Sunday, 10 April 2016

Osaka: desultory wanderings

Long time, no blog! This post will go up in the past, as though I hadn't failed to write anything for two months. Sorry, I've been busy with, you know, life stuff.

So on arriving in Osaka, and between checking out of my hotel and getting the train on Sunday, I kind of wandered around in that area not doing much. You know those awkward blocks of time - not really enough to go anywhere else and do things, yet too long to do nothing?

So here for your delectation are just some generic photos of Osaka. Luckily, the area I was in is a relatively interesting one where lots of tourists like to go - largely because it's full of shops.

By popular request, here is the map and here is the Google Drive!

Dotonbori Street

This is a restaurant district, notable for the huge signs in the shape of foodstuffs.

We crossed over a huge crossroads into a shopping district. The tall buildings and enormous billboards give it (to me) a distinctive Japanese feel.

Here we see the importance, even for Japanese people, of learning to correctly use katakana. Simple mistakes can result in meanings quite different from what you intended. I leave the juvenile humour as an exercise for the gentle reader.

I find using the panorama function on tall buildings both fascinating and alarming.

I find this building oddly appealing, especially with the deepening twilight. It's also notable for being partly brick, which is really rare.

Normally I find the concrete globs unappealing, but in the lighting conditions here they briefly showed a touch of charm. The red thing is not a spaceship, but apparently some kind of ferris wheel.

When I got back to my hotel, there was a robot. I didn't dare to interact with it. Not sure if it's telepresence (there's some kind of conference going on) or a robotic receptionist.

I have to admit, cities do look cool at night.

With some difficulty, I managed to secure a meal with vegetables in it! This is the vegetable beef bowl from Yoshinoya, which I had a few times on this trip. Mmm, vegetables.


  1. Last week I arrived in Bucheon, a city sandwiched between Seoul and Incheon, where I'll be for the next two months. Walking around the streets reminds me how much more interesting East Asian cities are than those in the US and the UK where I've most recently lived. It makes me want to try to get a job teaching English in Japan.

    1. Oh, nice! I think it varies, to be honest - I think there's more mixed use, which stops things getting too monotonous, but I must confess the residential district of Fukuoka where I first stayed felt pretty dull after six months.

      I think the big difference is probably that there's less (identifiable to me, at least) architectural range? I'm used to UK cities where, in a city that's considered non-historic, you might reasonably see buildings stretching over 300 years and ranging from gothic to neoclassical to Victorian brick to georgian to modern. Because a lot of Japanese building is post-60s, I find it has a tendency to look like varieties on tall lump of concrete. The residential areas, for me, weren't hugely more interesting than the housing estate where I grew up.

      I think shopping districts are probably more interesting, although again a lot of UK city streets are interesting above the ground floor.

      You could definitely get a job in Japan, given your experience. I'd heartily recommend learning Japanese though.

  2. Those bastards took down the Kirin Building (that all-white, luminous tower that definitely put a stamp on the Shinsaibashi district) so as far as I'm concerned, all that's left is kitsch—the fucking Kani and the hot dog and all that other crap that you nailed so perfectly in your photos.

    Trust the Japanese to Disneyfy everything—you can expect Hello Kitty to come roaring in our some stupid Lucky Cat towering over the entire Dotonbori bridge with that eternal waving arm.