Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Osu Kannon Market, Nagoya Japan

There is a market tucked away in the middle of Nagoya Japan that is heaven for anyone that is into electronics or anything funky. It is a sprawling outdoor mall and neighborhood built behind the Osu Kannon temple.

The temple is a 20th century reconstruction of the original temple that was moved to this site in 1612. It is usually full of tourists and pigeons, and there is an endless supply of gravel in the yard to get stuck in your shoes. Meh.

The shopping area to the east is huge, with hundreds of shops that sell everything from souvenirs to toys, to vintage clothing to high-end electronics. There are also shops where you can buy second-hand high-end consumer goods, including brands such as Louis Vuitton and Rolex. Sadly, Uncle Meat has moved out of the mall. That is the best shop name. Ever.

But, I go there for the guitar shops and the vintage stereo equipment stores. This is a great place to find used Japanese guitars in shops like Komehyo and Big Boss, as well as a few smaller dealers that are tucked away in dark corners of the arcade. The stereo shops have early hi-fi equipment at truly breathtaking prices. Who ever thought that stuff would be valuable some day?

If you get hungry, there are plenty of eateries, including traditional Japanese noodle huts and octopus ball places, as well as a few Brazilian cafes that are outstanding. There are even a few of the hard to find beer vending machines. Such a shame that those are going away…

Twice a month (the 18th and 28th) there is a flea market where locals bring piles of crap that you can poke through. Communication can be a little tough, but they usually have a calculator that they can use to communicate prices. Negotiation is Japanese style, which means that you do not hardball them and try to talk them down by pointing out every little flaw in the item. They will shut you down and negotiations end right there. It is better to praise the item, and just tell them that it is priced a little too high for what you can pay, and they will usually come down a bit on the price.

You can reach Osu Kannon by taking the Tsurumai subway line to the Osu Kannon Station.


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