Sunday, July 10, 2005

Out of the frying pan and into the fire

So we finally managed to get to the Van Gough exhibit at Osaka Museum. Talk about “out of the frying pan and into the fire.” We did not go last time because of the huge crowds. Stupid mistake, all of Osaka must have been here today to see the art exhibit. See what happens when you get greedy? Or when you go to famous art exhibits on a Sunday afternoon in one of the world`s largest cities?

It took an one hour wait in humid and wet conditions to get in. I regret that I did not go in earlier yesterday, when the wait was “only” fifteen minutes. Once inside, it felt like a Tokyo subway – I could barely see the artworks.

BTW, do not take a photo in the museum. The museum woman came up and politely reminded me that one should not take photos in the museum. Anyway, how great it was to see Van Gough works next to the other works that influenced him! Van Gough had even traced a Hiroshige woodblock print that appeared in a Paris newspaper and used it as a basis for his painting. Yoko seemed to wilt under the pressure of all those crowds.

We were famished after battling this crowd, and so we went off to eat ramen. On the tables were comic pamphlets detailing the story of this ramen shop. Fujihira ramen is a ramen chain made by a man who quit his job in search of making the perfect ramen. He even went off to the trash bins of rival ramen makers in order to find out where they bought their noodles from. The ramen tasted perfectly superb - not too strong, not too weak. I loved the bowl of takana, chopped mustard cabbage you could put on the ramen.

Afterwards, I ate with my in-laws and their family at a famous yakiniku restaurant in the city. I will bloat up if I keep on eating at this rate. I found amusing how reputable stores would be located right next to, ahem, houses of ill repute. Just a few doors down from this famous restaurant are stores you wouldn`t want your kids to go to.

I am amazed at how you don`t see mothers up in arms about stores like these right next to legitimate shops. The big red lantern is for a ramen shop. I guess society is so safe that they can focus on other issues. And they think that we Americans are sex crazed.

Fortune tellers come out at night and set up street stalls

Afterwards, we went to the Tsutaya video center. Here, one is able to rent CDs of your favorite singers, and purchase blank CDs of varying sizes “conveniently” located next to the CDs. What you do with these CDs, I leave to your imagination.

No comments: