Hello there folks! Arrived in Japan (Osaka) at 3pm local time (8hours ahead of home) today after an epic travel of almost 24 hours which included 2 flights (via Doha). We were greated by Chris at the airport and he took us to his house where he lives with his wife Maike. There house is lovely and Stefan and i have our very own room equipped with 2 beds, air conditioning (it like 36degrees) a fridge and laptop - all is good. Then we set off to Maikes parents apartment just round the corner. Here we were treated like kings! Keiko is Maike`s mother and she cooked us a fantastic meal of noodle stir fry with pork and she even provided us with some chips! It was fantastic to sit in a Japenese home with a Japanese family and share a meal together! You just don`t get experiences like that when you travel normally, experiences that really give you a taste of the people and their culture - priceless. Here are some of the cultural differences noticeable already:
- you always take your shoes off when you go inside and leave them at the door.
- there is absolutely no litter anywhere (and zero chewing gum on the streets) and yet i haven`t seen bins at every corner.
- the latest toilets have these little jets of water that shoot up and clean your bum!!!
- Everyone is so polite and graceful. We have had a few people bowing to us already!
- Chopsticks during meal times. I really want to embrace the culture and so didn`t use a fork at all for my meal even though they had sympathetically provided us with both!
This evening Chris took us to the hot springs. These centres scattered across Japan and are quite popular. Its basically like a massive health suite with a mixture of jacuzzis, saunas, steam rooms, freezing cold pools etc. The centre is split into two sides, one for males and one for females - the reason being that everyone is naked! It was a good laugh as you can imagine and you definitely come away feeling more alive! Think the hot springs are definitely going to get a few more visits over the next couple of weeks!
Anyways, tomorrow we are going to a Sushi restaurant for lunch then going to chat with Chris`s students whom he teaches english to. After that we will probably explore a bit of Osaka!