Dotonbori is the main street in Osaka, and it runs parallel to a canal. The adjoining buildings are plastered with neon signs, which isn’t unusual in Japan, but in Dotonbori they hold an extra significance. Below is the ‘Glico running man’, which has been there for over 80 years, and is the sort of thing you don’t realise is famous until you see it, and then you completely understand why.
People love that guy.
It isn’t just quirky neon signs that the area is known for though. There are piles of places to eat, with ‘street food’ (I hate that term) everywhere.
At night, the street comes alive, with a whole manner of things going on that will overload your senses.
They have this drink in Japan that is a strong, fizzy alcoholic fruit water that you can pick up cheap in any of the corner shops. For some reason Grace wasn’t feeling up to heading out one night, and so Al and myself decided to sink a load of these ‘STRONG’ drinks and batter about Dotonbori taking street photographs. There is so much going on all the time that it is impossible to capture, but we were damn well going to give it a good bash.
As the numerous Suntory began to kick in, we began to get ‘gallus as fuck’, and shed all the apprehension we might previously have had. We were bouncing off each other, and it was a pretty great evening spent in the zone.
If you look closely, you can spot us sliding our way onto some kind of TV channel…
It did help that so many people were more interested in taking selfies in front of the running man neon than much else.
To be honest, we found that most people in Japan didn’t seem too bothered about foreigners taking pictures… and if they did happen to notice or catch your eye, all you had to do was smile warmly back, and it would usually be returned.
As the night wore on, we met up with Grace, and headed to some place that apparently had the best burger in Osaka. After tasting it, I think they probably did.
We wound things up with a game or two of Mario Kart on a SNES set out by a bar in the street, which was so Japanese and awesome that it was almost ridiculous.
This post is part of a series looking back at my trip to Japan in 2016 along with Grace and Al. (Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven, Part Eight). For a shared perspective from all three of us that was written at the time, take a look at japanatrois.wordpress.com.