Dear Osaka,

When I went to Japan two years ago, I hate to admit that you didn’t even factor into the cities I wanted to see. I was determined as a first-time visitor to see your more popular siblings, Tokyo and Kyoto. As expected, I fell in love with both of them. Ever since then I’ve been dreaming of going back. But since the start of 2012, I realized that any overseas travel would have to be postponed to take care of more ‘grown-up’ stuff first.

I’m not always this practical though. I grew up in a middle-class family that had its share of financial struggles, but always, my parents made sure we ate well at home. When it came to domestic money matters my mom would often say, “Magtipid na sa lahat, huwag lang sa pagkain.” (Be frugal on everything, but not food.) I’ve taken this family philosophy to heart more times than I could count, handing over my credit card or little cash I have left to buy ingredients in the grocery so I can ‘experiment’ at home or eat out and eat out some more. I would end up spending a sizable amount of my salary  on food. And I loved it whenever I would meet someone who to some varying degrees share the same take on food. This is where you come in.

Recently, I learned about kuidaore thanks to Anthony Bourdain. Supposedly an expression of yours that means to bankrupt oneself with extravagance in food and drink. Or as Bourdain said in his episode about you in No Reservations, to eat oneself to ruin (video below). I think I’m in love. Bourdain goes on to tell the old joke of yours of how three Japanese came into some money, one each from Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka; the Tokyo and Kyoto residents would spend it on shoes and clothes, respectively, and the Osakan would spend it all on food. I think my mom would like you too.

I want to be able to eat okonomiyaki, find Koyoshi Sushi Osaka, take P to that restaurant that specializes in grilled organ meats, go to Minami’s many dining spots, and pay my respects at the ramen museum, among other things. I want to finally meet you, eat your delicious food, and blow money on meals. I don’t know when though. But when it happens I’ll make sure to remember my mom’s words and abide by kuidaore.

PS. Here’s the last part of the No Reservations video.

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