128 Photos - Mar 17, 2007
Photo: Osaka CastlePhoto: Matt waited patiently for several minutes while I tried to work the timer on my camera. What a fella!Photo: Still Osaka Castle..Photo: Leaving the Castle grounds. Matt can't resist a handrail....ever.Photo: Seriously, he does this everywhere.Photo: The mall, office buildings, museums, he doesn't care. He has to give them a go.Photo: Our parting shot of the castle before hopping on the subway. Peach or Plum blossoms were blooming everywhere but the Cherry blossoms were still forming their buds.Photo: At busy hours in many large cities the railways reserve cars for women. This is because women get groped, rubbed up against and basically harassed by perverted males.Photo: High Tech Toilet: In many toilets in Japan you'll find the function above which makes canned noise of running water. So if you have to make some noise, (you know who you are!) you can conceal it with running water. Below is the flush mechanism; you wave your hand in front of the sensor and it flushes. That's pretty much the norm in modern bathrooms in this area.Photo: Network Promotion Osaka Train Station: This model was playing "janken poi" with the audience otherwise known as "rock paper scissors." The winners got super cool gifts. I made it to round three then was eliminated. Interestingly, nobody cheated!!!Photo: Shopping street downtown: This street is between a mile and a half to two miles long!Photo: Nippon Bashi: Entertainment District I loved this area! We first learned of this area on No Reservations, the travel show hosted by Anthony Bourdain, chef and all-around cool guy.Photo: Glico Logo: I fondly remember this logo from my childhood when I would scurry down the local corner shop with a 500 yen coin in my hand. Two minutes later I'd be stuffing my face with Japanese candy, many of them with the Glico runner logo on the package.Photo: The "main drag" walking street in Nippon Bashi. It's packed with 28 thousand restaurants!!!!!!!Photo: Photo: Octopus: It's What's for Dinner! Takoyaki originated in Osaka. Remember that, there's a test soon.Photo: One of the famous symbols of Osaka is this skinny clown, the logo for the amusement building behind him, (think giant arcade.)Photo: Fugu Balloon: There are a bunch of these restaurants around Osaka.Photo: I used the same stock photo for an event here in Yokosuka. Not that you really care..Photo: Cool "Oni" restaurant. Oni is devil in Japanese...Photo: Close up of Fugu...Photo: Many restaurant fixtures moved or were lit up. This one didn't move but looked cool.Photo: This giant chain is all over Osaka and also in Yokohama and I'm sure--Tokyo. Bourdain ate here so natch--we'll return later..Photo: Fugu LanternsPhoto: Another angle...Photo: Lanterns decorating temple tucked in alleyPhoto: This is awesome little shrine is for health. If you pray here you can cure yourself of what ails you. The moss covered statues have a barrel of water in front of them; after you pray, you splash water on them. It's one of the coolest temples that I've ever seen.Photo: More lanterns...Photo: Gate leading to the small temple. Mega thanks to my parents' friend, Takabe san. I'd NEVER have found this place with my guidebook. He led us right to it!Photo: Nearby Street.Photo: Nearby Street.Photo: Takabe comes here several times a month and I can see why: the staff rock! They are welcoming, friendly and the funniest gang ever! Here's the head chef with a recently deceased crab. He's removing raw meat from the shell.Photo: All the staff are wearing traditional, elevated, wooden "geta" shoes so they "clack clack" around while they cook and serve. So cool.Photo: Photo: I think we ate almost everything they had to offer courtesy of Takabe...Photo: Master!Photo: Super Fatty Delicious Tuna, Egg, and Salmon Roe, (Eggs) YUM! YUM! YUM!Photo: These mollusks are STILL alive!!!!Photo: Raw Crab on a bed of dykon..Photo: ThPhoto: Photo: Photo: Photo: The next day we went to the Aquarium cited by my guide book as the best in Japan.Photo: Photo: This guy was HUGE! Maybe five feet in length. Without flash.Photo: Photo: This gator seemed to just be floating in this funny position. I think his tail is resting on a branch but still--looks funny no?Photo: This cute little penguin just bobbed against the glass watching us. He was a curious little guy...Photo: Photo: Photo: This sea lion attacked the glass and tried to bite it...I think he's unhappy here:(Photo: Manta Ray. Florida boy wanted a photo of itPhoto: After the Aquarium we headed to a temple area south of downtown.Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: The fanciest cigarette receptacle I've ever seen...Photo: Four of these fellas were supporting a giant concrete urn.Photo: Cemetary.Photo: Photo: Photo: A very famous samurai is buried here after dying from complications from too much sake. It's said that when he died he prayed to the gods that his death would save other alcoholics. People come here to pray for themselves or family members and write their wishes on these wooden rice spoons.Photo: Old trinkets...Photo: A very cool old restaurant in an old entertainment district under the Osaka tower built after the war.Photo: Photo: Photo: This place has yakitori, (skewered meats and veggies,) that are then battered and fried like tempura. There's a communal dipping thing in front of you that you dip for flavor.Photo: Double dipping is prohibited but not policed.Photo: Facade of the restaurant. Man--super cool and retro inside!Photo: We ducked into a hole-in-the-wall next. There were a bunch of sauced-up locals holding up the bar, a sumo tournament on TV, and a very friendly master, (owner.) Turned out to be the same food as the last place but we did get yakitori tuna that was pretty yummy.Photo: We had a full conversation with the guy to Matt's left and the master. I don't know much except the sumo tournament was in Osaka that night. I wish I would have known--we're becoming huge fans!Photo: Photo: Photo: The master's wife took this for us. The signs behind us are entrees and prices. Kampai!!! (look it up.)Photo: The tower. This used to be a hugely popular landmark. I guess it was built after the war and was really tall for the time. Since then, it's become quite small. The feel of this area was downtown Vegas, or the Fremont St. Experience as it's referred to now. We dug it!Photo: Photo: We headed to our hotel to get our room key, watch the rest of the sumo tournament and get ready to hit the downtown area...Photo: Good photo Matt!Photo: Yup..he's a skate nerd.Photo: Okay! Pop Quiz! What food originated in Osaka?Photo: It's Takoyaki! Grilled balls of batter, cabbage, ginger and octopus, (contents vary...) topped with a sweet sauce, dried Bonito, (a fish,) flakes usually with a bottle of Kewpie mayo nearby...Photo: They are cheap, wonderful and DELISH!Photo: At this point, I've asked one of the cooks where the nearest Karaoke joint is. I meant that we'd go later but he dragged Matt across the street to help us get a room.Photo: Matt reluctantly heading to our karaoke room...Photo: Jess...getting down.Photo: I know what you're thinking: Matt NEVER does karaoke. Apparently, when you get him in a room with his wife and nobody else around, he LOVES it! Look at the passion! He was like that with every song!Photo: We hit a yakitori joint next. It was delicious..but any yakiotri is delish. Be it a sixty yen stick or a two hundred dollar stick---it's heaven.Photo: Heart. I don't know what animal but I always order "Hot-sue" from any place that has it. It's so yummy...Photo: Half-way through a nite of drinking and eating--Osaka style...Photo: Yay! I was reunited with my Glico logo again at a local arcade!Photo: Bourdain had these famous crab legs so naturally we had to come and eat them too. That's the most friendliest cook I've ever met. I would have ate there all night but at five bucks a pop, those little legs are takai!Photo: Photo: Photo: If this were Portugal, I'd never hand my camera to some guy on the street offering to take a photo. Welcome to Japan!Photo: His legs and eyes move!Photo: If you're thinking I look a little blitzed, well congratulations--you're right. This is our fifth restaurant and bar and I'm starting to feel the effects. Not that it stopped me from eating my share of this octopus and shrimp okonomiyaki.Photo: We happened to stumble across the moss statue temple again and this time it was midnight and there wasn't a soul around. What a stroke of luck! It was truly magical...Photo: I prayed and we splashed the guy.Photo: Matt tossing his water.Photo: Close up of one of the smaller statues.Photo: Beautiful!Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Small alleys behind the main entertainment walking street.Photo: The castle is great and the temples are all amazing but aside from the warm, honest, awesome Japanese--the most coolest thing about Japan are scenes like this one.Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: This particular alley had tiny torii gates along the bottom of the entranceways. I wonder if they have a lot of mice?Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Our last stop...thank god!Photo: Delicious tempura shitake mushroom.Photo: Every time I burp, I will fondly remember Osaka. Wait! That could be a really cool haiku... Everytime I burp I will fondly remember Osaka, Japan.