Hip Hop Osaka style and lost underground

Osaka Travel Blog

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Look closely. That baseball player is Ichiro the most popular baseball player in Vancouver. Plays down the road in Seattle.
Woke late today well rested and ready to walk my shoes off.  I wanted to wander around Namba and the bordering nieghbourhoods and then off to Osaka Castle before meeting Diasuke at Namba Station.  For some reason I forgot my camera again in the morning so you will just have to believe where I went. 

Last time I was in Osaka I had read about Amerikamura (or American town) but never made it there.  I was very close to Amerikamura now so there was no way I was going to miss it.  I may have forgot my camera but not my compass and my maps so I found it without to much trouble.  Generally I have a very good sense of direction outside during the day but add darkness it gets worse and underground it is terrible.
Love these tiny streets.
  This would come into to play later.  For now I was good. 

Amerikamura was not exactly like I expected but it was still kind of neat. Mostly it seemed to be full of clothing shops and stores selling rock and roll mechandise with internet cafes sprinkled in.  The regions edge also had the very uniquely Japanese Love Hotels as it was on the edge of the Red Light District.  At times it was kind of strange walking down the narrow streets and bordering stores would have competing American music blasting out of speakers as each place of business tried to prove it was more American then its competitors.  I must of wandered out for hours just exploring only stopping for a quick bite of some ramen noodles.

After a while I realized there was no time to go across the city for the castle so I just kept wandering farther and farther from the hotel.
  At some point I wandered into an area that had a bunch of pachinko bars.  A little while later I was walking into to areas that where not so interesting so I felt it was a good time to return to the hotel to relax, check my email and watch some tv I could not understand.

After my rest it was time to walk down the stairs and into The Walk for a short journey to Namba Station.  This is where things go way wrong.  Underground I lose all sense of direction.  I thought I was walking the correct direction as I just followed the overhead signs to the subway.  Most large Japanese train and subway stations number their exits to help keep some sense to the underground chaos.  Once I entered what I thought was Namba Station I looked for the exit number Diasuke and I agreed to meet at.
Love Hotel. Did not have the chance to view the inside. :(

I waited 10 minutes after the agreed upon time and started to worry.  Ten minutes late for most Japanese is terrible for Diasuke who works in a lawyer firm this unbelievable.   Thinking something had happened I went to find a public phone to call his cell phone.  I then realized I had no Japanese coins so I went and bought a drink with a large Yen note so I coudl get a bunch of change.   I quickly got hold of Diasuke and he told me he was excactly where he was suppose to be.  I thought somehow we had just missed each other in the throngs of people so I ran back to the exit and looked and looked and looked.  No Diasuke. 

Now I am confused so I took a better note of where I was. It did seem I was at the right exit and at the enternace of on of the other Japanese private train companies.
A entrance to a temple right in the middle of the Red Light district.
  I then walked back to the phone and called Diasuke.  After telling him what I saw I laughed and told me I was at the right exit but in the wrong station.  I was at Nipponbashi Station not Namba.  After I came down the stairs, from the hotel, I guess I turned right when I should have turned left.  Each of the major station look the same to me and are not really marked that well in English to tell you where you are.  I ended up making the exact mistake the next day when trying to get back to the shinkansen's Shin-Osaka Station.

Diasuke gave told me just to go up to the street and he would meet me near where all the bikes are parked.  A few minuted later he litterally ran to me saying he was sorry for the confusion even though it was completely my fault.
Some sort of ride that looks to give a good view. The line for it was way too long.
  Very Japanese of him.  Now back down the stairs and he was in charge of getting us to a restaurant we both liked the last time I was in Osaka.  Not sure what you call this type of restaurant but it has a buffet table where you choose what you want to eat and then you bring it back to your table.  You then cook it very hot oil that is boiling away in the middle of your table. 

We talked a bunch while we waited for his wife.  She was returning from business trip in another part of Japan and was running late.  one thing about Diasuke is he can drink more then any other Japanese person I have met.  Add to that was this restaurant had a set price that meant you could eat and drink as much as you want in 90 minutes.  We drank way too much.  By this point I was looking forward to resting my liver in all places, Bangkok.
A view down the very urban Dotobori River.

After a while Diasuke's wife, Kimiko, arrived and we went to another cafe so she could eat.  They were very nice and gave some Japanese presents and we talked for a while.  Again it was getting late and they needed to take the last train home and I had a early shinkansen ride back to Tokyo so I could catch my flight to Bangkok.  I was ready to see my girlfriend after many long months apart.
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Look closely.  That baseball playe…
Look closely. That baseball play…
Love these tiny streets.
Love these tiny streets.
Love Hotel.  Did not have the chan…
Love Hotel. Did not have the cha…
A entrance to a temple right in th…
A entrance to a temple right in t…
Some sort of ride that looks to gi…
Some sort of ride that looks to g…
A view down the very urban Dotobor…
A view down the very urban Dotobo…
photo by: yasuyo