We’re not in Tokyo anymore

We’ve switched venues, but not for long. Got to Osaka last night — but we’re taking off after tonight’s game and going to Fukuoka for the final leg of the trip. Before getting here, however, we had a memorable sightseeing tour of historic Kyoto, which gives you just a wonderful feel for ancient Japan.Kyototour

The Golden Pavilion is a chillingly amazing sight to see. If that doesn’t hit you, you might not have a pulse. It is right near the Rokouon-Ji Temple.Goldentemple

Before getting there, we had a real nice lunch — Italian-style buffet, but good. Like something you’d eat at a real fancy hotel buffet in America. The neighborhood near the restaurant was also neat, with another temple Morezenand some cool statues. These are sights that you don’t forget. Coolstatue

Our tour guide was very helpful and kept everyone laughing on the bus, including Ryan Howard, who was decked out in his throwback Johnny Unitas jersey.

The last stop on the tour, I must say, was a little goofy. It was called Movieland and was basically a poor man’s version of Universal Studios. I felt as if we had too much time there, but we’re kind of rushed through the other parts of the tour, which would have been nice to see more of. But that’s the only complaint you’ll hear from me.

When I say goofy, how else do you describe Ryan Howard trying his hand at archery? RyanscoresOr Brian Fuentes posing as a samurai. FuentesagainThere was also a haunted house where an imaginary dead person scared us all by jumping within an inch of you at the end. Poor Mike Myers’ kids, they were a little scared by that experience, and so was I.

Anyway, once we got to Osaka, we learned that while Tokyo is the political capital of Japan, Osaka is the commercial capital. It’s a financial district, and to me, it felt a little like the financial district of Boston. Tall buildings, water, Osakariverexpensive restaurants, good walking city, the whole deal. Osaka

Osaka is far less American-ized than Tokyo. It’s tough to order food.
The waiters and waitresses really try hard to understand you, but
there’s just such a language barrier.

The Kyocera Dome (formerly known as the Osaka Dome) is a nice, state-of-the-art venue. KyoceradomeIt’s much nicer than Tokyo Dome, which is sort of dingy and depressing. It’s eerie how much this place reminds me of the Rogers Centre in Toronto.  The roof is very cool here. RoofofosakaSkydomeimpHoward just went deep again. Unbelievable. Bumped into Bobby Valentine before the game. Managing in Japan has made him about 10 years younger. Unbelievable how refreshed he looks. Anyway, we’re off to Fukuoka after the game. Until then,





Brownie … sounds like you’re having an awesome time. Enjoy the rest of the trip and keep up the great blogging!

Interesting stories and pictures, Ian. Thanks for sharing them.

The smoking issue is daunting for non-smoking outsiders, I think. Even in Maui I was surprised how many Japanese businessmen thought nothing but to smoke in elevators and other confined places.

Enjoyed your posts. Have fun!

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