Saturday, October 20, 2007

Japan Day 1: Shinsaibashi, Namba, Umeda

Look at this: A full week after I get back from Japan I'm finally getting around to writing about it. What can I say? It's been a busy week. And I've actually got more than just Japan to catch up on as it is. And more busyness coming up. Fall is definitely my favorite time of year.

Anyway, I spent my first couple days in Japan seeing Osaka, which is where Stephanie lived (she's just come back to the States). The first day she showed me around Shinsaibashi, Namba, and Umeda . . . all places where there is an insane amount of shopping. I've honestly never seen so many stores or malls in my life as I saw in two weeks in Japan.

I'm not a fan of malls, even if they are in other countries. I think they're boring and I like to be outdoors, mostly. But pedestrian streets, like the one we walked down in Namba, I can totally get behind. Particularly the kind where the restaurants have great big 3-d signs telling you what they're specialty is.

Although I can assure you that blowfish is one of those things I've never felt the slightest urge to try. The blowfish sign, however, was trumped by the giant crab with the moving legs.

I don't eat crab either, but I'm all for signs that move. Of course the best sign didn't provide much visual stimulation at all but instead my first example of Engrish on one delightful banner. I'm not sure what the "Masturbation room of oncoming generation" is, but it is "abundant in software agreeable space."

After Shinsaibashi and Namba we went to a mall called Hep-5 in Umeda because it has a giant ferris wheel on its roof and who doesn't like a giant ferris wheel? Well, actually, I know a lot of people who don't. But I'm not one of them. We hung around Starbucks until it got dark and then up we went, allowing me a great aerial view of Osaka.

We had dinner at the Wara Wara (a chain) near Stephanie's apartment, which is an izakaya. I'm a fussy eater and don't eat any fish so these places where you order lots of small dishes for the table to share wound up totally being my favorite places to eat while I was visiting. And the menus with pictures and English didn't hurt either.

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