this weekend I did not spend in Tokyo like my name on here implies, but their rival town, Osaka. It was a rather spontaneous decision, since I got the chance to see a friend from my very first time in Japan, Sara. We didn’t quite know whether or not it would work out until maybe a week ago and I’m so glad we could both make it!
People from Tokyo probably wouldn’t see Osaka as a rival town, but Osakans certainly do. With many things in Osaka there seemed to be the wish to do things in a way that they would distinguish themselves from Tokyo.
In Tokyo for example you stand on the left side of an escalator and walk on the right – Osakans do the exact opposite.
There is also the Tsutenkaku Tower, that used to look a lot like the Eiffel Tower in the early 20th century, like the Tokyo Tower does today.
It got destroyed in a fire and when it was going to be rebuild some years later they actually decided against their original design – because the Tokyo Tower was already under construction at that time.
Furthermore, it is usually said in Osaka that Tokyoites wouldn’t have any sense of humour and are too meticulous. The people I met from the Kansai region in general all seemed to be rather proud of their home towns and were very eager to tell people about it.
I’ve got to say, I really enjoyed this attitude. My roommate’s friend, at whose guesthouse we stayed, went out of her way to show us some places we should go to and whenever we had to take some more time to figure out the subway systems, there were people ready to help, regardless of speaking English or not.
So, because of many nice people, we actually got to do some sightseeing, although we didn’t really have the time to make plans beforehand. We saw the castle of Osaka and entered the museum inside, too.
We also went to the popular tourist spot dotonbori, a nice area near a canal with many small stores and restaurants.
We ate some okonomiyaki there, which is a dish eaten everywhere in Japan, but especially known in this region, and I later had some takoyaki, also a local dish.
In general, Osaka is quite known for their food.
Sara and I were wandering around a lot besides that. We sure had a lot to catch up on. Six years ago we used to go to the same school in Aomori. We were in the same year, but in different classes. But a few times a week we had Japanese, cooking, and cultural classes together, which were always fun.
For both of us that exchange year turned out not quite how we expected it. Although in different aspects. We talked to eachother a lot back then, not even about certain subjects – more like talking for the sake of being able to voice your thoughts eventually. Or that’s how I felt. For our Japanese skills our friendship probably wasn’t that beneficial, for my mental state during that time, however, I absolutely believe this was the best that could have happened.
The weekend was a lot of fun and I kind of regret not being able to travel a lot while in my internship. I will have to tell you guys about how I even got to Osaka next time, because that was just really an adventure in itself…