Tomorrow, our flight leaves at 11:55, so we have to be at the airport at 9:55 at the latest. I checked the train schedule, and that would mean we would have to take the subway at 8:12 -- that's not the problem, but lugging our heavy and big suitcases through the Osaka rush hour certainly isn't a bright start of your day. So we asked the owner of the ryokan if there was another way to get there, without having to rely on trains. He produced a folder of the airport limousine bus service, and together we found out which stop we would get on at what time (with ample slack, of course -- we're quite risk-averse like that). He phoned the company operating the bus service if we had to reserve a seat (we didn't have to) and to order a taxi for "Lagasu-sama" for tomorrow morning to take us to the pick-up point. I'm really glad that is out of the way!
Today, we wanted to do something more relaxing than go into the city centre again, so we went to a shrine that was built before the Chinese influences had arrived in Japan, so the style of the buildings is still originally Japanese. It's out in the southern suburbs though, so we had to ride the subway all the way to the end and go a bit by train. It was worth it, though -- the complex is quite large with a large shrine and many smaller ones, as well as many sacred trees. The building style was indeed different, and it was interesting to see the mix of old and 'new' styles in one complex. The access to the complex was over a bridge that was almost round, so it was a bit of a steep climb...
The people here aren't used to tourists, so the locals stared at us a lot, and then ignored us when we stared back. We got tired of that quickly.
We had lunch at a mostly-vegan café, "Usagi cafe" (rabbit cafe), where the menu was explained to us in the usual mix of Japanese and English. It was delicious, and when we asked what was used for the sauce with the pickled daikon, they got the ingredients out of the kitchen to show to us. One of the ladies used her phone to find a quick translation of a certain name ("Bonito") to verify that it was correct. The whole atmosphere was friendly but a bit "out there": they sold tarot cards and you got a fortune on the paper where your chopsticks were folded into. They also showed us a magazine with photos of various shrines, which featured some articles on ariyvedic therapy... They translated the fortune -- we had the same one -- and it was something like "listen to your heart to know what is really important". Lady A asked lady B what "taisetsu" was in English, and lady B was thinking about it -- and I replied: "important", to much hilarity. Watching all that anime paid off. ;)
We walked back to the station, made a tour of the park that was at the other side of the rails, and then set off even further south, to Osaka Sayamachi. Tadao Ando, one of klik's favourite architects, has designed a museum there, and we wanted to check it out. It took quite a bit of time to get there with the local train we caught, and we had some trouble finding the spot. Here, people really didn't know what to think of foreigners.
Anyway, it turned out that the museum was closed! The information on the guide of Osaka we have said that it was closed Mondays, except when Monday was a holiday -- then it would be closed the next day, on Tuesday. I guess yesterday was a holiday (which also would explain the crowds in the inner city yesterday) -- but how were we to know? If we had known, we would have gone to the Suntory Museum instead, which was also designed by Ando. Oh well, there's always next time.
We took the train back, had tea/coffee and had a piece of cake in a dingy café. There was the usual stuttering to understand the staff and vice versa, and when the lady walked off we were doubtful we would get what we thought we had ordered. The lady proved us wrong: we got exactly what we wanted, which was refreshing to experience. We walked around in the shopping arcade the café was located in, but it was severely run-down, and by that time we were getting tired of getting stared at as if we were from Mars. So we took the subway back to the Ryokan. klik packed most of our stuff already, so we should be able to make short work of the last things tomorrow.
We walked around a bit for dinner, and selected a small place that had images of something delicious-looking on the windows. A few locals were sitting at the bar, and everybody looked doubtful when the two foreigners walked in. The serving lady came to us and said that they had only one dish there: beef rice. "OK," we said, "it looks delicious, make it two! And two beers please!" I think that amused her.
While we were eating, two guys (one older, seemingly drunk and the other younger and with more temperament) were having an argument (accentuated with slaps on the counter by the young one). The owner sushed them a bit, but that didn't work too well. But by the end of our dinner, they were laughing again, so I don't know what that was all about. It did add quite a bit of "couleur locale" to the setting, though...
So now we're back at the ryokan, again chilling after the bath. I'll be glad to be home tomorrow -- Japan has been a lot of fun, but by now I'm too tired to enjoy it fully.