Day 1 – Osaka – Visiting Dotonbori

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Dotonburi was pretty amazing. I want to say “shocking” because of the sheer size of the place. We got there pretty early so the crowds were thin, but it got pretty packed by the afternoon. 

Taylor and I shared our first taste of Wagu beef. One of the restaurants had a pop-up thing just out front and they were cooking up different types of beef. I decided to go for a premium skewer at 5500 yen ($45). Was pricey but I knew I wouldn’t be doing it too often. I read online that any restaurant with lots of English signage is definitely targeted at tourists and have “tourist prices”. Anyway it was really quite good. It’s true what they say that it let’s in it mouth.

30 minutes and I’m already on Japanese TV

There was a Japanese camera crew setting up to film the chef cook up the skewers and they asked me if I wanted to talk to them. “Me on Japanese TV? YUP!”  The TV guys were really nice and the reporter and I could barely understand each other. Told him where I was from and that we were visiting Japan for the first time. He asked me what I thought of the price. I thought that was an odd question but whatever.

My answer was a shrug because I knew I wouldn’t be having it too often at all and this was part of the experience of being in Japan. Anyways it turns out they were there to cover how foreign tourists were “flocking” into Japan fo take advantage of the low yen and how costs were so high for regular Japanese people. Got to say, I was a little disappointed in how they made foreign tourists look in their report. The low yen isn’t being caused by foreign tourists; foreign tourists are here because of the low yen. The tourism industry is actually benefiting greatly by the favourable exchange rate, but they didn’t mention that. Whatevs. 

We found our way to Shinsaibashi-suji. It’s a massive covered street market. I’m not understating the word massive. Every narrow street was full of people and just went on and on. Was crazy. 

The place is pretty cool because you can get pretty much anything here, even some pretty strange things.

The Japanese really take their restaurant signage seriously. Some of it had mechanical parts that moves, and most of them blared music or some announcer talking.

Lunch in Dotonburi

We had lunch at this small place. Whenever a customer enters, all the chefs kind-of yell out something, I assume its “Welcome!”. : )

Had some sushi and some grilled beef. You order using a tablet, which was nice because we really had no idea what the food names meant — even with Google Translate. Just tap and add to our order, then hit the “Order” button.

Among the shops and restaurants there’s your odd, small tourist trap where you can shoot air guns at plastic toys, or try your hand at some Japanese archery. We decided to take a look at one.

Plastic food displays

One of the strangest things I notices that was many of the restaurants have fake, plastic examples of the food they serve. It’s kind of strange because we absolutely never see that sort of thing in North America. Everything on the menu has a life-like plastic version of it in a cabinet outside so you know what to expect.

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