Thursday, May 4, 2017

Have a Ball

Ever get hungry, but you just don't know what you want to eat? Come to Osaka's night market. Come especially on Japanese Memorial Day, when the entire country is having a party. They've got everything.

We took a calm three stops on the Hanshin line from our b'n'b, a walk down the block, a right turn, and Blamo! It's a smaller scale version of Tokyo's Shinjuku or Shibuya areas, but that makes it all the more in-your-face. The first thing to hit you will not be all the lights and sounds--it'll be the smell. Fried food, grilled food, food prepared by tiny western-looking schoolgirls with big eyes riding unicorns--we know the drill by now.

And the people. Osaka is a working town, and less fashion-forward than Tokyo. Still, the people watching is amazing. Personally, I'm fascinated by the t-shirts that say things like "Dummy," or "Mysterion Spot," or--my favorite--"Leader of the Pack." If you wear that shirt you are either a decoy or an idiot. Of course, there's enough Kanji floating around in America that would be ridiculous to Japanese, so I'm not being critical. You can always toss a t-shirt, but that "slave" tat is a bit harder to remove.

What was I talking about? The food. Takoyaki reigns supreme here. Ever had ebelskivers, those round balls of pancake batter, usually sweet? Same idea, but these are savory and filled with octopus (hence the large octopus overhanging the street), and bathed in some form of sweet brown sauce and covered in more of that bonito flake that waves at you ingratiatingly. But there's more: karaage (fried chicken), okonomiyaki (pancake as you want it), crepes, fruit cups (advertised by young girls dressed like the Fruit of the Loom guys), and Kobe. They're very proud of the Kobe.

Also, everyone is hammered. Japanese, following convention, walk on the left, just as they drive. Nope. Not here. It's a free for all, and there's thousands of people. On the train back, two guys were so drunk they were about to fall into the lap of the guy in the wheelchair, who was also schnockered.

We're going back tonight.

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