Monday, March 5, 2012

Excuse Me, I`m a Little Verklempt. Worst Retro Gaming News Ever.

Oh gawd, I was just trying to start this blog post but look at me! I'm sorry. I'm a little verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves, talk amongst yourselves. I'll give you a topic. The Family Computer is neither a Family nor a Computer. Discuss.

(Composes self) OK...OK, I'm better. Please. Where was I?

Oh yes. I have some very sad news to report. In order to do so I'll have to stop typing while thinking in the voice of Linda Richman. Please excuse me for a moment while I sort that out. Go on, have a cawfee or something.
OK, I'm back. And with some sad news.

Where do I begin? I guess a reflective tone would be appropriate.

Some places grow on you. You become attached to them over time. When you walk in the front door you are instantly ensconsed in a feeling of comfortable familiarity. They are like a home away from home. Like a friend.

So when those places cease to exist, you feel a sense of loss. Not as strong as the sense of loss when you lose a human friend or relative to be sure, but you do feel like you have lost something special.

This morning it was raining as I made my regular commute to my office on my bicycle. About halfway to my destination I found this sign:
It says that due to restructing this store is going to be closing down at the end of the month, its remaining inventory will be merged with another store in Shingu, east of Fukuoka.

The store in question is Omocha Souko.

If you are a regular reader of this blog you are probably familiar with that name. Omocha Souko is my regular store. I visit it at least three or four times a week. It is near my house and right on my commute every day. I've been doing so ever since I started collecting Famicom games back in 2008. Probably 80% of my Famicom collection I have purchased there. Most of my other retro game stuff comes from there too. I can say with some confidence that some of the most fantastic purchases in retro game collecting history have been made there, by me. It is my Mecca. Without Omocha Souko this blog would not exist.

When I read the sign I actually felt a little lump in my throat. You can't spend that much time in a place and not feel attached to it. Too much fun, too many memories to treat it with the cold detachment that one would usually view a store closure with.

Now it is to be no more. 25 days from now it will close its doors for good. 25 days to prepare for that feeling of loss that I know awaits me at the end of the month.

I've had to think long and hard how I am going to deal with this and I have decided that every post here for the rest of this month will be about Omocha Souko. A kind of countdown to armageddon if you will. The place will disappear but I want this blog and the posts I will put up in the coming weeks to be a repository of images and discussion about a store that in its brief existence was, in its own way at least, the most amazing retro gaming store that the world has ever known.

So stay tuned. I have a lot of stuff to write about this place. Stuff I've been meaning to write about for a long time but never seemed to get the chance. Now that I know my time is limited, I had better get working.


  1. I went to Fukuoka for the first time last December and manage to visit Omocha Souko at Kaizuka (thanks to this blog). This is the BEST place I've ever been to hunt uber rare toys at extremely low prices. It's really sad to see this place closing down, the other Omocha Soukos are just too far away from Hakata. I'm hoping you write a little bit about the toy section, it's amazing !!

  2. Oh, man, that is *terrible* news, Sean. I guess it's good that they gave some warning, though. What will you do after it closes--go to other nearby stores, or make the trek to the newly-merged one outside of Fukuoka? Regardless, I look forward to reading your posts about the current store in the coming days and weeks.

  3. Well that sucks. I've never been able to see a retro gaming store of that stature ever, so I can't imagine something like that going out. But think of the discounts!

    Anyway, what type of dog is Doogle? Max has the same brown streak running down his back.

  4. Oh no! After all the incredible luck you've had there, all the good times, good buys... on the plus side, I'll be looking forward to all those new articles. On the down side... well, it'll be gone. That sucks...

  5. Anonymous - Ah yes, the toy section! I have taken a bunch of pictures of it and they will be on here! I bought quite a few things over the years down there too, it was always fun to stroll the aisles and see what new and interesting things they had gotten in. You are right about the other two Omocha Soukos. I`ve been to both and in addition to being way too far out in the middle of nowhere, their prices (especially in Shingu) are way higher and selection not as good as the one in Kaizuka.

    Bryan - thanks! Unfortunately this will mean a significant reduction in my Famicom collecting activity. I was able to do so much collecting solely because Omocha Souko was right on my daily commute and had such great prices. All the other shops except 007 (which only has average prices and almost never get new stuff in) are just way too far away/ too expensive. Until now retro game hunting has been an almost daily activity for me. From next month it will be more like a once every month or two type of thing.

    Michael- thanks. Doogle is a toy poodle actually. I noticed the resemblence to your dog in the pic on your blog too!

    Skyruner - Thanks! I hope to put up at least 7 or 8 post about the store this month, hopefully they will be interesting. It really does suck though:(

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  7. I fully understand your verklemptness. Real sorry to hear your retro hunting grounds are disappearing. Looking at the great finds you had over the last years, in some ways it was too good to last.

    Do you already have any idea how to fill the approaching black hole? Travel further to visits stores? Move house? Pick up stamp collecting instead?

    But seriously, shops closing can be a real bummer (besides the impact for the owner / staff).

    Over the last ten years, there have been many changes in the shop offering in Akihabara, with mostly (retro) video game shops disappearing. The opening of Mandarake Akihabara being the only one in recent years going against this trend of replacing retro ware with maids cafes, figure shops and anima/manga stuff. I appreciate that - from were you're located - Akihabara may still be an oasis, a treasure trove of video game past, but what currently remains are the super specialist stores with great selections, but with simliar great premium prices. Most (if not all) the Omocha Souko's of Akihabara have gone. Which means much less fun; no more trawling through slews of little shops filled to the brim with possible great value finds.

    And then there is that sad moment. Walking the familiar steps towards that familiar shopping experience, a combination of going through a pleasurable routine and having some tingling expectations for something unexpected. But you are stopped short, by a closed door or a rolled down shutter, to which a piece of paper is stuck that says "no more". You check, check again. You know it is gone, but are not immediately ready to accept it.

    Hope you find another way to quench your Famicom thirst. Don't lose faith.

  8. Thanks Erik!

    I will be finding other ways to quench my Famicom thirst! It is quite sad to hear about how Akihabara has changed, I really wish I had gotten into retro gaming earlier in my stay in Japan and gotten up there sooner. Now it is, as you say, an oasis but more in the sense of a museum that I want to see rather than a place I actually intend to buy much stuff due to the high prices.

    And I know that sad moment all too well. Not just with gaming shops but these days in Japan so many neighborhoods have their boarded up little shops that have fallen. It is somewhat depressing.

    But on we go. I will make the trip out to the Shingu Omocha Souko whenever I can and I will continue to put this Famicom collection of mine together!

  9. Oh nooo :( I'm now as familiar with the name of that store as I am stores that are local to me! :(

  10. Simon - yes, I did talk about it alot! Sadly it is now permanently shuttered:(