View Full Version : Love for Osaka
10-09-2005, 03:14 PM
I hear a lot on these boards about people bursting to get to Akihabara, I just want to do my bit and maybe tempt people to try one of my favourite places in Japan, primarily for gaming reasons. I do this because the majority of people are really quite rude about Osaka and more specifically people from Osaka.
Anyway I was on a scholarship at a Japanese university for a year and I lived about 20 minutes from the centre of Osaka by train, which oddly enough placed me about 3 minutes from a forest full of wild boar. So I hit the best of both worlds really.
Firstly game shopping (Nihhonbashi). I probably went shopping about once every three days - mostly with my grant from the Japanese goverment(!) and there are some really unique shops to be had. First off there are all the usual places - huge softmap, messe sanoh, huge mandarake, the usual. However the feel of the place is really different from Akiba with quite a few shops doing a pure junk/sale set ups. I hear lots of people going to Akiba and just getting loads from the very cheap trays/piles at the entrances to shops. Well Osaka does this very well indeed. There is one shop that does nothing but scratched stuff/cracked cases/ non-mint - hard off style, except it is all very orginised and they will sell you an mildly scratch silvergun or taromaru very cheaply.
There is one shop that sells nothing but demos and promo stuff for around 1000 yen each, now that place is amazing, loads of pre-order stuff and all the demo's are very cheap - max of 3000 yen for something very special.
Rental showcases of just gaming stuff are quite common - although akiba wins here handsdown...
There are more "pure" retro shops than in Akiba with places like Retro Tengoku - which has tons of "Junk" Gisu games, as well as the very rare stuff in cabinets. When I was there - there was a competition version of Judgement silvergun with superplay video - serial number 000001! All the shoenen jump givaway famicon through ps2 games. There is also a very funky super potato - bigger than Akiba's by a little bit.
Overall with places like DenDen tiger selling brand new stuff for under 5000 yen at launch day - everything is quite a bit cheaper than tokyo. Obviously rare stuff like Zenki fx is going to be around the same price wherever you go in Japan.
There are also a couple of places who sell nothing but gaming doujinshi. + there are more H PC game shops than the mind can imagine.
As for gamecenters they are usually half the price of their tokyo counterparts. At 50 yen a play - that is damn cheap. I joined a gamecenter and was in a bunch of tourneys - that was all very fun - people actually talk to you as well, like after a match or if they just watched you play
Which leads me to Osaka people. Very much the nicest people I encountered in Japan. People would actually just talk to you on trains and generally you were treated with respect - especially if you can pull a little Japanese off. They are generally louder and maybe rougher than your average Japanese person, but that was never an issue for me. Indeed I picked up quite a strong Osaka accent, which I'm proud of(!) because even though I was in Japan for quite a short length of time, people made me feel really welcome in Osaka, so I do kinda feel part of that culture.
Anyway obviously I can say a lot more about general Osaka (I'll stick with games for now) But it is truly a great place. I am of course talking mainly about nihhonbashi, but there are quite a few gaming places to talk about. So I just want to open this up to anyone who wants to know anymore about Japan's "other" gaming capital, or anyone else who happens to love/hate osaka!
Also if anyone wants to know about Japanese student life - or even how to get into a Japanese university for a short time - I can help you out.
10-09-2005, 04:02 PM
Id definatly like to research on how to get to a Japanese university for a short time, so any help would be nice :D
Thats why Im not sure what to do in planning just a trip to japan, there just seems like so many crazy places.
10-09-2005, 04:36 PM
Hmmmm looking at your age this may be tricky. Although I did my first solo trip to Japan when I was 17.
Now to go to a Japanese university as an actual student you can apply normally, like a Japanese student, but that is very hard and you would need to speak Japanese very well to be accepted. The far easier route is to have done a full university degree or be doing one now.
What I did was apply to the university of Oxford, got accepted, then the moment I was there applied for time off on a placement in Japan for academic purposes. Not only does the university help you, they give you money! I got a placement, did an exam, became a scholar. This means the Japanese goverment and in my case the UK goverment give you more money! So now the money side is taken care of, the university in Japan gave me a place to live etc.
This way comes very recommended, as it pays for itself, you don't need to know very much japanese, I had one week of lessons before I applied and then only 4 month of language classes before I went. I passed the exam no problem and was put in a class with people who had been studying Japanese for 3/4 years, thats how low the level of expected japanese is. + you end up with hardly any classes and loads of time off to chill with the equally un-pressured Japanese students.
However if you a pre-uni your best bet is a homestay exchange - or one way exchange(?!). In the UK out local councils run these - so check if there is a similar thing in NY. There must be something useful, we have loads of useful things for uni level people in the uk after all.
10-09-2005, 11:27 PM
Yep, Akihabara isn't the only place in Japan for gaming goodness. I'd say it is the best for finding the rare stuffthough but at a price. Where I live I can find stuff normally cheaper than Akihabara even if I do have to wait a while for it to come around.
10-09-2005, 11:56 PM
Well, Im applying (or rather, getting ready to) for Universitys right now, so im talking into next year :P Basically what you said is what I was in a way expecting, but im glad to know programs like that exist :) I definatly plan on taking a japanese class wherever I go :) Thanks
10-10-2005, 03:18 AM
See over here in England, you have to choose one subject and stick with it. There is none of this credit stuff, I do Japanese for 4 hours of classes a day - more with english language lectures thrown in. I would suggest you go to Japanese classes as much as possible and get the teacher on your side, they will be the one who knows which Japanese uni previous students have gone to. They will also write your recommendation for you.
It is hard to get on these programs, but once your on - it is a great and easy ride.
10-11-2005, 06:01 AM
Thanks for that rundown of Osaka's retro gaming, Warakia! I always enjoy reading about gameshopping in Japan. As you might have gleaned from another topic here, I'm in Nagoya right now. Not such a big scene here as in Akiba or Denden Town, but I've already made a couple of great finds.
I actually studied at university in Kyoto for a year, about two years ago (I also picked up some Kansai-ben, although the Kyoto version, with "ittahatta", "...dosu-e", etc. ;) ), but I was sort of in an anti-gaming phase, so I did very little retro shopping. :( Anyway, I'll be heading to Kansai for a weekend in about 3 weeks, so maybe you could give some directions to some of your favorite places? I'm especially looking for PCE, SFC, FC, MSX, PCFX games. Also, some place with a good selection of complete Game Boy games would be VERY helpful. :)
10-11-2005, 08:51 AM
Nice to see a fellow kansai-guy! Gotta love the ben - wakarahen wa.
Anyway - I'll give you directions from scratch - less bother.
Get to Osaka Umeda, then its up to you - but I would get one a line to nanba. Right nanba/namba is a whopper of a station. Exit number 2 is best - (i tried loads) and head south - straight ahead from exit 2.
On your way you will walk pas the first of the DenDen tigers, Basically hang a left when you see Messe Sanoh - massive h pc game shop. Then you are there. I'm sure you will grab a map off the internet/ask people. Any basic directions you need are cool though.
Right nihonbashi is mainly 1 big street - very long indeed - the further south you get the more retro and rougher you get. Now parallel to that is another long street that is the more game orientated. It will probably remind you of akiba of 5/8 years ago. There are actually those crazy junk electronic places/ engine parts/ hi-fi stuff. in a very messy way. Anyway the parrallel street has softmap and withers out on its own. The main street just goes on south till it dies out and some of the best places are to be found right at the south. Its there that you will find superpotato. Basically get there early, have a look around, go to an 50 yen arcade (the level is very high in nihonbashi though) - it is a really simple place to navigate, just be adventurous. Pirate stuff and occasionally dev and lots of arcade stuff is on the back streets as well as the doujin stuff.
Anyway I'll give you the main shops for the stuff you mentioned, as for the demo/promo shop that is just a bit further south from gamers.
PCE/SFC.FC are everywhere, unboxed stuff is just silly - it really is. It is certainly different from akiba. Superpotato has walls made from famicom carts! + the cabinet rare stuff. Retro game tengoku - right at the south end is the biggest retro game shopping place, twice that of super potato. Thats where you will find everything you want. and probably boxed. That is also the absolute ultimate place for MSX. They had piles of msx machines just lying around for 2000 yen each. Games are very cheap and many, many off them. They occupy there own cabinet for the rare stuff and about 3 huge shelves of msx. When I was there last there was a bargin table, only for MSX stuff. The SP is good for rare msx but not the cheap stuff. They had a few originally boxed MSXs there as well.
PCFX is dotted around, however DenDen tiger (the second sounthenmost shop, not near namba, but near super potato) had every game made for it there when I was last there. Very cheap as well - with the exception of Zenki/chip chan ya'know.
All the consoles you mentioned are in abundence round there. Game boy games of the boxed variety are a little more tricky, DenDen tiger has a ton of boxed stuff. Softmap isn't too bad either (surprisingly), the book off round there had loads of 100 yen GB games boxed. I'm sure your Japanese is good enough to ask for these places - basically get to super potato and everything is round there. There are also some very expensive OST cds and tapes in the place next door to SP.
So denden tiger/ SP / retro game tengoku / softmap are the landmarks just explore. If you need any other stuff about the area from maid cafes to doujinshi I can help. Have a look at a map and you will see it really is easy to navigate once you are there
10-12-2005, 12:16 AM
Nice to see a fellow kansai-guy! Gotta love the ben - wakarahen wa.
What the hell does Wakarahen wa mean? I don't know. You Kansai freaks and your odd Japanese :p
10-12-2005, 03:13 AM
wakarahen - means I don't get it. Very common phrase, like I don't understand, just with a more chilled feeling to it.
In kansai ben you can replace any negative verb ending with -hen. So derahen, erahen, anything.
In okayama you do the same with -ken. mecha Wakaraken wa ne!
10-12-2005, 01:30 PM
Are there JAMMA PCB shops in Osaka? I am also interested in stores that sell superguns.
10-12-2005, 04:54 PM
There is one good place that does superguns/jamma boards, however they are of the small variety. Meaning its not really a browsing situation. Its more here is the price list, what do you want mr gaikoku? they were quite nice to me at the place I'm thinking of. However you MUST know Japanese, it will be very hard to get a good deal with just pointing at a list. Nippombashi (legit spelling!) does have some really tiny places that sell actual arcade machines and nothing else. Akiba has bigger places that actually resemble shops - 2 really good to my mind. DenDen town should have a bargin or thousand to hand. I have never seen so many old cabs in one tiny place - it really depends what you are looking for - rare boards = akiba. Common ones VERY cheap = osaka. Superguns outside akiba are really a mail order thing at the moment. I did see quite a few second hand in DenDen, but then again I wasn't looking properly!
Still much as I love Osaka - unless you have time to look, Akiba is the better faster solution for superguns.
10-13-2005, 02:19 AM
I've been to both DenDen Town and Akihabara, and I thought DenDen Town was better for Retro. In Akihabara you have to go through 100 new game and DVD shops to find one retro. The ratio is a better in DenDen Town.
I'll be heading up there at the end of the month. I'll be flying to Chicago for a wedding from Nagoya and I'll hit Nagoya and Osaka when I return. Hopefully I can get some good pics of DenDen Town and post them for everyone here.
Any tips on Nagoya? Something about the Shinkansen station?
10-13-2005, 06:00 AM
Nagoya - yeah has a couple of nice places. Oddly enough so does hiroshima - there is a place near the softmap and taito gamecenter that sells some truly awesome amounts of hardware and retro stuff. I'll leave nagoya to someone else, as it was ages ago I went there. However you should be able to get everything you want in DenDen that you could get in Nagoya.
Still lucky you - wish I was going to Japan, gotta wait till next summer...
10-13-2005, 07:25 AM
Any tips on Nagoya? Something about the Shinkansen station?
Posted in Nagoya-Thread :) :
03-19-2006, 04:54 AM
great site you have here. Believe it or not, I've been visiting the main pages of this site for many years, and I'm juts now registering to join the forums. In any case, I have a question that a member here may or may not be able to answer. A friend and I had a 1998 issue of Gamest Magazine (it's like a Famitsu for Coin-op games), and in it they frequently had stores advertising PCBs and such as soon as they were released. In particular, there was one store that caught my attention, and I believe the name was Technart. According to my wife (she's Japanese) the store is/was located in Den Den Town. I went to Den Den Town on my first visit to Japan in June of 2004, and I didn't find it. My wife wouldn't be of much help, since she isn't a gamer at all. I was wondering if the store still exist? If not, are there any stores in Osaka that still sell PCBs ala G-Front and Try Japan? If anyone has any info, I'd love to know, since I'll be in Osaka in less than 2 weeks. Thanks in advance, and I appologize for such a lengthy post.
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