background

Getting Lost with a Madman in Osaka

}
In my 7 years of travelling Japan, I’ve been fortunate to visit 40 of the country’s 47 prefectures, travelling from freezing Hokkaido to the turquoise seas that lap the shores of Okinawa. These are the memories, moments and experiences that I frequently find myself going back to; the ones that put a smile on a face that is typically riddled with cynicism and despair. Hopefully they’ll give you some fresh ideas and inspire you to go off the beaten path and experience Japan your own way. Memories travelling Japan is an ongoing series.

Getting Lost with a Madman in Osaka | Osaka City

As a lover of cyberpunk, retro wave and Blade Runner, Osaka is effectively my holy city. "What about Tokyo’s Shibuya and Shinjuku districts?” you might ask, to which I’d reply, Osaka has the grimy, seedy undertones that Tokyo has done a good job to wash away.

Kabukicho is a glorified tourist destination these days, full of swanky hotels and sanitised streets. Osaka in comparison, looks like nobody could be bothered to crack out a broomstick.

The people are way more laid back and crass, the city is referred to as “Japan’s kitchen” and it’s got a vibrant and dynamic nightlife that tramples all over Tokyo.

I’ve visited Osaka about 10 times over the years and every single time without fail, local strangers will strike up a conversation with me in a way that seems incomprehensible in the northern region of Tohoku where I live, or indeed Tokyo, where people are too busy running around looking at their phones to stop and care about spontaneous socialisation.

Part of me feels like I should’ve moved to Osaka. Hell, I often still do. But deep down I know that if I did, I’d probably be dead by now; my stomach bursting at the seams with Takoyaki fried octopus balls and my blood substituted with 100% alcoholic beverage.

Somehow I’ve only ever made one video in Osaka, but I was delighted with everything we packed into it - and by we, I mean myself and my faithful companion Pete Donaldson (of Abroad in Japan Podcast fame).

A retro video games bar, Osaka style Okonomiyaki pancakes, drinking with hilarious locals in the street, karaoke, takoyaki and even a Blade Runner-esque montage that I’d always wanted to produce. It was one of my all time favourite city escapes.

To go to Osaka and not tick off every single experience on the aforementioned list would simply be a crime.

Image
Image
Image

Watch The Video

You may also be interested in ...

Image
Story

Road Tripping to Japan’s Mouthwatering Ramen Capital

Road Tripping to Japan’s Mouthwatering Ramen Capital | Kitakata, Fukushima I won’t lie, once you’ve seen a dozen temples and shrines you’ve more or less seen them all. That doesn’t mean you can...

Image
Story

Wandering the Bustling Streets of Japanese Venice

Wandering the Bustling Streets of Japanese Venice | Kurashiki, Okayama When somebody told me Japan had its very own answer to Venice, the cynic in me called bullshit. Having visited Venice and been blown...

Image
Story

Tasting the Finest Wagyu in Japan with Natsuki

Tasting the Finest Wagyu in Japan with Natsuki | Morioka, Iwate A few years ago I won a competition called “Tohoku 365” whereby I received funding to travel around all of north Japan and document the ...

Image
Story

Japan’s Most Underrated City

Japan’s Most Underrated City | Matsuyama, Ehime Ask me what my favourite spot in Japan is and the one that comes racing to my mind first and foremost is the view from Matsuyama Castle, nestled in the he...

Image
Story

Discovering Sapporo for the First time with Natsuki

Discovering Sapporo for the First time with Natsuki | Sapporo, Hokkaido You can’t beat exploring a city for the first time with a good friend. One August after both Natsuki and I found ou...

Image
Story

Cycling the Islands of Japan’s Stunning Inland Sea

Cycling the Islands of Japan’s Stunning Inland Sea | Onomichi, Hiroshima If I had to give one place as being the most jaw-dropping, “instagramable” location in Japan, that award would go the Setouch...

Image
Story

Escaping to a Secluded Mountain Temple

Escaping to a Secluded Mountain Temple | Mount Haguro, Yamagata In a world where switching off is all but impossible, sometimes we need to retreat to a secluded mountain temple and pretend like we’re in...

Image
Story

Wasting the Day Away at Sake Vending Machines

Wasting the Day Away at Sake Vending Machines | Niigata City, Niigata “Sake vending machines.”- Say it out loud. It’s f*cking magical isn’t it? Co...

Image
Story

Road Tripping Hokkaido in the Winter

Road Tripping Hokkaido in the Winter | Noboribetsu, Hokkaido You can’t quite beat the sensation of relaxing in a hot spring in winter, soaking beneath the steam with the icy breeze blowing against your ...

Image
Story

Staying in a Traditional Japanese Inn

Staying in a Traditional Japanese Inn | Yonezawa, Yamagata I’d known my cheeky Japanese friend Ryotaro six months when he invited me to travel with him on a visit to see his friend Satou-san, the owner ...

Image
Story

Devouring a Bowl of Monster Ramen

Devouring a Bowl of Monster Ramen | Akihabara, Tokyo If you’ve always wondered if there’s a place that sells a bowl of ramen so large and ridiculous in scale that you could potentially overdose ...

Image
Story

Making Friends in Japan: My Experiences and Tips

Considering it’s the question I’ve received thrice daily for the past 2 years, I still haven’t worked out a proper response to; “Will I be able to make Japanese friends in Japan?” ...