Sunday, 18 September 2011

Intro to Osaka- eat until you drop!

We arrived in Osaka around 12pm on Saturday morning happy in the knowledge that we had 5 days break from school and no where to be. We had taken a very relaxed and pleasant flight from Gimhae airport to Kansai and then hopped on a fast train into Osaka central. The train journey was very smooth and I was surprised by the endless houses and bicycles. It was striking how different Korea and Japan really are. A train in Korea would reveal green mountain after green mountain followed by a flurry of very similar purpose built apartment buildings, the tell tale sign of a rapidly developed country.... followed by mountain after mountain. Perhaps a small farm or temple in amongst.

Japan however seemed to have a sprinkling of suburbs, much like England. Smaller communities steadily joined together as they roll into one huge area of the wider city. But still there were more and more bicycles, each one shiny and new, lovingly ridden by their owners and carefully stored in little sheds or porches.

After arriving in Osaka, we walked from Namba train station up the incredible covered shopping street Shinsaibashi. There were ridiculous shops filled with bright displays, elegant and funky fashion, chunky boyish boots and expensive gourmet cakes. It was a feast for the eyes!

Osaka is famously the city to visit if you want to eat until you drop! I am not in the least surprised. Walking through the wide busy streets, it became apparent that food was very important in this place.  A hot spot for in-your-face food, literally. You couldn't possible just walk by some of the restaurants in this city. They had humongous artistic displays protruding out the face of the building. There were boats, dragons, angry looking chefs, crabs, and the famous Osaka octopus!

On that afternoon we were so overwhelmed we didn't really know where to start! We were pretty taken aback by the tourist prices, it certainly was not cheap. On a positive note there were no annoying scouts pestering tourists, you could wander around at your leisure and choose a restaurant based on merit, price or artistic force! We wandered though some of the back streets and lanes, and were struck by the sheer volume of Italian restaurants, coffee shops and continental cuisine.

We could have taken our pick of classy cake joints or pasta. We settled for a tiny cafe style self serve cafeteria, mainly because we were on a budget and didn't want to blow all our money on our first meal. The food was still delicious and the women were incredibly friendly and helpful. They were a couple of the only people we spoke to who didn't speak English, however they made every effort to ensure we were comfortable.


Miso soup, cold noodle salad

So with full bellies we set off to explore the streets, before the England v Argentina rugby game.... but that is for another time.

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