難波の南蛮、戎橋の夷。

Ring ring ring ring ring ring ring,

Yesterday was a day for being yukkuri, so I figured I needed to get shit done today.  And I did with a VENGEANCE.  It was also a good opportunity for me to hang around Osaka proper some more, something I hadn’t really done yet.

I started out by going to the ward office and getting registered for an ID.  I have to say, the Osaka Yodogawa ward staff were far more helpful than the staff in Kyoto’s Nishikyo ward.  I even got a temporary certificate, so I can technically now find an apartment.  Not that I want to, until I know where I’m going to end up working.  This done, I stared south across the Yodo river to downtown Osaka.

Umeda, Osaka's downtown district

Umeda is a massive warren of retail and commerce that extends not only into the sky, but beneath the earth.  A labyrinthine network of corridors twists below the city, full of shops and restaurants.  And people.

The commercial city beneath the city

Seriously, people talk of the Japanese economy as if it is in tatters.  They’re full of crap.  So the world isn’t terrified of them as it once was in the 1980s, and so people don’t spend themselves into debt or make especially foolish impulse buys.  But this is what the crowd looks like on a Wednesday afternoon, and Osaka is considered to be a city that’s seen better days.  And I waited for a lull in the crowd so people wouldn’t wonder why I was taking pictures of them.  Clearly, people continue to engage in brisk transactions for goods and services.  Isn’t THAT what an economy is for?  Not to threaten to take over the world, or to fuel a culture of debt and impulse, but to create an environment in which some people can find what they want, and some people can make a living selling it to them?  Anything more than that is mere avarice.

Okay, enough ranting- I came here for a cell phone.  THAT took a bit more work than dealing with the municipal government did.  The standard, basic competitive cell phone plan in Japan requires you to sign on for two years up front.  TWO YEARS.  If you want to cancel before that, there will be a big ugly fee.  Coming to Japan to look for work is already a gamble.  I don’t want to gamble further on my gamble by hoping I don’t have to come home within two years.  Only one provider in Japan really sells prepaid plans for short term.  And by sell, I mean basically not sell.  I spent literally the whole rest of the day crisscrossing northern Osaka trying to find a store that carried prepaid cards.

In the heart of Umeda

By the time I found such a magical store, night had fallen.  But find it I did, and I am now the proud owner of a snazzy, if simple Japanese cellphone.  With e-mail capabilities, because in Japan you literally cannot find a phone that does not e-mail.  Sometimes America seems so backwards.  We still get excited about cellphones with an internet connection, how quaint…

Newly connected to the grid, I descended back into the subterranean dungeons of the city for some Indian.  Ahhh, life is good.

Hmmm, where to go tomorrow…?

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7 responses

  1. Beef

    No TracFones, Net10s, Boost Mobiles, or Virgin Mobile, eh? 😛

    How much does your prepay phone cost per month, then?

    November 25, 2010 at 12:46 AM

    • It’s not a monthly rate, you charge a certain amount of money to your account, and calls and e-mails cost a little each.

      November 25, 2010 at 7:57 AM

  2. lordkelvin

    Dannanah phone

    Love the photos. Sounds like the ultimate phone scav hunt.
    How close are you to Umeda? Is Colonel Sanders there?

    November 25, 2010 at 6:02 AM

    • Umeda is across the river from me, several minutes by train. And yes, I ran into old Mr. Kenta, as they sometimes call him.

      I decided not to run into his food.

      November 25, 2010 at 7:59 AM

  3. 紺月明

    Man, I feel so natsukashii just staring at your pictures and reading your account of it all. It’s like, it’s just how I remember it, too. And you capped it off with some Indian food. Haha, how many times did we do stuff like this? Countless.

    November 26, 2010 at 12:11 AM

  4. Beef

    So I’m watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade…the current incarnation of the Power Rangers used the ORIGINAL shredding guitar intro music!!! AAAHHH!!!

    Also, Pikachu showed up, following a PokeBall. The cartoon theme was in the background, albeit without words. Thought of you. 😛

    November 26, 2010 at 2:10 AM

    • You know I’d have sung along.

      November 26, 2010 at 7:20 AM

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