from “Stranded”, Roxy Music, 1973.
Hey Mr Ferry, what the hell is that? It’s big and yellow and bright and it burns our eyes! Oh, it’s the sun. You don’t get many of those to the pound in Osaka! Blimey, we’d best get out on the streets and take a look at life around the dining and shopping district of Namba in that case before the rain comes back (which it did the following day).
But before we immersed ourselves in the busy streets to soak up some of the atmosphere we decided to try and find the “mossy Buddha” we had heard about, which is literally a moss covered icon of Fudo Myoo, a deity of fury said to protect people against evil, conquer devils, and grant any wish; he sounds like a handy fellow to have on your side. Fudo Myoo is located in the Hozen-ji temple, which is hidden away in the back streets but, with some trusty Google mapping, we managed to track it down without too much trouble.
Despite its tiny size the Hozen-ji temple was definitely one of the most memorable we’ve been to and it was rather nice watching devotees give their offerings to the idols in the sunshine. We queued up to do the same, though admittedly with the intention of getting some better pictures rather than anything religious. No one seemed to mind our evident tourist intentions.
So with the quiet start to the day over, we plunged into the chaos and colour of Namba and in particular the area of Dotonbori, where we would catch sight of another famous figure, but one of a more modern origin than Fudo Myoo – the Glico Running Man.
In contrast to Fudo Myoo, the next picture shows the Glico Running Man. Glico is a prominent confectionery company in Asia and this athlete is their logo. This huge sign in Dotonbori is an iconic image in Osaka and has existed in various forms since 1935. He is certainly popular with the tourists all doing the raised arms thing in front of him.
We headed north towards Shinsaibashi and were pretty much sucked into the Shinsaibashi arcade, packed with all manner of shops, eateries, and people, all accompanied to the (sometimes getting hoarse) cries of hawkers shouting to drum up business.
Fortunately we made it out of Shinsaibashi alive and found ourselves in an area more akin to Covent Garden in London in both look and feel. It had bigger name stores as well as the more individual and trendy kinds of boutiques and shops and was clearly popular with young and hip Osakans. We stopped for a sit down and to soak up a little of the atmosphere; it was rather pleasant to find a place that did feel somewhat like home, though we’re not homesick just yet!
We (OK Philip) noticed the lampposts in the area were all different and done in a stick-man style as you can see here.
Our visit to Namba was quite the opposite from our visit to Cosmosquare in blog 38. Ghost Town. Both were enjoyable for their own aspects and quirks: sunny and rainy, hectic and relaxed, busy and deserted. And still plenty to see yet in Japan.