The most exciting city: Osaka (大阪)


People dining in Osaka.

In March we went to Osaka to once again see the Sumo Spring Tournament. As I have mentioned before Thomas is a pretty big sumo fun, which even the Japanese find funny because the popularity of the sport among the general Japanese population is definitely dying. Most people in the crowd at the tournaments are over the age of 60. However, sumo is filled with traditions that date back to centuries and has many ritual elements that can be linked to Shinto Buddhism, such as the use of salt for purification. So, for that reason alone I also have enjoyed learning and following up with the ups and downs of the sumo world.

We went for 4 days as I still had some extra holidays that I needed to take before leaving Japan. On our first day we went to Universal Studios Japan or better known in Japan as USJ. I have never been a big fan of theme parks, maybe because I had never been to one before. In my mind they are places where you can easily waste your money on extremely highly priced food and toys (which they totally are, but they are so fun!). Thomas really wanted to go though and many of our friends said that it really was a fun place. So we went and yes they were right, it was a ton of fun and yes I was right too, we spent way too much money on Hello Kitty merchandise and Spider-Man pencils, but hey when else will we be at USJ again, right?


At the entrance of USJ.


About to start our day at USJ.

Our first stop was the Spider-Man ride. It was pretty old school but it was funny to see Thomas mention the names of all the villains… haha! Then we went to the Back to the Future ride and I was feeling pretty sick when we got out of there. Too much up and down movement for my liking. The most fun was the Jurassic Park ride, which included some dinos spraying water at us and a big drop at the end. I have to say though, waiting in those lines really took it out of me. That’s one thing I do not enjoy about theme parks, but people say is part of the experience so I went with it. My favourite part was of course the Snoopy area. I have been a Snoopy fan since my childhood and love the comic strips and the holiday specials, so yes, I was super excited when I got to meet Charlie Brown and Lucy! This area was particularly cute and super fun for the kiddies. We even spotted a famous Japanese singer in the crowd. It was a very fun day and I am glad we went but at the end of the day I was so tired that I fell asleep in the subway like a 3 year-old after a big day at the theme park.


A Sesame Street themed stall.


Back to the Future the Ride.


Got to meet Charlie Brown!


The doctor is in…

For the sumo tournament we met up with 2 of our friends who came to Osaka from Niihama. Being their first time at the sumo they spent most of their time photographing the event. However, last time I saw the sumo tournament it was also my first time and I spent 2 hours taking pictures, so this time around I sat down, opened my beer, and actually watched the matches. After the tournament we walked around the Dotombori Area of Osaka which is the entertainment district and enjoy the nightlife of Osaka.

Osaka is a very fun city, filled with young people, a lot of shops and lot of restaurants! The locals love their local food which includes Okonomiyaki (a sort of pancake made out of cabbage with different toppings such as shrimp and pork and topped with a sweet sauce and nori, seaweed) and Osaka’s famous Takoyaki (they are balls of dough with pieces of octopus inside, also topped with the sweet sauce of okonomiyaki and eaten with toothpicks. In Japanese the word for octopus is tako, hence takoyaki). I will write more about these 2 delicious dishes in a later post. But I will leave with some pictures from our trip. Enjoy!


A sumo inspired izakaya (Japanese pub)


The back windows of restaurants.


The world goes up in Japan.


Walking through the streets of Osaka.




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