We got into Osaka a little after 6:30 p.m. last night, checked into our hotel, then headed out in time to watch the stores close. We were so chocolated out that we skipped dinner. I know, I know. A rarity for me.
This morning, however, we were out bright and early. As were many eager shoppers. We passed a group of people congregated outside a department store. “What are they waiting for?”I asked. “They’re waiting for the department store to open,”Akemi informed me. Waiting for the department store to open? It was 9:30 a.m.! What kind of crazed die-hard shoppers spend 30 minutes anxiously awaiting the opening of a department store?!
We decided on Japanese curry for lunch. We were very early but elected to walk by the place, just to confirm its location and, whaddya know – it was already open! So we popped in. I had the katsu-kari – golden fried pork on rice surrounded by the sweet and spicy version of curry served here in Japan.
Then, we walked off lunch by perusing some of the local offerings, strolling through this miles-long corridor of shops.
Artwork adorning the entranceways.
Akemi can’t resist a good cut-out.
We wandered by this temple. Outside the entrance to the grounds was a statue of a portly fellow that Akemi proclaimed: “Your favorite god.” “Why’s he my favorite,”I asked? “Because he’s always eating and surrounded by food.” Oh.
Artwork adoring the ceiling above the entranceway. Chinese astrological signs. I’m a snake. Surprised?
We stop for a snack – ice cream sandwiched between two wafer-thin mochiko powder shells. Akemi liked the shells. I preferred the ice cream. This is why we’ve been together for almost seven years.
One of the department stores was hosting a special Hokkaido-themed event, featuring products and specialities from Japan’s northernmost island – and, uh, this unique claw game. Win your date a potato!
On our way back to the hotel, I pick up some of the biggest figs I’ve ever laid eyes on. An oasis of healthy snacking in the eye of a crispy, crunchy, creamy culinary storm.
It rained this afternoon, but that didn’t dampen our enthusiasm to check out the modest little farmer’s market that set up shop close to our hotel. A sample plate of spicy “thread” peppers caught my eye and, after trying one, I ended up purchasing a bag. “You know what goes great with peppers?”said the pepper farmer. “Mushrooms!” And he motioned me over to the adjoining booth where I was presented with samples of two different mushrooms, one black and one white. Delicious. As I bought one of each, the mushroom farmer informed me that “The black ones fight cancer while the white ones are good for your skin.” “Honey is also good for your skin!”piped up the honey farmer at the neighboring stand. And he had samples too. Good thing our hotel room has a kitchen.
Tonight, it’s unagi dinner with Akemi’s family!
Today’s entry is dedicated to blog regular Mike A. Condolences on your loss, Mike.