Sunday, January 27, 2013

Touring Osaka

We've spent most of our time on this trip in Osaka. Yesterday, Martha, Jodie and I were honored to be given an insider's tour of Osaka by one of our new friends we met at the US Consulate, Minami-san. She is an interpreter who speaks French, English, Arabic and Japanese. She took us to Shinsaibashi for some fun shopping and then down to Namba. We ate takoyaki for lunch -- yum!

We visited the Hozneji Temple where we saw Mizukake Fudo. I am struck by how integrated the temples are. We were walking down a chaotic busy street and suddenly Minami-san told us to take a right or a left turn and suddenly we were in a quiet, peaceful alley where people were taking a quick break to pray. Exercise is integrated into daily life, too. We've walked miles every day, but it is part of how we travel to our destination. Working out isn't necessary - walking is just part of the daily routine of getting from point A to point B. I continue to be struck by the sheer size of the city. I can't imagine how one begins to know how to get around every part of it because it just goes on and on. But seeing all of the people out on Sunday - families, kids, older couples and young people - I felt like we finally got to see the vitality that was missing from the city during the week.

We walked through Sennichimae Doguyasuji and saw all kinds of restaurant kitchen supplies, including the infamous plastic foods. Most restaurants display their menu in the front window, illustrated with plastic molded food. We visited a supplier, and Martha was quick to pick up a green pepper - her favorite! 

We celebrated Martha's husband's birthday with cake and coffee at one of the many lovely department stores. The food is so fabulous and so beautifully prepared. We returned to our apartment to swap stories with our classmates who visited the sake museum and disaster reduction museum in Kobe. I can't wait to hear from our friends who traveled to Arima Onsen (hot springs) and those who went to Tokyo! 
Wigs for dogs!

Kabuki theater

Bridge in Osaka near Namba

Lovely manhole cover!

A display of plastic American food

On the way to the temple

A store where you can buy plastic food

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