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Mark's World Tour 2007-08

Day 165: A rainy day in Osaka

JAPAN | Friday, 18 April 2008 | Views [3825]

Downtown Osaka at night

Downtown Osaka at night

Friday 18th April

After a good lie-in, we got ourselves together and stepped out into the gloom and drizzle of a wet and grey morning in Osaka. Kumi's flat is in the outskirts of Osaka, about two train trips away from the downtown commercial district. Osaka is well known for its many shops, restaurants and night-life, and it seems to have a particularly young, fashion-conscious population. We headed for America-Meru (or 'America Town'), an area full of shops selling 'American' clothes which cater to the various factions who adhere to a hip-hop, rock or punk lifestyle. We hung for a bit here, and had some coffee before Pete went to his Japanese language class for the afternoon.

Kumi and I went for lunch and then took a walk around the shops, looked at some cool t-shirts and generally enjoyed the sights and sounds of downtown Osaka. There were enough 'alternative' types floating about, doing nothing more than trying their hardest to look fashionable and keep the rain off their thickly hair-sprayed 'dos (and I'm talking mainly about the guys here). It almost rivalled Tokyo in terms of the number of goons walking about in crazy clothes. I'm not sure how unconventional these people really are underneath all of the hair and the make-up. I admired their efforts though, and felt dull in comparison.

We met Pete and a friend of Kumi's in the evening – a girl called Sharon from Toronto – and we had a really good meal. It was another Korean barbecue, although much less effort was involved on this occasion than my previous experience in Thailand two months before. A grill sat directly over a gas flame, making the job of cooking meat much easier (and safer) than the bucket of charcoal and aluminium cooking tray that I had used in Thailand. We managed to get through a fair bit of food over the ninety minutes; for $20 each, we could order as much food as we could cook and eat in that time. I can't think that there is anywhere that offers that kind of value at home.

We moved on for a drink in a small grungy pub, one of several places along a tiled indoor corridor that you wouldn't give a second look to if you were searching for somewhere to call in to for a drink. Inside we found two guys playing about with the stereo, one of them looking like he had taken a picture of The Ramones to his hairdresser and asked them to make him look like one of them. There was nobody else there but we got a good idea of what went on when it was full – a whole lot of punk music and people trying to look and act 'alternative'. I imagined Japan would have places just like this and I wasn't disappointed.

We didn't stay out too late as we had to catch the last train home, and Kumi's flat is too far out of town for us to get a taxi back at a reasonable price. Nevertheless, it had been another good day and I was looking forward to making a trip with Pete to the nearby city of Kyoto the next morning.


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