I went to the Kansai area during the New Year's vacation. I spent the first day in Osaka.
Our train tickets looked really cool because of the date.
Some of the express trains look like Ultraman.
Osaka says: Take your rules and shove 'em
I believe this is a Kabuki theater.
This place has some pretty good cheesecake.
From the Osaka Zoo subway stop
There's a neighborhood in Osaka called "Shinsekai" (New World). Despite its name, it's very retro. Of course it was new and shiny when it was first developed, but it hasn't changed much since then, so the overall feel now is of some shopping area from many decades back. This is the appeal of it though.
I was more impressed when I went 10 years ago because I went at an odd time and almost nothing was open, so it looked extra old and run-down. This time though, there were lots of tourists. I've also gotten used to living in Tainan where this kind of old-school neighborhood is still very common. And what's more, a lot of the buildings in Tainan are also legitimately old. Shinsekai appears to only have a small number of actually old buildings as far as I can tell, so my overall impression was that it wasn't as interesting as I remembered it being.
In the middle of the neighborhood is the Tsutenkaku tower. I've changed a lot in 10 years, but some things never change. Just like 10 years ago, I got the neighborhood excited about going up the tower, but when I saw the admission price of 700 yen, I immediately lost all interest.
To the right of the "SHINSEKAI" letters it says "Bring the Olympics to Osaka". This sign is obviously a little old. It never happened, in case you haven't kept up to date on your Olympic host cities. Japan did get the Olympics, but they decided to have it in Tokyo again instead of somewhere new.
There were some old movie theaters in the area. The buildings themselves were interesting, but it was also interesting that mixed in with the normal movies, they also still screen adult movies. It's amazing that a place like this can still exist in this age of DVDs and internet.
Hi, NYC? Please take careful notes on this next section. Note how the subways are really pretty and awesome looking. Could we have that too? Thanks.
Carpeting! Of course, as much as I'd like to have this in NYC, it would take only about one day before it was all soiled and gross. We're a bunch of animals.
Next up: Kyoto