Sunday, June 11, 2006

the depths of osaka (part 2)

Well, the rain has stopped and we have cloudy skies.

Yesterday, we met some friends that we hadn't seen in 5 years for a champagne lunch at Trader Vic's, a restaurant in the New Otani Osaka Hotel--they are closing the restaurant down at the end of the month. It was a nice, leisurely lunch and we had endless glasses of champagne and plates of food. Did you know that most people in Japan, don't take a normal lunch hour? A lot of them eat on the run or at their desks. Koichi commented that it had been a long time since he was able to chat and eat at such a leisurely pace.

After lunch, we asked Koichi where he wanted to go. Since he is actually from Tokyo and now works in Kyoto, he hadn't seen much of Osaka. He said he wanted to see the Festival Gate. We had never heard of it, but told him that we would show him Tsutenkaku tower instead. In December, Satoshi and I took his friend, Gen, to see the depths of Osaka, which I wrote about (here).

When we got to the Tsutenkaku, Koichi didn't want to go to the top, so, we kept on walking and it was a good thing that we did. We found the Festival Gate! The Festival Gate is actually a run down amusement park. The roller coaster is still running, but most of the shops have closed down and there are a few fast food places. It is also the home of the Osaka professional wrestling ring which still hold matches. Koichi is a big fan of wrestling, so he was more elated that we found the Festival Gate than with Tsutenkaku.

From the Ebisucho area, we then walked towards Shinsaibashi. There are many shopping arcades in this area. Here is one of them, down the center of the photo is really dark, but it is actually ALL people!

Here is the "symbol" of Osaka. His name is Kuidaore Taro. Kuidaore, as I understand it, means to "eat until you drop". He is dressed up to cheer for Japan in the FIFA World Cup of Soccer.

Satoshi is working today, hope you are having a nice foodie weekend!

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