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Life in Japan / Osaka Pro Wrestling


Gordberg
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So... as I was saying when we were so sadly interrupted, life in Japan is pretty much a never-ending series of events so hilarious, awesome, improbable, amazing, and/or insane that you actually have to tone down your stories so as not to make everyone who hears them think you're full of shit and/or hate you because of justifiable envy. 
 
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OH!saka Pro Wrestling (the kinda toned-down version):
 
So my friend Yuji Tsuruta came out from Kobe to meet me in Umeda and go to his first-ever Osaka Pro Wrestling show. I was talking to him about how Osaka Pro Wrestling is different from AJPW: How it's less violent and not as hard-hitting, much more focused on entertainment, comedy,good-vs-evil, and fast action... and how it's a real family-type atmosphere where you don't just show up with a friend or two and sit in a hall full of strangers, but instead show up and say hello to all of your friends... I was just explaining how we sometimes bring drinks for each other, when my gorgeous friend "California Girl" showed up with a shopping bag full of beer and gave me one, thus perfectly illustrating my point. She offered Yuji one, but he turned it down, thinking he might be expected to pay for it... When I explained that, no, we just often bring bags of drinks and snacks and hand them out to our friends at the show, like a picnic or something... I think at that point Yuji understood what's so special about Osaka Pro.
 
Yuji met Kenji and Kae and AZ and some of my other friends. Driving the point home, Kenji brought beer, too, in giant cans. I was so happy to see my old friends talking happily with my relatively new friend.
 
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That wasn't the bizarre "Oh, really, Life In Japan?!?! You're going to go there, now?" moment, though. That was all everyday-awesome stuff, the kind of thing I just about take for granted by now. What knocked this one out of the park in the only-in-Japan department was that Yun Gang Chul, the Korean wrestler who often works for Osaka Pro, chose today to debut his new comedy character: Jumbo Tsuruhashi.  
 
So, yeah: On the day my friend Yuji came to his first ever Osaka Pro show, one of the wrestlers worked his whole match as an affectionate tribute to my friend's late father.
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Thank you Kyle. Yuji's tall and naturally strong (he could hang-clean 130 kilos in high school) but he's a basically gentle person. He's more into music and film-making than fighting. I'm sure if he was into it, the guys at AJPW would bend over backwards to make it happen. From the sound of things, he's actually the only one of Jumbo's kids who is even into watching pro wrestling these days. 

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  • 2 months later...

I want to visit Japan. But I don't know where to start in terms of looking for airfare/hotels/where I should go etc. I know it is a broad question but where the hell should I start? At least for airfare. Should I hire a travel agent?

I could do a full guided tour and be your travel agent if you like. PM me. I've been there 5 times or so and lived there for a brief period and I know conversational Japanese.

 

Assuming you want to see wrestling in Tokyo, most people do the Korean YMCA - ymcajapan.org/ayc/jp/eng/index.html

 

It's cheap, you can book it through email and its only a few blocks away from Korakuen and The Dome.

 

There's really not much to worry about. Fly to Narita Airport, get the limousine bus or the express train to your destination, get a taxi to your hotel.

 

Feel free to ask me anything or PM me.

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About a year ago, Harada moved to NOAH, Kuuga left the company, and Osaka Pro moved to their new arena in Umeda. I am far from the only Osaka Pro hardcore fan who stopped going regularly this past year. Now there has been an announcement that they are closing up the new arena and will only be doing occasional shows. It's hard for me to express how sad I am to hear this news. Osaka Pro Wrestling was such a huge part of my life for the first three years I lived here. I will always treasure the many happy memories I have of the shows and parties and events...

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Ryan, you are right about that. They survived the loss of Zero and Gaina and MA-G-MA and by the time I had moved here they were thriving again... But the loss of JOKER (Their heel stable) and Kotoge and Harada (Their best young workers) just took too much out of the promotion. Also, the new Arena simply lacked the charm and appeal of the old one. For me in particular, the move from a convenient (for me) location in party central to a less convenient location in a busy shopping area really hurt as well.

Kyle, I have been to Okinawa twice. It's REALLY far from where I am (It's a whole other archipelago - you have to take a plane to get there). I LOVE Okinawa. The food, drink, flora, fauna, music,fashion, atmosphere, climate, and pace of life are all completely different from Kansai.

First time I went, Okinawa Pro was closed for their annual one-week vacation. Second time, they were in transition from Okinawa Pro to Ryuukuu Dragon Pro Wrestling or whatever it is they are called now. Hopefully, they will be in business and hopefully Apple will be in town the next time I go to Okinawa (Maybe this year, and if not this year definitely next).

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  • 1 month later...

keepingthespiritalive.tumblr.com/post/78207225308/osaka-pro-update-after-their-latest-event-today

 

they're still running their anniversary show on 4/29 and this post atleast makes it sound like some new splinter group will start up afterwards because.....well fuck, it's forbidden for their to not be a splinter group formed any time a company closes in Japan...

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  • 9 months later...

I'll be studying abroad at Aoyama Gakuin next semester in Tokyo, really looking forward to catching some puroresu and meeting fans. My dorm is gonna be on the outskirts of Yokohama but my school is in central Tokyo, about 20 minutes from Korakuen, so I'm definitely gonna be hitting up a lot of Big Japan shows, plus the occasional DDT and NJPW. Planning on hitting up some wrestler bars and joining a college pro wrestling circle if my school has one.

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That commute in the morning is one of the most hellish in all of Tokyo. For a long time I used to take the opposite route and see the crush on the other side. Hopefully, you don't have too many morning classes. It can be pretty packed on the last trains as well. It also goes underground in Shibuya now because it connects to the subway. It's a bigger hassle getting out of the station than it used to be, though on the flipside you can take the train to Shinjuku or Ikebukuro without transferring to JR. 

 

You should always use the train finder website when commuting. When I first moved to Japan I would always stick to the routes I was familiar with. It took me a long time to be able to zig zag across the rail system and take the fastest route. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

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