Roy and I were walking in the Nippombashi area of Osaka when we stumbled across a suspicious-looking cigarette machine. The first thing we noticed was that it wasn’t wired for Taspo age-verification cards (as it legally should be). Then we noticed it was selling Chinese cigarettes (Chunghwas, to be exact).
Upon further examination, we realized that the cigarette machine was not actually working, which explained why it wasn’t wired for Taspo. Or perhaps not being wired for Taspo explained why it wasn’t working.
Anyway, it turns out that we had not only stumbled across a Chinese cigarette machine–it was guarding the entrance to a seven-story Chinese superstore called the “Shanghai China Maul.”
This was not the only Engrish on display: there were “flesh vegetables” on sale upstairs. Besides cigarettes and vegetables, the place also has:
- A massive karaoke room which was apparently running at night for public singing orgies (free for ladies, ¥1,000 for men)
- Right above the main lobby, there’s an immigration lawyer (gyosei shoshi) and Softbank sales agent working next to each other at very similar-looking open counters. I guess this is so you can get your Japanese visa and your mobile phone in one place…
- The top floor is a well-stocked Chinese bookstore with a special shelf for Hong Kong news magazines (i.e. Chinese media banned on the mainland), but curiously very little content from Taiwan other than music.
- One floor was covered with what I can only describe as “random crap,” among it suitcases, electric fans, wooden tables and an oddly-twisted female mannequin torso.
And here you can see Roy wondering aloud why he didn’t bring his digital SLR from Kyoto: