Have you heard the thing about people from Japan being quiet and sheepish, and all that jazz? That's not what folks in Japan think when they hear someone is from the area around Osaka (and those qualities are often what locals criticize those of Tokyo for, through mock imitations of them). The culture around Osaka is known to be lively, patriotic, tough minded, up front, and highly deal driven, as evidenced by the phrase most associated with it, 「
儲かりまっか？」(You makin' any money?).
If you happen to pop in on Osaka, you can take a peek at the totally real Instant Ramen museum, the Floating Garden Observatory in the Umeda Sky Building, Osaka Castle, Tsutenkaku Tower, and the Dotonbori area, a shopping district lit by all sorts of neon and flashing signs. All its gaudy goodness beckons you to visit the many restaurants in it and partake of one of the richest traditions of the Osaka area: stuffing yourself silly(known in the language as
For a more laid back, classical touch, hop on the next train heading to Kyoto, a city with historical charm and bountiful temples, such as the gold covered Kinkakuji in the north and the Ginkakuji in the east. With a stroll along the Philosopher's Path, you can also take in an extraordinary view of the cherry blossoms that line it and the shallow river just down below, a trip northward leading to Tango Peninsula and Amanohashidate, also known as the bridge of heaven. You may find it strange to bend over and look at the pine covered sand bar between your legs to see it as such, but you can't beat seeing one the 3 great sights of Japan the way it was meant to be seen, and for more of those, let's direct our attention to the many islands that make up the Ryukyu Isles, including Okinawa.