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Dotombori district by night. Osaka. Japan

Dotombori is a symbol of the Minami Area and a mecca for the kuidaore food culture of Osaka. Dozens of restaurants line the Dotomborigawa River, and large famous billboards draw diners'attention. On the north side of the river, where geisha used to entertain their customers, are now small bars and restaurants squeezed together in rows. The southern side of the river is the center of the Dotombori area, which was once known as the theater district. Nowadays, colorful neon signs and flash signboards enliven the area, showing that the district still represents the passion of Osakans. In one of Dotombori's back streets, Hozenji-Yokocho, small restaurants are located along the stone-paved alley, retaining the flavor and atmosphere of old Osaka. It's like a step back in time. Dotombori has so many restaurants and bars packed along its narrow streets and alleys that it's impossible to count them. Their colorful signs and decorated entrances create a symphony of light and design that dazzle the eye. Here is where you can experience the true meaning of kuidaore, and stuff yourself with Osaka's great tasting reasonably priced food to your ultimate culinary satisfaction.

More About Japan

The eight islands of Japan sprang into existence through Divine Intervention.The first two gods who came into existence were Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto, the Exalted Male and Exalted Female. It was their job to make the land for people to live on.They went to the bridge between heaven and earth and, using a jewel-encrusted halberd, Izanagi and Izanami churned up the sea into a frothy foam. As salty drips of water fell from the tip of the halberd the first island was formed. Its name was Onogoro.So far, so good. But when Izanagi and Izanami first met on their island, Izanami spoke to Isanagi without being spoken to first. Since she was the female, and this was improper, their first union created badly-formed offspring who were sent off into the sea in boats.The next time they met, Izanagi was sure to speak first, ensuring the proper rules were followed, and this time they produced eight children, which became the islands of Japan.I'm sure you did not fail to miss the significance of this myth for the establishment of Japanese formal society.At present, Japan is the financial capital of Asia. It has the second largest economy in the world and the largest metropolitan area (Tokyo.)Technically there are three thousand islands making up the Japanese archipelago. Izanagi and Izanami must have been busy little devils with their jewelled halberd...Japan's culture is highly technical and organized. Everything sparkles and swooshes on silent, miniaturized mechanisms.They're a world leader in robotics, and the Japanese have the longest life-expectancy on earth.Text by Steve Smith.

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