June in Japan – day 1

Not much to report for day one other than to say everything went to plan for the journey.

Emirates have been using the Airbus A380 from Glasgow since mid April and so I found myself sitting by the window of one of the largest commercial airliners in the world as it taxied from the Terminal before climbing, effortlessly, into a slightly overcast Scottish sky.

The trip to Dubai was largely uneventful other than I experienced that rare joy of having an empty seat next to me which meant lots of extra leg room! As always though I couldn’t sleep on the flight and arrived in Dubai tired and anxious about the connecting flight.

Flight times have changed in Dubai recently and where I used to have 3 – 3.5hrs to get from my arrival gate to the departure point for Osaka, on this trip my connection was cut to just 1 hr 50 minutes.

The usual delays in trying to disembark a huge airplane ensued and by the time I reached the security check for connecting flights I had just 1hr until the gate closed for Osaka! As we edged slowly forward I couldn’t help frowning at a sign on the far wall which proclaimed that it was 20+ minutes walking time to my next gate!

It took about 15 minutes of stop-start queuing until I emerged on the other side and set off on the quest to find my next gate.

20+ minutes was closer to 35 minutes with the terminal being so busy but thankfully I arrived at an open and already boarding flight with around 10 minutes to spare.

I boarded, this time sat next to two Japanese ladies on their way home from a Mediterranean cruise, tried to settle down to sleep but in the end resigned myself to catching up with some films.

Weather on arrival at Osaka was exactly what I’ve been hoping for on this trip! Grey, cloudy and with the threat of rain!

This is the start of the rainy season in Japan and while it doesn’t usually rain all the time, I’m hoping for at least a few days of rain as this will allow me to shoot some scenes differently and also allow me to get some images which will help with one photo project in particular!

Seas of umbrellas, reflected neon signs, dramatic landscape skies, flooded rice fields and fireflies at night are all on my photo “wish list” for this trip so I was more than happy with the weather when we arrived!

After the usual customs and security checks I stepped out into a very humid Osaka evening and made my way to the Nankai railway for the Express link into Namba.

It was a busy trip and the city was beginning to light up as I stepped off the train for the short walk to my hotel.

I’m staying in the same hotel I used in August as I found it a very handy base for exploring the Shinsekai and Tennoji areas to the south of Namba while it’s only 4 minutes walk to the nearest subway station and 15 minutes to the main railway hub for central Osaka.

The above image is the view from my room.

After check in I headed to the nearest 7 eleven store for essentials… coffee, milk, some asahi beer and a bite to eat.

It began to rain as a I walked back from the store, a sign – i hope – of things to come. It almost tempted me back out with my camera but 30hrs of no sleep won and I resigned myself to an early night…

Tomorrow is a relatively local day. I need to sort my Shinkansen pass and prebook trips to Tokyo, Okayama, Nagoya, Kobe, Hiroshima and a few other locations before heading to Kyoto for the day.

I hope to visit a few old favourites (ideally in the rain!) and a couple of new locations. I have a few galleries to visit too.

Just hope I’ve managed to sleep before then!

Anyone know any Japanese rain dances?!

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