Osaka is bright with lots of colour and lots of lights. It has big buildings. It has animation everywhere. It has wall to wall people. It is fair to say that although these two were glad they went to Osaka, it was not their favourite place. It is the home of Okonomiyaki, the delicious Japanese savoury pancake.

In the words of their travel consultant, “It’s just a big city.“

Our travellers had tickets to the SUMO wrestling tournament. They were in the process of turning their phones upside down in the hope of google maps guiding them successfully when they saw a couple of people they thought would be good to follow.Surely they would know the way!

How to explain Sumo? Two competitors take to the sandpit stage and do whole lot of rituals and stretching that last a whole lot longer than the bout itself. Mr and Ms X saw 76 bouts of which 70 were over in 10 seconds. There’s excitement when one falls off the stage and almost injures themselves. It’s also very exciting when one falls on one of the judges who are seated on the floor. They saw a judge have his glasses broken in such a movement.

A couple of times it was too hard to make a call as to who won as both competitors may appear to have fallen over at the same time, so all the judges come on to the stage for a chin wag to decide.

Before each bout, someone dressed up in a sort of Joseph‘s amazing technicolor dreamcoat enters the ring and sings a short song. Before every bout.

More singing.

Mr and Ms X really enjoyed it. They lasted three and a half hours so it kept their attention. They of course played the game ‚‘‘Pick the winner‘‘ and Mr X won. Ms X got fooled by any bandages they had and also the weight advantages were deceiving.Often a slightly built wrestler would bring down a big boofer. The tournament started at 8.30am and was scheduled to go all day until 7pm. The event was a sellout but our retirees chose to attend in the morning as they had more of Osaka to see.

If Kyoto is the traditional city, Tokyo the busy grown-up place then Osaka would be the foodie-city. For those who haven’t tried an Okonomiyaki you don’t know what you have been missing. Theres variations of the recipe throughout Japan with Osaka claiming its origins, however Ms X sampled them in each place they went and they were all delicious.

The pancake is on the right.

Dotonbori Street is home to colour, food, nightlife and people. It’s a place you move through to experience it but these 2 wouldn’t recommend lingering.

Somehow our travellers found themselves accidentally in the middle of Shinsaibashi, the busy shopping district. They were carried along by the crowds until Ms X noticed an old familiar friend…

Fond memories of Daimaru at Melbourne Central when that development first opened.

Our travellers were in search of a subway station to get them to the impressive Umeda Twin Towers. As had been the case the whole time, a friendly Japanese guy came up to the pair, turned them around and walked them to the station, a 15 minute undertaking. Those are the moments that stand out for these two. The people of Japan made the trip memorable.

Why were our retirees going to these towers you ask? It was where an Aussie girl and a Dutch guy met many many years ago. Sorry, Ms C and Mr P. The queue for the observation deck was, LONG!