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Japan, Travel

Osaka City

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Osaka’s rail system is as complex as the ones I experienced in Tokyo. There are many, many different coloured lines serviced by different train companies. They are extremely punctual, and be sure to follow each and every sign and instructions because the train carriages may literally separate during the journey. Nothing scary, just a really cool system of trains branching out to their respective destinations.

When in Osaka, the one thing you must do is to visit the heart of the city, Namba!

I love the atmosphere around Namba. It’s vibrant, always teeming with fashionable crowds, and filled with so many different shops you can’t help to walk into. There were lots to see, and it is home to international brands such as Forever 21, H&M and Bershka each a massive complex of their own it’s hard not to come out empty handed.

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Made a pitstop at the Pokemon Center at Osaka Station; it’s the second Pokemon Centre I visited after Tokyo. I was still on a hunt for a Togepi plush toy, alas.

After lunch, walked down the crowded shopping street of Shinsaibashi with the intention of heading to Amerikamura, the place I’ve only read about but never got to see. It’s a shopping district in Osaka that featured alternative lifestyle and fashion. Stores selling vintage clothing, cool skate sneakers and other hipster stuff lined the street. There was also an overpriced American Apparel store . People here were more expressive in terms of their fashion. Girls and guys had coloured hair, mismatched clothes and crazy cool accessories. It was like Harajuku of Osaka. Triangle Square sat in the middle of the district, and it was the most convenient meeting point, or a place to catch a breath, eat takoyaki etc.

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I spent almost half my time at Ame-mura, exploring strange shops like Alice on Wednesday. It was an Alice In Wonderland-themed shop, selling the cutest accessories and heart shaped lollies and cheshire cat-shaped cookies. Despite the clamp I had on my wallet, I couldn’t resist getting a tote bag that said EAT ME. Too cute.

I started making my way back to Namba when it got dark (and I got hungry), queued like a typical Singaporean at a famous Takoyaki store. Waited almost half an hour for 8-pieces of takoyaki that was so-so, but I made a new friend while queueing. Leo was a solo traveller from Malaysia, and he was doing an extensive all around Japan trip to places including Hiroshima to see the Miyajima shrine. So, so jealous.

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Namba at night was no less vibrant. More people were out on the street, shopping, snacking on Takoyaki or okonomiyaki and cradling their Starbucks cup in their hands. The curious me wanted to venture past the famed street into the places less traversed, but my legs were begging for me to head back. I gave in to my legs and hopped on the train back. I’ll do more exploring next time.

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