Winter days don’t get much better than today — sky of blue, nary a cloud in sight, 15 C, bearable humidity — which is why I was more than happy to walk to and from errand-running in Tenjin. And ever so often I’d look up and just grin (probably making those around me wonder what I was looking at), feeling giddy with near spring delight. Oh, I’m sure there’ll be some more cold days — we had honest-to-goodness snowfall on Monday after all — but the warmer days, the flowers, they’re not far away.
Last weekend, before the snow, headed to Osaka on Saturday to see Granrodeo play with Breakerz (for the latter’s 10th anniversary) at Zepp Namba. Before hand, my friend Yasmine and I wandered around two of Osaka’s covered market areas, one near Tsuruhashi station and Kurmon, near Nipponbashi station. The former had fewer tourists, and a remarkable amount of kimchi and pig parts. The latter is more touristy, but still a delight, with fresh fruit milk drinks, tiny spicy crabs (or BIG fresh crab if you prefer), tiny octopi stuffed with quail eggs, and a host of other things.
We sampled the kimchi (but no piggie parts) after a DIY lunch at a tiny little place in Tsuruhashi. The idea is that you pick your food out beforehand — from a selection of beef, pork, seafood and veggies — and then cook it yourself inside, after paying. We settled on scallops, beef, pork and a cabbage/green pepper combo, along with two lemon chu-hai (canned vodka drinks). A set of rice balls were added, to push our bill over 2000 yen, at which point we had free use of the tiny gas grill for free for 90 minutes. The store also supplied a sweet soy sauce-based dipping sauce, which worked well for everything we ate. The food was good (only a little cabbage was lost to the flames) and reasonably priced, for the amount.
As mentioned, after, we wandered around the various alleyways in the market area, ended up in the Korean section, which was a veritable cornucopia of kimchi and chijimi sellers. I tried a few of the former, though I wasn’t brave enough to have the intestine kimchi. A frozen cappucino cream puff made for a great finish to it all. Would love to go back and have some chijimi and the tomato kimichi we saw (whole tomatoes stuffed with kimchi).
Nipponbahsi is a short ride from Tsuruhashi on the Kintetsu Line, and Kurmon Market a very short walk from there. My nose was working overtime from the minute we walked in. And if I hadn’t been stuffed from lunch, I would’ve grabbed something (I’m sure I would’ve bought some chijimi before too…). But as it was, I was content to wander and gawk and promise myself to come back. They even have areas set aside where you can sit and watch TV while you eat your purchases. Amusingly, the TV had on some show that was going on about how Yamaguchi prefecture is kinda, sorta shaped like Australia. And comparing some tiny wall in Okayama to the Great Wall of China. (Oh Japan….). I kept thinking how much my dad would like these markets, and I’m glad we’ll make it to Nishiki, at least.
(I also had a little old lady in the Korean market pet my hair — which is currently blonde with purple bangs and tips — and comment how pretty it was; thanks … I think)
All in all a pleasant lead-up to the concert, which was excellent, of course.