Let me say, without any hesitation whatsoever, that Kansai is a great place.
I love it! I've been here 7 years, and though for the first 6 I was cooped up in a box at Nova, this last year I've been getting out and about, flexing the Japanese I've learnt, meeting new people and going to new places and you know what? I'm IMPRESSED. Some of the stuff going down in Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Nara, Shiga and Wakayama is really worth a look. Some places are even worth regular visits: and I've decided to start tracking my advertures.
Well, one thing that I keep constantly thinking is "I wouldn't know this place if it wasn't for the (Japanese) introduction by someone else". Take a place like Itohen, for example. When I first went to there, I thought, "WHY haven't I found this place until now?", and the answer was because I didn't have the connections. But now I've found Itohen, and I'm lucky to have an aquaintance with Sumiya San who works there, (if you ever head there yourself, tell him you read my blog and he'll be delighted to have a chat! *YES OK It's a blog plug, whatEVER*) I've been finding that my network is growing: people are asking if i've been here, met this person, checked this site... and I'm finding that I'm having trouble blogging about all things cool in Kansai! There's too much~!
Let's talk serious for a second now. I'm sure if you've read the news, you'll see that Osaka is in trouble. The government dosen't have any money, and there's constant talk floating around about this being cut (the Midosuji Parade), and spending being reduced (Osaka Dome). Now, Osaka being the biggest city around, the effects of a government without money weigh heavily on peoples hearts. In terms of Design, my field, everyone is moving to Tokyo! There's a general feeling that you haven't made it as a designer if you haven't worked in Tokyo. Yes, there is a Design boom going on over there at the moment, but that's over there, not here.
A friend sent me a very interesting article called "Why to start a startup in a bad Economy." Though I'm not starting a startup, What I want to do in Osaka is much like a startup. There are great oppurtunities here for Design businesses, Illustrators, Photographers and other creative minded people purely because there's not much competition. It's great! Let everyone crowd into the other areas (e.g. Tokyo), leaving more space for those willing to hang around to be creative. That's cool with me! I'm here to track it all (the best I possibly can), RIGHT HERE, in TSUNAGARI D.
Read me! I'm going to bust some ass going around Kansai trying to build a bit of an international scene! I guarantee that some of the places I go to you wouldn't know about if you couldn't speak Japanese. But don't worry, you've got me to follow. My Japanese may not be kickass, but I can order beers and ask for business cards (and if it's OK to take photos and put them on my blog), and I get there!
...there was this one time that I got lost, though. Oh, and another time I found the gallery, but it was closed. But I persist!
I will show you places to visit! I will reccomend the best of the best! I will Introduce you to people in Kansai who are cool and who make great stuff! Hey, if you've actually got the guts to say "Yeah, oright, go on then. Introduce me to him/her." I will! But you must promise to be nice and not be rude.
I'm gonna canvas this place, and do it all in English, to try to build a bit of a scene here in Kansai. You can help me out if you want. I'll take any kind of help I can get. Tell your friends, and get them to tell their friends. Tell me about places that you've been to that I haven't! (I'm the jealous type, I'll get there in a flash and say HAH! Now i've been here too.) Or tell me about places that we both haven't been. There's plenty to see out there in Kansai.
I am always planning to make this blog bilingual (kind of in the back of my head). It's hard work translating your own stuff on a regular basis. Originally, I wanted to do this blog in Japanese and English, for anyone interested in either language—to be used as a language tool. But currently I've decided to progress only in English. But that dosen't mean that it's not going to be as great as it could have been! I will find a way to do the Japanese in the end, I know I will. For the time being, anyone who's native language is not English, please be prepared to read it.
All those living in Kansai, and for those wishing to visit it sometime, I hope you love the place as much as I do! Help me spread it some!
Yoroshiku~ • よろしく〜