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Just a Rainy Sunday in Osaka...

JAPAN | Sunday, 12 June 2016 | Views [396]

It's Sunday evening - the second official Sunday of this year's rainy season  in Japan ,and I'm currently sat on my balcony listening to the rain crash down onto the streets surrounding my apartment building. 
 
At lunchtime today, I was also sat here with an itch to write something about this year's rainy season. At that point, I had a bad case of 'writers block' and had no idea what angle to take. Feeling slightly frustrated and  restless I decided to head out to  a coffee shop in search of some caffeine and some inspiration.
 
When it comes to coffee shops, Osaka is sometimes described as being the Paris of North East Asia, and for good reason. The city is loaded with an abundance of coffee shops often in attractive and vibey locations - overlooking rivers, shotengais (traditional Japanese shopping arcades) busy downtown hubs, and sometimes also hidden down alleyways or backstreets, there are coffee shops in Osaka to satisfy all tastes.
 
I find a great little place with sheltered outdoor seating, overlooking the Midosuji Avenue located in the city's downtown area.  My intention is to grab a quick cappuccino and a bite to eat before strolling off aimlessly in search of a unique focal point for my article. I become more and more attached to my chair the longer I stay there, and that first cappuccino soon turns into a second. I pull out my book and begin reading; I hear the near-continuous summerish sounds of outdoor chairs scraping the concrete flooring of the coffee shop's outdoor seating patio as other customers come and go. Still feeling restless, and finding it difficult to concentrate on my book I constantly find myself gazing up and just observing what is going on around me: on the table to my left is an Elementary School student enthusiastically telling his Grandmother about his preparations for his upcoming school sports festival. To my right are a couple of tourists with a map and some guidebooks, perhaps scheduling some rainy day activities into their travel itinerary.
 
Eventually, I give up on my book; I just can't concentrate. I instead opt to pull up iTunes, and quickly start building  a rainy day playlist. While listening to a diverse mix of Adele, Marc Anthony, The Arian Band, Bruno Mars and Vasco Rossi, I just sit and observe the steady flow of traffic, and people, (many of whom are carrying the Japan trademark, convenience store purchased , transparent, plastic umbrellas) pass by on the street in front of me.
 
As I fall deeper into my hastily put together playlist of music, I begin to become oblivious  to the comings and goings around me. Then out of the corner of my eye, I notice a  sweet Japanese lady trying to get my attention; she has a kind, but at first nervous smile. In perfect English she softly asks me questions about my home country and my reason for being in Japan .She and her husband are from Fukuoka (a city located on Japan's southern most island of Kyushu) and visiting Osaka for the weekend. We strike up a spontaneous ten minute conversation about, Kyushu, the UK Karaoke, Japanese food, and sake.The lady and her husband then head off to catch their Shinkansen train, home and I'm left with a warm-hearted reminder of the kindness of Japanese people, and the unpredictable magic of Osaka.
 
By now the rain is starting to get really heavy, and with dusk beginning to take hold I set out on a rain-covered wander towards Osaka station. En-route  I walk by the vibrant  Kitashinchi entertainment district with its bright neon lights now beginning to flood it's streets as its array of restaurants and bars readying themselves for their Sunday night customers. It feels good to just watch life naturally unfold in front of me like this. As I enter the Osaka station building itself I see hundreds of people all branching off in different directions; some  are heading out to embark on their Sunday night plans; some  are heading home; some are heading elsewhere.
 
Less than an hour later, I'm back on my balcony again feeling inspired and ready to put finger to key for my article. Nothing spectacular has happened today; I've not been to any big festivals or events, nor have I embarked on any major sightseeing. It's just been a simple afternoon spent relaxing in a coffeeshop and walking the rain-soaked streets of Osaka, but sometimes it's the simple things that create the best stories.
 

Tags: asia, everyday life, japan, osaka, rainy season, relaxation

 

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