Friday, July 11, 2008

Taishou Ward

Taishou Ward (大正区) is kind of like an industrial wasteland down near the ports except that there are actually a lot of residences there as well. I guess because the factories and dock yards are so ugly, you see a lot more people growing flowers on their verandas and on the sidewalks in front of their houses than in other areas of town.

Here's a big crane that separates piles of metal based on a set of criteria that is not always evident to the untrained eye. This is kind of representative of Taishou Ward, but the thing to remember is that Osaka is actually a huge industrial city and the bright lights and bling of the downtown areas are supplied by these outer Wards. The bentos that millions of people eat every day for lunch are prepared every morning in suburbs like Taishou.

The Ward is actually a collection of islands and peninsulas and there are free pedestrian ferries that you can use to cross the channels. Over the weekend, some friends and I wend on a ride around the Ward basing our route on the ferry terminals.

A few of the ferry routs are longer, but most of them just cut across a narrow channel.

In order to build the freeway bridges over the channels high enough for the big ships, they have these crazy circular ramps so the vehicles can ascend at a gradual slope.

This one near the ferry terminal has a baseball field in the middle of it. There was no game when I took the picture, but at other times I have seen little league games here, with the kids playing, the dads yelling and the cars driving around in circles. (The sign asks you to please refrain from crossing through the middle of the grounds.)

There are these nets to protect pedestrians from getting hit by fly balls that are tipped back over the home plate, but nothing at all to protect the cars from fly balls or home runs. Actually, it's kind satisfying to think of hitting a home run as knocking a ball into a freeway.

Osaka was one of the first ports opened for trade with foreign countries and the ports and loading docks of south Osaka are still a major thoroughfare for imports. This green bridge like thing is apparently a storm gate that can be lowered in case of a hurricane to prevent the high waters from sending waves deep into the city.

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