This week my Minnesota friends Andrew and Joy paid me a visit in Osaka. it all started a few weeks ago when Andrew nonchalantly asked me what I was doing in late October. He eventually told me that he was going to go to Japan as a birthday present to himself, which surprised the hell out of me. I invited him to crash my place for as long as he wanted to and he ended up staying here for 2 days as part of his Japan tour.
Well, it only ended up being a day and a half. I took two days off but I didn’t pick them up until 9 PM on the first day. We basically went back to my place, ate at a Mos Burger at about midnight and crashed early to prepare for tomorrow. Oddly enough, we didn’t really leave my place until around noon the next day. The plan was to hit Namba, check out Osaka Castle and see Shitennoji if we had time. The first place in Namba we visited was Den Den Town. For those who need a reminder, Den Den Town is the Osakan equivalent of Akihabara, a district focused on nerdy things like video games, anime, toys, etc. We ended up spending 3 hours in the area alone. I had merely skimmed through Den Den Town the first time around so this was a more thorough tour of the place. The amount of hobby stores is crazy; there are huge ones that are obvious to the eye but then there are tiny ones hidden well inside of a complex. Some focus on a variety of things while others strictly focus on one thing like anime merchandise, card games, etc. Maids and catgirls were out in full force trying to get people to visit their cafes. Here is an example of one, The Yellow Submarine:
We went inside to quite a few of them and managed to find something for ourselves. I found a lot of cool things like figures from Saint Seiya, an anime I watched as a kid and old G.I. Joe toys from the 80s-90s. It was like looking at my childhood from the East and West!
I ended up buying a gift for a friend in the States as well as a sticker for my laptop of the Laughing Man from Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. If you haven’t noticed by now, I can be a big nerd at times :D, here’s the logo!:
Another discovery I made was the zombie Hello Kitty capsule toys. I read the release of these earlier this year but I didn’t think I’d actually see them for myself. I tried my luck and got a few of them for friends back home:
After leaving Den Den Town, we decided to have lunch and that’s when I realized we weren’t able going to go to Osaka Castle or Shitennoji. It was already 4 PM and both places were going to close up soon. I felt really bad but Andrew and Joy seemed to be having a lot of fun. I decided to give them an extensive tour of Namba as a backup plan. Our next destination was Amemura. Andrew ended up getting a lot of things he was looking for in the area and we managed to take a few amusing pictures. I also managed to find the famous Statue of Liberty!:
After some time in Amemura, we headed back to Dotombouri to check out the bridge at night. It was a lot of fun just wandering around and taking pictures of random things. I swear, no matter how many times I go to Namba, I keep discovering new things about the city. One example was this song that played at a Japanese restaurant by the river. Apparently the boat tours can activate it somehow and we just happened to be right by it. They sing “Takoyaki” in the tune of Hallelujah. It was pretty ridiculous:
I ended up taking quite a bit of silly pictures of Andrew, as well as a video. Here are some:
After spending all day in Namba, we headed back to meet with “Japan” Andrew at Nakamozu to eat and drink. It’s funny because both are from Minnesota and both are pretty good friends of mine. When Andrew (the one visiting) heard that I had a friend also named Andrew that lived in Japan, we joked that I was cheating on him. Near the end of the night, I finally went to the famous Whiskey Cat bar. I’ve been told many good things about the bar and how classy it was. Needless to say, it lived up to the hype. The bartenders were wearing classy bartender uniforms, jazz music was playing and I felt like I was some rich establishment. I will definitely be coming back there. Sadly the day finally came to an end and the pair were off to Kyoto to visit Mario the following morning while I went to work. I really wished they could’ve stayed longer in my area but that would be too selfish because Japan is such a huge place with so many tourist attractions, just staying in Osaka wouldn’t be fun for a tourist. Even though the stay was short, it was a lot of fun and it reminded me of hanging out with them in Minnesota. Hopefully they’ll come back to visit again someday and I will give them a proper tour of Osaka that time around.