Having failed (or gotten side-tracked) at our first attempt, Corban and I set out to see the famous Osaka White Castle on Saturday since he had no classes. I had been watching Shogun and they kept mentioning Osaka and The White Castle so I was looking forward to it. We also needed to try to find a power cord for my computer! AAARrrrggghhhhh! Since we had a late start and to save some money, we took bikes. Hummmm. It didn’t help with either goal. We lost time when I wrecked! and money when I had to buy simple, expensive band-aids. However, I could have done more than scrape my arm when I feel into the short, metal picket fence. I could have been impaled. Ouch. Wish I had taken a picture. We made it to lunch at a “Waffle House” kind of Japanese restaurant. Our search in both of the computer stores found no HP power cord. Lots of other brands, not HP! (I know I can get one in the states.)
We parked our bikes at the bus stop, made it to the train station (that I would go to on my way out of town-good practice) and finally to Osaka White Castle. Wow! A FREE (couldn’t believe the price) English-speaking guide offered to show us around the grounds. Then we did buy tickets to go through the inside of the castle. (The memory was full on my camera!!!, of course.) I did get a few pictures. I had not tried the grilled squid on a stick (oh, darn!) so we stopped at the little booth on the way out of the castle. Just a bit too rubbery for me. But I did like the other thing…don’t know what it was called-served on a big rice cracker with sauce and egg.
Then, on the way home, we stopped in Umeda to again search for the power cord. In the huge, multi-floored electronics store…..you guessed it, no HP power cord. Aaarrrggghhh.
We met Corban’s English student out front. He had a car! On Saturdays, Corban teaches a group of 10 Japanese adults for a couple of hours. He was very nice, but he needs more than a few hours. We went to a genuine, hole-in-the-wall sushi bar. Behind the counter stood the chef who would prepare each serving and reach over with it and put it on the big green leaf we had with shaved ginger on it. The appetizer scared me a bit: raw snail that had to be pulled out of the shell with a toothpick! I had to eat it, he was watching with pride. The jellyfish was rubbery and plastic-like. (middle of the appetizer dish) No flavor. I could not believe how much they served. Just when I finished one serving, the chef would plop another one over the counter onto my green leaf plate! (that’s shaved ginger on the top row, far right) So here’s what I had:
Most of the fish I really enjoyed but the toasted shrimp heads were, shall I say, interesting. Almost tasty until the squishy part in the inside came out. Oh, and if you do eat a toasted shrimp head, don’t let the antennae stab you, (just in case you try it). What was interesting was that the fish did not have a fishy taste. The raw tuna (second row, second from left) was delicious, and my favorite I think, was the salmon (third row, third picture, fish on the left) which had been ever so slightly braised. And, the eel (third row, first picture, fish on left) with a slight bbq glaze was a close second. (The fourth row, third picture was eggplant on left and egg on right.) I had to take a picture of the other room, too.
With all that under our belts!, we were taken to the best dessert place in town. A “Shoney’s” kind of place where children go to have birthday parties. Corban and I shared a dish. The ice cream part was the best, with the scoop of blended sweet black beans coming in second. Fruit, of course, is always a treat. What I didn’t care for was the little cubes of vegetable gelatin. Curious.
All in all, I felt like I had really experienced a Japanese night out. (And I was STUFFED!!!)