Osaka – where eating is everything part 6 (Ibaraki-Osaka)

Because our hotel in Ibaraki was about one and a half hours from Tokyo station we decided to get an early start in the morning and do without breakfast at the hotel restaurant, to not get into rushhour and make the shinkansen bound for Osaka.

Fortunately one of the members of the japanese group arranged for a compromise, the hotel restaurant just packed up the sandwich set (I had the other day) to go for everyone to eat on the bus. I really appreciated that, because I do get grumpy when I don’t get to eat something in the morning (^_^;)

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We arrived way too early at Tokyo station because we managed to avoid most of the traffic, but we were able to change the tickets to an earlier train and still had some time to stroll aroound.

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I was so looking forward to the Ekiben we planned to buy for the trip, so we would have more time when we’d arrive back in Osaka. Unfortunately the constant eating over the week (though I suspect more the drinking in the evening) had left the other participants with a feeling of not needing anything to eat right now so we skipped the Ekiben… 😦

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Aaah, don’t they look all so good? I should have just gotten one, but I couldn’t bring myself to be the only one that’d eat something on the train…

The seats in the green cars of the shinkansen (I only saw those so I don’t know if the other seats look the same) are very comfortable and it really is a pleasant way to travel. Seeing the landscape pass by (too fast to take some decent pictures with my phone, they all look kind of warped) snuggled into a big seat with enough leg room, AND it’s very fast. I’m all sold on shinkansen 😉

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Back in Osaka we had some time for shopping, which surprised me, because I was expecting that we would go back to the company headquarter for further discussions (which was how it was originally scheduled). When I asked about it I just heard “Well, it’s because of you” and I immediately thought I might have made a mistake or they thought they couldn’t use the time efficiently with my translations (after all I’m far from being a professional). But luckily it turned out that it was the opposite, that we had been ahead of schedule with everything they had wanted to talk about, thus there was a little room for free time.

I went along with the two presidents of the german company to get something to eat and then have a look at some electronics at Yodobashi Camera, which is the biggest electronic store I have ever seen. The Yodobashi Camera in Akihabara (Tokyo) is a popular tourist attraction and in Osaka as well the crowd of people inside is unbelievable. Additional to electronics the Yodobashi next to Osaka station has clothing as well and (as so many big stores in Japan) a restaurant floor and I am sure that you could stay for days on end and not get through everything.

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While trying to find the camera one of the presidents was looking for I noticed a picture on a display.

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If you have a closer look, you see this:

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After spending so much time with serious talks and everyone being all about business this little expression of humor made me grin (^o^)

Though we had about 4 hours and I thought I might be able to do some shopping myself I ended up hurrying through the Daimaru and Tokyu Hands department store inside Osaka station to get at least one or two little presents for my family at home before I had to practically sprint back to the hotel and get ready for the great banquet in the evening.

Because it was the last evening it was a very formal get together at the Rhiga Royal Hotel. We were led into a banquet room with a large table, chandeliers and an amazing view over the city, which looked especially beautiful with the setting sun.

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I have to admit, usually when I go out to eat I don’t have several sets of cutlery and several glasses for different wines and champagne. What followed was one of the best meals I have ever had…

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Scallop salad

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Mini-squid on peppercress mousse.

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Assorted seafood.

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Omiya Filet Steak, THE best steak I have ever had.

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Cherry Blossom Ice-cream and cheesecake with cherry blossom sirup and green tea cream dots.

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Green tea Macaron an almond cake.

The meal was accompanied by speeches from the presidents of the german, as well as the japanese company and of course a lot of “Thank you”s and “Please visit again”s were exchanged. There are plans to visit facilities in Thailand and Indonesia at the end of the year with a japanese group, who knows, maybe they’ll need a translator 😉

The formal setting did not allow to linger, so dinner was over unusually early and the rest of the evening was spent in one of the bars in our hotel. Everyone was quite relaxed and one could also feel a bit of relaxation on the side of the japanese members, who accompanied us. I think no matter who has to organize such a trip, it’s always exhausting and I felt for the one who had the responsibility for us the whole week (and with whom I spend most of the time because of the coordination).

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I usually don’t drink whiskey, mostly because I find it too strong and if I can’t enjoy it properly, why take away from someone who does 😉 Nevertheless, I was just ordered one and of course I tried it and it was really good. It’s a 17 year old Hibiki from Suntory and it was very easy to drink, a little fruity, mild and smooth.

Though I enjoyed myself this evening I am glad I did not stay every evening. Even though I tried to drink a water or coke in between I still ended up having two cocktails, two whiskeys on the rocks and three glasses of white wine… Needless to say my head hurt a tiny little bit the next morning…

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