Friday, December 2, 2016

Osaka Walks

The tiger is something of a municipal symbol, as the local baseball team is the Henshin Tigers.
Osaka is Japan's second-largest city, and one of the few that continues to grow in population. It remains extremely popular with tourists, particularly around the river area in the Shinsaibashi area.
A Shinsaibashi shotengai (shopping street).
There are some toy and hobby shops, clustered mostly in the Namba area. However, unlike a decade ago, when you could find wonderful things in shops like Super Position and Psychedelia, bargains are now scarce, and the selection is not what it once was. Still, the city is famous for its food, and it hosts some toy shows like the Doki Doki events.
Toy shop in the Nihombashi area, just adjacent to the Namba district.
After the jump, here are more photos of the city:
Nice spacious park in the northern part of Osaka. You'll rarely see open spaces like this in Tokyo.

Here's a traditional coffee shop, which serves lunch and light meals. I think these places were sort of community corner stones for a long time, with a casual atmosphere and outgoing hosts. In the larger cities, the coffee shop chains and preferences of younger people have led to the decline of places like this. But there are still a large number of absolutely tiny restaurants which may seat 5 people. Places like that are kept alive by a loyal clientele, and the comradery they provide must be important to customers' lives. On the same note, maid cafes aren't just for tourists or otaku. There's one in the Nakano Broadway mall that has a regular clientele. Again, it provides a sort of social service - not much different from a bar, I guess.

It's all about the math.

Plastic food displays can still be seen throughout Osaka - less and less in other cities. That's partly, I guess, because they're expensive, and stores have to keep costs down any way they can in the current climate.

The mouse - his reach is far, and the marketing and sales teams have been quite successful in Japan.

This is a common sight in Osaka and other places - a "relaxation center" where you can get a light massage.

This old shopping area in Nihombashi is something of a ghost town, with few shops still open. I think it has great ambiance and would love to see a revival.
Nice bridge crossing the river, a short distance from the crowded tourist area.

Visitors taking photos of food.

Video game shop. Plenty of these around.

The Tax Free campaign for tourists has been wildly successful, as shops all over the place are clamoring for visitors' patronage.

Another shotengai

Interesting phenomenon this one - the used computer and electronics segments are booming. Akihabara also has a ton of shops.

This is near the America Mura district. It's a Balinese restaurant under construction. Incidentally, there's a tasty Balinese restaurant in the Koenji district of Tokyo.

Christamas lights - or "illuminations" as they're known here - are still a big deal in Osaka. This mall in America Mura is well decked out.

Here's a quick-service shoe repair stall in Umeda station. These stalls do brisk business in stations throughout Japan.

And this is part of the extremely busy Umeda station, which is connected to Osaka station and is simply sprawling.

Believe it or not, this is a fountain - now in its wintery incarnation as a grumpy snowman. It's good to see Osaka caught up in the holiday fun!

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