Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Dec 22 2008

In Osaka

I got three hours of sleep last night. The main reason was that the guy who was buying my motorcycle couldn’t make it over until midnight as he runs a fried chicken shop, but then for some reason none of us could get the thing started. It’s just been too long since I rode it, I guess (though I managed to get it started fairly easily the other day). Last night, however, it steadfastly refused to turn over. It was as if the faithful motorcycle that has been with me so many years just didn’t want to leave me. I ended up breaking off the kickstart handle with my forceful kicking.

I have to give those guys credit, though. No coddled strawberries, they ended up tying it to their scooter and hauling it away, in the rain and cold, back to Muzha where they live. But it was well after 2 a.m. by that point. I got to bed at 3, satisfied that I’d gotten everything packed.

The feeling of being awoken by the alarm at 6 a.m. was truly awful. It was still dark out, and I could hear the rain on the plastic overhangs of the building. I managed to drag myself out of bed and into some clothes, get over to the MRT and on the bus to the airport despite the objections of the taxi drivers waiting outside like vultures. I was afraid I’d be late, but it turned out that the flight had been delayed, so I made my way through the pseudo-modernity of the new terminal and sat in the waiting room trying not to sleep for a half hour before we were allowed on the Eva Airlines 777.

I didn’t feel like I usually do when I board a plane; usually it makes me very happy and excited. Perhaps I was still wrapped up with thinking about the film, which I’d handed over to Darrell’s capable hands the day before, as well as other things.

When the plane took off and pierced the clouds, bursting out into the wide bright blue, however, suddenly I felt the old familiar giddiness, the smell of food trays being unloaded, the luxury of an empty seat next to me. I’m back! I thought.

Kansai Airport is confusing. After a polite patting-down by customs, I was led to what seemed like a dead end, then told that it was a shuttle bay. I was the only one there; everyone else on the plane was going on to Los Angeles. The outside air didn’t feel as outrageously cold as Tokyo had seemed last time, but it was crisp. The light at sunset on the houses and fields seemed strange as we sped by on the train into town. After spending a few minutes observing people buy tickets, I still wasn’t sure how to work the machines.

My hotel, the Plaza Osaka, eluded me at first. I got into the general neighborhood and asked a woman at a convenience store. I’m not quite sure what she said when she pointed out the window at the largest, most obvious structure in the vicinity, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it contained the word “Duh”. My room has a nice view of the city’s skyline. It’s bigger and nicer than the room I had in Tokyo, but the hotel doesn’t have wifi, just cables, which is fine for my Thinkpad but does nothing for my iPhone.

I was exhausted by that point and took a nap that was long and deep enough that I forgot where I was when I woke up. It’s not an unpleasant feeling, no matter what the spy novels tell you. “Oh!” I thought to myself as I looked at the unfamiliar. “That’s right; I’m in Osaka.”

I went out for some dinner and a look around the neighborhood; it seems I’m in the middle of a red-light district, which isn’t a bad thing. Better than a financial district, for sure. Lots of covered markets and neon signs. Unfortunately, my camera decided now is a great time to start overexposing every picture.

Osaka seems more like Taipei than Tokyo, more two-dimensional. But that the hell do I know? I’ve only been here a few hours.

posted by Poagao at 9:25 am  


  1. Be happy, boy! You deserve a joyful vacation! Enjoy.

    Comment by Daniel — December 22, 2008 @ 10:36 am

  2. No, you’re right. Even though Taiwanese like to compare their capital to Tokyo, Taipei is much more like Osaka.

    Comment by Kaminoge — December 22, 2008 @ 6:45 pm

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