Thursday, July 21, 2011

Osaka, Japan ~ A lil' food, a lot o' fashion!

The Food...

 Today I was asked the question, "Do you eat to live or live to eat?"... If you know anything about me, or Danny, you would know that it didn't take us a moment to answer that question... WE LIVE TO EAT!  Food is one of my favorite things to enjoy on vacation, and since Japan is home to one of our top favorite foods, sushi, we were pretty excited!  We knew that our first night, we had to go to a sushi bar, and that is what we did.  When we walked into this conveyor belt sushi bar, we had basically walked into paradise.  You could eat as much sushi as you wanted, and all you had to do was pay by the plate (18 in total... woop, WOOP)!  It wasn't exactly a CHEAP meal, but it wasn't as bad as I expected, and having the first good sushi in almost 1 1/2 years was worth it!  Mmmmm...tuna.

I surprise a lot of people when I say that Korea doesn't really have good sushi... at all.  They have a different idea of sushi that what I think of, so as we walked through a Japanese grocery store and saw it filled with different sashimi and sushi rolls, we shed a tear of joy.
Look at all that sushi! It's glorious!

You could also buy AMAZING salmon and ahi tuna on a stick in the outdoor markets.  Basically if I lived in Korea the mercury level in my body would be ridiculous because I would consume an insane amount of tuna!

Heaven on a skewer.
Now, you may have gotten that Danny and I LOVE sushi, so you can understand why I might think that nothing could combat with it.  Oh, how I was wrong, my friends, soooo wrong.  Some friends who went to Japan before us suggested that we eat ramen while we were there, and at first I wasn't too convinced.  I mean, it's ramen... how good can it really be?  Nevertheless, Danny and I tried it and we are glad we did.  Actually the words I'm really looking for are: OH MY GOODNESS, THIS RAMEN IS SO GOOD IT COULD LITERALLY CHANGE YOUR LIFE!

It is a bowl of pure heaven, my friends, and if you know what is good for you, you will go out and find a Japanese ramen restuarant and get ready to be floored.  It is a rich pork broth with fresh ramen noodles, seaweed, scallions, and the best part are peices of roasted pork put on top.  It completely changed my view of what ramen could be... let's just say this ain't no Cup o' Noodles.

Another food that we were told we had to try is called Takoyaki, or squid balls.  These are these bread things that are cooked in a little bowl so it looks like a ball at the end.  Squid is still not my thing, but these were pretty good!  They kinda tasted like a ball filled with cream of chicken soup so if you are in Osaka, because they are famous for them, go ahead and get some Takoyaki!

One thing I noticed about Japanese restuarants, was that most of them have displays in their front windows of the food they serve.  It's pretty smart actually... you don't have to guess what you are getting or go by a picture, like in America, you can just eat with your eyes first. 

It was fun to look from window to window at what eat place offered, especially when it was ice cream!  I think maybe I will try to create a job like that where I get to create delicious looking things in plastic, like a food artist, because you will get the satisfaction of knowing that people can enjoy your food forever!  Danny and I stumbled upon a store that sold the plastic sushi, and ramen bowls, so we found the perfect Christmas ornament to add to our collection... a tuna roll, and it looks delicious! ; )

Lastly, of course I had to show you one of the strangest things we found.  Asians have a different definition of "normal flavors" when it comes to their snack foods.  In my mind only chocolate Kit Kat's exist in this world, but the Japanese have a bunch of different flavors you wouldn't have imagined.  We found wasabi flavor, cherry blossom, and green tea, but I have heard that they also have flavors like soy sauce, buttered corn, baked potatoe, and creme brulee! (You can read more about them here. )  I just keep thinking my brother-in-law, Robb, would be in heaven here in Asia since he loves to try new flavors of things.  I guess the closest Americans get to "crazy flavors" is Jelly Belly's buttered popcorn flavor... I think we really need to step it up!

The Fashion...

Danny and I were caught by surprise by the fashion in Japan.  Korean fashion has a "group" mentality... girls wear 80's style baggy shirts and mini skirts, and men wear polo shirts a capri-type pants.  Now that is a generalization, so of course it's not everybody, but it sure feels like everybody!  So since we see the same fashion all the time, we loved how individualistic the Japanese are when it comes to fashion.  We saw a rocker style, a lingerie style, a European style, a trendy style, of course a Japanese traditional style, and what I thought was most interesting: a "human doll" style.  

Traditional Japanese Style
You can probably picture most of those styles in your mind, but let me explain the human dolls because they are interesting!  At first I thought that all Japanese are constantly on their way to a costume party, but these are just ways they dress on a normal day!  The human doll girls were a sight to see... they had circles of blush on their cheeks, huge bows in their hair, and we even saw one adult woman carrying a stuffed animal to complete the look.  It must be a commitment to dress to the nine like those women do, but they really do look like dolls walking the streets.  (I'm sad that I could never get a good picture of them, but I got one of them from behind.)

 Human Dolls
Wow that's a lot of color!

 I call these styles: "Brit Pop Chic" and "Rocker Chic"... I don't know about you but when I pictured Japan, this isn't what I imagined ; )

Here we have "French Chic" and "80's Chic"... can you imagine how long it takes to get your hair to look that perfect?

Even the accessories are intense.

Bon Jovi Chic ; )
 Danny and I spent a lot of time people watching in Osaka, and now that you've seen some of the fashion, you can see why!  We sat for a while in a part of Osaka called "Americamura". Which is the "American" section of Osaka.  It was basically just a place where all the unique music, fashion, and specialty store converge into one area.  The guide book said that it was a place where Japanese hipsters could live their "American dream"... yeah buddy!

Danny in Americamura

We have been out of America for so long "Americamura" was as close as we could get, but now I'm curious if the fashion will be as interesting to me once we finally go back.  Either way, Japan is a GREAT place for a lot of things, but the food and the fashion, in my opinion, top them all!

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