I have just come back from a very short trip to Osaka, which is known as the Kitchen of Japan. I am itching to tell you all about it, but I feel it might be information overload, so I will probably do it over many posts. There’s just so much to tell.
Now that I’m back in Singapore, these are the things I remember fondly about Osaka and wish we had in Singapore:
1. Japanese TV. Even though I don’t understand Japanese, their reality shows are just so entertaining. I watched a version of Jon and Kate plus 8 Japanese style. A 28-year-old mother with her 29-year-old husband with 7 children under the age of 8 and she was expecting her 8th child. There was no yelling or screaming or demeaning of their spouse. The children were sweet and emulated the gentle nature of their parents.
2. Pretty pastel colours everywhere. Even their manholes are attractive! When I returned to Singapore the colours here started to look garish. Maybe we should start hiring some Japanese designers.
3. Kawaii – the cuteness factor is high, even with construction notices. It really makes life more pleasant when careful attention is paid to even the most seemingly insignificant things. It just makes city life so much prettier. Before I came here I heard that Osaka is the ugliest city in Japan having been bombed flat during the war and then rebuilt. I beg to differ as I found this city very pretty and quite charming. They say that Osaka has more soul than Japan and the people are friendlier and I guess from what I experienced in this trip, it did ring true. People are generally nicer when they are not so crammed together.
4. The lovely weather – it was a cool 24 degrees and will get even cooler as Autumn arrives.
5. Japanese food – high quality at lower prices. In particular I had the most fantastic Inari sushi which came stuffed with sesame seeds and some kind of red bean. They also make really good western food and I love my teriyaki burger. I also had the most fantastic iced chocolate that was made with real chocolate and not hershey’s syrup in milk that I am often disappointed by in Singapore cafes.
6. The kids are so cute and fashionable. This little girl with her red snow cone was just too cute with her socks up to her knees and pink frilly skirt. I love the way Japanese mothers dress their kids. They truly have an eye for colour.
7. It’s lovely to people watch when every girl is a fashionista. I swear that every Japanese girl I saw was beautiful and could somehow balance in high skinny heeled boots while walking briskly.
8. Osaka takes Halloween seriously. It’s weeks away, but already I saw several stores decked out in halloween decorations.
What I will not quite miss:
1. Smoke filled air-conditioned cafes and restaurants that made me feel choked. Almost every cafe, even though you opted for a non smoking section was filled with so much smoke it made your throat itch. I saw several Japanese girls chain smoking. Perhaps that’s how they remain skinny, while indulging occasionally in all that lovely food?
2. Everyone zipping about on bicycles to the detriment of pedestrians. Maybe there was also a tinge of envy. I must admit that their bicycles were so pretty I was yearning to learn how to ride a bike. I would then want a bike in pastel pink like the several pink ones I spotted on the streets of Osaka.
3. Having to walk everywhere are a taxi ride is expensive. I saw long lines of empty cabs. It was a pity and the drivers were dressed so spiffily too including a cap and bow tie.
4. Clothes are just too small and there seems to be discrimination against overweight people. There’s discrimination at work and on TV chubby people who are not really very big are only given the clown role.