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Japan 2007 - spring

St. Patrick's Day in Osaka

Just a photo to show Mom that I packed a green shirt for the occasion. :-)

(or, the Japanese smiley emoticon, (^_^) )

I actually did see several Japanese people wearing green. Like my grandmother used to say, everybody's Irish on St. Patrick's Day.

Tomorrowland

Apparently a clothing store. Love the name; for all it's connection to the past, Japan is also in some ways "Tommorrowland", first to embrace new technologies. Trying to understand how they stretch from the ancient past to "tomorrowland" is part of why I'm here.

Osaka port

Osaka port

Osaka: a port city

Osaka is like Baltimore in one way: it's easy to forget that it's a port city. There's not a "nice" waterfront like our Inner Harbor or Fells Point, at least not that I've found so far, but biked down to the port area and found a place where I could get up to the water for a few photos.

entrance to Shotengai

A shotengai is a a covered shopping street with a lot of small shops. This is one of the entrances to the one in my neighborhood.

view down my street

This is the view looking down my street. Yes, there's an elevated highway running right in front of my building, that's how the rent is (relatively speaking) cheap, but it's much quieter that you'd expect in the U.S, since fewer people drive.

Many people have bikes (as you can see) for short trips, and take the subway or train for longer ones.

shinto shrine in the alley

A small Shinto shrine, on a side street in my neighborhood. Right outside some sort of metal-working shop, there was a guy there with a welding torch.

No, the Japanese aren't Nazis; the swastika is a good luck sign in many cultures, that why Hitler tried to steal it. You will often see it in Buddhist and American Indian art.

no bike parking? so what?

The people of Osaka are notorious scofflaws. Not only do the park their bikes in spaces clearly marked "no bicycles", as seen here; they also cross streets against the light. This is the street outside my apartment building.

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