Atashida and Alyse were so kind to show me tasty Daruma Kushi Katsu in Shinseikai. It had been raining all day and my hairset failed instantly. I was looking a slug but they were both so kind to look past that and feed me. :roll:

Kushi katsu (串カツ) also known as Kushiage (串揚げ) are skewers of deep fried meat, veggies and other items. They’re native to Osaka and the working class Shinseikai neighborhood is famed for their popular kushiage restaurants. Daruma (site) is the most famous Kushi katsu restaurant probably because of their amusing icon or their billion locations.

This is definitely a screw the diet meal, but hey you’re traveling. #treatyoself

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A glimpse of the outside of their Shinseikai location. The hilarious mascot of Daruma. Master chef cheesin’

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Daruma Shinseikai chef preparing our kushiage right in front of us.

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In such a cramped Shinseikai location Daruma’s pre-skewers were all in front of us.

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Weiner, Asaparagus Bacon, Cheese, Mochi and Shrimp were some of the mix of bits I got.

That dark tin is the tonkatsu sauce where you’re encouraged to only dip once.

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Rainy Shinseikai is so wonderfully Osaka.

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Alyse looking forever fabulous with Osaka tower in the background.

Shinsaibashi Osaka Daruma Kushi Katsu

In April I took my man to experience his first Kushi Katsu experience. He was extremely hesitant. Deep fried meat? Why? But I pushed and now he says it was his favorite meal of the trip. We ate at some pretty ritzy and well reviewed places but the cheap Daruma kushi katsu won out.

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The Shinsaibashi location is super ritzy and huge compared to the 10 seat cramped location of Shinseikai. What it loses in authenticity, it makes up for in flashy gadgets. You order via a touchscreen (English menu available) and a train delivers your orders.

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You put the skewers from the tray on your paper. From the oil the mascot slowly appears. :)

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Here’s our set-up at Shinsaibashi Daruma. Beers, cabbage (free) as a palate cleanser, edamame, and interesting skewers.  Pictured are shrimp, mochi, weiner, and vegetable ones.

A typical Daruma meal will set you back only 1,000 yen (9.50$) without drinks. It’s cheap and a super fun food to enjoy in Osaka. Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki (Hiroshima wins on this) get all the love in Osaka, but Kushi Katsu is my pick for favorite Osaka food.

Hi guys! Long time no blog! I was in Japan for a month and I thought I’d have time to blog there, but boy was I was I wrong. I was so busy! I got to see and do a lot of new things which I’ll blog about, but it was a whirlwind. Then I got back and Christmas and NYE was busy then I went to Disneyworld. I didn’t really want to get back to blogging without something fresh, but any post is better than no post! But soon lots more, promise  :wink: Post Goal is currently vintage brand series post (just needs photos), japanese and korean skincare and makeup short reviews (snapchat spam has been on that), travel posts to get ready for sakura season and spring trend preview post.

Koyo season is approaching again and hopefully by now you realize how nuts I am for it. I went hiking last week around Cloudland Canyon in Georgia where it is in full fall colors. It was beautiful and it had several waterfalls and the hiking was good. But without the Japanese red maple of Japanese koyo I was left wanting. All the other fall colors are beautiful, but that bright blood red of Japanese maple is special especially against its ashy branches.

I hate myself a little for feeling this way. I love to visit Japan but I’ve seen many other beautiful places in the world. Norway nature is just breathtaking. What has been built in Austria is nothing short of spectacular. But there you have… damn you Japanese maples! And in this post I actually eat Japanese maple.

Minoo Park (alt spelled Minoh, Mino,  Minou | Japanese – 箕面公園) is a small valley a quick train ride away from Osaka and its considered Osaka’s outdoor area complete with waterfall. It’s a relatively easy paved hike that takes about 45 minutes from the station to reach the waterfall (where the trail stops). Minoo shines during koyo and everything is maple for that reason.

The easily paved hike. I was walking in heeled boots and it was no big deal.

Tiny cute souvenir shops dot the hike up.

This woodsy tea room was at the midway point. I love the natural decor of it.

The main goal was the waterfall, but the scenery up was always beautiful.

More beautiful colors up and down the hills

Walking up to the waterfall.

I was lucky to catch the light shining with all the perfect reds.

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The lovely waterfall and autumn leaves.

Minoo is known for their Momiji tempura which is dipping a maple leaf into a sweetened batter and frying it. They were sweet and crunchy. I don’t think I can compare them to much maybe a sopapilla? Here’s a kotaku post all about them.

On the way up I noticed these temporary platforms. I think they’re part of Kawayuka/Kawadoko which is a Kyoto style of dining with kaiseki meals above rivers during the summer.

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Food stall at the waterfall advertising fall specialities like hot sake, oden, and smoked fish.

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My blonde head hiking up the hill

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Food stalls were everywhere. I picked up a red bean taiyaki. I mean I was hiking I needed some sustenance.  :wink:

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We stopped by this beautiful pottery studio near the train station of Minoo. The older woman who worked the shop said her grandmother invented the red glazing done by the studio and she’s been doing it ever since. Reflecting all the red maples of Minoo park. My man’s parents are really into pottery (have their own studio) so we picked them up one of the beautifully glazed cups.

More info on Minoo here: japan-guide

More koyo posts: here

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Osaka sakura at Osaka Castle and the Kyu-Yodo River (旧淀川 Kyu-Yodo gawa) cherry blossoms show off all I like about sakura season. The cherry blossoms are free to enjoy and these types of events always seem more for everyone. Also it’s a stretch of land that’s nice but becomes absolutely gorgeous in Spring. It draws a lot of people out and especially on weekends and everyone is having a good time. Free and for everyone, proletariat sakura!

I know there’s such beautiful photos of tons of sakura creating a pink universe for Japan, but they’re everywhere. Sometimes just in basic places: a lone old sakura tree in a schoolyard, a public park, or in someone’s garden.

Atashida and I decided to have an impromptu hanami and the Kyu-Yodo River was perfect for it. Then I went back last year to enjoy again. Two years of Osaka sakura in one post!

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Sakura and Osaka castle! The grounds are free to walk around in so you can spend zero and enjoy.

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Although not as plentiful as summer or fall festivals a few food stalls pop up around hanami viewing spots.

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Some people get really serious to reserve a spot for hanami.

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And some people just pull up a bench and enjoy the view. It’s definitely a whatever you feel like atmosphere.

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From the river the view is spectacular and tour boats traverse the area filled with people on weekends.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Lots of boats traveling down for Osaka sakura

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People waiting in line for the boat tours.

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There were even different types of sakura on the river.

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I can’t find out what this cherry blossom flower type is but I love the double color.

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Last year I went back and it was on a weekday past the prime sakura viewing season so the river was mostly empty except for joggers. Working out through sakura season must be nice!

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Falling sakura on water are so pretty.

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Last year the leftover Osaka sakura were so nice. We were there in early afternoon and everything was reflecting and peaceful.

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The quick gets at a local Sunklus conbini for the hanami. The drinks are Kirin’s special sakura can beer and a peach chu-hai. Those dango say 3-color dango but they’re actually known as “hanami dango” and they’re special to the sakura season. The candied apple was an actual candied apple with a hard candy shell. I thought I would lose some teeth eating it.

Osaka sakura aren’t as fancy as its neighbor Kyoto but it’s a lovely free time to have.

Travel savings tip: I recommend to people especially during sakura and koyo season to stay in Osaka. You’ll get a better hotel deal and travel to Kyoto is only 10 mins via shinkansen or an hour via regular train. Kyoto hotels book up months in advance and the ones left over are usually very pricey. Osaka hotels can be around 7,000-12,000 yen a night ($65-110) for a good location and a decent place. Plus Osaka has a lot of shopping and food options especially at dinner time compared to Kyoto.

Estimated cost of travel day, because I like to show that traveling Japan doesn’t have to be expensive:

Travel: We stayed in Osaka but used transit to get to Osaka castle. About 500 yen roundtrip rail pass unnecessary. 14 day rail pass is around $30USD a day.

Lodging: My hotel was 7,400 yen a night in Osaka.

Food: Breakfast was bakery breads and canned coffee 500 yen, Lunch was Kushi katsu at Daruma around 1,400 yen, refilled bottle of waters (free), dinner was a splurge at Kani Doraku crab for 2,500 yen.

Total spent without lodging or travel: 4,200 yen or $39

Total including everything (food, lodging, travel): 14,000 yen or $126 for two people: 18,000 yen or $160. I also bought some Donki eyelashes and makeup for 5,000 yen.

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I have finally done it after Osaka Abeno 109! As silly as a travel goal as it was in Japan, I’ve visted all the 109s across Japan! And then they open Kagoshima 109 next week, but I’ve already been to that building so I’ll strike it up to say I’ve visited.

To recap all 109 mall related posts: Shibuya 109 渋谷109 (aka the mecca of gyaru clothes) (shopping at Shibuya 109 post), Machida  109 町田109 (site / picture post), Shizuoka 109 静岡109 in Shizuoka (site / picture post picture post 2), Kohrinbo 109 香林坊109 in Kanazawa (site / picture post picture post 2) and now Abeno 109 阿倍野109 in Osaka (site).

Abeno 109 is the newest 109 gyaru mall, and it’s tucked into a suburb of Osaka. It’s  smushed inside a shopping complex between an Ito Yokado (grocery store / basic family clothing store) and a Uniqlo. It’s actually on the 3rd floor and encompasses just a floor. It’s designed mostly for young girls with lots of young brands (Neon Soda, Pink Latte, Repipi Armario, SBY) and I saw a lot of families dropping by. I’d call this 109 the gateway into gal.

If you’re in Osaka for vacay just go visit Hep 5 and Shinsaibashi OPA, if you’re closer to Abeno and have limited time, it’s worth it to pick up a magazine and some groceries from Ito Yokado :)

To get there: take the Osaka Subway Tanimachi Line and head to Abeno station. Tennouji is also on the Tanimachi Line and is a big hub in Osaka connecting to many other rail lines for your transfer needs.

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The fake real set-up of Abeno 109’s homage to Shibuya 109. All 109s have a tower-of-power nod to their big sister.

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Dazzlin Spring is always so cute

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A family passes by Egoist.

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Pink Latte is a huge teens shop, Charlotte did a wonderful write-up about the brand here.

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Repipi Armario is still going strong as a youth brand since its introduction in Shibuya 109 in 2011.

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SBY since its creation for Shibuya 109 in 2008 is going strong as an accessories and make-up seller in tons of gyaru malls across Japan.

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Need more photos inside Japanese malls? Check out the gyaru malls category

 

Sorry guys I was feeling very unfashionable lately and in a non-blog mood. Bad side effects from medicine were making me feel like the Hunchback of Notre Gal rather than a human. I’ve got a Fall nail trend post and then a trend post to do then back to Larme, if I keep to my schedule. Charlotte always being fabulous did a great Oneegyaru trend picks for Fall.