In many ways, Osaka's cityscape can be said to be much like Tokyo's. Like Tokyo, Osaka is a coastal city that does not seem like one; and, like Tokyo, much, if not all, of the old city was destroyed during the last world war, making space for gleaming new high-rises and fancy shopping centres. Yet somehow, the two are not the same at all. Maybe it was all the neon, or maybe it was just in the more laid-back attitude that seemed to roll of those living there, but to me, Osaka just seemed to beat with this incredibly addicting pulse that Tokyo lacked. It was basically everything I expected a modern Japanese city to be - and more.
|One of said gaming parlours. These establishments can be found in numbers on nearly every shopping street in Osaka, and they always seem to contain players of every conceivable age range.|
If Osaka is famous for one thing over anything else, it is food - and boy does Osaka do food! (And here is where all those who know me are nodding in sudden comprehension of my love for this city - okay, so I'll admit, the food may have had something to do with it, but it wasn't only the food, I swear!). Osaka also doesn't just do food, it does it in both quality and quantity - lots of quantity. With entire areas of the city seemingly dedicated to nothing else, I, who am rarely ever full, managed to happily achieve that distinction and more.
|Trademark Osaka Takoyaki - battered octopus balls. I've loved these since I first tried them in Taiwan. Osaka is said to have the best. There is an entire restaurant-museum dedicated to these in the Odaiba area of Tokyo.|
A Lively shopping district during the day, the Minami area, comprised of Shinshabashi and Namba seems to really come alive at night. In the Shimbashi area to the north of the Yodo River, small exclusive looking bars and clubs are the name of the day (er... night.), while to the south in Dotombori and Namba, it's food, food and more food. I was lucky enough to head out this way on my first night in search of a late dinner and, although it was a Monday, by 10 or 11pm both areas were full of life in the form of the young and eccentrically dressed - fashion in Osaka is taken seriously (I had and old man look at me disparagingly for having such insufficient fashion sense that I was wearing slightly flared jeans in this day and age) and the aim seems to be to look unique. I can't even begin to describe the results of this drive, but it was one of the things that I loved about the city.
|One of the food filled streets in Osaka's Namba-Dotonbori District. I think this is how I imagine heaven.|