Osaka - A View of the City from a Foreign Perspective

juhi Juhi Gore Assistant English Teacher, KITANO Senior High School

Before I came to Osaka, I tried to imagine what it would be like. The image that I conjured up was one of a bustling and sprawling metropolis that was a hub of activity. I pictured towering sky scrapers and lots of flashing neon signs. I also imagined advanced technology and innovation at every level. I expected the people of Osaka to demonstrate the typical characteristics of most people that live in big cities, i.e. they would be aloof, abrupt and always busy.

My expectations proved to be both correct and incorrect. Osaka is huge and it is filled with many towering buildings like the Sky Tower and the Twin 21 Towers. I found a multitude of flashing neon signs around Dotonbori, Shinsaibashi and Juso. Examples of advanced technology and innovation can be found at Osaka Business Park and the Showpiece Panasonic Square, as well as in the architectural feats of Kansai Airport and Osaka Stadium. But, on the other hand, traditional Osaka is still prevalent, as a stroll down any of the narrow back streets will indicate. Here,I experienced the wooden houses and the small tacoyaki stands in addition to the stand up ramen shops.

Like any large city, Osaka has its' drawbacks too. It's often crowded and claustrophobic, especially on a weekend shopping, or during the morning rush hour at the train station. And,there is a marked lack of greenery and nature - anywhere!

I feel that part of Osaka magnetism can be attributed to its' inhabitants. Osaka people are often friendly, funny, kind and delight in teaching you their local dialect. I have encountered numerous acts of kindness since arriving here, but one particular instance that stands out in my mind occurred a couple weeks ago when I bought a large heater for my house. As I struggled to carry it up a steep hill a very old lady suddenly rushed out from nowhere and offered to help me. Refusing to take no for an answer, she lifted one end of the box , chattering away and helped me to carry the heater all the way home.

Osaka has a famous culinary reputation throughout Japan. This reputation has lived up to all that I heard about it. Okonomiyaki and tacoyaki are two specialities that are cheap,tasty,and filling. I appreciate the chance to live in such a vibrant and interesting city. I encourage anyone who has the opportunity to definitely visit and experience everything that Osaka has,for themselves.

Last Update : Mar.23,1998