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Osaka – 03

October 25, 2010


Japan makes me want to own a bike so much! Everyone rides bikes around Osaka. It’s so nice and flat (unlike Sydney), and people are so polite (again, unlike Sydney) – they make it look quite safe. Plus their vintage-style bikes look so rad.

We met up with J at the famous Glico Running Man statue.

Of course this called for amazing cheesy tourist photos:


Awkward lean
So great that their awkward leans matched in angle!

I may have dragged everyone into the Sanrio store.


Goth kitty
Goth Hello Kitty!

We spent a great deal of time in Loft – where I ran around trying to stop myself from buying every animal-themed kitchen-good I saw.

And I saw many of them…



Afterwards, J took us to the most amazing store in the world…. VILLAGE VANGUARD.

Village Vanguard

This place was so hard to find, but well worth it. It’s a magical cavern filled with the most amazingly random goods. At first, everything seems like it’s just chucked in there, yet somehow you can tell someone spent a great deal of time arranging it to be so. The best way to explore the store I found, was to just dive in and walk around aimlessly – don’t try to fight it. No matter where you look you’ll find something interesting.

After a while, you start to sense a pattern. Books over there, money banks here, risque party goods in the corner. Or is that just your brain trying to find a sense of order in the madness?

Village Vanguard
I found the Usavich area!

Village Vanguard
More animal themed kitchen goods!

Village Vanguard
Dancing cats… why not

Kiki in a cage!

Village Vanguard


I ended up buying another camera here… a Clover-san Superheadz Vivitar replica:


I haven’t had a chance to develop the film from it yet, I’ll have to post the results when I do. According to the box, it has strong vignetting and vivid colours. Here’s hoping!

After shopping, EATING TIME!

Of course that means more Okonomiyaki. J took us to a place that served both Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki.

They cook it for you, and bring it to the hotplate on your table!

Pile of deliciousness.

We tried the Osaka style, and Hiroshima style okonomiyaki (Hiroshima style has layers of omlette and noodles in it). BOTH WERE TASTY

Takoyaki! So gooey and delicious.

Making Takoyaki out the front of the restaurant.

After dinner, we met up back at J’s house to borrow one of his housemate’s bikes so we could ride around.


We asked to see something a bit different, so J took us to ride around Tobita Shinchi – which definitely rates as one of the most unique cultural areas I’ve seen so far!!

Basically it is the largest police-sanctioned brothel district in Japan! But far from being seedy – it’s actually quite the opposite – in fact there’s a possibility you might not know what you were looking if you didn’t have prior knowledge (and were a tad naive).

The streets of Tobita Shinchi are lined with rows of tiny wooden, traditional-style huts. The doors of each hut opens onto the street. Inside each hut, on a cushion, is perched an extremely beautiful Japanese woman – lit with a bright and flattering light. Sitting closer to the doorway is an Obasan – an old woman – who gestures towards the beautiful young woman with a beckoning hand, yelling “Douzo!! Douzo!!” at passing cars. Clients are engaged on the pretense of “having dinner.” (Of course the dinner takes place upstairs…!)

Anyway… putting all judgements on prostitution aside, it was fascinating… it’s definitely something I’d never seen before.

We did a few quick loops on our bikes – I think the obasans were definitely a bit shocked to see me riding through the area so nonchalantly on the back of J’s bike. I don’t think it’s usually a place where girls go late at night (apart from the obvious).

Also funny was seeing the hordes of black SUVs with blackened windows crawling around the block as the people inside ‘checked the merchandise,’ so to speak.

No photos of course, the area is very tightly run by Yakuza.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. October 26, 2010 3:05 am

    I loved Osaka too 🙂

    • November 3, 2010 9:12 pm

      It was so great! I’m a bit regretful we stayed for such a short time. Only 3 days!

  2. October 28, 2010 9:35 pm

    An intriguing post… lol

    • November 3, 2010 9:12 pm

      lol… well we asked him to take us somewhere different, and he definitely delivered!

  3. November 3, 2010 11:02 am

    Thanks for this, I will definitely bookmark it as I’m heading off to Japan in a few weeks time! 🙂

    • November 3, 2010 9:10 pm

      Oh yay!! So exciting!

      Hopefully by then I will have blogged the rest of my Japan trip… I’m very slow :X

      Where are you going in Japan? Have you ever been before? Let me know if you want to know anything about the places I went to!! Talking about Japan is like my new favourite pastime ;D

  4. December 12, 2010 8:15 pm

    love your japan posts! makes me wanting to go there so much. thanks for all the small tips! and the okonomiyaki… slurps!

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