More from Osaka

Ventured forth for dinner last night, in search of a kushiyage place I’d read about. Basically, you cook up whatever you want in a deep fryer built into the table. I assumed we’d just point at pictures on a menu – turned out to be even easier. We were shown to a table, then you help yourself to whatever you want from the cabinets filled with stuff-on-a-stick. There’s also rice, noodles, 8 different kinds of sauce and extra batter and bread crumbs for dipping before frying. Oh, and beer (duh). And ice cream. And marshmallow fondue. And salads. And pickles. And lots and lots of stuff on sticks (did I mention that?).

It was great fun and we stuffed ourselves, as we mused on how the Japanese remain the thinnest first-worlders on earth while apparently eating fried foods with nearly every meal. Must be all the smoking? Anyway, the only downside of dinner? I may have to dispose of the clothes I wore, as they now reek of fry-o-lator…

Thursday I begged off a day trip to Kyoto. It’s lovely there, but my four day stay last year was plenty. So Marco headed off on his own, while I took the subway to the Osaka Aquarium. It was OK as aquariums go, with some pretty amazing specimens including whale sharks and Japanese small-pawed otters.

Of course, the highlight was feeding time for the rays in the huge multi-story central tank. It was cool to watch in and of itself – but things took a dramatic turn for the better when a second scuba-diver feeder appeared in a Santa Claus costume. I repeat – scuba-diver dressed as Santa.

Headed back home via subway and thought I was going to have a problem – I’d spent all my small bills and and only had ¥5000 and ¥ 10000 notes (basically equivalent to US$50s and 100s). Of course, this being Japan, the ticket machine accepts any denomination and dutifully issued my ¥270 ticket and change.

Stopped in briefly to the store near my hotel. It’s kind of like Target, though with a somewhat more eccentric assortment: luggage, lumber, wheelchairs, laundry detergent, bicycles, puppies, light bulbs, kittens, a barn owl, adult diapers and countless unidentifiable items I wanted to purchase based solely on packaging. Oh, and a supermarket downstairs where I picked up tonkatsu sandwich to snack on.

Awaiting Marco’s return from Kyoto before planning tonight’s festivities. Likely another early dinner. We are both generally worn out by 9:00 every evening – haven’t even been to a single gay bar in Osaka. As I said on Facebook, I’ll never meet a Japanese husband at this rate…

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