Saturday, August 02, 2008

8/3/08 Friends in Osaka

There was one week left of classes after climbing Mt. Fuji. I was a bit sore at school. Going up and down stairs in particular was something I wanted to avoid. The weekend of the 19th of July was the start of almost a week of traveling across Japan. The original purpose of my trip was to visit some of my friends from my days in Kyoto at Ritsumeikan University. The area around Kyoto is nice because there are several cities fairly close together. This enabled me to do enjoy Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe all in the space of a couple of days. On Tuesday, then, Tung was starting a little trip of his own to Hiroshima. Already being halfway there, I met him for more hardcore tourism.

Beginning in Osaka, I spent some quality time with old friends, getting caught up on everyone's news. We didn't have much of a plan, so we just chatted while strolling though a few shopping districts. I am holding off on doing anymore shopping until I go home (this WEDNESDAY!!). In the US, the sizes are bigger and the prices are smaller, both of which are very good things.

We had just left a mall when we noticed that a crowd had formed, watching something out of view. Curiously approaching, we found what everyone was gawking at. In some major cities, you can find musicians playing on street corners, practicing while earning a few donations. Well this was a bit like that, but instead of a group of musicians it was a couple of antisocial looking men. And instead of playing instruments, they were playing Dance Dance Revolution. These guys weren't even looking at the game's screen half the time!

Master of his art.

After the first guy another... this gentleman was double funny because he was so freakin big, yet he was dancing away, and sort of like a little girl. I was surprised at the spectacle and at the amount of people that had stopped to watch. Only in Japan. At one point a woman from the arcade came out to tell us all to leave, because the crowd had grown large enough that it was blocking traffic.

Afterwards we ate a nice dinner, and this one was a first for me. A group of us went to Kushiya Monogatari, a sort of deep fry it yourself place. Its offering, kushikatsu, is best described as fried meat on a stick. For a set amount of time(Japanese buffets always have a time limit, I think it was 90 min. this instance) we could choose from a multitude of vegetables, meats, seafood, and a few other randoms-all impaled on sticks. There was a salad bar and dessert and other things to round out the meal. The smell of fried delicious filled the air.

Dip in liquid stuff, dip in crunchies, drop in oil, and repeat, say Marcus.

One of my favorites is deep fried slices of Japanese pumpkin, or kabocha.

"Hey, maybe I do know how to cook!"

We stayed the night at a friends place in Osaka. It was a nice time to chat. Next up: Kobe!

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