Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Day 27 : Shopping and sightseeing in Osaka !

One of the most tiring day I spent in Japan, but definately one of the best ! You can't imagine how impressed and shocked I've been during all day.

At 9pm, after about 4 hours of rest after the karaoke of the day before, Corentin and I took our bike and headed towards the Demachiyanagi train station to meet one of our Japanese friends and go to Osaka by train for the whole day. I had been planning this day since I arrived in Japan, because I had to buy some CDs of Japanese bands I like on the 25th of April, so I thought it could be a nice opportunity to visit Osaka in the same time.

This is the first thing you see when you get out of the train station.

After 50 minutes of train, we got out at the Yodoyabashi train station and decided to walk instead of taking the subway not to miss anything. First, we walked down a very long street between very tall buildings to go to the Shinsaibashi station. There was not a lot of people in the streets since we were around a business centre with the headquarters of many big companies and prestigious hotels.

One of the temples that were on the way. From the outside, we could hear some monks singing.

Before reaching Shinsaibashi, we stopped at some places such as small shrines and temples that were standing randomly in the street. This is the wealth of Japan : the fact that both the traditional and the recent culture can coexist in harmony.

Then, we arrived at the entrance of the Shinsaibashi suji, a very long street full of shops and restaurants of all kind where we wanted to go. We were surrounded by luxury shops such as Dior, Mont Blanc or Louis Vuitton. Japanese people seem to like French apparel more than we do, the shops were way bigger that the ones at the Champs Elysées, for example !

The entrance of this huge city mall

A picture of this endless shopping street

I wanted to buy almost everything there. In the end, I have not bought anything on that day, but I seriously plan to go back there with more money ! While shopping in this huge street, I sometimes went in parallel streets just because I love how they look, with wires in the sky and small shops everywhere.

Everything was so unbounded ! Japanese marketing seemed to have no limit out there ! Giant adverts everywhere, music and videos displayed on huge screens, people shouting and welcoming clients before entering their shops... If marketing was a country, it would be Japan. There are adverts everywhere, and they are very aggressive : whereas in France, adverts are most of the time trying to be as smart and clear as possible, in Japan, adverts try to be as striking as possible : they often use very big fonts and vivid colors to enhance the allure of the text and the message it conveys. More than just being really different from adverts in France from an esthetical point of view, the commercials are also way more put forward in the streets : the adverts are always gigantic and located at places where you can't do nothing but seeing them. Whereas in France, people try to make ads that fit with their context and their background, in Japan, people just don't care : marketing is more important than anything else. I don't think it would have the same impact if such commercial practices were applied in France, but it's surely a very effective way for companies to show their products and advertise them : there are absolutely no limits to cope with except money : adverts can be on screens, paper, etc... can use sounds, or even human beings as billboards to be closer to the population. Marketing is everywhere, and if there is no marketing somewhere, it might reach this place the day after.

After we ate some sushi (my first Japanese sushi in Japan ! absolutely delicious but as expensive as in France) in a kaiten-zushi (or sushi bar), we went to a SEGA game center. This was like a holy pilgrimmage for someone like me, haha. There were games EVERYWHERE, from the UFO Catchers to the dart games, virtual horse races, pachinko slot machines...

We only played one game : Deadstorm Pirates. At first, I thought it was just a random shooting game, but it ended up being really entertaining (and not that expensive) ! I really want to do that again !

When we finished playing, I went back to the Big Step building (the big building where the concert I attended took place) to buy some CDs from my favourite Japanese artists, while the others were waiting for me in a Starbucks. After that, we decided to go to the Osaka Castle, but we had to hurry since night was about to fall.

The Osaka Castle is located just next to a subway station called Business Park station. When I got out of the subway, I understood why it was called like that ! We arrived just under those high buildings.

On the other side, we could see the Osaka Castle, but it was still a bit far from us.

When we arrived, the sky was a bit darker. Anyway, it was already too late to enter the castle, so we took our time... and we also obviously took pictures ! (this play on words was not made on purpose, at first, haha).

Night time = nobody there = I'm the king of the world

It was now 7pm, and we still had not eaten anything. We decided to go back next to the Big Step building because it was close to where we were, and that there was... a Burger King there. I know it's not part of the Japanese culture, but since it doesn't exist in France, I don't feel guilty when eating there !

But just before going there, I saw that there were many people queuing in front of the CD shop I went to just a few hours before. I was wondering why, so we went there just to check what was happening, and I saw... one of my favourite bands, Matenrou Opera ! They were doing a sign session just in front of me ! I took the occasion to buy their latest CD and also got a sign from them ! It was really so unexpected ! I guess this is also the magic of Japan...

After that, we ate at the Burger King and came back to Kyoto by train...

What an amazing day !

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