Bustling Osaka

Bustling Osaka Japanese Plum & Osaka Castle by *Chie*

This article was written by Global Graduates, published on 16th February 2010 and has been read 5756 times.

Osaka, Japan - busy, cosmopolitan, familiar, comfortable, fun If I had the chance I would definitely go to Osaka again - the place is great as it is close to cultural places such as Kyoto and Nara and the big metropolitan city of Osaka.   My host family were definitely the highlight of the trip as I am in still in contact with them now, but the university itself was dire.  Kansai Gaidai University wasn't very good in terms of actually improving my Japanese - the language lessons were only 50 minutes a day for spoken language learning and 3x 50 minute lessons a week for writing. The 'big international section' they boasted about was solely for the Japanese students, as all of the foreigners were put together, and with more than half being American and a great number of the rest being Australian it meant that there were a great number of lazy English speaking students around who did not use their Japanese, if they even were able to speak it, on a daily basis.   The highlight though was being able to stay with a host family. As they didn't speak English, I was forced to use my Japanese and because of them I learned more Japanese and experienced more of the Japanese culture.

I was based very close to Osaka which is the 2nd or 3rd biggest city next to Tokyo, so there is lots to do, and I spent time in nearby Kyoto where there are a lot of national heritage sites, old shrines and temples.  I went travelling in the winter vacation and went to Hiroshima, Hakata, Beppu, Osaka, Tokyo, Kamakura and Kyoto.

Useful local words: ‘irasshaimase’ ( the shop greeting, but for weeks I didn't know what it meant), ‘Ookini’ ('thank you' using the strong Osaka dialect), ‘sumimasen’ (‘excuse me’, but a very versatile word that can be used to thank, pardon yourself or apologise).

What not to pack: All the clothes I brought. I should have just bought them there.

What to pack: A small suitcase, for quick trips.

Couldn't have done without: My mp3 player and my laptop.

Word of advice: Do as many things as you can, and go alone if you have to. It is so easy to go with friends and be dependent on them, or make new friends and just stick with them. I met the best people when I went travelling alone, and those times were also the most fun I had too. Don't be afraid to just talk to people and stay away from tourist traps and other English speaking people.

NS, Japanese and Linguistics, Newcastle University

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