get hot communication (backlog flush #71 and travelog of osaka)travel

March 20, 2008

Travelog of the Moment
Today I took trains to Osaka, third largest city of Japan. Osaka is know for its cuisine, its dialect Osaka-ben (confession: it all sounded like Japanese to me), and the easy-going nature of its people. Scheduled to be in Tokyo, I was worried I didn't have enough time, and while a daytrip is never enough to really take in a city, I got to hit the major things Josh suggested.

So, like I was saying, the Japanese love their umbrellas. Here's a "lock it and leave it" stand for them that wasn't uncommon.

I just like the 70s computer font used on this part of the hotel elevator.

Here I just like the bold colors of the beer billboard. Funny that it's "emerald" and the main color is such a bold blue...

Osaka-Jo is the main castle...

It's surrounded by a large moat with high walls. But what I like in this photo is how the walls seem to be floating above the water...

View of the main tower. Crows circling above.

View from the top of the tower. There are museum exhibits inside, including some popular ones where they project movies of people in period costume acting out scenes of the place's construction onto miniature dioramas (no pictures allowed, though)

Little bird way up high.

I don't read much Japanese, but I'm pretty sure this is says: "WARNING: Bond Foe 'Odd Job' in Area!"

One of my favorite snacks, Calamari from a stick out side the castle.

Another view of the outer walls. Josh points out the building in the background looks like the I.M.Pei building in Boston.

Walking to the train station, by a live plant market. I like the color of the girl's raincoat in this photo, it really "pops".

It's not as distinct in this photo but the whole side of this building is an electronic billboard...

America-Mura is a bit of a "Chinatown" but for America. Lots of T-shirt shops with Western music blaring, and the youth culture was strong there.

It also had these interesting sculptures for advertising and maybe light. Also, cameras.

Sexy Dynamite baby!

So this is Lupin the 2nd. "Lupin the 3rd" is a famous anime character. This sign suggests
Please enjoy the best clammy mat play
that can be tasted only
by 'Genuine service' that not is in daily life.
I didn't know what that was but instincts told me to steer clear...

I had another SUPER TASTY thing from a vendor, some kind of soba sandwich/taco on that styrofoam-like pink stuff you sometimes see at chinese restaurants. It was a delicious messy wonder.

So I thought I learned something about the classic Japanese R/L mixup. Josh says you enter Kanji into a phone by typing it in phonetically, and then the phone offers the kanji choices... if that's how they handle their own language, and they don't really distinguish Ls from Rs, I can see why it makes it into various signage...

Cutest. Truck. Ever.

From there to the Dotombori district... a gourmet's paradise, and not so bad for me either!

Famous crab restaurant sign.

Josh's wife Tomomi confirms this little robot drummer clown guy is a real landmark. Lots of people were having their picture taken.

Dotombori had more of those covered plazas, and was really vibrant with life and energy and people. (In part because it was just after lunch hour.)

A video! I just liked this little animated video outside a restaurant there:

Bic Camera had pachinko in the basement, which had this invocation written all over the place:

Outside another pachinko parlor, signs saying you must be over 18, and don't bring in your kids. The cartoon guy is made of pachninko balls.
Did I talk about Pachinko? Very popular here, parlors everywhere. (Many owned by Koreans, which is generating some bad feeling.) It's a roulette like game using steel balls and a modicum of skill. Gambling for money is officially prohibited so you get small prizes (lighters etc) which can then be exchanged for cash at nearby shops (just outside the designated minimum area.)

Interesting fluorescent light arrangement.

What's that, on top of the "Hep 5" building? A ferris wheel??

So of course I had to try that. View of the city and the railyards I'd be on shortly thereafter.

Coke vs Pepsi, Pepsi vs Coke.

Round1 bowling! (bad photo though, I was trying to get the text so I missed the bowling pin on top.) The first part tells you it's not about winning and losing and then
Do you like bowling?
Lets play bowling
Breaking down the pins
and get hot communication

Structure of the ferris wheel, looking down.

More names you might not see in the USA, this one for yet another underground shopping area:

It had a little clockwork blimp model inside. With a digital clock. (Kind of interesting, that Yokohama ferris wheel with a digitial clock had one of its light patterns look a bit like an analog clock. It's funny to see visual references to both digital and analog timekeeping together.

At the Shin-Osaka trainstation.... Mannekan is a stand to get tasty belgian waffles, and yes, the figure is Manneken Pis, the statue of the peeing german boy.

This was kind of a creepy thing to be looking at the whole ride back to Tokyo.

For a while I was thinking most bikes were left unlocked in Japan, but on the walk back to their apartment Josh pointed out the small clamp lock on the back wheel. Also cities have official guys who will shuffle parked bikes around, and leave paper slips if your bike is badly placed, and you might well find it taken away if you leave it in a bad spot.