June 29, 2008

Namba Redux - Doguya-Suji and Den Den Town

Today I headed back into the Namba area of Osaka. It was a wet muggy day, but I wanted to try to get back to see Doguya-suji (and this time, at a time of day when the stores are actually open).

Namba is a short subway ride from Umeda Station.

Having already gotten myself oriented a few days ago (by getting hopelessly lost), this time I knew where I was going. I made my way past Namba Ichiban and the many pachinko parlors along the way. Being Sunday, the crowds were pretty thick.

I spent the next hour or so wandering through many of the stores in Doguya-suji. Catering to the restaurant industry, they sell all sorts of cookware, cooking tools and utensils, signage and decorations, ceramic plates, bowls, mugs, and teapots, lacquer and wood serving blocks, trays, and bowls, an amazing assortment of knives, and, of course, plastic food. Fun place to poke around.

The plastic food was insanely expensive - around $45 for a (plastic) bowl of noodles and around $10 a piece for the sushi. But I did find some nice plates, mugs, chopsticks, and a sword-like letter opener. Here are some pictures from inside the stores (all food shown, is fake), so you can get a feel:

After finishing up there, I decided to check out the nearby electronics district of Osaka, called Den Den Town. It's only about a five minute walk from Doguya-Suji.

In addition to all things electronics - computers and computer components, audio components and stereo equipment, TVs, DVD players, DVDs, CDs, video games and gaming systems, and flash memory sticks and cards, all from the likes Panasonic, Sony, Toshiba, Mitsubishi, etc. - there are tons of collectibles shops - anime figurines, Pokemon-like cards, toys - as well as a goodly array of smut, including DVD and CD shops. There were lots of young people around, checking out the latest video games, etc.

As to the aforementioned collectible anime figurines, there were tons of standard Dragon Ball Z and Gundam figures, but here were also a lot of anime women. Some were cute in that wide-eyed blue-haired anime way, but others were a bit more...um racy (the second picture below is an example, but one of the tamer ones). Distinctly not for kids. In fact, I'm really not sure who buys these. Not the kind of thing that you can put on your desk at work. Or at home!

I happened across a guy selling chicken-kebab sandwiches on a street-side cart, which turned into lunch. (It was bizarre speaking Japanese to the obviously Greek but perfectly fluent proprietor.)

Anyway, here is some local Den Den Town "art." Not sure about the huge metal bug on top of one of the buildings:

And here are my absolute hands-down favorite two shots of the day. I think they really capture the essence of Den Den Town:


jmgesq said...

Now I know, if I make it to Japan you've got to leave me in Doguya suji (sp???) Get a load of those knives. Pretty lethal, eh. But I'd be in heaven. Hopefully the dollar will do better and I can afford one or two! Sounds like you're doing ok in your temporary bacherlorhood. No pics of the wedding for your Japan readers??!

Miss you! Love you. We will talk by phone soon.

jmgesq said...

Whoops...sorry about that. In my egocentric moment I thought that this was your first post since you got back. I just looked back and saw the pics of the wedding and a chock-a-block blog since your return. I shoulda known, I shoulda known!xe

Heather P said...

Mike, Sounds like you are keeping busy exploring. Rich is in Tokyo till August 1st or so. Maybe you can get together if you are up in our area again and can do something outdoorsy.