Tag Archives: osaka

First Home Leave

It’s Obon Week in Japan, so I went back to San Diego for a week. I flew from ITM to NRT and then took a direct flight from NRT to SAN on JAL. JAL is using a 787 plane between NRT and SAN but the configuration of the business class is an older one. The seat doesn’t lie flat. It was okay but wasn’t comfortable to sleep in. I lay down for a few hours. The flight was under 10 hours. I got in to San Diego around noon and took Lyft home.

On Wednesday, we went up to Napa for a night. We flew up to Oakland and drove to Napa. We stayed at the Silverado Resort and Spa. The room at the hotel is like an apartment but old. We went to two vineyards (Raymond Vineyards and V. Sattui Winery) for tasting. We went to Raymond because the hotel gave us a coupon for 50% off. The interior of this place is very interesting with a circus theme. The wine was good as well. V. Sattui is one of my favorite vineyards, and I especially like their Riesling. We ended up buying a case of wine from them. For dinner, we went to Bistro Don Giovanni (Italian). I found it on Yelp. The food was good.

I came back to San Diego on Thursday night and flew back to Osaka on Friday. On the flight back to Osaka from San Francisco, it was pretty empty. Back to hot and muggy weather in Osaka.

My Stuff Has Arrived (August 4, 2016)

Almost seven weeks later, my stuff arrived from New York. I got an email a few days earlier notifying me my stuff were ready to be delivered. Here are a few things I learned:

  • One of my colleagues had to be here with me to communicate with the movers as they didn’t speak English.
  • I didn’t have to reserve an elevator or notify my building about the delivery (unlike my building in New York where I had to do both). Once the movers got here, they communicated with the building management directly and prepared the move. The movers had to put protection on the floor, some walls, hallways, and some corners.
  • Originally, two movers came but they realized they needed more help with the delivery and unpacking (as they spent too much time preparing for the delivery). I had about 30 boxes delivered (including furniture). Two more movers came to assist with the unpacking.
  • They had a good system. At the beginning, they gave me a copy of the inventory I made during packing in New York. They asked me to identify the location for each box in advance. After they completed putting up protection, they started bringing up boxes. They told me the number on the box and I had to tell them which room I wanted the box moved to. For furniture (packed in boxes), they unboxed them outside my apartment and assembled them in the apartment. They said they studied instructions for my furniture and TV prior to delivery, so they knew how to put them back together. Everything was fine except they couldn’t put together my bed frame. They said it’s missing a piece of a screw. They had to ask someone else to come in and fix it later.
  • They took out all the empty boxes from my apartment.
  • At the beginning I was worried that my apartment wouldn’t fit everything I brought from New York. But everything fit nicely and it wasn’t too crowded. Since they unpacked and took care of all the empty boxes, I didn’t feel overwhelmed with the unpacking. It took them about 4 hours to finish everything.
  • I felt like one box was missing but I couldn’t confirm. I couldn’t find two things I thought I packed but the mover delivered everything (I think).
  • I finished unpacking most of the boxes that night.

First Hair Cut in Japan (July 23, 2016)

I usually get my haircut about every six weeks and it was time for another haircut since I got the last one a week before I left New York. A consultant found me a place in Namba with an English speaking stylist. I checked out their website and it looked like it targeted foreigners. I shared it with my colleagues and one of my colleagues found me another salon close to my apartment to consider as another option. She said I might feel more comfortable with a smaller salon. She sent me the info of the salon with a phone number so I called the salon on Thursday evening to make an appointment. The person who picked up the phone spoke a little bit of English so I made an appointment for 2 PM on Saturday. He did ask me if it was okay that he only speaks a little bit of English and I said it was okay.

The salon is called Atelier Staens and it is located in an historical building. The building is pretty old and charming. I had walked by it many times but didn’t know that there were many shops inside as I thought it was just a coffee shop. The salon is on the second floor of the building. It is a very small shop – with only two chairs with a really cool old school design. The owner (the same guy who picked up my call on Thursday) looks just like a regular Japanese guy. He seems nice and speaks a little bit of English. He has an assistant who mostly washes hair. There was another customer getting her hair cut when I got there who spoke some English as well and seemed curious about me so she helped with the conversation sometimes. I was a bit nervous about the hair cut because it was my first time with a new stylist and in Japan.

The stylist turned up the music a little louder when his assistant was washing my hair. I thought he did that so we don’t have to talk as much but I tried to have a conversation with him anyway. He said he cuts hair and does make up for mostly European female models.

The assistant was very gentle with my hair during washing. She washed it three times with shampoo and conditioner.

The stylist asked what I wanted to do with my hair. I showed him a few pictures I found on the Internet – short hair with small bangs. He looked at my hair and said “balance” and started cutting. At the end, it was pretty short with some bangs. It thought it looked fine. He said it would last about 4 weeks. It was a bit expensive – around JPY 7,000 with taxes.

Highlights from My 3rd Trip to Japan in December 2013

I got to go work in Japan for a third time this year.  I spent most the time in Osaka and spent my Saturday in Kyoto.  Here are some of the highlights from my trip.

Mido Suji Street
Mido Suji Street at night during a holiday seasons


On Saturday, a friend took me to Kyoto for a day.  We went around to a few places and had dinner (many tofu dishes) before going back to Osaka.  It was a fun day.

Ninna-Ji Old Imperial Palace (a world heritage) in Kyoto
Ninna-Ji Old Imperial Palace (a world heritage) in Kyoto


Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine
Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine
Colorful leaves at Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine


Sannenzaka Ninenzaka (old town) Kyoto at night
Sannenzaka Ninenzaka (old town) Kyoto at night



Kiyomizu Temple at night
Kiyomizu Temple at night


Wood cutting demonstration at the Museum of Housing and Living in Osaka
Wood cutting demonstration at the Museum of Housing and Living in Osaka




This is how my laundry was done at the hotel.  Nicely packed.
This is how my laundry was done at the hotel. Nicely packed.