Autumn has been a continuous stream of activity and events, so perhaps it's appropriate that the travelogue was suspended in Osaka's famously busy downtown. All of the travelers united there and took a walk recommended by Moti's Lonely Planet guide through the Amerika-mura district. The wandering did not disappoint there were eclectic streetlamps, murals, a giant inflatable demon, and an Uncle Sam themed ice cream place. No connection between the last two, thankfully.
Osaka is sometimes referred to as Japan's second city, which given the size of Japan's cities means that it is even larger than Chicago. However, while it does have similarities with that mid-western industrial and commodity rail hub, the general feel of the city was different. There's a mix of various traits from America's urban centers, but the neighborhood we walked through reminded me more of Southwestern U.S. cities; there is a certain newness and intentionally quirky charm. I suspect the predominance of post-war construction plays a large role there.
We traversed the city's wide boulevards and walked through a pedestrian mall to arrive at Dotonbori, a largely pedestrian district that feels a bit like Time Square with a river running through it. However, as you get to the side streets that metaphor breaks down quickly and so I'll stop chasing similes. The main pedestrian streets and bridges were boisterous with large often kitschy displays of giant seafood that would put a beach town to shame.
Such tourist districts are fun to wander, but have a rather different reputation when it comes to the affordability and quality of dining. Happily, the Lonely Planet guide again steered us well and we went to an upper story of the building depicted on the left. The specialties of the house were broth-oriented, if memories and photos serve, and the meal left us restored to venture out into the medley of alleys and smaller roads that surround the main district and reward those exploring a bit farther.