Monday, March 19, 2012

Omocha Souko Part 4: The Shinto Shrine to Video Games

Allow me to introduce Omocha Souko`s coolest hidden gem: its Shinto Shrine.

It is kind of hard to find, you have to enter through the back entrance to notice it. As you enter there is a cafe on your right and, across from that, a tori (shrine gate) at the foot of a staircase. It is called the Matsutake Jinja as the tori indicates:
The staircase (pictured above) is lined with traditional looking lanterns and is decorated like the rest of the store to look like a retro Showa town.

Get to the top and behold! The shrine!
Move close in though and you will notice something odd. The shrine has no deity!!
I think there may at one point have been some kind of statue there. Perhaps it was stolen or sold or something.

Anyway, I thought it looked a little lonely so when I was passing by a few days ago to take these photos I reached into my bag of Famicom carts I had just purchased and fished a random one out:
It is now a shrine to....that game with Ramen Man in it which I can`t remember the title of. Its a Kinnikkuman spin-off.

At least it was for a few seconds, I took the game with me when I left.

This is probably the coolest physical feature of the store. It might seem strange to have a religious structure in a store that sells, among other things, massive loads of porn, but in Japan this is pretty standard. Most factories and other big businesses here actually have a Shinto shrine dedicated somewhere on their property.

6 comments:

  1. I second BRIK's comment: Long live Omocha Souko! :)

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  2. Hah, that made me laugh, thanks! :) Dare I ask what a game starring someone (or something) called Ramen Man entails? Does he have to eat as much ramen as possible? This post also serves to remind how unique and interesting Japan is too - so many of its people have such conflicting interests :)

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  3. Thanks Simon. Ramen Man is a charecter in the Kinnikuman universe, which is mainly about wrestling. I`m not sure if the series was ever released in the UK, but in North America it was called `Muscle Men` and there was a series of little toys based on them.

    Sadly this shrine no longer exists. They bulldozed the entire place a couple of weeks ago and now it is just a vacant lot:(

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