Super Potato wasn't the only place Ashcraft took me in Osaka; no, that was just one small taste of our tour. We explored all of Den Den Town, which is Osaka's version of Akihabara: a geek center full of electronics, manga, and video game shops. And unlike Akihabara, it hasn't sold itself out to tourists.
There were human-sized Gundam models for sale in a store full of all sorts of robot-themed toys (the "no photography" signs didn't deter me, obviously), there were weird little hole-in-the-wall shops that only sold screws or engine parts or things of that nature, there were, of course, adult bookstores, and there were Crazy Eddie-style electronic warehouses full of every type of device under the sun. The neighborhood was chock-full of socially-awkward-looking dudes thumbing through PS2 games or Hentai books, totally in their element. It was awesome.
Not all of the photos are from Den Den Town proper; the Apple store, for example, is on Mido-Suji, a posh street full of fashion boutiques, high-end department stores, and the like. Think of it as Osaka's Fifth Avenue. Apple's too cool for Den Den Town, apparently.
But Den Den Town is really where it's at: a proudly geeky neighborhood that hasn't been overtaken by tourists or girls dressed up like French maids like Akihabara apparently has (I'll investigate that for myself in a few days). Thanks again to Ashcraft for the walking tour, and stay tuned for more reports from Japan in the coming days.