Saturday, March 18, 2017

Asia Mega Tour II - Osaka...Another Side Of Japan

For reasons that made total sense at the time I did our planning but which in the cold hard light of actual experience didn't really make much sense at all, I scheduled us in an apartment (Airbnb) in Osaka, Japan's second largest city for one day and two nights at the end of this, the first part of our adventure. The reasoning was I wanted to get a sense of a different part of Japan - Osaka known as a working place, not a tourist place, and I was looking for a place we could do laundry (not realizing almost all the hotels we're staying in Japan have laundry facilities). 

I didn't do a whole lot of research on Osaka in choosing our apartment. I thought I was getting one close to the main station when in fact I got one close to a secondary station on a separate rail company's line (Japan has its main rail system, Japan Rail, but it also has a number of private rail lines that cover all kinds of parts of the country.

So as fate would have it we ended up staying in the Namba/Nipponbushi area of Osaka which turns out to be and I quote:

"Osaka Nippombashi is one of the major electrical shop streets in Japan, and is also famous for being a hotspot for unique pop culture in Japan including animation, comics and games. Lined with large and small shops of various genres selling figures, toys, plastic models, robots and costumes as well as maid caf├ęs, crowded with pop culture aficionados called otaku (nerds)."

 This led to us having an experience we would otherwise never have had. We also had the very good fortune to only be blocks from Kuromon Ichiba Market which is and I quote:

"From professional cooks at high class restaurants to taste-sensitive Osaka common folk, this “treasure house of food” has satisfied every palate with ingredients rigorously selected from all over Japan. There are more than 40 fish stores and also many eateries in the energetic market, so you can eat while strolling."

 This good fortune led to the best gastronomic experience I had during our two weeks in Japan.

Our Apartment Building

View from our apartment (for a detail on the look of the apartment got to Wife's blog here)
Apartment rules in Haiku or at least some kind of poetry form

Into the Kuromon Market
OMG what a food find.

If you're not careful there are predators who will get you in this market
Then we came across this place.
We didn't understand all the English until I checked out what Nipponbushi was after we'd been there.
Tourists of a certain age come here from all over the world.

After all my frustrations with the overly fishy/sweet sauce to try something with just soy and butter with scallops the size of a salad plate was too tempting to pass up

The guy doing the cooking really knew his shit and they were totally delicious

I came back the next morning and got some wonderful sashimi and some fresh uni (sea urchin) sushi for breakfast and scored some fresh steamed oysters - five big ones for $4.50.

Then it was on to the incredible cacophony that is the pop culture of this area

Oops more gastronomy. 
We were walking around and we saw...
So of course we had to try it.
Not as good as Amsterdam but way better than Helsinki

Then of course there is the whole 'maid' pheonomena
There are maid bar/restaurants where the wait staff is all dressed up
And of course you can buy costumes for your heart's desire.

I offered to get one for Wife but she politely demurred...
...Actually I think she threatened to take off a limb if I did. 

A place we passed each time we left the apartment to go to the main are that we never stopped at but wish we did.

And finally, no post is complete without SIGNS OF THE WORLD

I believe this is a clinic that specializes in the remedying of people with red dot problems
At least if you are willing to lie down in next to a car?


alexis said...

I cannot believe you guys didn't go to a maid cafe!!!!!!! That is like one of the most quintessential experiences you can have there. If our kids had been older I would have totally done it.

Renee Michelle Goertzen said...

Red dot problems are severely underdiagnosed worldwide.