Susan's Shanghai Blog - Osaka (subset of Week 53)

This is a subset of Week 53 in the Shanghai Blog. In the website redesign, we needed to split each individual city out.

We grabbed lunch at a little Japanese Curry place around the corner from our hotel. As you go in, there is a machine where you select your dinner and pay, and you get a token that the servers pick up.

Osaka castle was next. Originally called Ozakajo, it is one of Japan's most famous castles, and played a major role in the unification of Japan during the 16th century of the Azuchi-Momoyama period. It was started in 1583 and by 1585, the inner donjon was finished. During an attack in 1614, the outer moat was filled in by Tokugawa Ieyasu during the Seige of Osaka. In 1615, Hideyori started to dig the outer moat again, which made Ieyasu mad (go figure). He sent his armies to the castle and this time, won.

A set of kiddies in front of the Central Tower. It must be a popular place for field trips, since we saw several groups of kids.

The signal gun is a muzzle-loading cannon, made in 1863. Beginning in 1870, it started being used as a time-signalling gun, fired 3 times a day to tell time, then changed in 1874 to just noon.

The figure on the edge of the roof are fish. The beams are also quite elaborate.

Inside there were 5 or so floors of historical things and then a few interesting statues.

The carvings in the rocks supposedly are a way that the stone cutter could indicate it was done by him, so that he could be paid.

We headed down into a pedestrian area for dinner.

There are a few of these restaurants with this big crab on top. But no, we didn't eat there, instead going to Creo-ru, which is a Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki restaurant. It was a fairly big restaurant by japanese standards, with each table having its' own grill in the middle.

Takoyaki are basically octopus balls. They are cooked in a special pan which makes them round. They are everywhere around ... from restaurants to little carts with Takoyaki to-go. They are a batter filled normally with octopus, green onion, and pickled ginger. Then they are brushed with a sauce similar to Worcestershire sauce, and mayonnaise. Then they are springled with a few things.

To drink, I had a Kishu Strawberry Umeshu. Umeshu is a japanese liqueur made from ume fruits (while still unripe). Wikipedia says that the taste and aroma of umeshu can appeal to even those people who normally dislike alcohol (wow, that would be me, huh!!)

We had actually gone to this restaurant for Okonomiyaki. Okonomiyaki is a Japanese savoury pancake containing a variety of ingredients. The name is derived from the word okonomi, meaning "what you like" or "what you want", and yaki meaning "grilled" or "cooked". They bring a mostly-cooked pancake and put it onto the grill and then puts the various sauces on it. Then you finish cooking and cut it. The batter is made of flour, grated nagaimo (a type of yam), eggs and shredded cabbage, and green onion, then whatever meats are ordered. We had the Deluxe Okonomiyaki, which included Pork, Squid, Shrimp, Octopus, and Scallop.

A couple miscellaneous pictures .. night from our hotel room window and a church that is inside the hotel lobby.

For lunch before we headed back to Shanghai, we found a little ramen place.