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Thursday, April 7, 2016

2016 JAPAN SAKURA ADVENTURE: Day 12--Osaka to Tokyo

My Panda Tour is over, and I'm now on Japan Rail Pass to Tokyo.  It's been raining all day, and those Panda tourists will have a tough time at Osaka Castle.  The trip was uneventful, which is good, and I had a beef bento:


After settling in at the Tokyo Westin, where I picked up my large suitcase, I will make necessary adjustments, and take a minimum of stuff on my trip North, again leaving that suitcase here at the Westin.  Although it was still raining, I thought I would have a hanami (picnic under cherry blossoms) at Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens.  Next door to the Tokyo Westin is Robuchon's, a three star Michelin restaurant, and they have a bakery.  So I bought a parma and Camembert sandwich, and added a small bottle of champagne.

I paid about $1.25 to get into the garden, and wondered how I would eat, for it was still raining.  How do you open a bottle of champagne (and I wasn't sure if this was allowed here) while holding an umbrella.  Walking around, I spied this shrine-looking exhibit:


There was a sign in Japanese, and I didn't have the faintest idea what it said.  As it was raining quite hard, I decided to use that red table to have my hanami:


I found this to be my most satisfying hanami.  People walked by and smiled at me, but did not say anything, so I guess it was okay to be sitting here.  What a regal red felt table.  I still think there was something sacred about this hut, and the only option if it is raining.

My hanami yesterday at Osaka Castle Park of musubi, hotdog and beer cost around $7.  Want to guess what the ham and cheese sandwich with champagne cost?  Amazingly enough, less that $10.  Also note that while I lost my three previous canes on Day 3, my fourth is on Day 5.

I then walked around a bit.  Try taking a photograph with a cane and umbrella in the rain:


Note all the cherry blossom petals on the ground.  This means this tree has passed peak blossom.  Note petals on these leaves:


More flowers:


You needed to be a little crazy to catch two trains just to have a hanami in the rain, but this is why this trip, and my life in general, has been a joyous adventure.  The other option was to watch the Los Angeles Dodgers beat up on the San Diego Padres on high definition TV.  There must be a Major League game or two everyday in Japan.  Anytime a Japanese player pitches, it's on national TV.   The set at the Tokyo Westin is larger than at the Cross Hotel.  On return, I had another hot bath with a Yamasaki scotch suppled by the hotel.  Note the spherical ice.  In the back would have been Mount Fuji if it wasn't raining.

I did go up to the Executive Club for a drink, soup and salad.  


For dinner I walked over to Burger King and had hash browns, chicken snack (sort of like a chicken version of hamburger, and very spicy hot) and apple turnover.  As the beer was free, the cost was around $3:


Tomorrow, I'm off on the brand new bullet train for Hokkaido to visit the island of my father's father, Kenjiro.

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Tropical Cyclone Zena, once at 105 MPH, went right through Fiji, but surprisingly did not do all that much damage:


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