Thursday, March 25, 2010

Greetings from Osaka

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I’m hanging out at a Doutor cafe with a ice coffee, while stealing someone’s internet signal from somewhere.  Since my friends are late arriving from Tokyo, I thought I’d do a little due diligence and offer everyone an update.

I finished my leg of Sapporo this morning and took a 8:30AM plane to Osaka.  While stumbling in the city, I quickly found my way to the Shinbaishi shopping district where there is literally no end to the stores and malls that surround this crazy street.  It is made up of store after store after store – stretching miles.  Personally, I’m rather sick of shopping for nothing, though I did stumble into the textile district and found a lacquer/wood worker store.  I scooped up a few gorgeous red and black lacquered tasting/cooking spoons –not very exciting.

In Sapporo, I had 4 mind numbing bowls of ramen in less than 24 hours, but since getting here to Osaka, I decided to give a little place called Iga Bungadou Ramen a try, but it was disappointing.  I’m glad I didn’t actually bring the nice camera to the place considering the ramen wasn’t particularly special – still good, but considering how the game has been raised in Sapporo – my expectations are well beyond that (at least in Japan).  I’m really hoping the ramen part of the trip didn’t peak at night one.

Speaking of peaking, the hotel I stayed at in the Susukino district of Sapporo happened to be located right at the part where the Soapland shops were prominent – namely the red light district.  Lucky for me, I judge international Asian trips by three very basic factors, 1). how good the food was 2). did I get food poisoned and 3). did I contract a STD.  Two out of three makes for a successful trip on a basic level, but I aim for the perfect score most of the time.

I also ate a breaded shrimp burger and some chicken nuggets from Lotteria.  They seriously know how to fry their shit in Japan.  Those nuggets were mighty tasty – fast food or not.  Nobody thinks for a second that I am not Japanese until I start busting out the “say it slower” or “no Japanese.”  But the magic words are still basically, “hai”, “domo”, “arigatou” and “mushi mushi”.  Gets it done almost every time. 

I have a habit of burrowing into random izakayas and shops in alleyways.  As long as it smells like charcoal and has barstool customers, I’m there.  I found some badass charred mutton last night.  It was so good with some charred savoy cabbage on the side.  The chef cooked it over a towering 6 ft. blaze of fire on top of his net grill.  Medium in the middle, lightly smoky on the outside.  Perfect.

I’ll have some amazing food pics soon, but here is a itty bitty recap of Osaka in Palm Pre pictures and my video of the live Fugu I found in Osaka while wandering:

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