Wednesday, 23 October 2013

osaka part 2: big wheels, purikura and jellyfish

We spent the rest our afternoon in Minami, which is packed with shops, arcades, cafes and garish street signs. This particular one in Dotonbori is called the Gilco Man, and is apparently a famous sight - thanks for the tip-off Hana! He's been around since 1935 and is altered for various events like the World Cup and to support the Osaka Baseball team, the Hanshin Tigers. 


We browsed some exquisitely named shops... and of course, we couldn't leave without a purikura session. 

G proved to be a complete natural. 

As evening fell we decided to make our way to another Osaka date spot, the Tempozan Giant Ferris wheel. On our way we passed a pragmatic approach to a common problem: when I bought my iPhone I found the camera shutter sound couldn't be disabled, apparently because men like to take pictures under women's skirts on the tube...

In between bouts of paralysing fear, the view was pretty nice. 

Back in Kita, after more wandering through stations and tunnels, we found an awesome place to eat an Osaka speciality, okonomiyaki (basically an awesome omelette stuffed with octopus, bacon, cabbage, and topped with cheese and barbecue sauce). 

We passed the time by watching the salarymen around us get more and more smashed, having consumed about two beers apiece. The tube ride was just as entertaining as we watched the normally staid, suited gentlemen help each other on and off the train, with red faces and untucked shirts (this was a Monday night...) 

Having a slightly higher alcohol tolerance, however, we started out bright and early the next morning for Osaka Aquarium back in Tempozan, supposedly one of the best in the world. Amid many shrieks of Kawaiiiiii, we spent hours winding through tropical fish, otters, sea lions, crabs, and just about every sea creature you can think of. 

 If you're in Osaka, it's definitely worth spending half a day there. 

My favourites had to be jellyfish - they were absolutely beautiful and made me wish I could use watercolours. Kind of hoping they somehow come into vogue like owls - just me?

Although these buddies come a close second. ^^ 

Naturally there were llamas outside. They are EVERYWHERE in Japan (so if anyone fancied a Pepe of their own, give me a buzz). 

Our accommodation for the night was somewhat unique. Two minutes away from Namba station, it hasn't changed since the 70s and has been made accessible for travellers on airbnb by the owner's son.  

Apart from the dust and peeling wallpaper, it was amazing fun to stay in.

Minami was even more fun at night and the streets were bustling with girls dressed to the nines, businessmen accompanied by older women shuffling in kimono and tabi, salesmen, vendors and tourists. We found a quiet corner to sample sushi and sake. 

I was pleasantly surprised by a Osaka, having been given to believe that it's a bleak urban  sprawl. Instead, I found an trendy, vibrant city and brilliantly pushy, busy, no-nonsense locals. If you're in need of good food, shopping and nightlife, it's the perfect way to see the less traditional aspects of Japan. 

No comments:

Post a Comment