Tennoji and Nipponbashi

Tennoji "Temple"

I'm gonna start this article by explaining Tennoji. Shitennoji is the name of the school I'm going to. It's probably related to the not-so-near Tennoji. Tennoji is the name of a temple. The "ji" means temple, so it would be redundant to call it "Tennoji Temple." There is also a station several large blocks away from Tennoji called Tennoji Station.

Now that we've got that out of the way...

The Trip to Tennoji

After school on Monday, it was time for a field trip. We took a bus down to Fujiidera station. I decided to bring my duffel bag, because I was sick of walking home with shopping bags cutting into my hands.

Non sequitur galore.
In Japan, 7-Eleven are very common, and you can do pretty much anything there. they have some of the only ATMs that take foreign cards, so they have been vital to my trip. You can actually buy substantial, reasonably-priced food there, too. Let's have a round of applause for 7-Eleven.

We all hopped aboard the train to Osaka-Abenobashi, the station right next to Tennoji Station, and started walking towards Tennoji.

I also want to point out an error I made in a previous post. The building there at Abenobashi station, is, in fact, the tallest building in Japan. It is not on the list I linked earlier because it is still technically under construction. Sorry for doubting you, Ayaka.

Japan has a cute little mascot for everything.

Some interesting stuff in a park off in the distance.
This is not Tennoji. 


After what seemed like a pretty long walk, we arrived at Tennoji. 
No pets allowed on temple grounds.
I saw several people walking dogs,
despite these signs everywhere.

There were many pigeons there.

You're supposed to wash your hands before entering the temple. We were taught how to do it, and we did it, but we never actually went into the temple. The Japanese students told us it was a waste of money. I believed them. It was a pretty small area, and it seemed like we would be too up-close and personal to the towers to actually take a good picture of them.

This water can really hold it's liquor, I guess.

 There was a lot of cool stuff to see and do around the temple. I snapped some pictures of cool buildings and structures around the temple itself, and then we all went and bought omikuji, or fortunes. I got good luck, or kichi (吉).

I started to read it, but it's all just typical
fortune cookie hocus-pocus.

Kilo was the king of the pideons.

The prices to enter the temple.
The interior of the temple.

 We discovered a pond at the back of the temple filled with turtles. There were also huge fish that occasionally popped up, but it was hard to see them, much less photograph them.

 Eventually Kilo started throwing grains of rice into the water.

The turtles SWARMED. We hung out there for a while, dropping rice into the pond and feeding it to the birds.

It wasn't just pigeons.

It looks like they're playing king of the hill.

It was all fun and games until Kilo's sunglasses fell off his head and into the water. He said that his dad gave him those sunglasses, and he looked visibly upset. Ayaka managed to get somebody to come and try to get them out with a net, but it was a lost cause. R.I.P. Kilo's sunglasses.


Right below this statue was a sign that said "NO PHOTO."
I don't know what these flags are for.
We gathered everybody and got ready to leave the temple. We were going to Nipponbashi next.
Dustin, doing the badass walk.
A Japanese cat! 

We waited here for a while for everyone to gather.
There was a school right next to the temple.
We finally left the temple and we were on our way.



It was a pretty long walk over to Nipponbashi, but there was lots of interesting stuff to see on the way. Eventually I had to help with directions using my handy-dandy offline maps app. That day I had accidentally learned that my iPod Touch has GPS. That was a wonderful discovery.

Nipponbashi is my kind of place. There are lots of electronics, video game, manga, and anime stores. It's also a place with lots of that wacky sometimes-creepy adult-oriented stuff you hear about Japan. First, we went to Super Potato. If you don't remember from my earlier post, Super Potato is a video game specialty store. Think Gamestop, only actually good.

The bottom floor had all of the newer games.
The top floor was the old-school floor.

The store was filled with video game music and
the beeps and chirps of old-school chiptunes.
Some of these pictures were blurry, since I took them secretly.

We were in there for about 30 minutes, and everybody wanted to leave the area. They were gonna go to Shinsaibashi. I wasn't done yet, however. I asked Ayaka where I could meet them, and I had 2 hours to myself.

I spent a little while longer in there, and then I headed out and began to wander the bustling main street of Nipponbashi.

The floors and ceilings of this place were
lined with moe anime girls.
Many of these shops were just plain depraved, but there were things I found really cool about them. Many artists and (supposedly) famous people visit these shops, and they leave their sketches and signatures on the walls, or sometimes on little square canvases scattered throughout the buildings.

That line of white squares in the top corner are
an example of the canvases I mentioned.

I walked into an arcade-like place filled with crane game machines. They were filled with anime merchandise. One of the employees came up to me and offered me one free play. She was dressed up like a french maid, and had on a pink wig. As I wandered farther in, I realized that they all were similarly dressed, and they were all cheering on the nerds trying to win stuff out of the machines, acting cutesy, trying to get them to buy more plays.

I used my free play ticket and tried to win a K-On! poster. The goal wasn't to pick up the thing itself, but to knock this precariously placed box down into the hole using the claw. You then could choose your prize. It looked easy, but I knew better than to let it's appearance fool me. I tried a couple more times, thanked the girl who had come to cheer me on, and then left. I had no intention of spending any significant amount of money at a place like that.

An electronics parts and accessories store.
Eventually I wandered into a video-game-and-other-media store that sold new stuff as opposed to old stuff. I wanted to see prices for the 3DS LL (the Japanese equivalent of the 3DS XL), and to just look around in general.

 This is Ace Attorney 5. I had been hoping it would come earlier this year in Japan so I could buy it while I was here. It comes out 5 days after I leave. It hurts.

This place wasn't even exclusively a video game store, but it had a much greater selection of games and game stuff than any Gamestop or department store I've ever seen in America. I think the Japanese demographic for games is much larger than it is in America.

It's cool seeing Japanese ads for western games.
There were lots of demos.

There was a top floor that sold various used games, CDs, and DVDs. Their prices weren't nearly as good as Super Potato. It was a much more professional-feeling atmosphere, too. It felt like being in a Best Buy or something.

The next store I walked into was really similar to Super Potato. There were lots of used old school games, but not so much modern games. You could also buy more specialty stuff, like game soundtracks and game manuals. I found something there that I hadn't been able to find in Super Potato. Success!

Another media store across the street.
It was getting late, and it was getting close to time to run over and meet the rest of the group. I spent what time I had in a couple of stores across the street. One of them was called Sofmap. It had lots of DVDs, CDs, and other stuff that's way too expensive in Japan and I wouldn't really buy.

There was another store I went into that I guess I didn't take any pictures of. It had some used manga, and lots of the kind of stuff that you can win in crane machines. There were figures, posters, and all kinds of assorted accessories.


I ran a little Northwest, trying to find Shinsaibashi. It was a little harder than I thought. When I thought I was in the right area, I stopped by a convenient store to ask, and I was shown a map and told that the place I was looking for was about 20 minutes north, if I ran. But I guess he has short legs, because I made it there in 15 minutes, running only about half of the time.

The view from Glico bridge.
It was a cool place. They were all standing on a bridge that was chock full of tourists and Japanese people alike. As soon as they saw me, we turned around and headed back towards the train station. I got a couple pictures, but they didn't turn out so well. I'll probably go back there sometime soon, so I can see it for myself.

Overall, it had been a pretty amazing day. I got to speak a lot of Japanese. I did lots of the exact kind of stuff I had come to Japan for. I gained confidence in my ability to wander and navigate the streets of Japan on my own. But I was out of energy by the time I flopped into my futon.

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