pack for pleasant tourist weather and also a few days of seriously hot and humid weather.

First up: the husband packed every single item of clothing he owns into a bag.

But for me, I spent a long time putting together the perfect trip wardrobe. This list is based off of memory, photographs, and my packing list. I wish I had taken pictures of myself every day, but, alas, I didn’t. So this is close-ish:

2 pairs of jeans
1 pair of Eddie Bauer travel pants
1 skirt/swimsuit coverup

1 blouse
3 3/4 sleeve shirts
5 t-shirts
1 hand-knitted sweater (that required a t-shirt underneath)

Flip-flops (Clarks: so super comfy)
Casual ballet flats + Gekks inside (Clarks again: super comfy)
Ankle boots (Earth: again, super comfy, great support)

Eddie Bauer windbreaker
Multi-way cardigan (Love, love, love this thing)
Travel scarf/dress (Have not yet gone on a trip where I’ve made serious use of it; but I love the multi-use idea of it – I do LOVE this for wearing on the plane, it makes a great wearable blanket, that you can quickly turn into an infinity scarf or cardigan)

Bathing Suit
Yoga pants (for lounging around the hotels)
Purse (Love, love, love this bag! I love Baggallini bags for their practicality, but this one might be my favorite. This isn’t my favorite color, but I like it well enough: I jump on their site every couple of months to see if they’ve added something more my speed. But still: 8 months later, this is STILL the bag I am using.)

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Osaka in a Typhoon!

Covered markets. On Typhoon Hagibis day.

So the hugely-slowed-down Hagibis arrived in Osaka. We had signed up for the optional tour to Hiroshima, but the bullet trains were down (because, hello, typhoon?!), so that was a no-go.

Which … the people on our tour just would NOT get. They were so complainy, and kept asking questions like, “Well, if the train is down, could we charter a bus?”

Now, the Japanese are not a fearful people. They are not known for backing down in the face of danger. But they are imminently practical. If there is a major typhoon with associated flooding happening? How ’bout you just all stay put till it passes?

Once Katy started using the word “hurricane” for all the Amurricans who didn’t understand what a typhoon was, they all seemed to get it. And then they flipped into the opposite direction, and were scared to leave Katy’s side. Ya can’t win with some people.

So in Osaka, the local trains, all running. Osaka was just … mild tropical stormy. Lots of rain, windy but not knock-people-over windy, and it was deemed safe enough by the local officials for the trains to keep running.

Katy offered to escort people to the train station, help them buy tickets, and take them around to see stuff.

Knowing that the people who needed such … attention … were the ones driving us bonkers, we opted to strike out on our own. We had our Suica cards, after all! So I found some covered markets: perfect for a rainy day! And off we went.

Unfortunately, the entrance to the covered markets: a few blocks from the train station. And so we walked with our new umbrella, got thoroughly soaked, and made it to the market!

Which was covered and dry! But also: all the shops were closed. Because, hello, typhoon? If the shop-keepers were coming in from out of town, it was likely their train lines were shut down.

And so we stopped in at a Don Quijote. Always a good time.

Discouraged that things seemed closed (and also a little worried, that if the locals weren’t out and about … should we be?) we headed back to our hotel.

Our hotel train station had a McDonald’s … so very probably it was a chicken nugget kind of night? Oh the fun of recording your trip 8 months late.

As a plus: the local trains in Osaka are super easy to navigate. I would love to go back someday! On a not-typhoon day.

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Osaka with Gate 1

Bullet train!

We woke bright and early in Tokyo, and headed for the train station to ride the bullet train to Osaka.

On October 11, 2019.

Typhoon Hagibis made landfall on the eastern side of Japan – in the Tokyo area – on October 12.

I know it was a pre-planned guided tour, but we got really, really lucky with the timing of everything. (Had we been in Tokyo during the typhoon, we would have been safe and fed in our hotel: we just would not have been able to go do or see anything.)

So the bullet train!! Super fast, super smooth. Comfy, American-sized seats. Clean bathrooms. Would do again.

Traveling to Osaka on the bullet train!

Made it to Osaka, and had a quick stop at Kuromon market for lunch. Famous for takoyaki, deep-fried balls of dough with octopus. Probably like hushpuppies? But with more octopus? Do not know, did not try.

Instead we ate at Wendy’s first kitchen! A fusion of Wendy’s and … fast food Italian pasta?

Very sweet. Too much, even for me!

On a whim, I asked the husband to look up yarn stores nearby. Jackpot! The google tells me Masuzakiya is now permanently closed? Which is a shame, this place had gorgeous Japanese yarns. Like this beauty, made of linen, flax, and something that translates as “Japan paper.” No idea what I’m going to make with it, even still, but I had to have it! Still waiting for more of this stuff to show on up Ravelry so I can be inspired by others, but, no such luck. One day, this will be the perfect … something.

Next up: Osaka Castle, which is now a history museum. Take the elevator to top and work your way down. Great views of the city from the top of the castle.

Dinner stop was Dotonbori street, probably got some conbini food? More importantly, we stopped in Bic Camera for an umbrella. (In Japan, “camera” means … department store? As far as I can tell?) We had our eye on one umbrella, but after asking a helpful saleslady about what would be best for a typhoon, she redirected us to something a little sturdier.

Spoiler alert: It was not sturdy enough.

Last stop before the hotel was the Umeda Sky Building. Just a 5 minute photo stop, as the light was on its way out.

Our hotel was right next to the Shin-Osaka train station, the Courtyard by Marriott. Nice room in a good location, for our adventures the following day.

Somewhere along the way, it dawned on me that the husband was not jet-lagged. He was not eating enough! Not being an adventurous eater, we had stuck to McDonald’s (chicken nuggets taste the same everywhere, y’all) and conbini food. Which had consisted of very carb-heavy snacks, mostly.

I run on carbs. Give me a western breakfast of bacon and fruit, PLUS a bowl (or two?) of butter-sugar rice and I am good to go until I get some lunch onigiri (ahem, more rice) and gummy candies, followed by dinner onigiri and chocolate.

This is Not Husband Food. From here on out, we made sure McDonald’s or Wendy’s was on the menu. And conbini purchases started including jerky. And cashews. And … fried chicken patties in a paper sleeve? Japan, man. Something for everyone.