What a great few days in Kansai! Can't think of a better way to start the trip. Thanks again to my good buddies John, Hossy, Morry, and Kazu for showing me around.
I had a great time checking out toy shops in Osaka. Quite a lot has changed recently, though. The Namba Mandarake has moved to Shinsaibashi. I also heard that Charactics may be closing for good in a few months. But I wasn't able to confirm that with Takahashi-san since the shop wasn't open when I went there (he opened at 2 PM on Saturday instead of 12).
Anyway, there are still a lot of cool shops in the Namba area, and of course there's Pop Soda and the new Mandarake in Shinsaibashi. Plus Kobe is just stocked with vintage toys - possibly even more than Osaka.
The food this time around was the best I've had in Osaka. From Middle Eastern food to soba to pizza to okonomiyaki and yakisoba, it was all delicious!!!
At the okonomiyaki shop:
I also learned that Halloween comes early in Amerika Mura! Around Triangle Park on Saturday night, there were dozens of costumed folks heading to events.
Here's the only thing I bought in Osaka (besides a new dictionary) - a painted Nougaki without eye jewels. I think it's a one off from Pachisami or maybe some other event.