April 27, 2009

Umeda and Namba with Joyce

The Kasdan Family Bed and Breakfast (Nihon) continues to be open for business. (We always dreamed we could have a bed and breakfast, but we pictured it in Vermont, not Japan!). Mike's Dad has left, and our final family visitor is now with us in Japan. Mike's Aunt Joyce (one of the few family members who posts comments in this very space!) arrived on Thursday night and is staying with us through early May.

Friday was an adjust-and-get-a-feel-for-Kobe day, which included (at least for Ilena and Joyce) checking out the Ikuta Shrine, wandering through Sannomiya, a yummy sushi lunch, drooling their way through the delicacies in the basement of the Sogo Department Store, and then all sharing a great family meal at our favorite yakitori place, Masaya in Ashiya. (Yes, we take all our visitors here!)

On Saturday, a dreary rainy day, we wanted to stay inside and under cover as much as possible. We figured we could do that, while exploring the two main downtown areas of Osaka, Namba and Umeda. We have explored Kobe far more than Osaka, so we were happy to spend the day in Osaka. We started in Namba and then worked our way to Umeda later in the day. We had a warming ramen lunch, did lots of people-watching (there is serious fashion on display), and browsed and souvenir shopped through the underground shopping malls (Namba City and Namba Parks) and browsed through the ceramic-ware, knives, and knick-nacks on Doguyasuji (aka "Kitchen Street").

Here we are in the ramen-ya:

Some sights of Kitchen Street. Joyce in front of a wall of knives...

The wall of plastic sushi...

And last, but certainly not least, some of that serious fashion we were talking about. (Jacob fell madly in love with this woman.)

Afterward, back in Umeda, we let the kids play some video games at Joypolis in the HEP5 building in Umeda, one of those monster high-energy hustle-bustle mega-shopping, food, and entertainment complexes. Most importantly (to Jacob), there is a Sega Joypolis in there.

Saturday night we had our babysitter to watch the kids, and hit Sannomiya and went to a great yaki-niku place called Fufutei. Mike had been there before with co-workers, or we never would have found it. It is on the 3rd floor of a building of Ikuta Road - you take the tiny elevator up - and it opens to this great huge restaurant. Highly recommended!

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