This hardcore version of body tattoo-ing is a sight to behold.
Centuries ago in the days of the Shogun, Japan’s authorities would mark criminals with tattoos to distinguish them from the rest of the population.
These highly visible tattoos usually took the form of a black ring around the arm; with rings added as convictions increased. These marked men were usually discriminated against so they tended to stick together, eventually forming the organized, mafia-style gangs now known as “Yakuza”. Worn proudly as symbols of status and dedication, Yakuza tattoos have evolved into magnificent, multicolored full-body masterpieces. (photo from here)
Anyway, enough talk about naked men… first stop, Osaka Castle.
Osaka castle is one of Japan’s most famous castles, and played a major role in the unification of Japan during the sixteenth century . Osaka Castle is situated on a plot of land roughly one kilometer square. It is built on two raised platforms of landfill supported by sheer walls of cut rock, using a technique called Burdock piling, each overlooking a moat. The central castle building is five stories on the outside and eight stories on the inside, and built atop a tall stone foundation to protect its occupants from sword-bearing attackers.
Actually, I found this castle rather boring and full of tourists. Luckily there were some cute Japanese kids for me to photograph along the way… Hmmm, I hope we get to do some shopping soon… perhaps bump into a Yakuza or two.. if we are lucky !
DAY 2 & 3
At Kobe Harbour land you can find anything… from department stores, sport shops, restaurants to small funky shops in the lovely mosaic garden.Harbour land is not only for shopping. It’s by the ocean and from there you have the greatest view of Kobe – The Maya and Rokko mountains in the background, and the Kobe skyline landmarks Kobe port tower and Oriental hotel. You can chill, have a coffee outside, or take a ride on the Paris Wheel, as there is also an entertainment park for kids here.
Kobe is well-known throughout Japan as being an “international city”. With its diverse population of foreign residents and facilities and amenities established built for such foreign communities, Kobe is well equipped to support a comfortably refined lifestyle for just about any person or individual from any country! That includes me.. I can see myself fitting in just fine, thank you…
Fashion related industries are thriving here, eg. pearls, clothes, shoes, and furniture. The downtown district from Sannomiya to Motomachi is lined with fashionable retail stores, department stores and specialty stores, constituting a large alfresco shopping center. That is where I am headed in the next few days .. but I didn’t need to tell you that, of course.. ;P
Entering Tokeiya, you know that this is a classy joint. The waitresses are traditionally dressed and speak in hush tones. Every meal has to be pre-booked. Every single type of Kobe Beef preparation is available here. You name it, they have it. From Sukiyaki, to Shabu Shabu, Teppanyaki & Sahimi. I feel like I died and went to Beer-fed Cattle heaven…!
It must fulfill all the conditions as follows:
1.Tajima cattle born in Hyogo Prefacture
2.Fed by farm in Hyōgo Prefecture
3.Bullock or Virgin cow, meant to purify the beef (This one is NEW to me!)
4.Processed at slaughterhouse in Kobe, Nishinomiya, Sanda, Kakogawa and Himeji in Hyōgo Prefecture.
5.Marbling ratio called BMS is level 6 and above.
6.Meat Quality Score is A or B
7.Gross weight of beef is 470 kg or below. In accordance with popular belief, the cattle are fed sake and beer, and they are massaged and brushed for setting fur, and fed on grain fodder.
I PUT MY RAW BEEF IN…
AND SHAKE IT ALL ABOUT… !
Walking fast, that familiar smell of street food soon reached my nose! Why is it that Chinatown smells exactly the same, no matter which part of the world you are in ?!
What’s the bloody attraction? I mean, it’s just bao for crying out loud.
The Bao was fantabulous! Fluffy textured outside, with succulent Japanese-bred pig (that soon became pork) stuffing on the inside. There is bao.. and then there is BAO. Japanese made chinese bao ROCKS.
Back to the malls and shopping.
We found this little Traditional Japanese Restaurant off the mains street. I cannot remember the name but it served incredible Sashimi and Ikuradon.
The Ikuradon came with the plumpest most amazing Urchin slab you can imagine.
“Lard up today.. for tomorrow… you SUFFER!”
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner!
Oh… I love these roadside joints. Fast, CHEAP and good. The Kobe Beef dinners have taken their toll on our wallets and we were happy to just fork out Yen 350 for a steaming hot bowl of gorgeous PORK ramen!