Thursday, 31 March 2016

Osaka

Situated on the southern coast of Honshu, the largest of Japan’s four main islands, most of Osaka was destroyed by American bombing during World War 2 and so very little of it’s canals and wooden buildings remain. Instead, Osaka is now a modern city looking to the future. As with Nagasaki (and probably every square inch of Japan in general) Osaka is spotlessly clean with not a thing out of place.

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Right next to our berth was the gigantic Ferris wheel which, at night, provided the most amazing light show.

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Dwelling on Japanese ‘house keeping’ perfectionism – the trees are pruned and shaped to within an inch of their lives!

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Modern though most of the city is there are some very sweet little bar/cafes to enjoy – which we do! Amid much bowing and general politeness we refreshed ourselves in this one before moving on in our quest to discover more of the city.

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The bright and efficient metro system took us quickly to the area of Osaka called Tenoji where there promised to be a little more happening than in Tempozan where the cruise terminal is situated and which is predominately financial and industrial.

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Plush velvet seating and floors so clean you could eat off them! the inside of the metro carriages is perfection yet again!

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Tenoji was a very busy area but carefully placed pedestrian bridges and walkways kept a lot of the human traffic away from the vehicles.

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Many of the buildings are works of art in themselves and below this example are the intricate criss-cross of pedestrian walks and bridges.

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It seemed about 30% of cars are these strange ‘boxes’ with castors on each corner! Some are electric while others have, what can only be the smallest and quietest engines possible. The only way to tell the difference is by the extremely small exhaust pipe! They’re obviously very capable load and people carriers but Doug can’t quite get his head around why anyone would want to be seen dead in one! The driver of this little “roller skate” was very happy to have his photo taken though!

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This is not an amusement venue at the seaside but the thriving heart of Tenoji’s bar, club and restaurant area. After spending some time mooching around and discovering various things of interest, chatting to a very Japanese looking person who couldn’t  speak a word of Japanese and so couldn’t help us with the written word (!) and then a Japanese person from Australia who could help us, we found a nice ‘locals’ restaurant to eat in.

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Included on the restaurant’s menu were such things as pig’s belly and other such wonders from the inside of animals, but we settled for some egg and seaweed soup …….

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…… which, like a lot of the English translation on the menu, had a comical side to it! ………

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…… and Cheese chijimi which was rather like a cheese topping on a savoury version of Turkish Delight. Each table had a cooker in the centre where you could cook the variety of animal bits and pieces if you so wished.

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However, both the dishes were very tasty. Notice the (beef stomach) on the top of the photo!

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Another session of bowing and lots of “thank-you”s in Japanese and English later and we were on our way back to “Arcadia” to spend the rest of the evening in our cabin nursing our aching feet and enjoying some wine with cheese and biscuits.

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Well, that’s our Japanese ports of call finished as we now head into the vastness of the Pacific Ocean with “Arcadia” having already clocked over 26,000 miles of her world cruise. We’re making very good speed on calm waters (in fact, we haven’t seen a real wave since we boarded!) The volcanic islands of Iwajima (above) off our port side are the last sight of land for quite a while. Next stop is Hawaii which is some eights days travelling away. Our travels so far have seen us in Hong Kong, China, Korea and Japan and it’s hard to think that only a very short while ago we were enjoying the delights of Newcastle and the Lake District!  Rather amusingly, James has been stared at quite a lot in the last week. Being almost 2 metres high with ‘snow’ on the top he sort of stands out just a bit compared to the diminutive stature of a lot of people in this part of the world!

3 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing your travels, I always look forward to your destinations.

    I am looking forward to your next stop of Hawaii, I loved there :)

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  2. With regard to the box cars, they are known as Kei Cars in Japan and have been promoted through the tax regime as the most efficient use of the limited space. Their maximum permissible dimensions are 3.4 m (11.2 ft) by 1.48 m (4.9 ft) with just 660cc and 63hp. They are identified by black on yellow number plates for private cars. The benefits are, lower purchase tax, lower insurance rates, lower annual road tax, lower weight tax, and in most rural areas Kei cars are exempted from the requirement to certify that adequate parking is available for the vehicle.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for that Marc we had no idea!

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