Before Buck & I left for our trip to Japan, we caught an episode of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations while he was visiting Osaka. The gist of the program showed Bourdain partying on a Friday night as everyone eats and drinks their way around central Osaka. It sounded like our kind of party!
Osaka is about a 20 minute train ride from Kyoto and since the opportunity arose to go there on a Friday, we jumped at the chance.
It's another bustling city and I soon took my place... following the tall white bald man down the narrow streets.
Did I mention the bikes? Yeah, bikes, bikes, bikes. I wanted one with a little basket in a bad way. I was getting tired of walking. We walked a long way from the train station to central Osaka. You know you're getting close as it gets noisier and noisier and soon the fun begins!
Of course, I first had to stop and shop when I discovered Tokyu Hands, a creative crafty store with loads of stuff I needed to purchase. There are several Tokyu Hands around Japan (I visited three), and I found the one in Osaka to have the best variety of crafty items.
But, after my shopping excursion, I needed some nourishment. First up were the octopus cakes. Not so much to my liking, but Buck enjoyed them. Then, the bbq crab claws. Yum. Yum. They take big king crab claws and heat them over a coal bbq. Trouble is you have to dig the crab meat out with your chopsticks. I wasn't very talented with that obstacle, so I decided on just digging the meat out with my fingers. No doubt doing so was a huge faux pas on my part, one of many that I committed.
Eating and drinking while walking in the streets of Japan is frowned upon, but sitting or standing to eat near where you purchased your food is completely okay. Oh, there are lots of contradictions in Japan. Such as, you're not supposed to blow your nose in public but hocking it up and spitting in the streets is perfectly acceptable. Eww. And, don't ever-- ever wipe the sweat off your brow or face with your bare hand. Oh no. You have to carry a special little washcloth to do so. They sell them everywhere and everyone carries one. I totally bought into this and purchased my own cute little towel to carry with me. With 99% humidity, it was a must!
I really enjoyed Osaka and liked the fact it was just a few minutes from Kyoto. I loved the big noodle bowls with pork. It took me a while to figure out how to order as you needed to purchase a ticket first from the vending machine, then hand it to the guy standing behind the counter in his rain boots ankle deep in soup.
And, while we were sitting there slurping our soup, a Japanese girl sat down across the table from us with her aunt. She asked us, in perfect English, where we were from. When we asked her where she was from, she replied "Oh, LA. I'm just here visiting family for the summer." How cool is that?
TIP-O-DAY: Carry little packages of tissue with you 'cause the toilets don't always have toilet paper and you don't always receive a napkin when you eat.