{Shaun in Japan}

Shaun in Japan Blog | Created By Www.BestTheme.Net

Last day in Osaka, Kansai trip part 4

Posted by Shaun

We weren't totally sure where to go for our last day in Osaka, so we turned to my Japanese guide map again (so glad my reading ability has improved to the point that I could skim that thing. It was way more helpful than English resources that came to hand). We ended up picking two interesting looking areas, Tennouji and Nanba, to explore.

First, Tennouji. Tennouji ends in the kanji for temple, but we couldn't find one anywhere. We did find a park with a nice Japanese garden and a zoo (we didn't go because it was rainy and the surrounding park was depressing enough).

Outside Tennouji station

The park outside Tennouji Zoo. Check out that lion's pathetic face.

As cool as it was that there were flowers on these zebras...

Look at those eyes.

Not at all sure what this hippo was supposed to be doing.

I'm not sure what the history behind this tower is (Japanese guide book) but we needed to take a picture with it.

In the Japanese garden.

More Japanese garden.
We found ourselves wandering out of the Tennouji Park area and into Shinsekai. I've never felt so awkward in Japan as I did in Shinsekai. There were people everywhere trying to lure us into their restaurants, to the point where we couldn't make a decision, and one guy even grabbed Laura's arm to get her attention. Then when we finally got to the restaurant where we tried kushi-katsu (fried stuff on skewers), one of Osaka's meibutsu (famous foods), we were stared at the whole time and our waiter forced us to read an English menu and waited at our table until we ordered instead of giving us time to think it over. I had to go to the bathroom at one point, and apparently everyone made Laura feel really uncomfortable while I was gone too. I'm not sure why, but there was a seriously uncomfortable atmosphere. Then after we paid, one of the waiters followed us out of the restaurant calling Laura's name and said something about her Waseda sweatshirt, and we don't know how that guy knew her name. It was super-creepy. We came, we tried kushi-katsu, and we booked it out of there.

 Even though Billikens are not at all Japanese, they're all over Shinsekai (and the rest of Osaka to a lesser extent. Somehow the idea of an imaginary god who will grant any kind of wish if you rub his feet really caught on here).

Me with Kushi-tan, the mascot for kushi-katsu. His sash says "double-dipping in the sauce is prohibited!"
 When you eat kushi-katsu (I was too hungry and awkward to take a picture) you have a big tub of sauce and a big tub of cabbage leaves. If you don't get enough sauce on your first dip, you have to use the cabbage leaves to pick up the sauce.

More Shinsekai pictures:

I'm not sure if this sign was supposed to be like this or not.
After we left Shinseikai in a wave of discomfort and confusion, we headed to Namba and Shinsaibashi, which is basically back in the same area as Dotonbori. We walked around the mall in Shinsaibashi, where Laura bought a really cute shirt and I bought a dress for 315 yen and we found a candy store that had 55 yen water bottles, so we stocked up for the next days bus ride. We also finally found another famous landmark of Dotonbori, the Glico running man sign (it was hiding behind a wall the first night we were there), and I ate some takoyaki. That was basically the last night in Osaka. We found a place to eat in Umeda, but I forgot my camera so I couldn't take any pictures there. It was interesting though, because you did all of your own ordering on a touch screen computer. It was super convenient. No one was staring at you waiting for you to make a decision (Ahem, kushi-katsu place, you could learn a thing or two). I had yakisoba and an avocado-sashimi salad and I decided to flaunt my ability to order alcohol and try kiwi-peach sangria. If Laura hadn't owed me for her portion of the kushi-katsu, it would have been an expensive dinner (stupid sangria). But the computer thing was really cool.

The Glico man! Finally.

Dotonbori canal

Shinsaibashi shopping mall


Looking up at the Umeda Sky Building, where we caught our bus home to Tokyo
The whole trip was a lot of fun, and I think that if I moved to Japan in the future, I'd want to live either somewhere in Kansai or somewhere like Minakami. It's a cliched line, but Tokyo is not the real Japan, and it's important to go lots of places and see that. I was able to come back to Tokyo feeling refreshed this time instead of trapped, and that was a really good thing.

4 Responses so far.

  1. momo says:

    Hi.Nice to meet you.
    I'm a Japanese 18 girl.
    I live in Saitama near the Tokyo.
    Mar. 21 I went to Osaka for the first time.
    Shinsekai and Doutonbori were so strange places.
    The day when I arrived there, most of stores was closed due to the regular holiday.
    But I thought that places is different from Tokyo's ones.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The reason why Osaka is different from other areas in Japan is that Osaka has the largest population of Korean ethnic.

  3. okumura says:

    Tennoji is named after Shitennouji temple which is about 1/4 miles north from Tennoji station. It is very nice temple to see. You missed it!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Shinsekai is merely a tourist place today and actually pretty safe, tho, some part of the district is still dangerous even for Osaka natives - it is a ghetto with a bunch of drug addicts who never works - relying on food stamps, stealing things, etc. Osaka is kinda bizzare and not-so-sophisticated town (people are friendly and things are cheap, tho). Still, it is cool to visit these dark sides of Japan. Well, Japan is still one of the safest and nicest country in the world. You will never get screwed or cheated anyway. Hope you enjoyed there. I miss Japan.

Leave a Reply