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Sunday, July 2, 2023

Osakathe food capital of Japan

Osaka is the city Tessa never gets a chance to discover as an adult because she gets into trouble while there. I signed up for a half-day tour and was told to get off at Namba station, walk a bit, and meet up with the rest of the group. There were about 15 of us. I could tell that the tour guide really loved his job as he patiently tried to answer everyone’s questions.

Our guide was telling us that there is a “Hello Kitty.” Bullet train. Many grownups are into the whole Hello Kitty character. It’s not my kind of a thing, but if you have kids, they may enjoy it.
Fugu, the pricy and poisonous puffer fish, was discussed as well and how people have died eating it because they didn’t prepare it correctly. In Japan, only licensed chefs are allowed to prepare Fugu.
Osaka has various mascots, but Billiken is their original mascot. Rubbing his feet is supposed to bring you good luck. There is a whole bizarre history behind this weird looking character which I will not get into here. To learn more, you can always google it. But briefly, dating back to the early 1900s, it was created and patented by a clever art teacher named Florence Pretz from Kansas City, Missouri. In the U.S., many people kept these figures around for luck. The figure became popular in Alaska before it made it into the Japanese culture as “The God of things as they ought to be.” I’m not a superstitious person, so I’m not sure what to think of this. I’m still trying to figure out why in the U.S., in this day and age, buildings lack 13th floors and why street names skip the number 13.
Tsūtenkaku tower in Osaka
A landmark in Osaka inspired by the Eiffel Tower and sponsored by Hitachi. It has several observation decks, eateries, souvenir and sweets shops, a manga exhibit, and an area dedicated to the history of the tower.
The Shinsekai area
where I bought a baked sweet potato. I’m not a fan of sweet potato, but when in Japan, you have to try it. It’s so much better than how we make it in the U.S. The Japanese really know how to bake it right. Yummm…
Dotonbori is full of stores, bars clubs, and restaurants. This is where Toshiro gets blitz at a bar because he is mad at Tessa for ghosting him.

The famous Glico Running Man is a landmark and an ad for a confectionary company. Tourists stand under it and try to imitate the running man.
This lady who was part of our group was a good sport about it, and volunteered to emulate the running man.
Once the tour was over, I took the subway to the Osaka Castle.


There is a bit of a walk before reaching the castle. The landscape is pretty.

And along the way, a small indoor area with shops and eateries invites visitors. I bought these chopsticks at one of the shops. It has my name in Japanese etched on it. I think I bought about 13 pairs of these for my family and friends with their names on each. Everyone really liked it. Although, compared to Chinese chopsticks, I find it harder to eat with these.
These kids were so so cute on a school excursion, and I loved their uniforms. So, I filmed them.
The Umeda Sky building – cross elevators and a bridge connect the two towers. Besides the observatory and a Floating Garden, there are offices on other floors.

There were a lot of teens and twenty-year-old couples visiting this place. Apparently, it’s a popular place for a date night. It was a busy Friday night and difficult to get a good shot. The open-air deck was under repair and closed to the public when I was there. Had it been open, I would have had a more enjoyable experience.
By far, one of the most unique experiences that I had was to visit The Osaka Museum of Housing and Living.

Located in a local area, this place was a bit difficult to find. Even my Japanese Taxi driver had a hard time pointing me in the right direction. It was raining outside which added to the dramatic aura of this museum.

On the day of my visit, the visitors were mostly Asians. I think I was the only non-Asian there, and the staff seemed amused that I took an interest in this place. This museum takes you back in time to the Edo period – How people lived, what they wore, what the streets were like. The set up, lets you walk through it as though you’re living in that time period. The lighting and scenes change to show visitors different conditions at that point in time. What was interesting was that towns had curfews and the gates would shut down at a certain time.

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