Next mission: Street food adventures in Osaka

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So I’m sitting at my computer after lunch last Wednesday, waiting for the java to snap me out of my fog, when this email lands in my inbox.

“Aloha Mari, YOU’RE INVITED TO OSAKA!”

Wha—?

“Celebrate with Hawaiian Airlines as it launches its new daily flights to Osaka, Japan, on Tuesday, July 12.”

OMGOMGOMG. It’s one of those cupcake-and-popcorn moments, the universe bestowing a random act of kindness. In a not dissimilar scenario last January, Hawaiian accorded me a celebratory seat when it launched its new flights to Seoul. I went, I ate, I blogged, therefore I am … going to Japan!

And not just Japan: Osaka, a city I know next to nothing about. I know there’s a castle. And once when I was a reporter with the Associated Press in Tokyo, I got assigned to cover then-Governor Bill Clinton when he went to pitch Arkansas to Osaka investors. In the years since, I’ve come to learn that takoyaki (doughy balls of octopus goodness) and kushikatsu (luscious skewers of deep-fried goodness) were born in Osaka, and that — this is thrilling, people — the city is known as the kitchen of Japan!

Sushi! Ramen! Funky curry with an egg cracked on top! Museum of Instant Ramen, fish market stalls selling fresh-cooked and raw shellfish, I’m on it. You know what else? Osaka’s unofficial motto translates as “Eat until you drop.” Street food abounds — and in Japan this often means holes-in-the-wall where you eat standing — because people in Osaka are impatient. I’m feeling it, OMG, in my mind already Osaka and I are kindred spirits.

So I’ll go, I’ll eat and I’ll blog, and I’ll shoot quick videos besides. I’ll have major eating help from Burt Lum ( @bytemarks ), who’s blogging about his techie adventures, along with Esme Infante ( @esmeinfantenii ), who’s blogging about family activities, and Dallas Nagata ( @dallasnagata ), whose amazing photos you’ll see on this site. The flight will be livened by social media marketer Toby Tamaye ( @atmarketing ) and Hawaii Business magazine’s Jason Ubay ( @jubay ).

If you have any tips — anything delicious, anything different, or any advice — please send them my way. I’m leaving next Tuesday on a four-day mission to eat my way through the kitchen of Japan. I hope you’ll come along for the ride. I promise you, it’ll be oishii!

19 comments
nathankam
nathankam

We're counting on you Mari! ;-) Have a great time, eat plenty, and bring me back beef jerky if can. I'll pay you back. LOL!

sakeshop
sakeshop

Maybe you can check out Akishika brewery in Osaka. Right now we only carry their "Bambi Cups" but they're supposed to produce some really good sake. They were founded in the 1800's and are one of the few "estate" style breweries where all of their rice is grown on the brewery property. Have a great trip Mari and drink lots of sake!

NikkiHem
NikkiHem

Nabeyaki udon, okonomiyaki, takoyaki are a must. tons of good stuff to eat. just go to shinsaibashi or even hit the original kanidouraku

M
M

Hello Mari,

Lucky you! I been to Japan a number of times but never to Osaka but I always wanted to go there. Have a GREAT time and looking forward to your food pictures.

nonstopmari
nonstopmari moderator

major arigatos to all for tips and well wishes on twitter, facebook, by email and in person: @alvinrrivera @seanakamura , @shogunai_tacos , soni, aki, lynne, bert, ayako, ogura-san. am making notes and all tips are v much appreciated. pls keep them coming!

turkfontaine
turkfontaine

great news, Mari. i'll be waiting to read the posts. i haven't been to Osaka since Expo 70. the big food news then was the opening of the first KFC in Japan, at the fair. the line was about four hours long.

lihinggirl
lihinggirl

looking forward to the ride and fuud porn! have a fun, onolicious trip you all! *drools in anticipation*

Ynaku
Ynaku

Oh man you so fortunate. Looking forward to your report and FUUD PICS!!!!!!!

MyongChoi
MyongChoi

Damn, I gotta get me on this magical list! LOL Have a great time Mari!

Annoddah_Dave
Annoddah_Dave

EO: Sorry, have never been to the big O! But looking forward to your sharing of adventures that fall your way. Take lots of vitamin C in prep for the trip. Time for you to do some serious fuud haiku!

nonstopmari
nonstopmari moderator

@nathankam will see what i can find in dept store basements in a couple days, but i already found 3 varieties at the lawson's across the street, so even in the worst case scenario i got u covered :)

nonstopmari
nonstopmari moderator

@sakeshop i have been waiting for someone to send me on a sake mission. akishika, huh? 'autumn deer'? i'll see what i can do :)

nonstopmari
nonstopmari moderator

@NikkiHem thnx! that's the 2nd solid rec for kani dooraku, which is looking extremely good :D

nonstopmari
nonstopmari moderator

@M me too! never really stopped to explore osaka, esp the eating scene. looks like a big oversight i'll do my best to rectify in 4 days. thnx m!

nonstopmari
nonstopmari moderator

@turkfontaine as usual, i am in awe. i lived on kfc when i worked overnights in tokyo. kfc rules xmas feasts in jpnese cities. and u were there at the bgng o.o

nonstopmari
nonstopmari moderator

@Ynaku u will get major FUUD PIC!!!!!!! someone just told me osaka ppl eat takoyaki and okonomiyaki for dinner w/ rice ... making me swoon.

nonstopmari
nonstopmari moderator

@MyongChoi hey myong, u're too busy running tmrw's korean festival! thnx for the good wishes :)

nonstopmari
nonstopmari moderator

@Annoddah_Dave thnku for the vitamin c reminder. idk abt haiku, but i can promise major fuud porn :-)