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Sunday Sauntering around Osaka

Castles, octopus, and more!

· Japan,Wildlife and Nature,City Walks,Food,Museums Etc

My first full day in Osaka, I woke up feeling a little overwhelmed as to what I should do first. Finally, I decided to head to the item that was closest to my hotel, as it was the transfer station I would later need for my afternoon adventures.

I took the JR train to the Osaka Castle Park area. A gorgeous and large park, filled with various paths, fountains, and trees a plenty. The air was clean but a bit cold, and so I couldn't let this beautiful day go to waste, I walked as much of the park as possible. Along the way, I tasted my first bites of Takoyaki (a fried dumpling made of a pancake-like batter, filled with bits of octopus and topped with mayonnaise.) I'll be getting them again! After eating I headed to the Main Castle and climbed the 8 floors stopping to take in the exhibits along the way. The view from the 8F was nice, I was able to take in a large area of the city as well as hear the sounds of my next stop.

From the top, I could hear the sounds of rock music, and I knew that the second item on my list had started. I didn't know exactly where it was taking place, but I followed the sounds through the park until I found what I was looking for. Near Osakajo-Koen station there are bands that set up shop and play on Sundays. I sat for about an hour listening to them, my favorite was a ska-like band called Aloha Banana.

After the free concert, I hit the subway and moved to the bay area. There I hopped on board the Tempozan Ferris Wheel, one of the world's tallest (I believe currently in 5th.) A 17 minutes ride lets you take in the Harbor Area and the Akashi Kaikyō Bridge. It was a great way to escape the lines for a little while and get a quiet view of the city.

It was time to refuel after so much adventure, so I headed to the shopping center for some food court action. **(Side note)** I know many of you reading this might cringe at the words "shopping center food court" but unlike American mall food courts (full of Sbarro pizza, McDonald's, and many other fast and tasteless items) Asian mall food courts are full of good eats. Same in Taiwan. Added bonus, most stores have plastic versions of their food at the counter, so pointing and ordering becomes an easy task. ** (End side note)** In the food court, I chose a curry restaurant with its own private seating to save myself fighting over the Sunday crowds. The dish I chose was a curry made from mango and chilis, served with cheese croquettes and rice. Very savory and made me ready to go back out in the cold.

The final stop for the day, the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan. There I spent a good two hours taking in giant stingrays, crabs, and sharks. I was hypnotized by schools of smaller fish and watched the dolphin's play. Upon leaving the aquarium, I stumbled upon the ends of a show, but I did catch the penguins being paraded back home.

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