Osaka, walking every step of the way.

We woke up very early at 6:30 am, getting slowly ready (but still very very excitedly) and thinking where we would get breakfast. We were very happy to drop all our bags and just brought with the us essentials like tablets to orientate and water. We decided to go to Namba station, the underground and commercial center was so big that even so early I was sure that we would have found something.

While walking to the metro around 7:30 am, we saw an old guy playing golf inside his own messy car garage with a could see at least 20 balls of golf. It is so incredible to see random unexpected things in Japan like a man with his doggy walking around, both with sun glasses on, human and dog alike!!!!

Unfortunately the metro confused us again, and instead of getting out at Namba we got out at Umeda, but we realized well after breakfast in a “Japanese Bakery” in the underground metro. The Bakery had so many weird and unknown products, and an incredible and delicious smell of garlic all around, the girl at the counter didn’t speak one word of English and the funny thing was that she wasn’t understanding the word “milk” but she got perfectly right the word “latte”. So when in Japan and talking about coffee stuff, just speak Italian!!!! (Figen disappointedly got one coffee without latte, but she got the best bakery piece of the unknown food).

In here I wrote the post about yesterday, we were the only people seated in the place, and everyone was incredibly on the rush in the shop, on the metro corridors. You could compare it exactly to underwater life, where everyone is in movement, never stopping and going everywhere crossing each other paths without slowing down too much.

Other details that I forgot to mention about Japanese life is:

  • When at the table they always serve water or amazing warm green tea without even asking or paying (It is a very kind touch).
  • Even if winter, the water served is filled from a jug full of ice (I guess they don’t like ambience temperature water or maybe they are used to have refrigerated water from the thousands vending machines).
  • Speakers with automatic girl voices are everywhere, so much that one time that we entered an elevator and pushing random buttons trying to understand how to go up, we got scared thinking that the voice was a person actually speaking to us to don’t be rude.
  • There are so many bicycles everywhere that Amsterdam is beaten badly 3:1 ratio, and the wonderful thing is that 90% of those bicycles are not locked whatsoever.
  • Same thing with the umbrella (you can choose the color of white or black, didn’t see any other type so far), hanging around everywhere, for anyone to use.
  • Cars are very narrow in length and a bit higher than normal, it literally feels like a metal box moving on the road.
  • There is no common building structure, you see many different houses from small multi apartments buildings and old style wooden roofed or clay roofed two level houses, just next to each other, and than a super small area with payment parking space for just 4 car. In the outskirts we even saw small patches of cultivable terrains in between the houses, literally growing their own vegetables, and adding a very nice note of nature in between the sad city buildings.
  • People bending to say bye to the older co-working people multiple and multiple time.
  • People sleeping a bit everywhere, from trains, public seats in parks and even into coffee shops. Life must be very hard for them.
  • And last but not least a lot of old people barely walking, but still on their foot and moving slowly like turtles with incredible determination, men and women alike.

So after our stomach were full, Figen decided that our first step would be Osaka Castle and his park. After going up a bit, and the sun finally shining and warming us up, we enjoyed to see how the fortification were built in serpentine matter, and the golden decoration on the castle itself surrounded by a river and a top of the hill, and that touch of nature that was all nearby. We saw a couple of wondering cats, and huge very intelligent black crows that were following us around while we were eating onigiri (small rice triangles filled with variety of stuff).
We didn’t enter the castle we had a tight schedule, but we spent time trying to make successfully contacts with lovely tiny birds by feeding them a bit of rice. The moment we stepped away from the feeding ground to make some photos, our bags were surrounded by the clever two crows. They weren’t menacing, just damn big to not be taken a bit aback.

Next step, DenDen town! The place where electronic of all kind are sold. Only destiny decided to trip our hand by detouring and completely deviated to go to the nearby Tsuntekasku tower and area. Everything was quite slow in the morning, this was clearly a night district, because full of SPA and night entertainments, you get my meaning.

The tower was amazing, a clear symbol with the Glico man of Osaka outline of the city. We go to some stores nearby and we couldn’t resist to buy some kit-kat in offer with orange flavor and tea. Fucking delicious. Something that they don’t sell at all in the western countries of the world and you can find only in Japan. We stopped briefly to a arcade gaming with super retro games like Mario Bros Donkey Kong, Street fighter 1 and tons of others arcade game that I remember clearly like yesterday I played on my Commodore or at Coin op when I was little.

We entered in a renting shop for yukata and kimonos and we made little friend with a very sweet lady, we bought a couple of souvenir and made some funny photos. We stopped at a coffee bar (coffee could be quite expensive here) to recharge ourselves and literally our tablets, to get oriented and realize where the DenDen town is.

GPS confused us again, and we entered successfully DenDen town (the crazy text advertise full of kanji letters and no graphics, in multi store level shops of electronic it is quite daunting). We bought an expensive tablet cover + keyboard so that we could tell properly the story of our trip, and obviously we got in the completely wrong direction and we crossed the line from electronics to manga/anime/games/adult only dvd area. I felt like at home! (A part for the adult only area… obviously!).

This detour was perfect, we saw crazy stuff, crazy Otaku people, crazy dvd and manga, and adult only dolls, super mega advertises of games, like it was the most important next movie show at the same level of Star Wars. I am talking 5 store level of ads of manga or super building wide gaming ad. My people, my area!!! If this was the small and ugly version of Akhibara in Tokyo, I am completely blown away. I am talking of 9 streets x time 3 on the wide streets of stuff. Retro gaming in perfect conditions, new PS4 stuff with tambourine extension to play drums on your PS4, floor after floor of hentai of all kind, stores of beautiful t-shirts of manga and graphic design, maidens bar, cosplay color coded wigs store occupying the whole wall of different lengths (they were selling even props and colored eyes).

Our credit card was shaking of fear, because we would have broken the whole bank account if we weren’t limited by physical space of carrying all stuff with us. Therefore we limited to few small souvenirs (some of Ghibli Studio) to take with us.

We recharged again our energy to a wonderful noodle place around 14:30, and I must tell you if it wasn’t for the excitement we would have dropped dead right there. We carried on, but we stopped again because lost, need of toilette, need of coffee and need of still more resting, in a chain style Starbucks but much more refined called Tully’s. I think that the place was so good that looked incredibly expensive/classy and it wasn’t, comfy and decent coffee, that we will only go again to this chain to take the proper caffeine required to push on this hard days.

Tully’s interesting facts: a tons of students come here to study (amazing school uniforms, I wanted to grab a photo of everyone but I am sure that I would be arrested, lol); they have literally sealed ear ethically smoking room on where you stare at a blank wall to enjoy your cigarette; and even if the place was big it was just an unisex toilette. Obviously free wi-if and plenty of sockets to recharge your devices. I truly believe that in Japan people stare much more to a screen than not to an human face.

It was 16:30 and the aquarium needed to be seen. We were above overwhelmed, and we wanted to rest more at home, but I knew that if we stopped, we would never move out anymore. So we carried on, painfully towards the next destination. Towards one of the biggest aquarium in the world.

I have plenty of pictures, but unfortunately I cannot show because tablets don’t have attachments on where I can download photos from my camera. Needed to be known that, we saw plenty of crazy Mother Nature animals, from tropical to antarctic. We saw Otters try to fuck for minutes unsuccessfully because the male was there hooked very still at the female, and the female couldn’t find the way to plug herself into the proper place (even because of the huge tail), looking forward and backward like crazy, I think that I will never seen Otters with the same kind again… We saw dolphins!!!!! So many of them!!!! A whale shark!!!!!!!! (No teeth I think that they eat plankton) In one of the biggest tanks that I have ever seen full of other sharks and big manta rays. Penguins! Huge mustached Seals! Figen touched the manta ray, while I was completely creeped out from other creatures that I never seen before from the deep. CREEPED OUT!!!! Plenty of beautiful and colorful tropical fish (yes, I am talking finding Nemo and his friends…).

After barely walking, we eat at the close marketplace (by the way, I was so tired at this point that I could barely make any photos, but the whole area had amazing decorative night light, a giant LEGO Giraffe, and a huge multicolored wheel to shame the London Eye). I finally got my Okonomiyaki, and it was amazing, and Figen some more justifiably craving tempura with noodles.

I don’t know how I got home. I fall a sleep hitting the bed, and putting anti blister patches on my feet with the help of my wife. She got to try the Japanese bath, while I was literally dying in bed. I woke up at 5:00 AM current time, and I am writing for more than an hour in the darkness of the room, because I didn’t want to forget this experience. Everything hurts. Figen back as well (she is sweetly sleeping), so I guess the trip of today to Nara & Kyoto will be a more slowed down and relaxed one.

Why Taxi have to be so expensive in Japan!!!! Why?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

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Alessio Carone

I am an extremely open person that loves a good conversation from silly talks or more serious one, but more than anything I love to be with happy people like me. I love to hug everyone, especially friends. Be aware! I always show my passionate southerner italian love to everyone. I am a senior web designer, therefore I like everything that is creative and that is related to communications. I am really good at what I do, and I love to work hard to achieve the best result is possible. "Paying attention to the details" it is my motto. I'm interested by the incredible power of imagination of the humankind, and the way we describe, perceive and feel our thoughts and feelings. Recently I am trying to build a strong Barcelona community about web design. I am participating in various important web conference in England (Ampersand, Dconstruct, New Adventure of Web design), and always reading about design and technology solutions for the web. Anyway, about reading, let's say that I do not read book. I devour them. I read more or less with a media of 2 or 3 books per month. Recently I am enjoying a lot reading on my Ipod Touch. Mainly fantasy or sci-fi, or books about my work, even so sometimes I love to read about some good italian writers like Tiziano Terzani, Italo Calvino or Primo Levi. Still love italian and latin literature quite a bit. Extremely passionate about good author of movies, comics, videogames and obviously good rock and roll music. Even if doesn't look like, I love to travel (especially slow travelling, so I can assimilate better traditions and cultures). For travelling I normally use Couchsrufing and I am really happy to share this experience knowing interesting people around the world. I am quite active in this community, organising many events. The Christmas party it is the best so far of the whole year :D I hope one day to take a trip one way only with no return date, to find in my travelling, myself or a restless person that would like to share her life with me. And I am planning in to the future to live and travel in Japan. If you ever meet me, ask me to cook something for you, because I am so good at cooking, and I love it. And above all I am still quite eccentric, and a little mad ;D My Google Profile Alessio Carone

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