Japan 2013: We came, We saw, and We can’t feel our lower extremities

Enough about the train. How about the eye candy? It was there & it was plentiful. God bless the school girl uniform/skirt. Legs and more legs everywhere. Great stuff if you are a leg person. While Tokyo was plentiful Osaka was quite the revelation. The cosplay was definitely in full effect & on wonderful display. Osaka during Halloween week is something to see for sure.

Nagoya Castle

Nagoya Castle

This was the first trip for me where I saw somewhere other than Tokyo. Tokyo is nice but one cannot equate all of Japan with just Tokyo. First stop we made outside of Tokyo was Nagoya. When people ask, “What’s in Nagoya?” they aren’t kidding. There ain’t much there really. Sunshine Sakae, the SKE48 Theater/Cafe, Nagoya Castle & Nagoya Dome were pretty much it.

Sunshine Sakae

SKE48 Theater

SKE48 Cafe

The SKE theater was closed so that was a bust. The cafe on the other hand is quite good & gets a slight nod over the AKB cafe in Akihabara. Too bad my coaster sucked. Nagoya castle is huge & it requires more than the few hours we were there for. Maybe a day at least exploring the complex would be sufficient. But it’s a neat place to visit regardless of the amount of time you spend there.

Nagoya Dome

Nagoya Dome was where we attended our last handshake event. Getting on to the ground level of the dome was pretty cool. The building is huge and looking up at the ceiling as we got to our line emphasized the enormity. Other than that, nothing in Nagoya. By the way, that handshake lasted like less that 5 seconds for all the waiting we had to do. At least the AKB handshakes have constant entertainment with radio shows and live performances from members who are not giving handshakes.

Glico Man

Osaka on the other hand is great. It has a much different vibe than the hurry up & wait of Tokyo. It’s just as stupidly busy but the people in the city seem to have a “meh” type of attitude to it all. I would like to emphasize that the view in Osaka is spectacular. There must be something in the water there to create so many head turners. Your neck is gonna hurt from the view if you go & pay attention closely to all the people on the streets.

NMB48 Theater

AKB48 Cafe Namba

Unfortunately the NMB48 Theater was closed or busy the days we were there so no go with seeing what it looks like either. We did get to go to the NMB cafe which sadly was a clone of the Akihabara cafe. No points for originality or any real NMB related dishes. Nope. Fail. There was also an AKB shop and a separate NMB shop in Namba. The AKB shop was as expected with the usual assortment of goods that have the members faces plastered all over them.

NMB48 Shop

I’m really surprised that AKS has yet to follow the KISS route and put their brand on everything. I’ll gladly buy AKB toilet paper if it means that a member is touching my ass in in an indirect manner. The NMB shop was a fail as most of more popular members of the group had items that were sold out.

Namba

We did hit up the 2 major shopping areas of Namba & Umeda. I preferred Namba & its open air shopping arcades personally. I don’t know about the rest of the crew but it was nice to walk outside to go shopping instead of hitting some stale building & making the rounds floor by floor. Osaka is also the place where we had a taste of the infamous fugu. It’s a fairly bland tasting fish that has a jelly-like texture. I’m still alive so obviously the fish didn’t give me days to live as shown in The Simpsons. My drool was warm when I woke up.

Fugu

It ain’t a cheap meal but it’s definitely something worth trying. It’s over hyped as a food of death though as it seemed to be served to many others in the fugu restaurant we were in and no one keeled over. I mean if someone from one of the many tables around us started convulsing or something I would have stopped eating it immediately. But no one called for an ambulance so it’s all good.

Osaka

Osaka

The most interesting thing about Osaka was that it was full of Chinese tourists. It’s almost as if I was in Taiwan again. Apparently Osaka is a tourist trap for the Chinese. Who knew? Overall Osaka was one hell of an intersting place from the short bit I got to see of it. There’s a bit more flash in all the neon signs and there seem to be images of comedians everywhere. Well that was the sense I got from Namba anyway. Umeda I never really strolled through at night.

Karaoke

Oh and did I forget to mention that you’ll be rubber necking from the view? If not, well yeah, Good times. The last thing I want to mention about Osaka is our karoake night. I am normally not one to do karaoke, in fact I loathe it. But in the spirit of being on vacation I did it. There was free ice cream and a drink bar so why not?

Karaoke

I attempted to sing the Backstreet Boys’ I Want It That Way solo which had mixed results. I did better with the duets on the Kanye West Track Monster and other random J-Pop songs. Karaoke in Japanese is kind of hard if there is no furigana over the kanji. Even though I’m on N3 level kanji in my studies I still have a difficult time figuring out which reading to use. Compound kanji are especially a pain.

I finished off my karaoke by screaming the Beastie Boys’ Sabotage just like they do. It wrecked my throat but it was fun.

Kobe World Hall

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Greg is the creator, administrator, editor, code monkey, overlord and general jack of all trades at Selective Hearing. He can be found lurking among the overseas Asian pop fandom and bumming around Japan every year for some reason or another.