December 27th 2018

Breakfast at Honey Mitsubachi Coffee, a lovely little café that makes fresh donuts all day long!

Escher exhibit

Last year, I had just a half day in Osaka before my flight back. I’d missed seeing an exhibition of work by the ukiyo-e woodblock artist Hokusai back in the summer, and was amazed to find the same exhibition had travelled to Osaka. This year more weirdness: having visited an excellent exhibition of the Dutch graphic designer Maurits Cornelius Escher in Leeuwarden this summer, I now find (at the same gallery) another Escher exhibition. The world is messing with me ‘ead.

Exhibition was at the tallest building in Japan, the Abenu Harekas, and consisted of prints and hand drawn works by the artist. Some extremely rare items – even a hand coloured print of Gravity, numbered 3 of 13 in Escher’s own hand! Since I was in such a tall building, I figured I might as well head to the top, and was delighted to find that tours of the rooftop emergency helipad were available. Did I go? Hell yes!

As I had an overnight ferry to catch to Beppu in Kyushu, figured I’d head out towards the port. First stop was at the Tozan Ferris wheel for amazing views – one of the largest ferris wheels in the world overlooking Osaka port. Then went next door to the Osaka aquarium – very impressive, two whale sharks in the humungous main tank. Not sure I’d like the tank cleaning job pictured in the gallery though, bit like painting the Forth Bridge, but with scuba gear and a scrubbing brush.

After that, one more stop on the train and 2 on the tram line took me to dinner at the ferry port. Hamburg steak (hamburger ) in teriyaki sauce with fried egg, potato croquettes, peas and sweetcorn – simple but very nice.

My fellow travellers

On boarding the ferry found it pretty full. I had a ‘tourist berth’, basically rooms with spaces to lie down with thin futon and quilt, some storage for luggage, and a place to hang your coat. Cost less than taking the fast train + hotel for the night, so quids in. I was the only Westerner in sight, so the English part of the restaurant and shop announcements was just for me . And after stocking up on sake and snacks from the shop, spent a few hours reading then off to sleep.