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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Japan Day 2

With Nick bed ridden with his sore back, the kids and I had a day of exploring to do.  On your marks...get set.....GO!
Firstly I had to go and stock Nick up with some food.  Supermarkets in the Namba area were quite hard to come by.  I assume they are mostly out in the burbs.  I ended up heading to the food hall of the Takashimaya shopping centre.
Have you ever seen more perfect strawberries?  Fruit was very expensive, probably seemed more so for me as it is so cheap here in Vietnam.  This packet of strawberries was about $10
Takashimaya Food Hall....thats right.....calling it a food court would be doing it an like the David Jones Food court on steroids.
I was absolutely overwhelmed with choices.  All of it appearing to be the best of the best.

I'm not went on for what seemed like forever.  I could have gotten lost down there for hours and hours, and loved every second.
So with Nick stocked up for the day it was time to hit the rails again.
Absolute crazy fun.  The kids were fine with it all.  It is worth noting that all train tickets that you buy are one way only.  You place it through the machine upon entering the line required and it pops out the other end.  You collect it and upon arrival it goes through the exit machine which keeps it.  About 7 stops  and one line/train change later we arrived at Kaiykan Osaka Aquaruim.

I was able to buy our Aquarium tickets from the hotel in a package deal that included my train ticket and entrance fee.  The kids rode the rails for free as anyone younger than pre-school is not charged.

They had a whale shark!

For some bizarre reason I really love jellyfish.  These ones were amazing!

So in a nutshell the Aquarium was easy.  Even though it was huge you get a big escalator to the top and then just wind your way down with signs all of the way.  It was pretty crowded and we were there mid week so I can imagine it would be crazy busy on the weekend.

Ok so now you will really think I am nuts.  One of my favourite things to do in a new country is to wander around the supermarket! I found one between the aquarium and the train station.  Stocked up on some more fruit for the kids at a much more reasonable price.

THIS is one of the reasons I loved Japan.  Living it Vietnam has its challenges and one of them is that the concept of a queue or even personal space for that matter is non existent.  If you are not climbing keep to the right.....EVERYONE follows this simple and highly effective rule.

After a rest back at the hotel it was time to hit the streets for the evening.  Nick was feeling a bit better so we rugged up and headed for Shinsaibashi, which was about a 10 minute walk.

Billed as Osaka's "premiere" shopping arcade it is a real mix of trendy boutiques and long established shops.  Off to the sides, the streets are jammed full of restaurants.

It is totally covered down the middle and seems to go on for kilometres.

New hat for Nick....Check!

Keep going and you hit Dotonbori.  It runs parallel to the canal,   between the Dōtonboribashi Bridge and the Nipponbashi Bridge.  This is a great place to experience the bright lights and neon signs that flash away all night.  Aparently it used to be the former pleasure district!
There were a few must do/eat things on my list this trip and this was one of them.  All over the city you will find these Takoyaki shops.  Takoyaki is literally fried or grilled octopus. It is a dumpling with more of a savoury  pancake like taste cooked in the special takoyaki pan.  It is typically filled with diced octopus, tempura scraps, pickled ginger and green onion.  These days you also see it smothered in takoyaki sauce, mayonnaise and  katsubushi (shaving of dried bonito).  I will post some more photos later as I became quite obsessed with it!

The Glico man is also very famous in the area.  From what I can gather it is a sweets company.

Such an amazing atmosphere.  It was all happening.  People everywhere, fashion to boggle the mind and restaurants beckoning.

Don't forget the giant crab!  Yet another landmark, it sits atop a very famous crab restaurant (go figure). And yes my Vietnamese friends...thats Lotteria in the background....YUK!

It's really wonderful watching them make the Takoyaki.  Deft fingers twist chopsticks at the speed of light.

It was fun to just wander off into a side street.  Never knowing what you might discover.

But enough of the wondering, it was time for food...and sake.  She honestly bought me these three as a choice, totally believing that I knew what I was doing.  Eenee...meenee...mineee.....

MO! it was a Japanese Italian place...but my GOD did they do an awesome pizza.

The staff were wonderful with the kids as well.  They all came out to give us bread and wave us goodbye.  The kids LOVED it and made us promise to come back again.

So we headed home with full bellies but not before I squeezed one more thing in.  This place was on the corner near the hotel and it had been screaming out for me to eat there.  This is Okonomiyiki.  It's a savoury pancake and can be filled with all sorts of things.  It is said to have originated in Osaka and boy is it delicious!  It's kind of like a cross between a pancake and an omelette.
So...that was day 2 done and dusted.  The kids did me proud as we had done a lot of walking and they were fantastic little travellers.  We all fell into bed wondering what tomorrow would bring.


  1. Hubby loves takoyaki! He'll be envious when he sees this! I'm sure those are waaaay more delicious than the one they sell at Parkson Paragon food court. :p

  2. This is just the MOST incredible tour - LOVING all the details, how the kids are drawn into photos (esp that wedding couple on day 3!). Loving Nick's new hat - REALLY spooky as Ian bought an identical one (a little lighter in colour) in Kyoto, and I also bought one!!


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