Day 50: The Aquarium! :D 火曜日・2014年11月4日

I rolled out of bed just in time to go to the medical check-up this morning, which I’d never done before.

We had to meet up at the CJLC to get on a bus to take us to S-Campus, but before that, they handed out a list of attractions in Osaka which we could go to, and gave us an international university student discount pass. Which sounds awesome – I can go to any of the most famous museums for either half price or free on certain deals, for one entry only. Daym I can get a lot done with that.

The medical check-up went pretty quickly. You gave them the urine sample, then went on to get your blood pressure measured, along with your height, and weight, and getting yourself x-rayed, and all this cross-referenced with the quiz on our health that we took this week.

Everything went fine, though the x-ray was awkward, as we had to change out of our bras in front of each other and put on plain navy t-shirts for the x-ray. 1) I don’t want none of y’all to be spying my tittays, 2) ow. I hate not wearing a bra. It hurts. I mean sure, at the end of a long day, it’s such a relief to take it off because that shit digs into your skin, but when you need the support, it just… ahh. Anyway.

Well I appear to be healthy. I’ve lost 3 kilograms since coming to Japan, without even trying. But I’m also shorter than I thought I was – I thought I was 168cm, I’m actually 166.5.

I had a little think about my weight, just now, typing this up. I checked my BMI, and it says I’m obese (I know I’m overweight, but obese is a bit of an overstatement). So to be within the “healthy” range I’d have to lose 25 kilograms, putting me at the same weight as Theresa. I think that’s overboard, honestly. Theresa isn’t overly skinny or anything, but she appears very naturally slim, and I don’t think I need to lose that much weight to be healthy. I’d say about 10-15 would work wonders. If I managed to lose 3 without even trying, imagine what a proper diet, sleep routine and exercise would do.

I looked up the best ways to get started on a road to losing a lot of weight (I’ll make this clear – I’m not “going on a diet”. Diets indicate they’re fast-working, and they’re only short-term anyway. I’m talking more about a gradual lifestyle change so I can keep up a healthy lifestyle after I’ve lost the weight). For me to lose about 10-20kg in a year (which sounds plenty to me – slow, but steady) means a rough intake of 1800 calories, and 7 hours exercise a week. I can start off with just walking, and turn that into jogging/running.

Unfortunately for me, my body is very receptive to how much food I eat and how much exercise I do. If I don’t exercise and eat a lot, I gain weight very quickly. If I exercise and eat well, I lose weight very quickly. Which means even having one day off could make me bloat up.

But with this blog, it’s been 50 days (high-fives myself) and I’ve not had one day off. I’ve missed the deadline several times (like today), though I’ve had special circumstances. In this case, I probably could have finished it earlier, but I got home late and decided to relax for a bit by chatting to friends, and edit pictures from the FREAKING AQUARIUM OMG.

So yeah, Rachel invited me to go on another bouken (adventure) with her today. We went to the Osaka Kaiyukan (Aquarium), which was pretty exciting as it’s the biggest aquarium in the country, and I’ve not been to an aquarium in years. Also, as it’s Japan, we can see some species we wouldn’t usually see in British aquariums.

In order to get an all-inclusive aquarium ticket, we got the train to Umeda, and found the information office. There, we bought a ticket for the aquarium that also covered a norihoudai (unlimited travel) subway ticket. The whole thing was ¥2550, and usually the aquarium ticket alone costs ¥2300, so essentially we saved LOADS of money on travel that day.

From Umeda we had to change subway lines twice, as the aquarium is quite far away, by Osaka Port. On the way, I spotted Hogwarts in USJ, which made me smile.

Osaka Port is what I could see from Kansai Airport when I stayed there on the first night, because it has the big noticeable white Ferris Wheel (not the red one, like in Hep Five). I was tempted to ride it, but it cost  ¥3000 so I was like, fuck that. Also, as it’s so far away from the city, the view probably wouldn’t have been so good. A lot of sea, maybe, but the great thing about Hep Five is that it’s slap bang in the middle of Osaka, so you have a great view. Evidence below.

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The area though, Osaka Port, was really clear, quiet, and beautiful. I could easily live in a place like that. It’s technically still a city area, and it’s right on the subway line, but it’s by the ocean port, close to the airport, and a lot quieter, with wide open spaces, as it’s not in the centre – quite a way out, actually. There was a LAWSON convenience store, where I bought some Coca Cola Orange, aww yiss, and we passed plenty of delicious-looking ramen/ takoyaki/ curry places, as well as karaoke, and so on… yeah, I think the place has everything one needs to survive.

We went into the aquarium, and I think we stayed there for three hours or so. We passed otters, seals, sea lions, whales, dolphins, beautiful fish, sting rays, a hammerhead shark… it was a beautiful experience. I ended up taking a lot of video footage, but the pictures actually didn’t turn out that well, because I was using my video camera rather than my proper camera, which is shitty anyway. I’m really tempted to buy a DSLR. Especially as I’m meeting Rachel in Onohara tomorrow and I plan to go to the Second Street second hand shop again. I need an extension cord, too. And a tablet, but hey, one thing at a time. I still haven’t paid my rent/ done a bank transfer yet. But I’m getting the courage. I think I’ll do all that tomorrow. I’ll go to the Post Office, and I’ll go to Family Mart. How hard can it be, right?

(Famous last words.)

Anyway, some pictures from the aquarium:

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To be honest, once you’ve seen the aquarium, you’ve seen it all, so I recommend making the most of it while you’re there. It’s not like USJ, which requires multiple trips.

Speaking of theme parks, there’s a park called Nasu Highland Park, in the Toshigi prefecture near to Fukushima, which has apparently amazing rides, and virtually no queues, because it’s not mainstream and it’s just a non-branded amusement park. Though they do have their own little mascot, Woopy the Woodpecker (totally not ripped off Woody the Woodpecker). So I should probably make my goal to visit as many amusement parks as I can while I’m here. There’s one near Mt Fuji, as well.

Anyway, back on topic.

We went to the gift shop and I usually don’t buy anything from tourist-spot gift shops because they’re expensive as fuck, but what I got was actually quite reasonably priced. I bought a little whale folder, a marine-style t-shirt that says RING OF FIRE on it (guess why I bought it, har har), and THIS adorable little thing – a whale cushion, which I have since brought on camera and used to traumatize Zed. (I’m sorry.)

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It’s so soft, and adorable. Though now when Zed sees it, it strikes fear into his heart.

After the aquarium, Rachel and I headed to Nanba, which is south of Umeda – for me, it was my first time there. My first impression was that it reminded me of Times Square, or Shinjuku in Tokyo, what with all the flashing neon adverts surrounding us. It was really cool. There was also a restaurant with a huge crab protruding from above the entrance. So Osaka.

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Before exploring, however, we went to a Frogurt place to get frozen yogurt (healthier than ice-cream, anyhow). I had pomegrantate/raspberry, apple, and matcha flavoured frogurt scoops piled with strawberries and white chocolate chips. Delicious.

We went to a place called Book It (I think?) where there were loooooads of books on sale. Not only did I get three books for ¥100 each, but also a cheap cookbook with delicious-looking meals, so I look forward to using that. Rachel’s very encouraging in eating healthily, always talking about oats and vegan cheesecake and brown rice. So with her help, I should hopefully start eating healthier.

After wandering around Nanba a while, we settled on a place that did teishoku (set meals), because they were very traditional Japanese meals and very healthy. Though it was extremely hard fighting to not go for the fried chicken and chips option, as I was so hungry at that point.

My meal had raw fish in it, which I’m fine with, though I’m not used to eating it when it’s not on top of sushi. But I had tuna, and rice, and tofu, and these black bean things, and miso soup, and tempura kabocha and asparagus. It looked and tasted very healthy, as well as delicious. I call it Japanese-style in the way it separated everything out into little bowls, into all the nutrients you needed to be healthy. The big bowl of rice, a smaller bowl with the tuna, the tiny plates for soy sauce, the little bowl of miso, etc. All carefully measured out so you get the right amount of everything. They do that in bento box lunches, too – they say the more colourful it is, the more varied it is, and therefore probably better for you.

After that we returned home, with promises to do some other stuff together soon – make that vegan cheesecake, go to Kyoto, also go to gay bars in Nagoya, which is one of the more “free”-er places for homosexuality in Japan. We had a little discussion about our own sexualities – surprisingly we had something in common where our orientations were concerned. That was comforting.

Then I Skyped Zed for a while, scaring him with my whale cushion. The only reason it’s scary is because it has that cute smile on its face, but I made it say demonic, fucked-up things. So yeah, actually it’s me who’s the scary one. He suggests I get help.

I probably do need it. But we laughed so hard, for two hours, that we both had to leave at some point, at the same time, to pee. So that we wouldn’t literally piss ourselves.

So yeah, Onohara tomorrow. I could probably go wandering about before meeting up. Rachel’s really inspired me to make the most of my time here, as she’s already been on so many bouken: been to Kyoto twice on her own, gotten a bike, gone to the eye clinic, found Dorset muesli, decided on a whim to go on the day out to the aquarium, is diligent in finding healthy recipes, off-handedly mentioned going to an onsen on Friday… my experience pales in comparison, because I’m so worn out just by living in a different country that I spend all my free time exhausted on my bed. Before today, I hadn’t even been to Nanba. Heck, I’ve not even thoroughly explored Umeda yet.

I thought about going out on Thursday, whimsically going to the Minoh waterfall or something, but then I remembered I’d be going to karaoke with Rika, and that in itself is a lot of fun. Friday I have lessons, then Saturday is the festival with Aiko-san, possibly followed by a sleepover at Rika’s house. So my weekend’s all booked up for now. But the weekend AFTER should be Kyoto, possibly accompanied by clubbing and staying in a ryokan (inn), which will be an experience.

Well, bouken ni iko ka? (Shall we go on an adventure?)

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