From Namba Station I took Osaka Metro on Midosuji Line, not a single station which I passed, I got off at Shinsaibashi Station. Then started to taking steps south down Mido-suji Avenue. Mido-suji Avenue itself is a four-lane street flanked by slow lanes on either side. The slow lane and the fast lane are limited by rows of shady trees which are neatly arranged following the contours of road.
In the next three hundred meters, I would be at America-mura. Its close enough distance from Namba Parks made me interested in visiting the place at same time.
America-mura or as people call it Amemura is a nine-block American-designed village located right on the east side of Mido-suji Avenue, in Chūō-ku City District to be exact. The village is bounded in south by Dōtonbori Canal, to the north by Nagahori-dori Avenue while to the east by Osaka Metro Yotsubashi Line. America-mura occupies a land area of no less than sixteen hectares. Wide isn’t it?
Adopting American lifestyle, this area is very thick with the “Uncle Sam” brand. Entering an alley, my steps were greeted by a Starbucks outlet and a McDonald’s outlet following after. Fashion shops with Levi’s, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein logos and other well-known brands were very easy to find.
The alley in America-mura area is no more than five meters wide. Narrow path makes it be a one-way street. Street light pole is designed like a skinny and tall living character. Mural art is also easy to find on every side of America-mura. Along the edge of sidewalk installed bollards to protect pedestrians. Meanwhile, bicycle rentals are scattered at various points.
As long as you walk, America-mura is indeed designed as a place to shop. Fashion shops lined up very tightly cramming every side of road combined with bars, minimarkets, restaurants and of course lodging.
After almost an hour exploring every corner of Americamura, I was starting to feel hungry. The tantalizing aroma of East Asian food consistently scented the streets. I decided to start looking for a place to eat. Luckily, most restaurants in America-ura display their flagship menu prices at their doorstep. So each visitor can choose food according to their interests. As for me, it wasn’t about menu, I looked at each menu on display just to see what the lowest price was. It took a long time to find a restaurant to get pocket-friendly prices.
My steps finally stopped at a home-based restaurant which offering a frugal menu. This restaurant was managed by house owner and assisted by his son who seemed to be still in elementary school.
I sat on a corner seat opposite a table with a young office woman who seemed eager to eat noodle dish in front of her. I ordered chicken ramen and as usual for drinking, I relied on water provided in the teapot at every restaurant table. While sitting, I noticed the child’s agility in delivering orders after his father finished processing the menu.
Shortly after ordering, my chicken ramen came. I ate it while cracking a slurp of noodles in the bowl, of course I wanted to respect and showed that the restaurant owner’s chicken ramen was so delicious. The chicken ramen was gone in no less than fifteen minutes.
Now I presented the next silence. I purposely paid with coins. Because I have a lot of coins accumulated from my adventures in Tokyo. When the boy handed a bill on small tray, I spilled a coin worth 600 Yen on the tray. The boy looked troubled and nervous to counting it. I just smiled amused to see him when he had to repeat in counting coins. The office woman next to my seat was laughing, covering her mouth with her hand.
Feeling given up in counting, he ran the tray over to counter and handed it to his father to counting. After finishing counting, his father wrote something on bill paper and his boy came back to me. Oh, his father wrote that I paid less than 12 Yen. I made up for it and the boy broadly smiled at me. I smiled back at him and started packing to leave the restaurant.