søndag den 22. juli 2007

Saturday Nov. 4 - Osaka

Take the train to Osaka and rent a bicycle there. Traffic rules for bicycles are essentially the same as on war and in love, i.e. there aren’t any. Still it seems to work, as people ride on the road and on the sidewalk, with or against traffic, and at night without lights. I experience very few hairy situations, so as long as I don’t knock down pedestrians or scratch cars, everything is fine. The northern part of Osaka looks a bit like Tokyo, while the southern part is a mix of the capitol and Kyoto, minus the temples, the kimonos and – fortunately – the hordes of tourists. There are the obligatory shopping arcades over and under the surface, a department store has a full scale model of a whale hanging at the entrance (the whale is bright red, so I assume it is a model), and the ever present Ferris wheel on top. The crowds here are more intense than anywhere else I’ve been, a bit like a rock music festival where they’ve let in too many people.

The picture chances a bit at night. The area near a canal has tons of bars – often located on second floor and upwards – clothing stores and other stuff aimed at youngsters, who seem to be in a permanent contest for outrageous appearance. But there’s a good atmosphere, American cars cruise the streets, I check the multi-storey manga shops, while at the canal bands take turns playing, and behind the stage kids display their BMX bicycle skills.

Back at Taro we all end up outside, drinking and chatting way past midnight, as despite it being November, the night is warm and mild. Firing up the Nimbus brings out a smurf-sized neighbour and her current boyfriend, and she goes gaga over the rocker arms, poses on the bike and has flashbacks to her glorious days of yore, when she rode a Honda Monkey bike. Posing, posing, taking pictures again and again.

And I feel my vacation time disappearing, despite there being three weeks left.

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