The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Tuesday, 30 January 2007

Hip 'n fashionable Osaka

The final chapter of the trip we took during the winter/New Year vacation brings us to Osaka. Although our third visit to this city, this was our first time to the Minami (south) district of this vast city. We stayed one night in Shinsaibashi, also known as the fashion/shopping district of Osaka. There were so many impeccably dressed people on the streets of Shinsaibashi, and of course many department stores and brand-name fashion stores like Chanel and Gucci. I just know my younger sister would love it here.

As it so happens, our hotel was smack bang in the midst of Amerika Mura (literally means America Village), named perhaps in tribute of the Japanese obsession with anything American. There are many trendy shops (presumably American brand names, or at least influenced by the American fashion industry) and the streets teemed with fashionable young things. I felt sorry for the girls who were victimised by the impractical fashion of super-short shorts and skirts.

One of the streets of Amerika Mura:

It was late afternoon by the time we'd checked into the hotel. After we umm-ed and ah-ed over where to spend the rest of the evening, and we decided to head to Osaka Bay, otherwise known as Tempozan. Here, a giant ferris wheel dominated the landscape. At 112.5m height, it is one of the largest ferris wheels in the world, and it promised us great views of Osaka, Osaka Bay and Kobe. After exploring the Tempozan Marketplace next door (three storeys of shops and restaurants), we paid 700yen each and hopped onto the wheel for a 15minute ride. We were awarded with breathtaking night views (unfortunately all the photos taken from a moving wheel through a window didn't turn out as well as I'd like so I ain't posting any photos up).

The giant ferris wheel from (slightly) afar:

After a lovely dinner at one of the (better) restaurants in the Marketplace, we headed back into downtown and wandered down Dotombori Strip which is a bright, loud and bustling nightlife area full of restaurants and theatres.

Somewhere in the middle of Dotombori Arcade, which was crowded with people but the photo doesn't show that:

We then headed back to our hotel late in the night, and enjoyed a lazy morning before heading off back home (not before experiencing a hectic moment with cancelled train services due to the crazy weather).

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