Japan 2013 Osaka Day 1: Wandering around Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi

by - 11/12/2013

The first thing we did was wander around aimlessly. I did not have much of a plan for day one (which is highly unusual considering how intense my itinerary was), so we just wandered around Shinsaibashi during the day. I'm glad I planned for nothing, because truth be told, it was all a bit overwhelming at first. It was relatively quiet in the morning, and I did not realize that most shops do not open until 10:00 am or 11:00 am. So we just walked around until something opened, and our first meal in Japan was ticket ramen! I don't even know the name of the place, but it was tasty. The ticket machine was really easy to use because it showed you pictures, and whatever extra you wanted, you just selected it. When you entered the restaurant, you give the staff your ticket, sit at the counter, and wait for your food. 

I have no idea what kind of broth it was, but it was different from any ramen I have had because it had a bit of a sweet flavor to it. It was nice! I opted to get an egg in mine. 

Kevin ordered a Coke, and was shocked when it came to him in a glass bottle! We learned that this was a thing in Japan, glass bottles of Coke. For some reason, it was way more delicious out of a glass bottle! 

I also really enjoyed the manhole covers. I made a point of finding one in every city that we went to! 

After we ate, we found our way to Dotonbori. It was not very exciting during the day, but there were still some good photo ops. We found the famous Glico Man!

Obligatory tourist pose
We also found the creepy Dotonbori automaton:

But the best thing we found was hidden in an arcade.

There are tons of arcades in Shinsaibashi, and we randomly picked one. There were tons of UFO machines, but then I saw this glorious thing:

Do you know what that is? I wasn't sure either until I looked at the picture of the angry man with various food items flying around. It's a table flipping game! I could not believe it. I can't tell you how many times I've fantasized about flipping a table in anger, and here, the Japanese have made a game out of it. Naturally I had to try it. You could pick between a young salaryman, an older drunk salaryman, a bride at her wedding, and an oba-san. I picked the young salaryman, and promptly slammed my hands on the table and flipped it. 

The table went flying. My stapler, coffee, paperwork, went all over the office. Water mains exploded. Other people went flying. People were shocked at my behavior, their eyes wide and mouths agape in horror. It was the funniest thing I've ever done. I really feel that if every workplace had one of these games, we would all be happier employees.

The table flipping game in all it's flippin' glory.

After exploring we decided to look at Namba Parks. It's just like any other department store with small shops that were very expensive. There was also a movie theater that showed both dubbed and subbed movies. There was a really lovely park outside where you could explore. I really don't think I saw everything there because the whole place is like a maze. We found a cute restaurant and decided to round out our day with some tea and coffee and a nice snack. 

After this, we headed back to the hotel because my coworker Darren was arriving with his son! It turned out that they were going to be in Osaka at the same time, and their tour group would be staying at the exact same hotel! I was ecstatic, to say the least. We planned on heading out for a night on the town in Dotonbori. 

I just want to point out that this machine was right on the street in Dotonbori. Just out there, in the open, like many things out in the open are. Nobody even batted an eye at this. Not gonna lie, I kind of regret not trying to get one. It was full of disembodied boobs. Just boobs. All boobs.

So we decided that we needed to go to Don Quijote more than anything else, and we got lost in the tiny aisles and corners for a while. While in there, we stumbled upon this gem:

Yes, this is Pepsi Cola flavored chips. It's very hard to explain what this was like. Imagine this:

Not the flavor now, just the texture. Imagine that texture, but with this taste: 

Are you completely confused? Because my taste buds were. These chips actually fizzed a bit on your tongue, as if they were carbonated. It was bizarre. We continued our journey. 

Because everyone I was with was a picky eater that did not eat, or was allergic to, shellfish (buzzkills!), we settled on yakiniku. We each got our own special, which had some wagyu beef and veggies. 

After we ate our yakiniku, we returned to the hotel for the night, like old people do. It was a fun sample of what was to come later!

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