Akio Wannabe-San

Oden In Osaka

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 Oden reminds me of Yong Tau Fu back home and you can find oden even in convenient stores like 7 – eleven and Lawson in Japan but you wouldn’t find the same thing anywhere else though.  Although Yong Tau Fu you pick the ingredients and then they are cooked in boiling water , followed by noodles or no noodles , soupy or dry to be added, this is with broth that had been boiled in for hours.

The difference with Oden and yong tau fu is the broth, while the broth for Oden is soy based, the broth for yong tau fu I think is ikan bilis and also the ingredients , while some is quite similar, you will noticed that Oden’s ingredients are not things we usually add with our yong tau fu.

Oden is usually eaten during the cooler months in Japan and in Osaka, you will find many Oden eateries.  They are not only found inside a restaurant but they can be found in market places , out on the street in a street cart.  I love the daikon most if I have Oden and then the fish cakes as well as eggs and tofu like things.  I also like the meat kind of food that comes in the Oden , because they are so flavorful.

Oden are almost always reasonably priced but it also depends on where you eat and buy them from.

Hiroshima Lantern Festival In Japan

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The Hiroshima Lantern Festival is held on the 6 of August annually and even though businesses are still open for business, a lot of people are gathered at the Peace Park to think about what happened and also to pray for lost ones as well as thinking of ways how to end nuclear war , suffering and differences between countries.

There is a memorial service and everyone is welcome to attend and lighting of paper lantern with special wishes written on them and then released into the waters.  The festival is a somber event and usually the political party give speeches and talk about the past event and the future.

Street Performance In Japan

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Street performances in Japan is a common sight and I’ve written a lot about it in my many years that I’ve been in Japan.  The talented Japanese guys and girls spare not change when it comes to buying their musical instruments and costume for their performances.  My nephew who lives in Japan had asked me to bring a  pro bass box  for him this summer when I am on vacation in Japan and although my sister isn’t so keen in him performing on the street, I feel that it’s a really cool thing to do and experience.   I say go for it just as long as he isn’t doing drugs or drinking alcohol or fighting on the streets.

Goya Burger In Okinawa

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If you are in Okinawa, don’t forget to try this bitter melon burger, you will be quite surprise at its taste because i myself, do not like bitter melon that much but I must say for $3.00 it wasn’t a bad burger at all.  Of course, one has to have some goya rings too – at $2.50 a pop, why not?

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Menu from one of the fast food restaurant where you can get your Goya fix (bitter melon).

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Store front of one of the goya burger fast food store.

Portable Synthesizer For Musicians

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I don’t know much about gadgets like the above but the nephew in Japan does and he wants me to bring him a  korg kaossilator  when I visit him this summer.   Apparently, he couldn’t find it at a reasonable price where he is , so he wants me to order it online and bring it with me when I visit his family.  I guess this is a synthesizer that is quite popular with young and old musicians as it produces different sounds for the musician/s.  I know exactly where to buy it online for him, so it’s really a pretty easy gift to bring for him during my visit.  He is going to love me for it.

The Oiran Experience

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Alot of people are mistaken when they see an Oiran and a geisha, they think that they are the same but nope , they are not.  The geisha is dressed up more simply than the Oiran but both the Oiran and the geisha can do the singing, acting and dancing but it is said that the Oiran does it better?

Oirans are freakishly expensive, I learned from a Japanese friend of mine who entertains a lot of their foreign clients.  To have the company of an Oiran , it would cost an entire years salary of a normal worker in Japan.  And yes, that’s a lot of money !  The Oiran is pretty special, she is not your normal prostitute because she can refuse your business, you need to be introduced first and if they are attracted to you , then you can start having a relationship with her.

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People from all over the world comes for the once a year procession of the Oiran and it’s pretty elaborate.  At the end of the procession, there is a stage, where the Oiran shows how the customers are served and what one can expect from the Oiran.

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The Bunsui Sakura Matsuri Oiran D?ch? is a free event held in Tsubame, Niigata. D?ch? is a shortened form of oiran-dochu, also the name for the walk the top courtesans made around the quarter or the parade they made to escort their guests. This parade features three oiran in full regalia — Shinano, Sakura, and Bunsui — among the cherry blossoms in April with approximately 70 accompanying servants. Each oiran in 15-cm tall geta parades in the distinctive gait, giving the procession an alternate name, the Dream Parade of Echigo (Echigo no yume-dochu). The event is extremely popular across the country, with many people in Japan applying for the three oiran and servant roles.

Maid Cafes In Japan

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Maid cafes are quite the thing to do when you visit Japan, but it is not only for the tourists, they are for the locals as well.  Most people who comes to the Maid cafes in Japan only do it for the experience but some are into cos-play and others well, just wants to look at the pretty and young girls there.

Maid cafes are themed cafes obviously and there are so many sprouting in every corner in Japan especially bigger cities like Tokyo.  You are usually not allowed to film inside the cafes or take photos but there are some who would let you take a picture of them for a few hundred yens.

 There are of course different maid cafes around Japan , and all of them do have food involved as well as drinks.  They also dance for you and before you can partake your food, you need to do some singing or dancing or both from what I know.  I don’t know if they are popular for the older folks but for the younger folks ,  both men and women , they seems to have been quite taken by all the cos-play and the cutesyness of the dress up and cos- play.

Oh btw, maid cafes are not hostess hereby they drink with you and you can neither touch them.  This isn’t a prostitution ring , no naughty business here, so cheeky old men out there, you can do away with the idea, if you think it is this kinda establishment.

Now the tricky part of one’s experience with the maid cafes are that there is a table charge plus whatever you order during your 1 hr stay at the cafe.  If you intend to stay longer, you will be charge another table charge , so the turnover of the tables are fairly quick.  You cannot hang around the cafes and not pay for the table charge.

Old Edo Town Kawagoe

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I was there only once and I still remember it vividly because it made us feel like we were in the old Shogun days.  All the building in this old town is pretty much preserved like we do here as a heritage building.  And transport used is mainly the bicycle.  One can get to the old edo town by train and it takes about 30 minutes from Tokyo.

There are gifts store a museum, candy store and craft stores and one must look at getting a good knife while you are there.  There are also a couple of temples you might want to check out and one can easily spend the entire day at this old town just walking and exploring.  Let it be known that this little town is quite the tourist attraction.

Japanese Drumming In Japan

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Drumming in Japan is quite tradition , unlike our drumming the West with a  gretsch new classic  .  Although , I do enjoy the traditional drumming in Japan, I much prefer the classic drumming we have in the West.   Both are art form but the traditional Japanese drumming seems a lot more intense.

I’ve seen some Taiko drumming in Sado Island sometime last year and tourists flocked to this quiet island because of this cultural event held yearly.  There is no lyrics to the drumming but it was definitely very enjoyable but if I had a choice I still prefer our Western drumming.

Namba Parks Osaka

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When a friend told me that we were going to Namba Parks when we were in Osaka, I thought we were going to see some park , like in flowers and such but nope, it is more like a mall than a park but they do have a lot of amusement park like stuff in Namba Parks that one can enjoy while you are there and a roof top garden that one can go relax.

Namba Parks is pretty new and one of their anchor store is Takashimaya.  There are plenty of food outlet there as well as a Starbucks for those who need their western coffee fix.

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The rooftop garden during night.

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more lights – spectacular.

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The Namba Parks is like a mall within a city itself.  You have to visit if you are in Osaka.

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