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Japan 2014: Day 7 – Osaka

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Osaka is only half an hour away from Kyoto by train, and with our handy JR Pass we booked seats on the 2.11pm Thunderbird limited express train.

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I like the name. The Thunderbird. Sounds awesome. “I took the Thunderbird to Osaka” sounds better than “I took the bullet train to Kyoto.” :P

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There was a huge group of school kids in the Kyoto Station waiting for the bullet train. School trip somewhere, I assume.

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A family waiting at the platform across from ours.

Osaka was the completely new place to me as I hadn’t managed to visit here previously. But my current favourite J-pop group hails from Osaka and this Kansai region so their songs were inadvertently playing in my head all the while. haha

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A man and his best friends.

We dropped by Hard Rock Cafe (again, for my sisters) to buy more collectible pins and to have lunch. I feel like every time we had a meal in a restaurant I burned out several thousand brain cells attempting to understand menus and place orders. @_@ Good brain exercise I suppose haha

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At night we wandered round to see Shinsaibashi (which was quite literally around the corner from our hotel).

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More covered walkways! I like.

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Then I took a few more steps, turned around, and gasped. And then laughed.

I hadn’t really done in-depth research on Osaka and didn’t realise that Dotonbori was right next to Shinsaibashi and that some of the most iconic Osakan sights were not even 5 minutes’ walk from our hotel. This giant signboard – the Glico Man – is one them.

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Dotonbori! Street of food and other shops. It’s well-known for the huge animated signboards outside restaurants.

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Kani Doraku. The most famous Osakan animated signboard of all. The claws move. (I can’t remember if the eyes do.)

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Brightly-coloured cartoony signboard.

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Giant gyoza.

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Giant octopus wielding cooking utensils and.. a… takoyaki. (Fried octopus ball.) o_O

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Fat pufferfish informing you that this restaurant is called Zuboraya and it specialises in pufferfish.

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Clearly a sushi restaurant.

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This mechanical doll is another famous Osaka icon. He’s called Kuidaore Taro.

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We walked quite a distance down Shinsaibashi too. At one part there were banners advertising the Southeast Asian countries. There’s Singapore!

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And hello, Malaysia!

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Side street.

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This guy was dancing to one of those Dance Evolution game machines and quite a crowd gathered round to watch him. He was pretty good! Everyone applauded him when he was done.

(The more I think about it, the more I regret not going to one of those purikura things with my mother. :( )

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I wish the lanterns along the river had been lit. It would’ve been a lot prettier.

Back in the hotel, I did my usual channel surfing and discovered from a news clip that Tom Cruise had just been in Osaka a couple of days before (promoting his latest movie, Edge of Tomorrow) and he’d gone down the Dotonbori River on a boat and there were sooooo many people in the area hoping to catch a glimpse of him. Ah, we juuust missed the excitement then!

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