Saturday had arrived.  Tomorrow, I would be heading off early to Tokyo to catch a plane back to Toronto.  Today, was it.  Time to buy souvenirs, finish shopping, and eat my last meal.

I started out the day looking for tea.  I had planned to stop in Kyoto and go to a shop I knew there, but ran out of time – instead, I headed into the shopping area around Shinsaibashi and much further north.  I didn’t know where to find it, so after picking up some food items for the office decided to ask and got pointed in the right direction towards a speciality shop.  Along the way, I tried to locate a couple camera stores I had come across while browsing, and finding two of them took a look – but no luck.

It was a busy shopping day, being a weekend, and the shopping arcades were quite crowded.  Okonomiyaki being a speciality, I decided I should at least try it.  After trying it a few times earlier in my trip, I had decided it wasn’t top of my list – I think mainly because of the yakisoba which generally was piled on.  The local variety was less yakisoba and more pancake texture, which as it turns out is much more to my liking.

On my way towards Nankai Namba station and Den Den Town, I happened upon a small temple with a moss-covered Fudō-myōō statue, Hōzen-ji.  Apparently this is a favourite temple for people involved in “water trade”.

Making my way to Nankai Station, I located a camera store that I had missed my previous trip (bad map), and then headed into the station and up to the roof top garden, with views out over the city.

There were a couple of items I was still looking for in Den Den Town, so I headed there to Melon Books and then took to walking the streets a bit, before heading back to the hotel to pack.  Around one corner I stumbled upon a maid cafe, oddly at ground level.  In Akihabara, they were almost always several floors up, out of view – here, at least two or three could be found at ground level, and in this one case with windows sufficient to provide both privacy and a view.  I have yet to partake, but at least I got a glimpse of what was on offer.

Back at the hotel, I would pack until late – and then rise early on Sunday to pack some more.  As I expected, I had too much stuff – and books are indeed heavy.  It was a gruelling trip back to Tokyo, and I’m surprised my luggage actually made it in one piece.  I left Osaka early – the trip to Tokyo wasn’t long on the Shinkansen, but as it turned out the Narita Express was not running, and getting to the airport was to be delayed over an hour from my planned itinerary.  In the end I arrived in time – 3 hours ahead of my departure.  Just enough time to repack everything – three carry ons were not to be allowed this trip (unlike many other people I saw, of course) – grab some food, and get to the gate.

Thus ends 6 1/2 weeks of travel through Japan, at a time when Japan is still recovering from earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis.  To think that all this occurred while I was there causes one to reflect on things, and perhaps find new perspectives.  All the best.

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