We stayed in Universal City while in Osaka. Every night from our hotel room, we could see perfectly this ferris wheel light up by the city aquarium. I am a sucker for these kind of things. I've been on the London Eye, Seattle's wheel, Bangkok's wheel and way too many gondolas to recount on at least three different continents. Despite the fact that we were exhausted from our day jaunt to Kyoto and despite the fact we had a 4am wake up call to look forward to the next day so we could catch out flight home, we caught the last 8pm ferry over to the wheel from Universal City.
The ferry ride itself wasn't beautiful. Osaka is a very industrial city. Also: I am a harsh critic. After all, I grew up in the Puget Sound and spent four years of my life commuting on ferries that have views of the Cascade Mountains, the Olympic Mountains, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker and many beautiful islands in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Sound. The ferry ride in Osaka took us past a Mitsubishi factory, a huge naval boat and busy ports with even busier cranes.
Still, it was fun.
We got to the ferris wheel right before the sun completely set. We ascended into the sky as it turned shades of pink, purple and orange. We crept higher and higher as all the lights of Osaka illuminated the dark city beneath us. It was a truly beautiful time to be so high up in the sky. Even better, the ferris wheel lights up at night in bright, fun colors and images. It was so wonderful to sit on a bench and just watch it before we caught the 9:30 ferry back over to Universal City.
We sat there, thinking: man, we are going to be exhausted come Monday after four day of adventuring in Japan. We had taken half a dozen trains, got lost in the Japanese countryside, made dreams come true at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, tested out a real ramen house and rode so many horrifying and fun roller coasters. Not to mention dealing with the whole airport and flying to another country thing. But then we also thought: times like these are more than worth the exhaustion that comes later.
Still, after four years of this wonky lifestyle, we are surprised that we can say: oh, we just went to Japan for the weekend. Now that things have actually started to settle down at home and at work, we are set on making this-- a weekend jaunt to another country to have ridiculous amounts of fun-- happen at least twice a year.
Because even though we were both physically tired, mentally we felt fresher than ever.
Our goal for the upcoming years is to take time off like this in between each semester quarter, meaning the transitional time between first and second quarter and between third and fourth quarter. We are both hard workers, and we are both uber responsible. Sometimes so much so it is a detriment. We both realized that life can and will continue on without us at work, and that our absences were barely felt. We deserve to find time to be adventurers and prioritize fun above all else, and we deserve it more than just during our summer and winter breaks. Hopefully that means traditional November and April weekend hops around Asia, or whatever continent we happen to move to in the next few years!