Landscapes & Sightseeing: the many faces of Osaka
Osaka is what you expect of a Japanese metropole in the 21st century. Skyscrapers, tall buildings and various towers shape the skyline. Umekita felt cold and impersonal when we got off the train station.
Curves, straight lines and architectural shapes were nonetheless very pleasing to the eye!
In this urban jungle, we could spot some strange wheels popping behind office buildings. Early signs of entertainment and fun?
Once the subway map understood, we headed to other neighborhoods. Dotonbori & Shinsaibashi surprised us by their contrasting liveliness. Shopping malls, entertainment centers and crowded walkways.. the busy japanese streets we had imagined were finally in sight!
But since we are not very good at shopping, we kept on walking. Two Japanese students approached us for a quick survey for their English class and upon realizing that we had lived in NYC, they took us a few blocks west of the shopping district, to Amerikamura, where US culture is celebrated (inflated by teenage dreams and marketing campaigns). It was slightly strange to be a westerner in this place: we had familiar brands on every street corner but hyper-fashion Japanese teens made it surreal..
Later, we walked into a pretty large market called Kuromon Ichiba and it reminded us that we were in Asia! A loud place with many small shops displaying delicious seafood and strange vegetables.
Getting lost in the surroundings of the market, we discovered the every-day Osaka. Tiny cars speeding through the narrow streets, people cruising on their bicycles, shops that we couldn’t tell what they were selling and a lot of vending machines!
Eventually, we found ourselves in a flea market, which was taking place just aside a large temple. It was interesting to see locals and the items they were after. While i was trying to decide how to fit this Godzilla toy in the backpack, Solene promised herself that we will come back to Japan to buy nice kimonos.
This round up of Osaka’s landscapes wouldn’t be complete without the many historical and religious buildings, the most popular being the Osaka Castle. Built in 1496, it was re-build at least 3 times. It’s by far the largest structure we have seen in Japan so far.
Inside the castle was the most interesting part: a museum containing a lot of artifacts from the past. Samurais’ armors and helmets, secret rolls from generals to vassals lords, love letters.. and a large folding screen depicting the Summer War in Osaka, a famous Japanese battle. There are over 2100 people painted on it and historians have been able to recognize most of the general and commanders. Impressive.
Meeting with Osakans
This is not “humans of New York” by any means but as I enjoy portrait photography more and more, i like to capture the moments we spend with the people we meet or sometimes just the look of someone.
And a few more pictures of us!