mardi 22 juillet 2008
Genki, desu ne?
I thought Osaka was hot until I went to Kyoto. If ever there was a place that would suit an international conference on climate change, then Kyoto must surely be it.
Boiling. Baking. Sweating. Killing me.
As you can probably guess, I didn't stay long in Kyoto - I'd only gone to get some culture, away from the fleshpots and shops of Osaka.
Alas, temples and shrines don't look so good when you have sweat dripping into your eyes. The 'walkway through the temple gardens' left me looking like a pile of washing waiting to be hung out to dry. So with the feeling that I was making the place look very untidy, I headed back to Osaka, airconditioning and shops.
Osaka is a great place. Too cool for the likes of me, if I'm honest. It's got that really cool vibe that belongs to 'second cities' around the globe (Barcelona, Melbourne, Rotterdam, Montreal, Chicago, etc...). I don't know why second cities are like this - maybe because they're not full of beaureaucrats, or maybe it's just that they try a bit harder, always in the shadow of a more famous cousin. Thoughts, anyone?
Anyway, Osaka - fantastic place, cool people, amazing shops and, well, Japanese food.
Now Japanese food in Japan - and I know this will stun you - isn't that much like the Japanese food we get in our local neighbourhood Japanese restaurants. That's kind of been sanitised and westernised and made a bit more marketable to our western tastes and pallette. The food in Japan is odd and good at the same time. Impenetrable menus come equipped with photo's and/or plastic models of food so pointing gets the order, but it never looks like the picture when it arrives.
For my first dinner in Osaka I managed to order a single shrimp, a bowl of rice and some miso soup. All lovely, but a bit basic, and maybe I under-ordered?
The local speciality in Osaka is the octopus ball. Yum. It's basically a teeny tiny baby octopus balled up in donut-style dough and fried. Now if you see these things sold by the roadside (and they're everywhere) then they look like nice little mini-donuts. But trust me, that's not raspberry jam in the middle!
The other local speciality seems to be the mispelled / curious english slogan t-shirt. I really loved the one that said "Flatley will get you nowhere". I wonder if Michael realises this? I also liked "I'm in love with you, foaming at the mouth", which is kind of classy.
But my real favourite was worn by a very cute, naive looking girl of no more than 17 years old.
It said "I love the no-name scene". Which I presume means she enjoys having anonymous sex with strangers. Looking at her, I can't imagine this to be true.
But hey, this is Japan. Maybe that's exactly what she does like.