DEN DEN Town: Electronics, Hobby Shops, and Porn – a man’s essentials

Osaka Travel Blog

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Random Observation/Comment #21: Stop putting the money on the counter – It goes on that plate with the plastic bed of spikes.
The advertisement of the capsule hotel mentions how the capsules are very good with privacy and noise pollution. This may be true of the walls, but there still lacks that door which makes everyone susceptible to the 4AM drunk foreigners being completely inconsiderate. It was only a week ago that I was “that guy” stumbling in and falling off the ladder (fully utilizing my angry vocabulary on the way down). And that day I experienced the opposite. Oops. Sorry 8D.
So I “woke up” early and bathed in the onsen for an hour. I didn’t risk taking my camera in there because of the possibility of breaking it. That would definitely piss me off because I’ve taken about 3000 pictures in the past 3 weeks. I’ve really only posted a third of all the pictures I take, which is usually the 2 gigs on a weekend. Thank you, good battery life.
It was 10AM and I walked east from the hotel to find some breakfast. Takoyaki is always a solid choice. I didn’t really have a plan, but I knew the general direction of the main attractions in walking distance. Well, my walking distance tends to be much further than everyone else’s, but you can basically walk from Umeda (Osaka JR loop line stop) to Namba station (near Dotonbori) in about an hour. Just keep walking South on that Park-Avenue-looking road and you’ll be fine.
The capsule hotel is located near a JR loop line so you can go anywhere, but I felt like walking so I went South to DEN DEN town. This place is for the capsule toys, electronics, manga, and porn. All my spider senses were tingling and my legs just walked on their own accord. I swear the porn stores were for the sake of journalism. I even wrote it in my notepad to remind myself of this fact. The stores do start to repeat themselves, so if you get bored, walk further south to reach Tsutenkaku tower and Tennoji Zoo. There are parks, museums, and shrines along the way so I think it’s the best direction for a full day of exploring. If you get tired, there’s also a Spa World which is about $30 for a full day of swimming and saunas. I really want to stay there over night, but it will be another experience for the weekends.
Walking towards DEN DEN town, I passed the largest street with Pachinko and slot machines I’ve ever seen. It’s absolutely ridiculous how packed this place was on a Saturday morning. These people really want to lose their money early. They were already hard at work pressing buttons and pulling levers by 9:30. I wonder if there is a rush hour for these places. I give these people the wag of my finger, but I almost feel bad for their addiction. Hey, I’ve bid on ebay; I know the rush =). But at least with ebay, I actually trade my money for an object that I’ve wanted (but will probably only use once). Yes, you have a small chance of winning money back to continue your gambling fury, but how many leave the pachinko machines happy and satisfied with their winnings? Gambling guilt is for another entry.
I actually couldn’t tell when DEN DEN town started along this street. I thought there would be a main shop or collection of shops that made up the name DEN DEN town, but it was really just a lot of the same thing. Without money to spend or reasons to buy these electronics (I guess the capslock on an English keyboard should be ctrl), I really didn’t need to go to every store there. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t out of pure curiosity. There were a lot of product oriented shops, but not as overflowing as in Hong Kong. In Japan, it seemed like they packed everything into one giant store instead of having separate towns that sold one specific genre. I’m referring to Hong Kong’s famous Nike, Gundam, Car Model, and Gun Model streets that build their customer loyalty by having unique models and friendly salesmen skills.
The electronics may be cheaper, the parts may be better, and there is probably faster and cooler stuff here, but there are quirks in this culture that outweigh the electronics heaven. Yes, everything is just different from what I’m used to, however my comfort lies in a built understanding of the world I grew up in. My point of view about it is changing ever so quickly, but there are some things that will always stay constant. The love of family, the love of friends, and the love of being alive has only grown stronger even with the bumps in the road. Again, I digress.
I walked the street downtown on the west side and then back uptown from the east side. I went into every store and scoped out every floor they had to offer. My notepad is filled with prices and my mind is bursting with new innovation, but no matter what I saw, there was this urge that picked at the back of my mind. All I wanted to do is grab someone’s arm and say “Did you see that?” All I wanted was someone who would do something silly; someone to just make a stupid joke with; someone else other than my big head in the pictures I took with scenery. Anything to make me feel I am more than a tourist. I didn’t even feel like a tourist. I felt like a journalist – as if it was my job to regurgitate the facts and add my little twist of flair to their anomalies. A feeling of insignificance passed through my body, and my only available cure is writing.
In no way did I not enjoy my walk – in fact, just the opposite. I love learning new things and I love gadgets. I’d ask more questions, and even interview the store owners if I could understand what they were saying. It’s just… the activities you participate in during vacation become memorable when you’re with company you can share them with. More and more, I see that a community is the key to advancement. Too bad I missed the Web 2.0 phase.
(In this entry, I tried very hard to write about electronics, but every interesting nugget about DEN DEN Town turned into a little depressing rant about being alone. For this, I give my sincere apologies.)
~See Lemons Mweh

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Random Observation/Comment #20: Just bow, nod, and say “hai” if anyone talks to you…
There would be no reversing tonight. It would be as quiet as you’d expect from a capsule with no door (or a curtain as a door). Instead of sleeping at 4AM, as in my previous experience here (LINK), I slept around midnight after visiting all of the hotel’s accommodations again. I sat in the massage chairs, watched some TV, played some video games, and tried to read some manga to pass the time. The onsen is actually really nice considering it’s a capsule hotel onsen. They had an American newspaper (but I didn’t bother because it wasn’t the wallstreet journal).
I wonder how the market is doing anyway. Maybe the escape from America was also a small escape from the financial life. It had been too big of an obsession to try and predict the stock ticker depending on our current events. It would mostly be with gadgets and new releases or leaks of information about next generation technology, but my predictions were mostly correct. It’s too bad I don’t even condone legalized, socially acceptable gambling. Even though the stock market truly does make it possible to give companies that go public a large share of money to further develop more advances, I never really liked the idea of gambling. If you’re smart enough, you could make a lot of money from the 80% of anxious people who want to be another “I got rich from the stock market” statistic. It’s like they think they’re missing out on a piece of the pie if they don’t get involved with this beast. To be honest, they are the ones that are helping the small investors who actually have a background and know what they’re doing make money. Thank you for buying shares in completely useless companies with a team of really good salesmen.
It doesn’t take a lot of time to make the predictions for larger breakthroughs, but you have to keep up with the latest news every second of the day if you want to notice the small changes in the market. The key is to think like your peer investors and the investors with the most money. These entrepreneurs make things happen. There’s nothing wrong with being a frontrunner here. Next time you read the paper or see the fresh internet breaking news, just pull up Yahoo!Finance and see if the companies that are involved in these transactions are actually pulling the weight you expect. As you can imagine, it drains a lot of time from internet usage and directly causes the carpel tunnel, RSI, blurry vision, tearing eyes, and hunched back. Imagine how bad these side effects would be if I actually cared enough to put all of my effort into predicting the next trends. Ah, and I digress.
I noticed a few more things in the capsule hotel that I overlooked at my last stay. The TV there was separated into four different channels. These channels were baseball, soccer, wrestling, and porn; as expected from a mainly male dominant atmosphere. The porn was nothing hardcore, or even softcore (actually I wouldn’t even go far enough to give it a core rating). It was just a cute Japanese girl with large breasts in PJs reading magazines and painting her toenails. There was some soft music in the background which was relaxing, but sometimes these clips would be interrupted by an impromptu interview or quiz with the girl that would involve an abundance of giggling. Maybe the cuteness factor is being exploited here, but I don’t really understand how this show gets viewers. Perhaps the old guys that watch it can’t get hard anyway, so they just do it to remember their youth? It would be a good way to sell products that she’s using on the side, but all the tags were peeled off and the swimsuits or other tight clothing line didn’t show any indication of having a brand. Mystery desu.
The night was uneventful – no capsule dragons, beasts, or lions were there to bother me. I slept well and moved on to my next adventure in DEN DEN town…
~See Lemons Survive Another Night

photo by: yasuyo