Native name: 大阪市
Country: Japan
Climate: Cfa

Podcast Episodes (2 / 2)

S3E5: A Decent Banger with Josh Parkin
By: Notebook on Cities and Culture   Released: 19/Jan/2013
Episode URL: »
Cities: Osaka

Colin Marshall sits down in Nakatsu, Osaka, Japan with guitarmaker Josh Parkin proprietor of Josh Parkin Guitars. They discuss how the intensity of Japanese enthusiasm extends to guitar-playing; how Japanese friends in London urged him not to set up shop in Tokyo, but in Osaka; his early life in Yorkshire, "the English Kansai," where he made his first attempts to build and modify guitars; the importance of finding the best handmade pickups and of learning to see the difference between .2 and .3 millimeters; the excellence of Japanese manufacturing, and its somewhat less impressive mastery of anthropometrics; his working life on Denmark Street, the center of London guitarmaking, and why he decided not to open his own business there; his travels through Asia before moving to Japan, which began in India and eventually found him homeless in Beijing; what it takes for a foreigner to open a business in Osaka (besides a few years off that foreigner's life); the impossibility of finding a decent banger in Japan; his dissatisfaction with the usual foreigner's job of teaching English, because it wasn't making guitars; his work with Tim Olive and experience of the Japanese noise scene, which seems to spring from within the culture rather than interpreting traditions outside it; the way everything in Japan gets easier after six months, except perhaps dealing with the ward office; Japanese-style obsessive drive as a necessity of guitarmaking, no matter where you do it; and his dream job of building a guitar according only to the player's musical style.

S3E4: Ashukurafuto with Brian Ashcraft
By: Notebook on Cities and Culture   Released: 14/Jan/2013
Episode URL: »
Cities: Osaka

Colin Marshall sits down in Osaka, Japan's Senri-Chūō with Brian Ashcraft, Senior Contributing Editor for video game site Kotaku, contributor at Wired, and author of the books Arcade Mania! and Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential. They discuss the kind of arcade gaming best (and now only) seen in Japan; the Expo 70-developed north of Osaka versus the city's "real" south; Osaka's reputation across Japan for brash un-gentility; where best to do one's gaming in Osaka, the the overall continuing robustness of Japanese arcades; the tradition of North American arcade gaming growing up around alcohol, and the tradition of Asian arcade gaming growing up around coffee, cigarettes, and milk tea; the Nintendo Entertainment System, known in Japan as the Famicom, and how it shaped both a decade and a generation on either side of the Pacific; the inevitable proximity of Japanese celebrities to gaming culture, whether through commercials or some stronger connection, in stark contrast to their game-averse American counterparts; his Dallas-Tokyo flight attendant childhood neighbor, and the strange but alluring cans of Coca-Cola she'd bring back from work; his first Japanese friend, whose family introduced him to their country's gift-giving culture; Tokyo's feeling of a "city of strangers," versus the more personable Osaka; his trying early years of Japan, and how he recognized his own sprachgefühl while watching Battle Royale; his time in Japan's having made him interested in his own Texas background; how he has made sure his sons learn about American culture, and how he laments their limited linguistic interaction with their American grandparents; the importance of raising children in Japan without giving them "the strange-last-name complex"; Japan's lack of weirdness, or at least the lack of weirdness you perceive if you take the time to ground your observations of it, including observations of or relating to arcade machines and schoolgirls, with as much non-oversimplified historical and cultural knowledge as possible.

Map of Osaka