Captain Kangaroo

The place is dark. Really dark.

Painted black walls festooned with photographs of past festivities enjoyed by patrons compete with US beer & alcohol memorabilia (Miller, Coors, Jack Daniels, Budweiser) and movie posters (Pulp Fiction) and more US memorabilia (Goodyear, Route 66, Chevrolet).

Phew! A kangaroo “NEXT 14km” sign behind the bar reminds me that it’s still an Aussie billabong (watering hole).

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Located in the heart of Kitashinchi, this is a pub that deserves close scrutiny.

Happy hour is from 6pm – 8pm with beers a little cheaper than normal and a beer + food combo costing just ¥1000.

For me, I like the smell of the nachos another group orders.

There are 50 beers to choose from although nothing classy like Little Creatures or James Squire. Shame.

In the end I settle for a Bass Pale Ale.

But there’s also Japanese shochu, Chilean red, Mexican tequila and German Jägermeister on offer. Quite an international flavour indeed.

Not surprising, the atmosphere is thick with cigarette and cigar smoke.

A game of sakkā (soccer) is being televised on the terebi (television) screens. Japan (日本) are playing Latvia (ラトビア) at home. No score yet so plenty of tension.

It took me a minute to decipher the katakana but I got there in the end. It’s not easy when Japanese substitute R’s for L’s and B’s for V’s. It’s a similar difficulty when trying to read “vanilla” (バニラー).

It’s a venue that clearly likes to celebrate. A Halloween poster (albeit from last year) encourages costumes and a party attitude.

There are a few scattered gaijin (外人: foreigners) but it’s predominantly locals. Although I’m sure it’s a popular haunt for ex-pats.

Finally a goal. And the crowd cheers!

Unlike many pubs back home there are no poker machines. No pool tables. No space.

Yet the place has loads of character, no doubt about it.

The nachos are good if not great. Mind you it’s pub fare so I’m not complaining. And the serving is more than adequate for my avaricious appetite.

Towards the end of the night I strike up a conversation with a German who’s been living in Ōsaka for almost 30 years.

Now retired but eager to keep himself busy he’s starting up a German Sausage House. If nothing else it’s original. As far as I know there’s certainly nothing like it Ōsaka.

It’s interesting to hear his ideas and dreams. To be carried along by his optimistic enthusiasm.

I’ve always said that the best experiences are those shared with others or that simply involve meeting people.

Kim*

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