Jesus. City life can be brutal. I headed to the back streets of Nanba and the smells were ever-changing but tended to be of shite, going in and out of tramps pish by way of old mince. The woman preparing her restaurant for business was giving my subject matter very suspicious looks in that way that it's okay to draw a temple but not the smallest car park in the world. It was her neighbourhood - perhaps she should have taken it a bit more as a compliment. Or maybe she no longer sees the devastation that is her surroundings.
Posted by stupot at 07:21 PM Tuesday 27 Feb
Was meant to go skiing today but the weather in the mountains/workload of my companion was not conducive to a day in the snow so I was contented with a lazy day drawing. I headed for Tennoji and walked a route through the old town I'd always meant to. Looking for something interesting, I realised I had never been to the Hitachi tower - Tsutenkaku - a major landmark of Osaka (which is kind of fitting as it's both industrial and dilapidated looking). The weather held out and I spent a nice hour or so amidst the madness of a tourist haven - it wasn't actually busy but there were still small groups who seemed to come off each train and enough business men having lunch and Friday beers. The locals were fairly jolly and squatted to chat on occaision.
Posted by stupot at 06:01 PM Friday 23 Feb
Wednesday's drawing of a typical Junior high school (and one that I work at). It seemed to resemble a battleship as much as a school. Inside half the crew slept.
Posted by stupot at 06:25 PM Wednesday 21 Feb
curiosity and generosity
It was another nice evening so I headed out after work to draw an old sake shop in my neighbourhood. Just when I was finishing, a wee woman who lives beside the shop came out to take a peek at my drawing. Suddenly a small gathering of elderly housewives swarmed me from out of nowhere and a typical conversation ensued while I towered over them. How long did it take? Just pen? How long have you lived here for? Do you have a big sketchbook as well? To the last question I answered 'no I didn't' as I kind of stumbled over the difficult word which I didn't really understand. Soon enough she was off into her house and came back out a few minutes later with a lovely, unused sketch book for me. A thousand apologies later I headed home, a wad of paper the richer and the new talk of the steamie.
(Interestingly I decided to leave the denchu (telegraph poles) out of my drawing for a change. It's amazing the difference it makes. With the trees in the background you could almost imagine it's not Osaka).
Posted by stupot at 05:50 PM Tuesday 20 Feb
I was walking underneath the umeda sky building today and was going to draw it but a) the sun was in my eyes, b) it's ugly and c) I found this much more interesting, run-down coffee wholesaler.
Posted by stupot at 07:55 PM Monday 19 Feb
Today's good weather report coincided with a day off work and as it had been some time since I ventured further than the usual club run I headed for two of my favourite passes. The route took me over highway 61 at Takihata dam (south of Kawachinagano) and the Zao pass into Wakayama before headed north into Nara prefecture and over the Mizukoshi pass (highway 309) back into Osaka Fu. Despite the skies getting bluer as the afternoon went on, the wind was pretty strong and whippy in places which brought the average speed down by quite alot. I ended up doing 120 km's in about 5 hours and my legs are certainly aching a bit now. I have to say that, even with some steep areas, route 61 from Kawachinagano (and down the Ishigawa bike path from further north) is probably the best ride out of Osaka. There's little traffic if any and the road is beautiful. Head back if it's a too much or travel on to Koya san or Wakayama city. I'll sleep tonight......
I had some small sweets left for me in my bike basket when I got home from work yesterday in anticipation of St. Valentines day. It was a lovely surprise - I realise that such events as a child were so thrilling and I've become cynical about so many things! They were homemade daifuku - pounded rice filled with red bean paste - so my secret admirer at least knows my wagashi problem. There was a strawberry in the middle which was a surprise and the fact it was sweet was cause for one of those mini celebrations you have from time to time, with your tongue. Due to the lack of chocolate and dairy products in traditional Japanese cakes, and food in general, I'm catered for very well.
Went to meet a friend in Muji cafe today and there was some tasty, if sickly sweet, hot soy milk macha (green tea). Starbucks have a similar offering but even with my sweet tooth I find it a little much. In the food section there was nice new packaging for their own brand stuff and a great selection of one cup sake from all over Kansai which makes great omiyage (souvenir). The retro example pictured is from Kobe and the graphics beautifully printed onto the glass is much missed on contemporary drinks.
Posted by stupot at 10:32 PM Monday 12 Feb
over the hill
Posted by stupot at 06:54 PM Saturday 10 Feb
Korean yakiniku (bbq meat) is always a favourite in Osaka. I go out with the boys from time to time for a huge tabehodai (all-you-can-eat) and always regret it the next day when I have massive amounts of smelly wind: quite the departure from rice and veggies and man, do the guys take the 'all-you-can-eat' literally. This picture is a wee skanky, if typical, eatery in Nanba. Crates piled up outside, storage and kitchen bench on the street, numerous extractor fans winding their way around the building, bins on show.
Posted by stupot at 08:31 PM Thursday 8 Feb
I headed over to the bike shop on Sunday to ogle things I didn't really need and found myself coming back via the huge Sumiyoshi Taisha. The reason I'm often at a shrine is because they're basically the only open, uncontaminated places around - a bit of solitude in the madness of the city. There's a lively flower market that's on every week and you can try your luck with the auctioneer. It's a lot chillier than the spring but still people love to come and hang around. I bought a coffee and a pastry and had had the hindsight to take along pencils and my pop up stool so that I didn't catch a cold as I did drawing in Kyoto in November.
Posted by stupot at 07:54 PM Wednesday 7 Feb
oni / bean combo
As we hit the quiet back roads in the mountains, on this morning's ride, I could see crushed beans all over the road - remanents from yesterday's setsubun festival. I headed to the local temple with friends at about 9 last night and we soaked up the atmosphere. Everyone was out to celebrate the equinox and the full moon shining in the distance was both a reminder of the old lunar calendar and of how cold it was. The stalls ("de-misay") are half the attraction - Abiko fills with hundreds of them, selling everything from toy guns to delicious castella sponge cake - a Portugese import which is very popular at festivals. It's kids heaven. I had some taiyaki - a fish-shaped sponge with red bean paste (anko) inside.