Joyously lost in the boondocks of Osaka...
Gangs of Yakult ladies patrolling the streets on their bikes, office to office yoghurt germ warfare.
Feed time at a local sit down diner. It's extra to sit next to a tops old bloke.
Quite a few Japanese cities we have been to have covered streets making shopping, eating and loitering very pleasant. This strip in Momodani serves as a market and on a quiet week day it has a still, 1970s feel to it. We take a stroll through and drool over the food.
Fresh buckwheat soba and udon noodles, ready for slurpy soupness.
More fresh noodles, complete with sauce for instant soupy slurping.
Udon noodles with tempura or fried bean curd ready to go.
More 'instant' noodle kits.
A bit of everything - fresh salads, marinated cooked mackeral, sweet adzuki beans.
How good do those sushi boxes look - around $6 each.
Preprepared yakitori to take home and grill.
Sashimi... those packets that look like sausages are actually cod roe. You roast it or microwave it for extra flavour.
More fish. Dig the crazy arty angle shot.
Sushi and bento shop. Lots of these shops seemed to be getting ready for an onslaught of evening commuters who would buy ready made goodies for dinner.
Great big squiddie fun. We bought some tuna sashimi here, it must have been good, we forgot to take photos. There's an example hiding in the corner. We just stood in front of a shop further down and scoffed the lot.
Octopus. They love the tentacles, it makes wonderful sashimi.
Tiny little sardines which are roasted and sprinkled on or mixed into rice. I love their one beady little eye.
More cultural mystery... Perhaps a Japanese Les Girls?
Panko encrusted crocquettes are everywhere, as well as ready to go tempura. Japanese folks don't mind a bit of deep fry, to put it mildly. We went to two 'tempura' joints on our previous Japan visit - both coated anything and everything with thick batter and deep fried it until it tasted like it was something out of Pauline Hanson's fish and chip shop. We thought it was fun but oily gross, the locals lapped it up.
Since then, anything Japanese and deep fried reminds me of the 'Billy the Beef Tallow Boy' song from the Ren & Stimpy cartoon, a fake ad done 1950's style about a boy who deep fries everything:
Sweet potato. The 'must have' vegetable for autumn. These were coated in a thick sweet glossy coating.
Adzuki and Soy beans taste good - sweet. There's often a sweet edge to foods where you don't expect it.
Evil. More on this later...
Bar setting up as knock-off time draws near. We really could have done with a sit down and a beer by now but we weren't sure how far we had to go.
Wandering around a supermarket we find.... McHappy Beer.
Japan is beer paradise, take-out beer is much cheaper than Australia. The price is gauged by how high the malt content is, so cheaper beers often are fortified with rice or vegetable produced alcohol. They taste a little lighter, but they're still beer!
Japanese goonie, all freely available in a supermarket near the station. The supermarket employed an old guy to monitor the entrance, but we think it's just a scheme to keep old blokes employed.
More booze. There are giant bottles of sake on the bottom shelf, huge 5 litre or more plastic containers.
Even more booze. Shochu for a chi-hi, plum wine, sake - what a choice.
On top here are little one shot sake numbers. They have a ring pull top and you just rip and gulp. They are also in a lot of the 7 Elevens, and sometimes they also have a little apricot in them - yum.
Ever get the feeling that Japanese folks don't mind giving the turps a nudge? Little 'poppers' of sake as well - why not give the kids that edge at school and thow one into the lunchbox?
As we get more and more lost we hatch plans for the world's worst tour company. A day spent wandering suburban shopping areas areas and semi industrial zones is a must on anybody's itinery. By this time we are getting up close near Morinomiya.
The people here are super friendly, but the dogs aren't too sure what to make of us geijin...
We've been walking for hours and getting tired and cranky. Then we see a sign at the front of this shop that says "iced coffee" - sold!
Inside it's like one of those old fashioned shopping centre coffee shops, with plastic plants and music that sounds like the theme from 80's sitcom Family Ties. Love that sax! We get the feeling Kenny G. must be huge here. The coffee shop place is run by a lovely little muffin of an old lady. Behind the cafe was a string of pachinko parlours and you could just make out the racket.
Ice coffee with cream on the side. Using gum syrup instead of sugar as a sweetener is genius. It melts instantly into the liquid and its oh so sweet!
The boss lady waddles out and with a huge smile on her face says "Green Tea Cakey" and gives us a complimentary slice each. How nice is that?