We decided to go to the Osaka Aquarium today for two reasons – I really like aquariums and we wanted some air conditioning. It is hot and humid here – like sweat drops forming on your upper lip while sitting still hot and humid. We took the train from Rokko to Umida in downtown Osaka. We can see Osaka to the east from our apartment so it isn't all that far away and the train ride was only about a half hour with stops at every station along the way. From there we had to get on another train and then transfer to the subway. Unfortunately the maps were only written out in kanji so we had to ask someone to tell us which stop was the one we wanted. It took some time and we were a bit nervous but we made it to the aquarium! It was great. You start at the top and work your way down looking at different depths of the tanks. Not only were there fishes but otters, capybara (the world's largest rodent, they're like huge hamster dogs, they can weigh 140lbs), dolphins, and deep sea crabs. The aquarium claims to have the largest whale shark in captivity. The best part was the “resting areas.” They had chairs and benches set up and you could just sit in the AC and watch the fish swim by.
The fish stayed on the sting ray the entire time we were there, she must have enjoyed the view.
After the aquarium we set out to find the “only Ethiopian restaurant in all of Kansai.” The Kansai region, which includes Osaka and Kobe, has over 22million people so we were happy to find an Ethiopian restaurant so relatively close. We had to navigate another train station and a gigantic shopping/restaurant district and rely on the kindness of a stranger who ran two blocks in order to confirm he knew what we were looking for before he'd give us directions but we found it. We would have been better off if we hadn't. The food was mediocre and really, really small portions (even for Japan) and VERY expensive. We knew that when we looked at the menu but if the food had been better and there had been more we would have been OK with the price but it was not worth half of what we paid. It was so underwhelming I didn't even think to take a picture. I guess we're going another three years without Ethiopian food.