Amazing nighttime video shows Osaka, Tokyo’s rival, has a skyline that’s second to none

Lovely Osaka 🙂

SoraNews24

OY 10

Tokyo is so massive and bustling that sometimes it’s hard to remember that it doesn’t have a monopoly on urban splendor in Japan. Take Osaka, for example. Long Tokyo’s rival, in everything from business to baseball to samurai warfare, Osaka is known for its economic ambitiousness, comedic sensibilities, and tasty grub, but there’s one thing that’s often overlooked in media coverage of Osaka.

It looks absolutely beautiful at night.

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Nipponbashi Street Festa 2014, a feast for the Otaku heart.

Every anime fan’s dream is probably to go to Akihabara, But for those who live in or visit Osaka, the next big thing is Nipponbashi, mostly known as “Den Den Town” or the electric town. This long beaten down street is filled to the brim with everything and anything an Otaku can dream of. From used retro games to maid cafes, it’s all there (Yes I mean ALL).

And what would an Otaku haven be without a bit of cosplay. Contrary to some people’s beliefs, cosplayers don’t just wander around the streets of Japan, not even in areas like Den Den Town. The most I had seen there on normal days were maids and Lolitas advertising the different themed cafes (If you go to Amemura, you will see the Visual Kei themed people, but that’s about it for strangeness).

However, once a year, during spring break, cosplayers are free to show off their talent, humor and whatever else they want to show off. This day is known as “Nipponbashi Street Festa”, a carnival of colors, characters and Otaku delight. And contrary to the popular belief spread by people on the internet, Japanese cosplayers don’t always compete for the most obscure characters, as you will see in the next pictures. (The fact that people outside think they may be obscure is due to the difference between what anime/ manga are popular in Japan compared to other countries)

I found out about this event when I was wandering inside Mandarake (I tend to do that sometimes, especially in their cosplay section). Cosplayers who wanted to participate, had to pay a fee and receive a silicon band (but I had seen many cosplayers without one.) there were also some kinds of idol shows, booths advertising about different shops, food stands, and lots of fun.

Disclaimer: There were more cosplayers that I wanted to shoot, but due to the huge number of people in the crowd it wasn’t really that easy, but that didn’t mean they weren’t all great in their own ways.

Between cosplayers and watchers, it was this crowded all along.

Kneel! The avengers are popular in Japan, and this was one of the first cosplayers I cam upon and could shoot. (I saw a Luke Skywalker, but couldn’t take a picture)

The group also had a Black Widow, along with some other characters. (including a Hulk)

The cutest Eevee evolutions you will see today.

Miku found a job advertising a shop 😉

Ayato and Laito from “Diabolik Lovers” (if you know what that is, I don’t know what to think of you)

Animate shop clerks in “Attack on Titan” cosplay.

If you read RocketNews24, you probably know who that is. If you don’t go here and here to read about it. (I have to say that I was so embarrassed he noticed I was shooting him and smiled)

Animate cashiers were also in cosplay. And the shop was more crowded than I had ever seen.

Suddenly Captain Jack Sparrow (With extra Nami appearance)

Even the creepy goldfish plants from “Hoozuki no reitetsu” made an appearance. (the girl inside was so cute, too bad I couldn’t see her)

Speaking of “Hoozuki no Reitetsu” this Hakutaku had the attitude down right. (Too bad I didn’t see a good Hoozuki to shoot, since he’s one of my favorite characters)

This must have been one of the coolest Final Fantasy groups that day.

Lady Mario and Luigi were also so cute with their little mushroom friend.

Johnny Depp x Tim Burton characters are more popular than you think. (Left to right, the Mad Hatter, Edward Scissorhands, Willy Wonka)

Madoka Magica group cosplay.

Korosensei from Ansatsu Kyoshitsu (Assassination Class)

Grell Sutkiff form Black Butler (it had started to rain, but she still posed for me)

Erwin and Levi ready to strike (Attack on Titan)

Mikasa and Sasha (Attack on Titan)

Junko Enoshima and Chiaki Nanami??? from Dangan Ronpa animation/ games. (I am really sorry, if you know who the other characters are, please post it in the comments, I haven’t seen or played Dangan Ronpa yet)

It suddenly started to hail, causing everyone to run to the sidewalks.

And everyone started hiding under shop shades.

Yoko Littner from the Gurren Lagann series. It was hailing at the time, but that didn’t stop people from stopping in the crowd to take photos of her.

*bad dubbing voice* It’s a Gundam!!!

This Dandy (Protagonist of Space Dandy) nailed the attitude. The hair? Not so much (I was surprised there weren’t more Dandy Cosplays though, it was what I wished to cosplay myself)

I think this Turkish family sold more food that day than they do most of the year (considering I always find the shop closed on normal days)

Zack Fair and Cloud Strife were gathering a nice amount of attention.

Then, since the walkways were sometimes ushered by policemen, I found myself in the next area, which is usually a parking lot, but was transformed into a display area for “Itasha” or anime themed heavily decorated cars.

Most of them were so colorful, I wonder how come I have never seen them in other places.

Haruhi characters with Vocaloid car, my mind will explode from the kawaii

Blue Rose from the “Tiger and Bunny” series, which is surprisingly still so popular, at least in Osaka.

And then Dante (Devil may cry) appeared.

Nyanko Sensei/ Madara (Natsume Yuujinchou) could not get any cuter.

Snow Miku with Miku car, gathering photographers like nothing else.

I finally managed to find a way out of the car parking (but couldn’t take photos of the Touho project cosplayers inside) and things were starting to wrap up.

This Brook (One Piece) cosplayer even had something to alter his voice.

This Mondo Owada (Dangan Ronpa) crossplayer wasn’t offended that I didn’t know what anime she was from, Or that I was interested in her coat because it looked like a biker’s coat (I later discovered that this character was a leader of a biker gang.)

Not all the friends came in group cosplays. leading to weird combinations like these. Levi and ???

Sanji is still wanted. Also people with the same cosplay seem to like taking photos with each other.

You don’t see Dante Fighting Sephiroth everyday (That is the same Dante from before, but not the same Sephiroth)

This old man had the best Gintoki (Gintama) hair I had seen all day. The cosplay wasn’t that bad either.

While I was going home, I ran into Pip Bernadotte (Hellsing) and that filled me with delinght, because I wasn’t expecting any Hellsing characters, since the manga has fallen into oblivion. I had to stop him to pause for me.

And so my trip to Nipponbashi ended (and so did my camera’s battery) and I went on my way. I really regret not taking more pictures, since there were so many great and humorous  cosplays all along the way. I hope next year I may be able to take part in the parade myself (Not sure what cosplays would be relevant by then tough.)

Please leave a comment with your favorite cosplays or questions about the existence of certain cosplays. (Before you ask, Sailor Moon is still so relevant and so is Naruto, but Bleach isn’t)

Good bye fall colors

It’s already December, Christmas is coming, and most of the trees have already lost their leaves. But before the great fall, there is the last red burst, and Arashiyama was really enjoyable when it came to that.

So red, so pretty.

Final burst.

Good bye fall colors, until we meet next autumn.

 

 

Street bento in Arashiyama

If you don’t know what a bento is, it is the Japanese lunch box, that almost everyone in Japan uses. Boxed lunches are sold almost everywhere, from convenience stores to fast food restaurants. There is even a shop right in front of my school that sells nothing but a variety of boxed lunches.

People who come to Arashiyama are probably going on a hike, or exploring, and people of the town know that. So, right out of the station, we found these two old ladies with this bento display (they are part of a chain of station convenience stores called la gare)

The “La gare” flag on the right of the stand (they also sold bottled green tea)

 

All the sets were ¥500 (which is a little high for some of the sets, but okay for the others) there were also onigiri but they were almost sold out.

 

The Kobe Christmas Lights

Christmas lights are serious business in Japan, since the beginning of December, many places have started setting up their own lights, but the lights set up by the city are a whole different story. I admit that I haven’t seen the ones in Osaka yet (I think that the Umeda area needs some more of my attention) but my friends and I went to the ones in Kobe which are famous for their size. Known as the “Kobe Luminarie” (神戸ルミナリエ) they seem to attract people from all over Japan as well as foreigners.

Even the trees on the way are illuminated.

Then, the first arch appears.

Pretty tunnel of light, this was taken halfway through.

Last arc with a special design, then we go to the next display.

The second display.

The interior of the second display.

Detail from one of the panels.

There was also a raw of food stalls, surrounded by pretty but smaller lights, that my camera didn’t get well, but the whole thing was so pretty, huge and cheerful, accompanied by a lot of Christmas music during the whole display.

I found a small aerial view of the second display. to show big the thing is.

The weird thing though is that it was the police organizing everything, and although people were so crowded, there weren’t any problems (I wish I could say the same about the MUCC concert).

Steam train display in Arashiyama

This is one for all the train lovers out there, this display was next to the station leading to the mountain itself ( Saga Arashiyama station) right in front of the 19th century hall (which unfortunately I didn’t visit). It’s a steam engine from the 19th century, but unfortunately there wasn’t really a info card next to it, only a notice for not climbing.

The locomotive seems to be just a display to give an idea of what’s inside.

I wonder what that is…

 

Two older ladies in Kimono

 

Fortunetelling at Shrines and Temples

I am not a really a person who is into horoscopes, fortunetelling and the likes, but the Japanese seem to generally like it. So in shrines and temples, other than the small bag like protection amulets, there are also various types of O-mikuji ( おみくじ) which are random fortunes written on pieces of paper.

I had no clue what these were, and the first time I heard about it was from one of the teachers in my class who asked us to write fortunes to our friends. I really felt bad for my teacher trying to explain to me what it was. Here is some Wikipedia about it.

The o-mikuji is scrolled up or folded, and unrolling the piece of paper reveals the fortune written on it. It includes a general blessing which can be anyone of the following:

  • Great blessing (dai-kichi, 大吉)
  • Middle blessing (chū-kichi, 中吉)
  • Small blessing (shō-kichi, 小吉)
  • Blessing (kichi, 吉)
  • Half-blessing (han-kichi, 半吉)
  • Future blessing (sue-kichi, 末吉)
  • Future small blessing (sue-shō-kichi, 末小吉)
  • Curse (kyō, 凶)
  • Small curse (shō-kyō, 小凶)
  • Half-curse (han-kyō, 半凶)
  • Future curse (sue-kyō, 末凶)
  • Great curse (dai-kyō, 大凶)

It then lists fortunes regarding specific aspects of one’s life, which may include any number of the following among other possible combinations:

  • 方角 (hōgaku) – auspicious/inauspicious directions (see feng shui)
  • 願事 (negaigoto) – one’s wish or desire
  • 待人 (machibito) – a person being waited for
  • 失せ物 (usemono) – lost article(s)
  • 旅立ち (tabidachi) – travel
  • 商い (akinai) – business dealings
  • 學問 (gakumon) – studies or learning
  • 相場 (sōba) – market speculation
  • 爭事 (arasoigoto) – disputes
  • 戀愛 (renai) – romantic relationships
  • 転居 (tenkyo) – moving or changing residence
  • 出產 (shussan) – childbirth, delivery
  • 病気 (byōki) – illness
  • 縁談 (endan) – marriage proposal or engagement

The o-mikuji predicts the person’s chances of his or her hopes coming true, of finding a good match, or generally matters of health, fortune, life, etc. When the prediction is bad, it is a custom to fold up the strip of paper and attach it to a pine tree or a wall of metal wires alongside other bad fortunes in the temple or shrine grounds. A purported reason for this custom is a pun on the word for pine tree (松 matsu) and the verb ‘to wait’ (待つ matsu), the idea being that the bad luck will wait by the tree rather than attach itself to the bearer. In the event of the fortune being good, the bearer has two options: he or she can also tie it to the tree or wires so that the fortune has a greater effect or he or she can keep it for luck. Though nowadays this custom seems more of a children’s amusement, o-mikuji are available at most shrines, and remain one of the traditional activities related to shrine-going, if lesser.

A box of Omikuji in a temple in Kyoto, you pay some money and pick one.

These one have a small lucky cat (招き猫 read “ManekiNeko”, literally “beckoning cat”) attached to them.