Things you'll miss.....
Women: All clothes. My wife complains about this all the time. She has given up trying to buy clothes here because the sizes are too small.
Men: Footwear if you have large feet, i.e. larger than 10, 26 or 42 (depending on which size scale you use. 1. Anti-perspirant deodorant and toothpaste. Deodorant here is weak and doesn't last long. The toothpaste is grainy and doesn't work as well.
2. Contraceptives. Digital cameras and tripods are cheaper here. When I bought a new digicam last year and I compared prices for the same model in Japan, Singapore, Thailand and Australia. Japan won hands down. Tripods are almost a joke, they are so cheap. I just bought a SLIK SDV-10 for 1500 yen (USD14). Here are some tips for people coming to Osaka on a long term-basis.
There are numerous grocery items that are difficult to obtain here or are only available in specialist import shops. In other cases, they are just too expensive. A common talking point among expats is where you can obtain certain food, drinks etc.
Cereal, oatmeal, baked beans, flavoured milk, soda pop (other than coke and a few unuusal local varieties) and good quality tomato ketchup.
Here are some things that are noticeably cheaper (I am comparing to Australia, Canada and the UK). Don't bring any of the following, as they will be cheaper here (even if you are buying them duty free):
Cigarettes, spirits (whiskey, vodka, bourbon), wine, men's ties, stationery, electronic devices. All of these things are cheaper in Japan. Canadian Club is half the price in Japan that you pay in tax-obsessed Canada. It's all about the tax, baby.
Dance the night away...
Playpen is one of the wise old heads on the Shinsaibashi bar circuit and continues to draw in the crowds in their masses over the weekends. It still proves popular with the Gaijin community and younger Japanese revellers alike.
The bar neatly combines a comfortable seated area for those who want to chat and drink with a dance floor for the disco devas, while offers a wide range of music (live djs) and drinks and a set of staff who are always looking to party!
A word of warning though...it can become uncomfortably full at times, especially on saturday nights - and has been known to feel 'meat market-esque,' on occasion. Being in the basement, it always gets very hot. But despite this, it's usually a fun drop in on a night out in the area. Slip on those dancing shoes...
I was under the impression that eating in the street in Japan is considered rude. Given the popularity of vendors in Osaka, this seems not to be the case.
This vendor is selling an Osaka speciality - okinomiyaki. Okinomiyaki is a popular Osaka fast food which is basically something between a pizza and a pancake - cabbage cooked in a batter with pork or seafod, brushed with a sauce and sprinkled with bonito (fish flakes).
Very cheap and very good.
Located opposite is a vendor selling takoyaki - worth trying, but in my opinion not as good. Check it out in my other tip.
Food, Entertainment Galore
The most attractive part of Dotonburi are the models of fugus, crabs, dragons, clowns and red devils hanging from the exteriors of the eateries.
A very lively place, even more so in the evening.
The Liberty Osaka Museum
This sombre museum offers a different aspect of historical reference.
The full name is the Osaka Human Rights Museum.
It chronicles the peoples of Japan, and the social differences within the ethnic minorities, disabled, women, and so on.
It's intrenationally recognized as touching on subject matter that's not usually out in the open, particularly in a sensitive nation such as Japan.
A guided tour (on audiotape) is the best way to understand the displays, printed in Japanese.
There is no official English website, but http://www.mydome.or.jp/travel/sight/list/P51HumanRights.html has a little information.