Osaka was my last stop in Japan. As expected, it was every bit as modern as Tokyo, and can think of it as a slightly smaller version of Tokyo. As a result, most of my experiences here were quite similar to Tokyo. So, I will only mention the few that were unique:
Yeah.. I didn’t write that by mistake. FREE! Do I need to say it again? It is 100% FREE!! This has got to be weirdest concept in the capitalist world! Not far from where I stay, people come here to pick out their little biscuits (more correctly known as ‘senbei’ or ‘okaki’), and a drink of their choice, sit down and eat as you please for NOTHING! The only catch is that, they ask of us not to come back for 2nd servings and to only come once a day. I am surprised it is not as packed as it should be!!
I have NO idea why they are doing this, but perhaps it is just another enterprise using reverse psychology, to cause the few of us to feel guilty enough to buy the biscuits? If so, I hope there is enough of these to support the rest of us who come here to eat it for nothing with no guilt everyday!
Osaka has a LOT of underground markets, perhaps even more so than Tokyo! There are miles and miles of them that you can explore, and it is pretty easy to get lost too! This isn’t usually a big problem given that they usually end up at a subway or train stop, which you can use to re-orientate yourself.
I love how many are themed in such a way that it feels like an outdoor strip of shops. This one could easily pass as night shopping except it is 12pm midday outside!
Bunraku is basically a kind of traditional Japanese puppetry, but this particular type is apparently unique to Osaka. It is not the same as the, probably better known, Kabuki (which involves real actors). And no.. it is nothing like the “Sesame Street” puppets if that is what you are thinking!!
It basically involves a puppeteer, a chanter (or tayu), and some musical instrument players. It is a rather provocative art telling stories with fantastic expressions and emotions that perhaps even exceed that of a human actor. See if you would be scared with a puppet like this!
And because they use old Japanese, even the locals here need translation! So, I did not feel any bit guilty or different getting one of these at all!
You can get a feel of the mood of the show here:
Did you fall asleep in that 5 minutes? I would have, if I didn’t have that little earphone guide! So why did I watch this? I don’t know! It’s actually quite enjoyable, let me assure you!