My Osaka Tips

Just arrived in Manila after a 6-day, 5-night holiday vacation in Osaka with my family. It was a pleasant trip that I strongly recommend you to take. However, there were lessons learned that needs to be blogged so that next time (yes, we hope to go there again soon) we'll take good note of it. Hope these tips of mine help you as well.

  1. Change your currency to Yen at the Kansai Airport. Upon arrival there's a money changer just before heading out onto the terminal exit doors. I highly suggest that you change your money there as there are limited spots for some currencies, like Philippine Pesos. Further, the exchange rate there is better (2.05JPY to 1.00PHP) versus that in Namba Walk (1.83 to 1.00). There is the usual 10,000 (USD?) limit that you may need to abide to as mentioned by the highly courteous staff.
  2. Buy round trip tickets if you're using the airport bus express. Cheaper by about 200-300JPY per person.
  3. If you can't live without WiFi, there's a pocket-wifi rental store at the airport, just across the money changer I mentioned in #1 above. The rate is cheaper per day by about 40-50% versus my Philippine network's daily roam-surf rate. I find that going online is especially helpful when roaming around, especially if you know how to use Google Maps.
  4. Get a subway map upon reaching your hotel, and study it. This will be very useful when you go around (and outside) Osaka.
  5. Sheraton Osaka Hotel, where we stayed in, has a serious WiFi problem. I suspect that they limit the number of IPs connecting to their network which causes some of the phones/tablets not to connect at certain times.
  6. Alternatively to #3, free WiFi is abundant at the subway stations and around Osaka. You just need to sign in with your email and allow the network to get your FB basic info which I assume is for their stats monitoring. However, note that these Free WiFi spots are not available in all areas, so I still recommend that you take #3.
  7. Muji and Uniqlo sells cheaper in Osaka (or probably the whole Japan) vs the Philippines.
  8. On subway escalators, stay on the right side as the left side is for people who are in a hurry (express lane).
  9. Select "child" on the ticket terminals if you have young children with you. It's 50% cheaper.
  10. Go to Nara from Osaka on a day trip. Highly recommended.
  11. Go to Kyoto. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
  12. One should go to Dotomburi for a food trip experience there. Namba and Nippombashi stations are nearest going there.
  13. Try the Family Mart Matcha Latte there, especially with a Minneken(?) waffle that you can also buy in some of the subway stations there.
  14. Lastly, forget about work or other things that stress you. You're on a holiday so enjoy every minute of Osaka while you're there.
Any tips you recommend as well? Do post it on the comments section. :)


To my 21 year old self

I am trying to remember how you were. Celebrating your 21st birthday while on 5th year college, going about your way trying to pass quizzes and exams, and eventually graduating on the March target date. Reviewing for your ECE Board Exam WHILE starting your 1st job in Alcatel with Carlo and Ferdie, your college batchmates. Eventually passing the board in Oct (or was it Nov?) of 1995. Salary was pretty above average for a first job compared to your other batchmates and you were quietly proud about it. Work was just a 10minute jeepney ride away and you got to go around the country installing switches. I think the only thing you got stressed about was STILL not having a girlfriend at 21.

If by some cosmic chance you, my 21 year old self, get to read this, I would like to say that you will face a LOT of challenges along the way as you reach me, your 42 year old self.

Don't fret too much about how your neighborhood childhood crush preferred going out with that motorbike-riding cool dude over you, a jeepney-commuting 95-lb dark skinned torpe. Don't worry about not having to meet ANY (and I mean ANY) girl of your type in Alcatel. Through a major decision that you'll make in 2 years' time, you will eventually meet her. And then, her. :)

Don't worry about being single for so long as you will later on get married and have 2 handsome and loving kids along with a very patient and loving wife. They will become your daily source of love, happiness, and comfort.

Don't worry about being in what seems to be a dead-end contractual job as that will just mark your career path for greater things to come. Through your courage and God's grace, your career will flourish and you'll play a very important role in a big company in years to come.

Believe it or not, you WILL struggle to lose weight later on. Yes, that very fit 95-lb body will eventually balloon and will need to go thru a lifestyle change, exercise-wise, as you'll discover running and cycling.....and doing both in races, or duathlons as they call it.

What you're going through now? Well, that's peanuts compared to future situations that you'll be in.

Never cease praying. For God will continually bless You and guide You especially in the toughest of times that lie ahead.

Keep your chin up, kid.

---Your 42 year old self

P.S. Get a passport. You will use later on, more often than you think. ;-)