Studying at University has given me so many opportunities and the year abroad in Japan was a definite highlight of my language learning. Now studying in Japan, living with a host family and learning new Kanji every day is all very well, but there is so much more to Japan than the lovely language and beautiful traditional culture. It’s the land of the geeks and weird things and I absolutely loved that!
So in case you are a fellow geek and get the opportunity to go to Japan, or more specifically Osaka, here are some of my favourites:
The name is a dead giveaway: this is the perfect place for an adult to turn into a younger version of themselves and get really excited about all kinds of merchandising. From cuddly toys to costume and accessory, from notebooks to headphones – the range goodies is sheer endless. This place is perfect for souvenir-hunters – anyone fancy lightsabre chopsticks?!
This seriously massive shop is located in the basement of Umeda station, one of the biggest stations in Osaka. You will probably have to run around a bit to find it (I certainly did every time…), but once you get there all your exertions will have been worth it.
Nipponbashi, also called DenDen Town, is the nerdy-geeky district of Osaka. So you will find dedicated manga stores, game shops and even second-hand electronic devices. You can really explore this district and spend the whole day there or do your research and just go to a specific shop to save time.
I particularly remember that one massive Manga shop where I unwittingly strayed into the doujinshi section. Doujinshi are fan-made Manga (read: explicit Manga). I have never been able to shake off the trauma… Well, it wasn’t all that bad. I just ask you to be prepared.
The best station for Nipponbashi is probably Ebisucho, which leads you directly into the main street and you can start exploring from there. Just don’t stray from the path!
I was so excited when I heard this existed. I’m still so excited about it. The Pokémon Center is basically a merchandising store, but it feels slightly cooler than that. Probably because everything is Pokémon-themed.
When I was in Japan HeartGold and SoulSilver had just been released, so the Pokémon Center had a few events centred around that. For example if you took your PokéWalker there you could connect it to the staff’s PokéWalker and receive a little gift. How cute!
Finding the Pokémon Center should be fairly easy, as it is right next to one of the main Osaka stations, Umeda. That’s right, the same Umeda that also contains Kiddy Land. You can see, I really got around and travelled the country far and wide…
I realise that Japan is a faraway dream for some. It is actually for me at the moment. I have not been back since my year abroad (2010!), so I’m missing it dearly and hope to go back some day soon. If you want to see something different, but can’t deal with spiders, dirt or dodgy food- Japan is a safe bet for you. It’s definitely the right choice for geeks and otakus, so if you ever get the chance, take my humble advice and GO TO THE FRIGGIN’ POKÉMON CENTER!