What is this?

Part of my birthday gift from Hitomi included this bottle.  Without using Google, can you figure out what it is and what it’s used for?


Izakaya Lantern Day and Night …



Osaka Ali was visiting the old neighborhood one afternoon in Saitama and while waiting for the next bus, spotted this brightly colored lantern. Wanting to see what it looked like when it was illuminated, he returned one evening to see the colors vividly come to life. The loud colors and dynamic imagery fit better with the cacophony of sounds that emanated out of the clubs and izakaya nearby at night more than it did the sleepy train depot across the street that operated by day. Kanto is full of charms like this one.

(This photo location is not far from 35.828056, 139.690556)

Namba Parks


The grand canyon of shopping centers ...

The grand canyon of shopping centers …

Osaka Ali enjoys a prime shopping experience as much as the next lad. Although not yet having the pleasure, he was tempted to peruse the shops and gardens of the enticing downtown complex known as “Namba Parks”. Envisioned and planned by world famous shopping mall designer John Jerde of Venice, California, the marquee advertisement at the Nankai train station concourse made for attractive thoughts of a visit.

The shopping mall is built on the former grounds of Osaka stadium. The image is of an curvaceous, multi-level space. The curves and colors remind one of the undulating surfaces of a Southwestern American canyon, carved by ancient watercourse. But this is no ancient geological marvel. It is the result of an architecture and construction project that came to fruition in 2002.

Since its completion, the Namba Parks shopping center seems to have lost none of its charm. It boasts a rich collection of fashion boutiques, shops, cinemas and food galore. It seems the Namba Parks restaurant collection includes a Kua’aina (クア・アイナ) franchise, rumored to serve up a mean hawaiian-style burger.

But the main attraction for O.A. is the babylon-style roof gardens accessible to the public. It seems the designers wanted to bring nature into the congested city. That is a welcomed move as far as Osaka Ali is concerned. Nature, shopping, entertainment and food all in one elegantly crafted package is what Namba Parks is for you to enjoy.

Has anyone visited this lovely place?

To find Namba Parks, take the train to Namba Station, Nankai Line (難波駅 [南海] 大阪府). From the station head southeast. Take the crosswalk, then the access path and finally up the pedestrian overpass escalator. http://www.nambaparks.com/access/index.html