In Osaka now, and it’s a beautiful city

Left Fukuoka Friday Sept 10th, afternoon – poor Midori probably thought she’d NEVER get rid of us!  ‘C)

The Line Up of Kids!

Relaxing with an ice cream cone before heading to the train station

The Niiyamas

We had a great stay with the Niiyamas, and it was time to meet Manigeh in Osaka.  We all arrived after 10 pm and Manigeh made it 1 minute before the desk closed for the night!

Of course, the weather turned cooler and less humid the day before we left Fukuoka, and since Osaka is by a bay, the weather is cooler, and we are cooled off by good bursts of cool wind.  The hostel – Nagai Youth Hostel is located on the 3rd floor of the Nagai Stadium!  It was established in 1970, closed sometime after that, and reopened again in 1997 for the FiFa World Cup tournaments.  It is like a the luxury liner of hostels!  It is run by the Osaka municipality, and may explain why the facilities are so pleasant, though it has a strange floor plan.  It has air conditioning,

Giant Ofuro that fits at least six people comfortably in women’s shower room at the hostel!

large ofuro and Japanese as well as standup showers, three types of room accommodations – Japanese rooms & dorms, Western rooms and dorms, and private rooms of each.

During our five-day stay, most other guests were from Japan, and were teams of students.  We’ve met a few non-Japanese guests:  Drew and Carston of Portland, Oregon;

olivier-from-france-at-nagaiOlivier of France (a fellow Landscape Architect no less!).

Check out the dorm bunks!

Dorm room at Nagai Youth Hostel Osaka Japan

A memory of Nagai Youth Hostel was of an older gentleman on staff trying to explain to a young Japanese man how to make the bed with the two flat sheets and the pillow case we were all given upon check-in.  The young man just couldn’t figure out what to do with TWO sheets, and the gentleman was gesturing with his hands and body how to sleep between two sheets and not just right on the mattress!

The staff was most accomodating and gracious.   Chica-san greeted us and spoke English very well, explaining quite a few things since we are so new to hostel life!  Alas, I didn’t get a picture of her.  To thank the staff, we gave them some yummy bakery items, and the manager a plant as he has a garden on the side patio.

Nagai Youth Hostel full-time staff

One of the best amenities was the use of the bicycles!  For less than an hour use, it was free.  For 2 or more hours, it was Y200!  Additional lockers to fit three carry-on luggage and backpacks was Y300 / day, and was useful for days we checked out late.  The fact that the front desk stayed open until 11 pm was pretty cool, too.

Work table in center of room, gas burners, microwaves, rice cookers, free rice, a plethora of pots, pans, mixing bowls, serving dishes, cups and glasses, bowls, plates, … just not that many silverware, however.

The fantastically large kitchen apparently is used for the conference halls below, and the hostel sometimes lodges guests for those conferences.  For example, in about a month, the Sumo basho will be in town, and several Sumo wrestlers will be guests!  Man, I LOVE sumo, and to stand next to one of the wrestlers makes one feel … like a little rice kernel by a rice ball!  Mentioning Sumo, as a good-bye present, the manager of the hostel gave us a Tokyo Sumo Basho list of sumo wrestlers, according to rank!  Rank also is defined by the size of the name written on the list, apparently!

Gift from Manager of Nagai Youth Hostel – a Tokyo Sumo Basho List 2010 (Yokozuna is the top right name, the highest ranking for a basho.  The rankings go down as it moves leftward.  The two columns are for the two different divisions – East and West, North and South.  The very bottom is the list of Staff and the beginner new stable boys.)

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