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Day 95- Squid Balls & Baby Octopus

Exploring Osaka and it's culinary treats!

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7 March
We were determined to make our first day in Osaka better than yesterday and set out early to see the tallest skyscraper in Japan complete with sky garden (the Abeno Harukas). Once at ground level this huge building standing at 300 metres, only 10 metres smaller than the shard. However it feels more imposing than the Shard as the buildings surrounding it are much smaller than the London skyline. Our plan was to head up for the view and potentially to meander around the garden. However as is now a common undertone of our trip, and the world right now, this was ruined by the Corona virus and Japan's decision to lockdown major attractions. As we had made the journey we decided to browse around some of the shops on the other floors.


A little disappointed we went to our next spot; Shinseki. This was another of Japan's colorful and slightly crazy areas with buildings covered in lights and a random selection of animals, food and other miscellaneous items protruding out! Everywhere seemed to also have a stool selling Takoyaki (squid balls) and other deep fried seafood. Both popular and famous in Osaka, not like you could forget it as these random little balls featured on everything from t shirts to socks... so that was everyone's Christmas presents sorted! Izzy was intrigued to try some but the smallest portion you could order was 8 and being unsure wether she would enjoy them she wasn't willing to take the risk.

We then ended up in Den Den town, an area similar to the Akihabara area in Tokyo with anime, manga and character shops galorie. Although we never had any intention of buying anything it was fun to browse around them looking at all the items from the random softcore porn style anime dolls to real life Space Invaders machines (which of course we had a play on). We also relived childhood memories as we spent time in a shop selling old consoles from the old editions of the Gameboy to the Sega Megadrive (only the best console to revert have existed!).


Our walk took us into Kuromen market, a massive food market selling high quality fresh produce and seafood; a place many chefs are rumoured to get ingredients from. It was here we saw how far Osaka's squid and octopus obsession went as you could buy baby octopus on sticks. It looked disgusting and very intimidating. There were plenty of weird and wonderful seafood around but nothing topped that and it put Iz off trying anything so it was time to head back to cook our own meal; a more standard spaghetti bolognese. We were unsure of the route back as our trusty pocket WiFi had died. We asked a Japanese man with a young child and although he clearly didn't speak English often he was easy to communicate with and insisted on showing us onto the right train and then the right platform at the change point. This was despite his kid being asleep on him and it being clearly out his way. This has been our experience all over Japan. Everyone is so accommodating, friendly, helpful and respectful. It is probably the customer service we have experienced anywhere and yet on the whole they don't expect or accept tips. It really has been amazing and our love affair with Japan continues.

P.S. all restaurants here show their food offerings with realistic looking plastic food. We found a shop whereby you could buy such fake food and even have a go at making it... Look how realistic the below ice cream sundae is!


Posted by Bears on Tour 05:31 Archived in Japan Tagged osaka takoyaki baby_octopus

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