Osaka Station going home time for some…this was one of those fortuitous pictures as he came past in his black and yellow uniform.
I headed back into Osaka city centre and took the subway to Namba station before walking some more to the Dotonbori (click for link) area. The Japan National Tourism page gives a good description of the area.
It is an area downtown with a canal and plenty of neon signs which have becoming iconic and emblematic of Osaka, no segement on Osaka is complete without the Glico man.
The area is a promenade of restaurants and shopping and popular with both tourists and locals. It is a cacophony of sound and light and quite overwhelming, this was my second visit there, the first time was a few years before during the afternoon. Night time brings the neon signs out and there is a different buzz.
Just one of the building fronts, this one advertising takoyaki, another one of those Osaka staples that Japanese people always seem to ask if you ate if you tell them you’ve been to Osaka! Even though it is not just found in Osaka, takoyaki seems to synonymous with the city.
Takoyaki are a ball shaped snack of wheat flour based batter that contains pieces of octopus and are cooked in a specially shaped pan. It is smothered in Japanese brown sauce, mayonaise, sprinkled with green flecks of seaweed and dried bonito flakes.
There are vendors selling different size portions from 6 to 8 to even more.
Greed and the knowledge that I would no doubt be asked if I had eaten any led me to eat a 6 takoyaki portion while not exactly a proper meal it was a start.
I had no real idea of what to eat that evening and despite all the choice available was overwhelmed by it all and how busy many of the restaurants were with some of the more popular ones having queues forming.
There is a small storefront there where you can tell the staff what you’d like to eat and then they will take to a restaurant that serves the food you like. The staff lead you to the restaurant and they get paid or rather the company they work for does by the restaurant for the custom and a wage is given accordingly. The reason that I know this, is because I ended up asking for a recommendation and spoke to an outgoing girl who led me well away from Dotonbori to a okonomiyaki restaurant. I actually just wanted to eat around Dotonbori! At one point on this meandering walk, slight paranoia and feeling fed up made me start to worry that I was being led away to get beaten up and have my wallet stolen.
Needless to say this was not the case and I finally arrived and my elfin restaurant guide duly vanished. I ate at a restaurant called Bonkuraya, I probably couldn’t direct you to it or find it again to be honest despite it being close to a station that did get me back to Osaka station.
I had the Ebi Modern Okonomiyaki, prawn with yakisoba noodles cooked in with the okonomiyaki.
I’m not even sure what time I finally got back to Kyoto that evening.
I don’t seem to have made a note of the final steps tally either.