As I leave Osaka behind me I have an 8 hour trip on a bus in front of me. I should arrive in Nagano central 6am Sunday 8th 2013. By the time I post this I should be safe somewhere in Nagano. I’ve not done much today but I walked around Osaka a lot. I am really beginning to like this city, I am sure with some friends I could easily call it home but sadly Japan will not allow this unless I get a job here.
Japan continues to amase and astound me. I am sometimes dumbfounded by the things I see here, today for instance I was in one of the many malls and wandered into a game arcade. The air was filled with electronic sounds and lights, as I walked around the many Japanese people who continued to push coins into slots to fuel the pusher type machines I noticed a few children sitting with their parents. I don’t like to be a killjoy but ahould you really be taking your kid to a gambling place like this? I use the word gambling in the strongest sense. The coins they use to fuel them are also not Japanese yen, no you exchange your yen for ‘medals’, you get 40 for ¥100 I seem to recall. These medals are then thrown into the machine in the hope you get more out than you put in so yes it is a form of gambling. Its a little hypocritical of me to say that this is wrong to let your children do because I distinctly remember as a child playing this sort of machine myself for pennies. I’m just concerned that changing cash for ‘medals’ may devalue how the child thinks about money. I have also seen today people betting on virtual horse racing. Horses are 3D rendered and played out on a huge screen in front of some very comfortable looking armchairs. In front of the armchairs are screens where you can call up information on your virtual horse before placing a relevant bet on it. I probably should not be surprised about this, after all it’s not that much different from going to the betting shop to watch a race and put a bet on. I just find the fact that the horses and course are all virtual utterly bizarre.
With that aside I have seen some good things today, this morning I bumped into a cute goth couple in complimentary outfits. I wanted to take their photo but could not pluck up the courage to ask. However I did politely disturb them and told them I liked how they looked and told them they were cool and a cute couple which felt like a good thing. Secondly I won some stuff today somehow… I bought some thermal undies to hopefully keep me warm up in the hills of Nagano. They cost quite a bit but shoukd last a while and do the job with that I got two goes at some Christmas lottery thing where I won a Hello Kitty plate and a small pot of Curry toast topping. Yeah you read that right, something you put on toast to make it taste like Curry.. only in Japan.
Finally I encountered one of those moments that make me love Japan so much. Turning a corner of the street I see a guy playing Dance Dance Revolution and a crowd watching him. I find a position to watch and wait as the next guy takes the stage. On his second song the guy turns around and starts to perform to the watching crowd. Hilarious is not really the words I would use, it took every fibre of my being to not laugh and hold the camera straight. Yep I have it on video, prepare yourself for yet another bizarre Japanese experience.
So a few more days of freedom and seeing stuff, on the 19th I start my next WWOOFing experience. More about that in the next post.