Osaka for New Year as usual. Except, of course, not like usual. Nothing this year has been.
New Year sales poster.
On a normal year we'd go out to eat a lot. We'd probably spend New years eve at a certain bar with people we know. We would perhaps stay overnight at a ryokan somewhere, and we'd certainly go out mingling in the crowds.
None of that happened. We did venture outside — it's low-risk away from crowds — but we ate at home every night, and we didn't meet anybody.
We did take a Hanshin train to Kobe one day; had lunch at Raja, our
favourite Indian restaurant; then took a long walk through the Kitano
area on the mountain side. We picked a date and time we
knew the train and the restaurant would both be quite empty. And Kitano
is always quiet in the off season even in a normal year.
Hanshin station, Osaka.
Kobe. It's a worn-down port city but we like it.
A shop in the Kitano district, Kobe. We often get vegetables and other random food here when we come to Kobe.
One thing happened: I brought my Pentax DSLR with me to Osaka, for the first time in years. I'd been using a small mirrorless Olympus for the past several years; small, light and portable, but I was never really happy with it for some reason. Taking the Pentax in my hands felt like coming back home, and taking pictures suddenly felt like fun again.
Midosuji line. On my way back from Nagai park.
A cafe on Midosuji, Osaka.
San Marco curry. Good curry. Not a lot of people.
The four amigos. They all know I'm there; they were laughing and smiling when they saw me grab my camera and realized what they must look like from outside.
I'd forgotten how much fun it is to walk around at random, camera in hand. The mirroless was always a hassle to use; with the Pentax I don't need to look at it or even to think to get the right settings and take the picture. I took more pictures over this holiday than I took all the rest of the year.
We found Small Friendly Duck waiting at a street crossing, and he followed us home. He was a bit worse for wear but after a clean-up he is happy to stay with us in Osaka. Here he is posing with a matching vase of tulips.
We spent new year at home, talking and playing with our phones while Kohaku Gassen, the traditional music show, was playing in the background. It was good. Let's hope 2021 improves over its predecessor. It shouldn't be difficult.
Nagahori at dusk.
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