September 15 – September 21 – First week in Osaka
I have arrived in Japan!
Wow! What a culture shock. I cannot speak for the rest of the country, but Osaka has very few non-Japanese residents (I’ve literally seen two white people since arriving). AND there is very VERY little English on signs, in stores, in the subway, etc. Be prepared.
I highly recommend taking a screenshot of a subway map with English translations and having the picture on your phone. The subway is highly useful and pretty cheap, but you don’t want to get trapped in a station with no English on the maps.
I am really doing Japan on the cheap, which means hostel living. Most of the folks staying in our hostel are also Japanese (working short-term in Osaka). I have to say at first I was a little worried about the lack of locks / protection of your things, but people here appear to be highly trustworthy. And my hostel has free and unlimited bananas so …. I’m good 🙂
After getting setup at a local co-working space, Common Room Nakatsu ….
… I also signed up for the only Crossfit box in all of Osaka, Crossfit Minami.
I have also done a fair bit of exploring in two of the major Osaka shopping districts Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi (literally right next to each other). Shinsaibashi appears to go on for the length of the entire prefecture. Okay okay, I am probably exaggerating, but the point is you could spend a full day walking around this indoor / outdoor shopping area.
Look a Sega store! And with traditional Japanese drum guitar hero and very specifically prized crane games:
Of course if you come to Japan wanting to read manga, the opportunities are endless (except you need to know Japanese). Even most restaurants I’ve walked into had thick books of serialized manga on their shelves!
And what about an Anime themed casino? No problem!
BUT … of course the best part about Osaka so far has been the food. Osaka actually is known for the best food in Japan. It has exceeded expectation so far. The only hiccup being in most restaurants I am playing a bit of Russian Roulette with the menus since most have no English on / in them and the restaurant staff only speak Japanese.
PS that dish above was from a restaurant Joel recommended called たこ竹. It was raw seafood on top of noodles on top of the best rice I have ever had + soup + tea. And before you say, “Sydney: たこ竹 is not helpful — how am I supposed to find this place?” my advice would be copy-paste and plug into google maps. たこ竹 does not have an English name like most restaurants I have seen in Osaka 😦
Today is a holiday in Japan, 敬老の日 Keirō no Hi, which roughly translates to “Respect for the Aged Day.” Basically this weekend is like a Japanese labor day weekend all about celebrating your elders. As my mom says, “that should be an American holiday too!”
Well, back to writing. Tomorrow I visit Kyoto!