Sunday, 24 April 2011

Night in the City

Exciting times for Jules and I at the moment as we prepare for our first overseas visitors to Japan. Our son David and his girlfriend Cara will be jetting in for around ten days in a weeks time, so we have been busily putting together a list of hot spots to see while they are here. As they are into good food and drink (sounds familiar) they are certainly coming to the right city. Often referred to as ‘the stomach of Japan’, Osaka boasts a countless range of places to indulge the palette. Here more than anywhere else in Japan the locals enjoy their food culture to such an extent that they have invented a word to encapsulate their passion. “Kuidaore” literally means "bringing ruin upon oneself by extravagance in food” and it’s not too difficult to see how this term might have come into existence. So, as part of our duty as good hosts, we have been spending some time downtown researching a wealth of bars and restaurants the city has to offer…a tough job but someone has to do it! The two areas we focused on were Umeda and Namba, but there are many more we could have chosen. While Umeda is best known as a commercial district, it has been steadily going through a transformation with many new upmarket shops and equally upmarket restaurants. Major department stores are accompanied by a of range multi-storey buildings filled with eateries. The centre piece of the area is the ‘Sky Tower’ with its stunning views of the city from the bar on the thirty ninth floor, but for something different, the ferris wheel on the top of the ‘Hep 5’ building offers a great outlook as well as a host of trendy places specializing in desserts. Many smaller restaurants and bars can be found in the maze of side streets, not to mention the extensive underground arcades that includes a ‘Gourmet Museum’, which despite its name, is simply row upon row of more restaurants catering for every possible taste. However after all that, the place for us is Namba, regarded as the entertainment district of Osaka, with its famous images of the Giant Crab and the Glico man sitting on the Dotonbori canal. Here bars, nightclubs, cafes and restaurants sprawl in all directions branching off from the very long shopping mall that runs all the way along Shinsaibashi Suji and beyond. The amount of places at ground level is simply amazing, but when you look upward and notice that most buildings have several stories of other possibilities it becomes quite overwhelming. In the name of research, we tried just a few and were always warmly welcomed. Each time the atmosphere was happy and energetic as both locals and foreigners enjoyed each others company and a common enjoyment of food and drink. It seems that as long as you’re open to the concept of ‘Kuidaore’ the door is always open and a good time is had by all.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds amazing.... Can't wait to get over there and check it all out :-)