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

wall of capsule toys

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.

~See Lemons Mweh

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