Monday, October 11, 2010

Osaka Weekend

Last weekend, I made the 5 hour bus trip to Osaka. I had two things on my agenda, the first to visit the Osaka Design Expo, and the second to spend time in the city with my fellow Fulbright friend, Angelica, who is studying at a University in Osaka. Her project is focused on traditional Japanese garden aesthetics, so her and I have a lot in common! The first day in town we spent at the design show. It was a pretty decent size, and there was a good mix of Japanese design firms there. We saw a lot of wooden chairs, and I may have made a pretty good connection with a furniture company from Fukuoka in Kyushu Prefecture, way down in the southern part of Japan. I might try to arrange a visit to their studio a bit later in the year!

That night, we wandered around Osaka's neon streets. The city is lined with numerous canals, which add a certain romance to the place. The reflection of the light from the flashing billboards on the water in the canals is pretty spectacular!

The next night Angelica and I took a ride on a massive ferris wheel precariously situated in the middle of the city, with an amazing view!

On my last afternoon in Osaka, we headed to a massive flea market on the outskirts of the city, that sits under the shadow of a huge and very bizarre bird-like statue. Back home in the states, I have never been one for flea markets, too much junk to weed through! But the sale here was full of mostly high quality stuff, and all incredibly cheap. I had come only looking for one thing: a warm sweatshirt that I could wear to the wood shop, something cheap and junky that I would get messy. I found one within the first 3 mintes of being there! For 300 Yen, about 3 us dollars! Two hours later, we had only walked through the first half of the sale, and it started to rain. As all the vendors began to pack up, I spotted a bright green pair of jeans- a pair of Levi 501's! New, they go for about 50 dollars back home, these were only 200 Yen (about 2 dollars) and looked pretty cool and were in good shape, even though the weren't exactly my size. I bought them anyway- for the same reason I bought the sweatshirt. I brought only one suitcase with me from home, so I was only able to pack my absolute favorite items. None of which I wanted to get dirty and messed up by way of working in a wood shop. When I got back to my apartment in Takayama, I tried them on...and like magic, they fit me perfectly!

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