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Monday, April 3, 2017

PaGA: Day 8 Osaka/Kyoto--Maybe My Worst Lunch Ever?

The train rides from Nagasaki were the best kind, uneventful.  However, I had only 13 minutes to get from my first train to the second, and it sometimes takes forever to find the Shinkansen from the local train stop.  I still, though, had time to quickly purchase a curry rice and beer.  I had them warm the bento in their microwave, which made this my first hot meal on a train in Japan, for after I got on the train I began eating and the train departed.


The Sheraton Miyako Osaka is located at two train stations.  Their Club Lounge is small, but fine:


I had a few things and drinks, but thought I'd bring a ramen back to my room, so I went around the corner to:


Looking back to the hotel:


I ordered a take-out soba and bought a sochu:


A perfect ending to a non-eventful day.

The next morning the breakfast buffet at the Osaka Sheraton was excellent.


They even have Shanghai Soup Dumplings, but they were too cool.

So far so good.  The rest of the day went badly.  First, I got an e-mail from ANA indicating that I would be catching the same flight on Sunday, April 2, that I already caught on March 26.  Airlines sometimes cancel the rest of your itinerary if you miss the first flight.  It took three staffers at the Sheraton two hours to clear this up...I hope.


It took me three trains to Kyoto, mainly because I got confused.  There is not much English in Osaka, and my Japanese is useless.  The best decision I made all day was, when finally at Kyoto Station, to catch a cab to the lunch restaurant, which I won't name, for the problems were not their fault.   Here is what it looked like from the outside.

I asked at the hotel for something typically Kyoto, and they sent me to have unagi (barbecued eel).  When I walked in there was a family of four, but they left soon after I began eating.  I was then the only one in the whole place, which was very small.


Service terrific, food came swiftly, and was quite good.  The problem is that I am paranoid about fish bones.

To begin, three years ago the elevator of the Westin Miyako Hotel in Kyoto closed much too quickly, hit my arm and blood spurted on to my shirt.  The staff did what they could, placed me in a taxi and sent me to the Kyoto Hospital Emergency Room.  You can read the gory details.

Four years ago an akule (aji) fish bone got stuck in my throat, and I went to Queen's Hospital Emergency Room in Honolulu.  Terrible experience,  Read the details.

I have since then been very careful about eating fish.  Even salmon worries me.  I'm surprised more people in 15 Craigside don't go to the emergency room after every Wednesday breakfast, for a Japanese fish, saba, is served, and there are a million bones when you count all the fish eaten.

Unagi is not a fish.  It's a freshwater eel, but it has bones.  Just about everyone eats the whole thing, bone and all, because they are soft.  Well, this unagi bone today got stuck in my throat.  The pain and spot  in my throat were identical to the akule bone episode.  You know the feeling.  Oh no, another emergency room visit.  So I ate a bunch of rice, drowned by a lot of beer, and the bone was sufficiently dislodged, so it moved further down my throat.

The meal cost $50, and with some discomfort, I began walking towards the Gion District, where I took some photos:


This is the entrance to Yasaka Shrine, which has been here since around the year 667.  That is Gion in the background.

I still felt the bone in my throat, so I first ordered some cheese crisps:


The cheese was warm and gooey.  Then, I had some grilled corn and sake for my first hanami (picnic under a cherry blossom tree) of the year:


In the process of getting things organized, I dropped the sake bottle and the liquid contents all fell unto the ground.  I said this was a terrible day.  The good part was that, after all this roughage down my throat, I no longer obviously felt anything like a bone.

My Blue Bar Pigeon made an appearance at the Shrine:


Here at the adjacent Maruyama Park is the oldest Sakura tree in Kyoto:


Turning the other way, that sleeping animal is referred to as Samurai Dog.

I then caught a private train to Kyoto Station.  So I thought, for that train never stopped and ended up half an hour later at Kyobashi Station in Osaka.  Just the stress of wondering where I was going (I had no map) added to the rotten day.  But my luck was changing.  I could have walked back to the Sheraton from this stop, but transferred to the Osaka Loop Line to get me closer.

So as awful as the day was, a couple of drinks at the Club Lounge, where I had sufficient snacks to serve as my dinner, neutralized the negatives.  I then took a hot bath and now feel fine.  In afterthought, I would rank the food poisoning I got at a steakhouse in Frankfurt as the worst lunch.

There is something about experiencing near tragedy, surviving and being appreciative of the life I live.  Tomorrow, on to Nagoya.

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