#2: Osaka I

Nē!  I’ve spent the past week catching up on sleep, meeting fellow volunteers/roommates, and getting settled in.  Here are some updates:

  1. My apartment is literally three buildings down the street from a Yakuza corporate building (no BS I swear).  Considering the history of the Yakuza, I was nervous. My roommates brought me up to speed and I learned that these days, the Yakuza keep the streets safe by eliminating drug dealers and other related crime.  I walk past them every day and they don’t bother looking at me; my first day here I even had some of my tattoos visible.  I’ve read that Yakuza members don’t like being photographed so I found a street view of the building on Google Maps, take a look here.  Every single day there is a new luxurious and expensive car parked outside of their building. There are security cameras all over the front and the men are always dressed in suits.
  2. All the roommates and other volunteers are awesome.  There are two fellow Americans from Seattle along with people from England, France, Japan, and Australia.
  3. I haven’t had much time yet to explore Osaka on my own but I knew experiencing Dotonburi was a must.  Tons of restaurants and other facilities to check out, and it’s a lively environment that sits along the Dotonburi Canal.
  4. For the next month I’ll be staying at a backpacker house in Osaka (NOT A BROTHEL, CHRISTIE) that’s a 15 min bike ride from the apartment I stay at. Mayumi – the owner – was kind enough to give me a bike for my commute, and it’ll definitely be of great use when exploring other parts of the city!

-Stephen <-Link to Profile



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