I spent about two weeks in Osaka, Japan. Osaka is the third largest city in Japan and the second most important. I personally liked Tokyo better, simply because Tokyo was more vibrant, clean, and had more energy to it. I however loved the people I met in Osaka, from the people i stayed with to those I encountered on the street, I’d say Osaka is the more friendlier city. It’s residence are more laid back and willing to talk to the lone gaijins or foreigners. People don’t mind having conversations on the train no matter the time of day. Also I believe there isn’t as much pressure to dress as best as possible as in Tokyo. While I was in Osaka, people just dressed however they felt and wore what ever they felt comfortable in, where as in Tokyo for the most part, people dress as trendy as possible. While in Osaka, I explored Den-Den Town, Umeda, Namba, and Shinsekai.
One of my friends that I stayed with lived in Shinsekai and one memorable thing I remembered doing while staying at his place was getting lost. It was my first time venturing out on my own and I still wasn’t sure of exactly how to get back to his place from the metro, so I started wondering around the neighborhood that he lived in. As it’s Japan and violent crimes especially those against foreigners are nonexistent,i had no problems going through alley ways and after wondering through a myriad amount of alleyways and backstreets, I was getting no where but soon I wondered into somewhere oddly different from all of the alleyways I had been wondering in. Everything became clean, there were no ads, or posters anywhere on the wall, and pink lights replaced the regular street lamps. Soon enough I passed by small storefronts, with older women in their 50’s and 60’s standing next to pretty and young Japanese women, As soon as I saw this, I knew where I was. My friend told me he lived near the red-light district in Osaka, and seeing this, I knew I had wondered into it. The red light districts in Japan are all controlled by the Yakuza or Japanese Mafia, and as I had my camera on my shoulder, I posed a threat. So i decided to hasten my steps to make my way out. Soon though, some of the older Japanese women, who were in charge of the younger women, say my camera on my shoulder and started yelling at me STOP NO PHOTO, in Japanese. I eventually made my way out of the red light district and to my friends place, but one thing that shocked me was just how out in the open prostitution is in Japan.
Also during my stay, I went to the Osaka Aquarium which was truly amazing. To see massive whale sharks up close and other exotic sea creatures. I’ve been to the Sea World countless times, but hands down I preferred the aquarium in Osaka. It was a bit pricey to get into at 2000 Yen or 20 Dollars and a bit crowded but none the less I enjoyed my time there.
Food was also another thing that Osaka is known for, especially Okinomiyaki and Takoyaki. Okinomiyaki is sort of like a pancake with whatever you want on top of it, usually consisting of cabbage, batter, octopus tentacles, shrimp, and other bits it’s very tasty and Osaka has it’s own distintive style. Also in Tokyo, you make your okinomiyaki yourself, where as in Osaka, the restaurant prepares it infront of you. Takoyaki, is a flour batter and octopus diced together in the form of a ball and then deep fried and then topped with fish scales and okinomiyaki sauce and it’s absolutely tasty. Osaka is known especially for its takoyaki.
I enjoyed my time in Osaka, while the city it self didn’t offer anything too special, the people I met has made a lasting impression.