And last but not least: Osaka
We wrapped up our journey with a two-day stay in Kyoto’s neighboring city – Osaka. Called Japan’s “dangerous” city, it was once a hub for the homeless, runaways, and wanderers.
We arrived on another snowy day in Osaka, and by this time our bodies and minds were burnt out from the constant movement (and from the constant contact we had to have with each other). It was incredibly chilly, with close-to-blizzard like conditions on our first day, so sadly, we stayed indoors for the better part of our afternoon.
However, in the evening, we went out in search of dinner, and we were not disappointed. We came across Dotonbori, the main shopping and eating street of Osaka. The area also encompassed another street called Shinsaibashi, a mile-long shopping street where one can find anything from a retail giant like H&M to tiny locally-owned tea shops. Our dinner stop was in Shinsaibashi, actually, in a tiny curry restaurant. We later found out that the restaurant’s owner, an energetic older woman, was famous for her signature curry rice dish. Essentially, it was a mix of Japanese curry and rice, with a raw egg sitting on top. Even though we didn’t order this “famous” dish, we did get a yummy dinner of salad, soup, and grilled chicken.
The next morning we headed to Osaka’s Korea Town. We really liked this market – stalls were selling kimchi, dangerous-looking red and orange spice powders, Korean make-up and cheap clothes. The market here reminded me more of China’s market – a little dirtier and a little more real. No need for the plastic, bright-lights and electronic music in the background as you shopped. Just tiny shops and stalls owned by one or two people, hoping you’ll buy the day’s supply of kimchi off of them.
Hopefully, we will go back to Osaka soon. It would be a nice place to spend a couple weeks, just to see what the city is like.