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22 Days in Japan, Day 13: Den-den Town

January 2, 2011 in Featured, Travel

It’s a crap day, rainy and nasty. I wake up at 10 am, and trudge out into the downpour sometime around 11. Yep, another late start.

Today I’m headed to Temma, home of another super long 2.4 km mall (sort of like the Shinsaibashi Shopping area) and the Tenmangu shrine.

This entry is part of a series, 22 Days in Japan: A Series»

After an hour I’ve learned two things. 1. The Temma shopping area is freakin’ long, and 2. Tenmangu shrine is tiny and pretty much deserted. #1 is what I would call a downscale version of Shinsaibashi. The former is just not as classy as the latter.

Yeah, that's Temmangu Shrine.

Yeah, that's Temmangu Shrine.

I follow up the morning’s failure by taking a subway ride over to Shinsaibashi for a look at Amerikamura, or Ame-mura for short. But I spot an interesting-looking store called Tokyu Hands, and go inside.

The best way I can describe Tokyu Hands is by saying that it’s Japan’s version of Bed Bath and Beyond. Except about ten million times better. And minus the AS SEEN ON TV junk. It’s similar to LoFT, a department store filled with fun knickknacks to make Japanese peoples’ lives easier (they even have a “Hint File section that has about two hundred instruction cards for doing various household tasks). There’s some really cool stuff here, like this this umbrella, ingeniously disguised as a 0% alcohol vodka bottle:

Vodka Umbrella Bottles

The famous vodka umbrella bottle.

It’s 3150 yen, but I’m most definitely buying one before I leave Japan.

I browse around for awhile in Tokyu Hands, looking at the selection of “man-purses” that are all the rage in Japan (also, tight pants, but I have a rule against those).

Eventually I leave the store, but not before getting lost trying to find the exit. Fifteen minutes later I’m in Amerikamura.

Amerikamura is a fashionable type of shopping district geared toward the younger, America-loving crowd, and except for a couple random shops that seems to be the case. However, unlike similar types of stores that you’d find in the USA, shops here are very, very pricey. It’s like we’re back in Tokyo, home of the $50 t-shirts!

Representative of the entire Amerikamura area.

Pretty much representative of the entire Amerikamura area.

After a wet, leisurely stroll through Ame-mura (with a bonus detour into the Big Step mall), I take another wet, leisurely stroll back through the Shinsaibashi area, to the area known as Den-den town. It’s called the electric district of Osaka, comparable to Tokyo’s Akihabara, but it should really be called the Anime, Crane Game and Porn district of Osaka. The only electric boutiques I saw were selling what looked like used monitors and radio tubes from the ’70s. But if you’re looking for anything otaku-related, like toys, figurines, or collectible cards, Den-Den town is your town.

Den-den Town.

Den-den Town.

I would also venture to say that there are more crane games here per square foot than anywhere else in the world. It’s very different from the American “rip-off” crane games in that, you can actually win here. Yes, it’s true. I witnessed several winners myself. Japanese people are not out to steal your money. Unless they sell t-shirts.

Some fun sights along Den-den town’s main street (only street I guess?):

Fancy crane game in Den-den town. Knock the box down and you win a fishbowl!

Fancy crane game in Den-den town. Knock the box down and you win a fishbowl!

That's some sound logic.

That's some sound logic.

A different take on The Great Wave off Kanagawa. I love it!

A different take on The Great Wave off Kanagawa. I love it!

Dinner is at a sushi bar in the Shinsaibashi shopping area. This is the type of sushi bar where everyone sits around a conveyor belt that’s constantly being replenished with fresh sushi (the chefs are in the center of the belt). Pricing is set at 130 yen per plate, and each plate generally consists of 2 pieces (not rolls) of sushi. It is easily some of the freshest (and best) sushi that I’ve ever had.

Shinsaibashi sushi bar, complete with conveyor belt.

Shinsaibashi sushi bar, complete with conveyor belt.

Twelve plates later, I’m done.

Unfortunately, I follow up my most excellent final dinner in Osaka with a most boring evening, spent wandering aimlessly through the streets of Dotonburi and Soemon-cho, taking some last-minute pictures. Tomorrow it’s on to Kyoto.

A look at some of the lighted billboards off Shinsaibashi.

Goodbye, Osaka...

…continued in 22 Days in Japan, Day 14.


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