Friday, April 27, 2012

Lights Out Omocha Souko

Three years ago the entrance to Omocha Souko looked like the above photo. Bright and lively. Today it looks like this, dead and dark:

Omocha Souko was a special place
From the excitement of the Famicom chace

To the agony of missing a cheap deal
That made me cry over a meal

When that place the retro gamer called heaven
Was lost in 1957*

*(actually lost in 2012, but its hard to find a word that rhymes with twelve and I was stealing this from a poem about Ebbets field which closed in 1957 and....anyway, never mind).

I have been meaning to do a final post in my series on the closing of Omocha Souko for over a month now. Before I could do that though I felt I needed one event to occur so as to bring a sense of closure to me, that event being the store actually closing.

I had to wait a while for that to happen because in typical Omocha Souko fashion (for all my love of the place it really was poorly managed) they couldn`t even go out of business right. After telling everyone they were going out of business on April 1st they just kept the place open for a few weeks longer in an attempt to get rid of whatever remaining crap they could sell.

The long, drawn out process was a pathetic site to see. A store slowly deteriorating - shelves emptying and not getting re-stocked, displays getting knocked over and nobody bothering to tidy them up.
It had a sort of poetic quality to it (hence the above poem.), with all the broken pieces nobody wanted left to sadly await their fate on the shelves. Headless nymphs:
Armless ballplayers:
Fallen angels:
And....all of this stuff:
The saddest site though was the once mighty glass showcase where they kept the nice Famicom games. It once boasted pride of place and had some actual good games in it but in the final days was basically tossed aside into a corner, with what meagre fare that remained not deemed valuable enough to even warrant locking the door anymore:
And the remaining merchandise was in the process of being crated up for transport to the Shingu store:
When the place finally closed a few days ago instead of feeling sad I actually felt a bit relieved that it had been put out of its misery. Which is a shame because I really do miss the place. Omocha Souko was the first place that I ever saw a Famicom game at, on my very first visit to the store just a week or so after it opened in 2008. They had a mountain of Famicom carts, thousands of them, in a huge pile at the top of their elevator. It was an amazing thing to see. There was a sign saying 300 yen each next to the pile. I didn`t know what they were at the time having never seen a Famicom before. They were clearly video game cartridges from some 1980s system, but other than that I knew nothing, except that they looked incredible in all their colorful glory and that I wanted them. It was from that moment at the top of that Omocha Souko escalator that I became hooked. A couple of weeks later I bought my first Famicom and the rest is history.

So on that note, this will be my last post about the place. Omocha Souko Fukuoka Honten: I salute you. Thanks for all the memories. And the games.


  1. That second photo up top just looks depressing, almost like it's a Japanese shop opened in the US in a bad neighborhood. It looks so upbeat and interesting at the top though.

    'Tis a shame.

  2. So the legacy comes to an end... well, did you atleast buy some more games in the shop's last days?

  3. Kevin - yes, it does look a bit like a shop in a bad neighborhood in the US doesn`t it? Quite a shame.

    Skyrunner - kind of. At the time they announced they would be closing they put everything on sale and I bought a bunch of Famicom carts then. But all the good stuff was gone within a couple of days so in the last month or so the store was open I didn`t buy anything.

  4. Well, shoot. That is a rather depressing sight, I have to admit. And that poor Famicom case! The games left in it must not have been *that* valuable, I'm guessing?

  5. Hi, I'm currently residing in Tokyo. A friend of mine asked me to look for the Zelda games on the Famicom Disk System, any advice on which shops that could possibly stock this game?
    I've only checked at Super Potato but I suppose there are a lot of other places to go.

  6. Bryan - yes, it is a bit depressing. Nothing in there valuable at all!

    Andreas - I`ve never been game shopping in Tokyo but you should take a look at Mandarake. The one down here has lots of disk system games and I imagine the Tokyo one has even more!

  7. It's just too bad, after all. Farewell, this one will sorely be missed.

  8. Sad stuff Sean... I just wrote a post talking about the mega-store near me taking a nose-dive in terms of retro too. What's going on here in Japan!? :(

  9. To add on to this, I went to the store that seems similar to Omocha Souko in my town (called Roman-Yu) and when I went to the retro game section, they had a huge sale going on. 1 game for 100 yen or 5 for 300 yen. While I walked out of there with 17 games for 780 yen (they took even more off at the register for some reason), it appears that they're phasing out their retro game section as well. :(

    I only have the "Comp Off" now. Which had a better selection of consoles than Roman-Yu but not as many games. Plus, you have to deal with the "x Off random pricing" issue.

  10. Nate - ah, that is a bummer. Well, actually that is a great deal, but a bummer that the place is going out of the retro game business.

    I hate those pricing policies at the `Off` stores too...except when they are cheap. Unfortunately 90% of the time they seem to be overpriced rather than under.

  11. I'm so mad, I went there all the way from Sawaraku near Nishijin by bike only to find it had closed down. There was a man there somewhat sobbing, most likely because he had nowhere to go to waste time but there.

  12. Oh man, that must have sucked! Just as a friendly warning DO NOT go to the Omocha Souko in Maebaru either as I have been told that it has closed (the one in Shingu is still open but if you are looking for Famicom stuff their prices are not good).

    That man sobbing, of course, was me. I hold a vigil there everyday from 1PM to 6PM to remember my favorite store.

    If you were to go there today you would find it not only closed down but about half-demolished, they are tearing down the building to put up a pachinko parlor on the spot.