© 2010 notworkrelated - David Rutter & Helen Roscoe. All rights reserved. notworkrelated_Osaka2_25

Japan – Osaka 4th November

We woke up to another morning of blue skies and broad sunlight, funny that it all comes as you’re about to leave! We had the Hostel 64 breakfast which consisted of orange juice, some home-made bread, jam and coffee (for Helen) although it was okay it didn’t live up to some of the breakfasts we’ve been eating here in Japan.

We didn’t want to give ourselves too much to do today as the following morning we planned on making an early start with a train connection to Tianjin where we would leave on our slow boat to China. So with that in mind we picked up a usefully alternative guide to Osaka called the Osaka Field Trip, listing art and music venues along with cafe’s and various sights across the city. Had we been able to spend more time here this would have come in very handy indeed, but for one day we managed to pick out a few places of interest and started off with a local nearby park. The park was surrounded by tower blocks and busy roads but managed to carry a peaceful harmony, with many people taking a break on park benches, girls catching up with gossip and dog walkers taking some time out of work. The dog portraits certainly kept us entertained! We love to idle through these kind of spaces, with the flower gardens drawing in people from all around the local area, it’s great for a photo-opportunities. From here we set out towards the main river passing through Osaka and in search of somewhere to grab a cup of tea. We found an artsy complex next to the Museum of Art called Graf, although it was a cool place and the environment was really welcoming we didn’t particularly enjoy the sting of the cost of a cup of tea at around £7, it wasn’t your average cup of tea but we are supposed to be on some kind of budget here!!

So after this we set off in search of another cafe recommended in the guide called Coco, this one situated on the 2nd floor of a building block overlooked the park we had spent the morning in and had views of treetops, buildings and a crossing; somewhere you can watch the world and sky go by. Here Dave had a fabulous burger made freshly with pork mince, a Japanese style sauce and a fried egg on top, it looked pretty immense. For Helen though there were no veggie or fish options so she stuck to a milkshake and a piece of cake. Still it was a lovely little place, very quirky and attracted a pleasant bunch of customers.

From Coco we set off in the direction of Osaka castle via some the downtown shopping district Shinsaibashi. Here Helen found a Freshness Burger company, something we had enjoyed very much in Harajuku Tokyo, earlier in the month, so a veggie burger it was and then a walk into the mass of signs and shoppers. Already Christmas stands are setting up selling trees and decorations. Place all this in a centre with signs promoting beauty, food, clothes, DIY, supermarkets, sweets, bakeries and shoes it was a pretty intense place after our quiet experience of the park, but another side worth seeing if you make it to Osaka. It’s very different from walking around the tower block streets.

After purchasing some flip-flop socks for a bargain of £3 (perhaps the cheapest thing we have found whilst in Japan) we started the walk towards the castle. The route took us down backstreets with a mix of department stores, coffee shops, apartment blocks, older factory outlets, bridges, murals and busy traffic. We eventually found ourselves at the castle park situated in the centre of concrete and skyscrapers. It is very much separated off from all of this via a moat and does have land surrounding the grounds of the castle so you do manage to escape the busy streets. We didn’t go into the castle, instead deciding to photograph from the outside it’s bold structure and the people it attracted. We sat with an ice-cream in the sun, photographed and again watched the passers by.

We found a metro route back and got the first connection to our nearest tube stop. When we got back we loaded up another blog post, double checked our itinerary for the next day and decided we would try to find this Korean restaurant now we had got our bearings for the area. We managed to find the place around a 5 minute walk from Hostel 64, it was pretty small and cosy with only a few other customers in their having a post work feast. We still decided to give it a go as we had spent so long trying to find it the night before, the menu was all in Japanese with pictures but you couldn’t really make out what the meat was. He described a few things to us by making actions and sounds of a cow and pointing to his stomach, alarm bells should have been ringing by this point but we found some tofu and Dave went for a meaty looking dish. The beer was cheap and the company was good so it kind of shadowed the fact that Dave’s dish did in fact contain cow’s stomach or tripe as we call it back home. It was petty tough and chewy and he managed about 5 pieces before giving the rest a miss! Helen’s was a tofu dish with bacon on top, so off came the bacon and she managed to get through the rest. We did however have a great pancake dish with vegetables and squid and the owner brought out a few drinks on the house. It was definitely a food experience not worth repeating but all part of the fun that we’ve had in trying different foods whilst in Japan.

On our way home and a little giddy on booze we got our boat money out of an ATM at a nearby 7/11 store, some cheeky pudding and then went back to get ready for an early start the next day. What a time we’ve had in Japan. It’s been tough on a budget but it really has been an experience worth while with the variety of what we have seen, experienced, eaten and photographed.

We’re a little excited and nervous about the two day boat journey to Tianjin but there is a sense of adventure as we embark on the next stage of our trip to China.

(Leica M9, Summicron-M 50mm f2.0 & Olympus PEN, 17mm f2.8 & 100mm f2.8, processed in Lightroom 3)

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  1. Posted 28 Nov ’10 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    good to see a variety of high qulaity photos reflrcting japamese culture and landscape

  2. Rob
    Posted 11 Dec ’10 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Haha – I love the way the guy in the advert behind the two chaps giving the thumbs/beer up is doing the same thing! Quality stuff!

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