Polaroid Photo

Random pictures of Japan

Choose a Topic:

Apr '11

Time for celebration?

How we managed to get through yet another April 1st. The day started just as any other day, by waking up. We went to a local 7-eleven and bought some breakfast there. Nothing unusual. With our breakfast in a bag and that bag in our hand we walked to Osaka castle.Before entering the castle we ate our breakfast seated on the bridge to the castle. We finished our coffee and went through the massive door (about 30cm thick). So we entered the castle and got struck by awe.

Osaka castle is a castle that has been rebuilt twice. Over the years it got destroyed by earthquakes and lightning bolts. The last time it was rebuilt, it was done with money that was donated by the people of Osaka, in 1931. They did not rebuild everything though, Just the main tower. But seeing the size of this tower we could get the general idea of how big this castle must have been.
Well, that is how far the history lesson goes. If you like more information on this topic, please google it. For pictures refer to our Flickr account, accessed through the link that is posted on the photos page.

When we got out of the castle we went back to our hotel, got something to drink and a little snack. This finishes the first part of the day.
On we went to the next part. A part filled with arcade-joy and good food.

We got to the streets again and took the subway-line to Umeda station. This is one busy place for all kinds of people. When we first passed here, the day before, we saw a big sign that said: “Namco Land” telling us there was lots of arcade fun to get.  We went searching for this again and soon after we found it. We crossed the road and got inside. Inside we got to the second floor since the first floor only contained machines that we now refer to as I-am-a-14-year-old-girl-and-I-like-to-take-pictures-with-my-friends-and-then-photoshop-them-so-we-look-like-models-machines, and yes this name is a work in progress.

We got to the second floor and started searching for any fun arcade machine, after not much searching we found a tetris machine with a controller the size of your head attached to your leg. Unfortunately this was not the machine we were looking for and we did not really like to play a game of tetris for now. The rest of this floor was all about some kind of music game of which we are not sure why it is so much fun to play. But apperently it is, since the Japanese literally stand in line to get to play.
The rest of the floors were just stuffed with fighting games like Tekken 6.

We got out and wondered what else Umeda had in store for us. We passed several other arcade halls, most of them were Pachinko&Slot machines, but some of them were actual fun. Marcel got to play a few more Pop ‘n Music games and tried to buy and e-amusement pass. A card on which your progress can be stored in between games. But it failed, the machine just took his 300 Yen and did not bother anything else. That sucks!

When we had seen about everything there was to see in Umeda, we got to the subway line and took the subway to Namba. The part where we had spent last days afternoon as well. This was quite a bit bigger for people like us. So we spent some time here, seeing what there is to buy in such an electronics based shopping mall. We got to try the new Nintendo 3DS at the upper floor in one of the shops.

Time to get some food. At the castle Sybren got his hands on an information folder and in it we saw some good places to get some food and with the book we could get a small discount. Great! As our Dutch blood started boiling we made our way to a BBQ restaurant we picked out. After searching for a few minutes we found it.

We got inside and found a Japanese guy leading us to a table. We shoved our jackets and bags in one of the seats (yes, it was like a box where you could sit on). We hurt our knees as we tried to push ourselves into the seats. Since the BBQ was installed in the table we couldn’t really fit our knees and legs under it, but we found a solution quickly. At the far back to the wall was a small opening big enough for one knee and leg.
The man brought us the menu and started to explain. They had 4 menus; A, B, C and D. Menu A contained meat of several sorts, pork, lamb, cow and chicken. Menu B had the same with added steamed rice, and some vegetables. Menu C had a desert included as well. The  man didn’t bother telling us what Menu D held in addition to the rest. After asking, he told us he never explained it to foreign people, because the added meat was cow tongue and the price was about 700 Yen extra.
All menu’s were all you can eat for 2 hours based. And if everyone in the group had the same menu you had the choice to get an all you can drink as well for and added price. This was 1300 Yen extra, but seeing a beer was already 600 Yen this was decided quickly. We would take Menu B with all you can drink. Because we had the coupon with us we got a discount of 100 Yen a person. Also he told us we should reconsider taking the all you can drink, because this would only serve us if we would drink 3 beverages. We looked at each other and thought, sure we can handle 3. We told him it was no problem and our BBQ got lighted.

He asked us what meat we wanted for the first round, asking whether we could eat pork, chicken, lamb and cow. “Sure, bring it on” we told him. Not much later our first beer arrived and the meat followed soon after. The man explained what it all was. From Pork Belly (not stomach) to a long spare rib (no bone in it, it was just a long piece of meat from in between the ribs) to cow cheek. A scissor was served to cut our food with before dipping it in one of the different sauces.
We ate the first round of meat quickly and after this we ordered “more of the long piece please”. Understanding he nodded and brought more meat. What else? We already forgot what every piece was but we knew the above 5 or so were tasty. So we ordered more of those. Also this second round Sybren ordered cow heart, because he figured it was a massive muscle and should be quite juicy for that. He baked it for a few minutes before eating. It tasted like regular heart, he told Marcel.
For the third round Marcel took his chance and ordered cow heart as well, Sybren ordered this as well and of course apart from that also more bacon, rib-eye and what not. After finishing this, he had to agree with Sybren: “Yes indeed, like regular heart.”

In the mean time we took our pick from the vegetables, rice and spices. The next plate was served and Marcel threw his cow stomach on the bbq and So did Sybren with his second piece of cow heart.
When we finished this round as neatly as any other we got to ask more for the fourth round. Sybren went completely bonkers and ordered large cow intestine, but only a small piece he told the lady who asked what we wanted this time. Again we also ordered more meat and, after asking how sake was traditionally served (depending on the weather), room temperature sake.
The cow intestine was served with the other food and Sybren put it on the bbq. After a few minutes he gave it a try. Squishy, and unable to bite through, so he was bound to swallowing it a whole. After sharing stories with Marcel it seems like stomach and intestine are about the same in taste and texture.
Sybren ordered some melon soda to wash away the taste, but when he tried doing so the lady warned him. “It is very very very sweet. Very sweet!”. Alarmed Sybren ordered only a small glass. When she was about to get it, she asked quickly what the intestine tasted like. “so so?”, “No, downright nasty and very strong.” The soda was served, and she had been right, this was like drinking syrup without adding the needed water.

1.5 Hours after starting we were already full and so we finished our beer and at the last round for drinks Sybren ordered shochu, a potato based spirit, on the rocks. Marcel just took another beer for himself.

When our time was over and we couldn’t fit any more food in our stomachs we payed the bill and decided we would go to Tako Tako King to get one beer and see whether they would still know us.
On the way there we walked through a weird street. Seemed like this was some sort of very crowded red light district. Woman on the streets that asked questions that didn’t make sense to us. What made it weird was the way this place was filled with people, couples, old, young everyone was here. At one point a guy came running up to us and asked us whether we liked gambling; Poker, Roulette or any other thing. We gently shoved him off.

After some walking we got to the bar, which was quite close to the earlier discribed weird street. We got inside and got some nods of recognition. We got a place at the bar and ordered 2 beer. Next to us were 3 friends. One of them already had his fill, since he told us so, but nothing stopped him from talking to us. We kind of enjoyed this, because he had some funny stories and we learned a few Japanese words. “Mecha Kawaii” – Very Gorgeous, “Kyodo” – cool.

With the dictionary on the table we tried communicating and so did they, for it was a 2-way dictionary. At one point the middle guy who was quite big got a paper and pen and wrote “I am pig” then a little drawing. Making us laugh. Marcel thought he misspelled an corrected pig to big. It was only later when we discovered the drawing was a pig’s snout.

He asked about our age and Marcel told him he was 22 and so did Sybren, with a little side note. When the clock would hit 12.00 he would be 23. “Happy Birthday, let me buy you a Japanese spirit” So he got him a glass of Shochu, pronounced like Sjotjuu. Sybren said cheers, but got interrupted by the guy (Yossyan), he told him in Japanese they say “Kampai.”So Sybren said: “Kampai” and drank the shochu.
Yossyan and his friends, Tae and Sakkan got another plate of food, and he insisted we tried it. Unable to refuse such a generous gift we handed over our little plates which we already got before we could even say we didn’t want any food (when we got inside).  Marcel noted “Ah it has bacon in it, I see bacon”.
Sybren already tried pickin up the squishy ball with the chopsticks. A very hard task to complete, but he succeeded. Though he couldn’t cut it with his teeth without having it fall of again he placed the entire thing in his mouth. HOT!!! They were only baked just now. Sybren tasted the weird cheese they have here and there was something else. Something with suckers. “Oh my god” this is squid or octopus. He tried biting it away, but the squid was unbelievable hot. The taste wasn’t really awful, but the little suckers kept sucking to your tongue.
After finishing this and being happy it was over, Sybren quickly took another gulp of the beer he had. Marcel thought the octopus-balls were oke.
Shortly after this adventure Yossyan fell asleep at his spot suddenly. His friends told us he was really drunk and they would get him home. We finished our beer and went back to our hotel as well.

Castle, Arcade, cow intestine, stomach and heart, weird conversation and octopus tentacles.


3 comments to “Time for celebration?”

  1. ria Says:

    quite an adventure this foodstuffed day!!
    terwijl ik alleen maar het gras heb gemaaid voor de eerste keer dit jaar.hoeveel uur verschil hebben we met japan.weten jullie dat?tot morgen.

  2. Marcel Says:

    Als het goed is 7 uur, hier is het op dit moment 8:40

  3. dad Says:

    Hello guys,
    As I believe the castle has to rebuilt for the third time now and many gaming arcades are transformed to a heap of smouldering wreckage. A am glad the geiger counter readings are as abnormal as in Raalte. Keep up the good spirit and a can’t wait till I see the photo with you together with 50 little Japanese.
    That would be a blast!