We just came back from our family vacation, a three-day trip to Osaka. Day one, we visited the aquarium at Tenpozan. It was a Monday – a weekday – so we were thinking it wouldn’t be too crowded. Silly us! Since we’re still in the midst of school holidays, it was as packed as a Tokyo subway at rush hour. We were able to catch glimpses of tropical fish through the throngs. We also rode on the world’s largest Ferris wheel.
Day two we went to Universal Studios Japan, which was also pretty crowded. USJ offers Guest Support Passes for visitors with disabilities, which means we didn’t have to wait in long lines, and we were escorted into attractions before everyone else. We tried to see and do as much as possible, and everyone was pretty worn out by the time we stumbled into the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner. We stayed at the fabulous Osaka Bayside Nikko Hotel. Jio went running through the lobby while pushing Lilia’s wheelchair with her in it, of course, and tipped it over somehow. A hotel guy yelled at him (as did Jio’s parents). I think Jio was just trying to show his sister a good time and be helpful, so I felt a little sorry for him, but it was pretty dangerous. Lucky she didn’t hit her head on the marble floor.
Day three we lounged around in the hotel for as long as possible, watching Yankees vs. Red Sox baseball on satellite TV while the children had fun with bedcovers and spilled corn chips all over the floor. I think we’re a little too unsophisticated for the Nikko.
On the way home, we stopped off at Shiawase no Mura (The Village of Happiness), which is a complex with an array of facilities for the disabled and others. There’s a therapy garden, where disabled people grow fruits and vegetables, tennis courts, a pool, a hospital, a group home, and a bunch of other stuff. There are expansive lawns with lush grass and many trees. The buildings are all yellow stucco with tile roofs. We stopped by the stables so the kids could have a pony ride.
Now we’re back home with three days till school starts.