[Osaka, Japan] ~ Zoo in the City & City from up

 An area both cute and quirky, I could not ask for more. Well, more time to wander next time, maybe – 10.02.15

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I had no set itinerary for that day except make use of my unlimited day pass so after seeing castles,  animals it was for some odd reason. From the station which could not be mistaken as the nearest to the zoo with its series of posters as clue, I was led to this alley of restaurants and shops before finding my way to them – with penguins becoming my ultimate favorite.
From within the city to somewhere high to see it from above, next destination was the nearby Tsutenkaku Tower located in this neighborhood interestingly patterned after Western, the tower itself after Eiffel – something I personally think to be uncommon with a country we perceive as highly championing its own.

 

There was no mistaking that I took off the right station as I was welcomed by a giant ad as I was about to exit. It was just a bit tricky though as it was still quite a walk from there. I even had to pass what seemed to be a market-slash-bar-street – someplace I definitely would have wanted to hang out in. (Unfortunately at that time, most establishments were still close. Plus, I wanted to see animals!)

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Obviously

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My kind of street except that it was dead at that time

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These turtles probably want some beer, huh?

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And street goes on. No clue for some zoo yet

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That could have been a nice place for drinking

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And this one for daytime pachinko

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Far from what is in Korea but a start

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Okay. I am still in the right neighborhood

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My initials in there

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When I finally saw the zoo, I was welcomed by a bunch of cute kids about to leave. A part of me was expecting crowd but it was surprisingly not that chaotic inside. As in how I am typically when inside zoos, I barely take time to know what some animals are called. I just bask in the cuteness and uniqueness of them. (Hence, forgive me if I miss on the names of some in the photos below).

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Oh I saw you, zoo! 

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As in Osaka Castle, more kids on tour

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First cute blob

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This one looked kind of sad though I just want to hug him/her

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Showin’ me butt

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Okay, confuse us more

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What are you?

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This was some bridge of some sort but it was too narrow. Maybe decorative?

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What separates us

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That girl’s face as fierce as a tiger’s

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These buddies are just too cute

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Spotted – my next destination from inside the zoo

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Sunbathing trio

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I think this one’s a red panda (hey, I remembered!)

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And hello, penguins!!!

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ADORABLE.

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So my fascination with penguins started there. I even got lucky that I was somehow led to this hidden place where some other penguins are housed. (In hindsight, I can’t even say whether that was an official ‘display’ of sort because their shelter looked not well-kept). Anyhoo, I saw them up close. And oh boy, it was just too cute how they walk! (And excuse my overuse of the word “cute” in this entry).

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Hey, Misters or Missess Penguin

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Weeeeee. (Okaaaay.)

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Oh this polar bear sure was perky

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So when tired from all the walking around in the zoo, I decided to go to my next stop that is in the same area – TSUTENKAKU TOWER. I was interested in seeing it  as I have read online that it was patterned after two Western structures – its upper half from Eiffel Tower in Paris while bottom half from Coney Island in New York. I have not been to both but I just though the idea of combining two influences (for whatever reason) is quirky.

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Tsutenkaku Tower

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How bottom looks like – literally

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It took time to find this entrance and was surprised at how it was this kiddie colorful

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More cute stuff on the lower floor

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Some elevator fun

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My intent really was to see the top floor to get view of the city 360 degrees. (Whenever I go visit places, I make it a point to go to this spot where I can view the city from high up). So far, this has been the best. It was mostly buildings of course but they gave guides on where the key landmarks are. Looking back, it could have been better to go here after seeing most of the destinations in the city. Well, I could thought there was some kick in realizing – “hey I was there earlier!”

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A sample view. If you are a geek with directions too, they tell you which among where you are facing

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TSUTENTAKU TOWER is also interestingly home to this statue called BILLIKEN. I was initially just curious with this as one is supposed to rub his feet for good luck. Upon post-travel research though, I learned that this was a charm doll created by an American which was initially popular but was later on confused with Kewpie. (I knew it! I was wondering then why this looked familiar)

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No harm in trying, right?

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The observatory was a small place but for some reason, I kept on circling and would end up discovering something new each time. I also specially enjoyed stamping on my journal.

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And I could not seem to stop just taking random pictures (and selfie now)

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Super Billiken!

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Some art session 

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Some game even

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Just the right amount of people too

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Hello, Kitty!

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One of the many stamp stations I was “suki” / fan of

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And of course, more stuff to play with

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Everything in a different scale

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I wanted to see Dotombori before it got dark (just for comparison because I know it is more known for its night vibe) that I did not have enough time to explore Shinsekai.

I have read later on that neighborhood can be described as ‘seedy and dangerous’ but I immediately fell in love with its vibe. (Hmm, I wonder more what is up with me and my fascination with such places!). One of the neighborhoods in Osaka I would definitely come back for.

 

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