Andrew’s world in Japan

Daisys on Dōtonbori

Most recently in these short written exploits, I’ve been dragging you around the more tekito Kansai region, but we have yet to really jump into the major hub. The city of Osaka is that to which I refer. Every visit, without fail, I long to return and spend more time exploring. Keep in mind, I don’t just want to paint another pretty picture. It is a massive city that many consider “dirty,” but somehow, unlike Tokyo, manages to retain a smaller more relaxed feel. Jumping right in to the ‘what’s behind this collection of words,’ we fi nd ourselves in the Namba ward’s famous food district Dōtonbori. Maybe because it is a major station, or towards the city center, but this district tends to draw me right in like a moth to a lantern. Just recently, I recall an hour of wandering backstreets, taking photos and pondering just what goes on behind some of these tiny creepy doorways from the central station to Namba on a pleasant albeit chill May morning. Now, as I start to wax nostalgic, and begin to rustle these memories out of their mental compartments, I do recall that most of my time in Osaka, is generally spent aimlessly wandering not really knowing or being fully aware of my from or to. So any attempt to retrace my steps would require patiently bumbling about. That is, if you’re in a hurry to get somewhere, like say an appointment for example, don’t expect I’ll bring you to your destination any time soon in this neck of the urban jungle. As is often the case in aimless wanderings, I am sucked into the geometric lines of a hypnotizing path like those tracks of a train or in this instance, a river [which actually turns out to be a …?]. With a pause, some store bought bento coupled with two tall cans of Kirin and a bottle of mugicha, I planted myself along this waterway. In my blissful ignorance, I munched my goodies while proceeding to take in the tranquil calm of a Sunday morning in Osaka. This picturesque location was the canal better known as Dōtonbori. The story goes that one Doton Yasui was looking to boost the areas revenue generating potential and thought constructing a waterway could enhance commercial activities. Not a bad idea considering places like Venice, Houston, Melaka, hmm, maybe even the Sungai Klang in Kuala Lumpur, but we are way to future biased at this juncture. Right or wrong, the area did grow to be a historic kabuki theatre zone, with all the accompaniments of any entertainment district. Although today, the theaters are no longer an active business element, all the industries that grow up around are still fl ourishing. Particularly between the two bridges Nipponbashi and Dōtonboribashi. Eateries specializing in a range of those famous Kansai fares are the agreed apon draw for most visitors. Some may even go so far as to claim here are housed Osaka’s best restaurants. That, I cannot debate, but I defi nitely enjoy sitting next to water, listening to birds chirp, watching cats lounge in the sunbeams, observing refl ections off of water all while snacking on delicious prepackaged meal goodness and sipping on a tall can of that refreshing Kirin. Ask me to take a stroll with you some time, you might just fi nd yourself somewhere that you thought you knew, just to fi nd out there’s.

Artist & researcher based in KL since 2009, passionately exploring the creative process & connecting with other creative people.