Osaka: Namba is great for fashion, entertainment and a real energy exists
Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The city of Osaka is very vibrant and in Namba you can feel the energy because this part of Osaka is famous for fashion and entertainment. Indeed, while Tokyo appears to be more refined and placid the natural energy of Namba, Umeda, and other areas, is a welcome change and both Tokyo and Osaka have a different feel about them.
Recently, Kanebo cosmetic company highlighted the fact that Tokyo ladies use more make up than any other major city in Asia. However, Kanebo, which did the survey, picked two cities in China but amazingly they only picked one city in Japan and this applies to Tokyo.
I am sure that Osaka ladies would have something to say about this because if Kanebo can pick Beijing and Shanghai; then why not include Osaka? After all, Osaka is a very powerful city and the energy and different thought patterns in this city would have complimented the survey by Kanebo cosmetic company.
If you visit Namba you will note how fashionable the ladies are and how vibrant this part of Osaka is. Namba also changes throughout the day and it is vibrant for 24 hours of the day.
This applies to fashion, entertainment, abundance of restaurants, and you also have a sexual side to Namba in the Dotonbori area at night. Therefore, Namba is very diverse and changes quickly.
Also, during the day you will see many students outside who are practicing comedy and you can watch and listen to this unique style. This comedy style is called manzai and Yoshimotokougyo School is famous for this style of comedy.
Namba ladies have their own distinct fashion and style which not only applies to the dress style, but also the different thought pattern and energy which is often missing in parts of Tokyo.
In Namba you have the trendy and fashionable Amerikamura and Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade. Electronic areas and manga can also be found and Nipponbashi Den Den Town is popular. Meanwhile, the Dotonbori district is famous for entertainment and the innocence and vibrancy of manzai can be felt alongside trendy fashion areas and the seedier nature at night in parts of Namba.
The waterway system is also a nice place to relax and sit out and you will see many tourist boats on busy days. This also adds to the genuine buzz of Namba in Osaka and even if you are by yourself then it matters not because if you visit the waterway, where students are practicing manzai, then you feel part and parcel of the environment.
The Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade and adjacent area surrounding this shopping complex is awash with fashion. True to the nature of Namba, it is also a fusion of trendy boutiques with an independent spirit alongside chain retail stores.
Fashion in this area is really fascinating because of the options which are available. Therefore, you have the high fashion of expensive department stores and influential designer labels and trendy boutiques.
However, you also have alternative fashion styles and if you venture around then it becomes clear that this area caters for many fashion styles.
In Amerikamura you have a reported 3,000 shops to pick from and the choice is massive and varied. The youthful nature and buzz of this part of Osaka can be felt and domestic boutiques like Urban Research, Ships, Anna Sui, Stussy, and countless others, can be found in this vibrant fashion area which rivals anything in Tokyo.
In truth, both Tokyo and Osaka are major fashion cities and while Osaka may be overlooked internationally in some quarters; it soon becomes apparent when you visit Osaka that this is a mistake because the “heart of Japan is ticking loudly in Osaka.”
Other notable places to visit are Namba Parks, National Bunraku Theater, Hozenji Yokocho Alley, Kuromon Ichiba Market (Emmeiji Market) and Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum. Also, Dotonbori is clearly a must because of the high energy of this area along the river and this applies to shopping, entertainment and food outlets.
Dotonbori at night and in the early morning is awash with stunning ladies and a different Namba comes alive.
Overall, Namba is fantastic for fashion and raw energy.
This applies to the diverse nature of fashion, the manzai tradition which can be witnessed outside near the waterway system, the lively nature of the Dotonbori entertainment district and you have everything from independent boutiques to high designer labels.
Namba, like Osaka in general, is a vibrant area and “the heart is ticking loudly” and you can feel the raw passion of a city which is dynamic in its own right.
Tokyo and other major cities in Asia, like Beijing, Seoul and Shanghai, may be internationally famous but Osaka is not in the shadow of any of these cities. On the contrary, Osaka is vibrant and open and this city deserves to be viewed amongst the elites within the global village.
http://www.infomapjapan.com/sight_Namba.phtml (Info about Namba)
http://www.osaka-info.jp/en/search/detail/shopping_5160.html (Namba Walk info)
http://moderntokyotimes.com (please visit)
photo from www.flickr.com