Life in Osaka – Day 6

ガチャポン:Collect ’em Balls

So, you might be asking your self “what the hell are Collect ’em Balls?” Well it’s a poor translation attempt by me to explain “Gachapon.” The name is like.. “Got ya (gacha)” and “pon (ball?)” which roughly ends up as Collect ’em Balls. Their purpose is also for collection so the name sort of works out. Although, it’s not a pretty name! Anyways, these balls will show up in the middle of the blog and will pretty much be the best thing you’ve ever heard of.

Today started again with a train ride to school and a ton of orientation nonsense. However, today Bianca and I had a good hour or two in between orientations to kill. We decided to walk around campus a bit. Our campus at KGU is quite beautiful, and there are a lot really scenic areas. There was a particular bush that was perhaps four feet in radius, and was filled with perfectly shaped pink flowers. It was really beautiful, I took a flower that had fallen and put in on Bianca’s head. She liked it so she walked around with it on her head for a few minutes before it fell and we came across a new shrine we had yet to discover. The shrine was again very well tended. The sandy dirt surrounding the shrine had been meticulously raked and pruned. Bianca also found what we now believe to be the greatest spirit of all time:

This is also now my favorite shrine.

We continued to observe the surrounding area, and went down into some uninhabited hills off the beaten path. The area had a really cool dystopian human-void feel to it. It had some broken TVs and some trash. Most of trees had no leaves, and the leaves that laid at their feet were brown and broken. It was quite beautiful.

This area also included a super chill butterfly that let me get pretty close to it without ever flying away. I didn’t get any closer because I didn’t want to be mean, I guess?

Finally, we get to the meat of this blog: the Gachapon (or Collect ’em Balls as I so elegantly translated). Gachapon are everywhere in Japan. Much like there is a vending machine on every street corner, there is a Gachapon grouping in front of every store and at every train station. But that’s okay, because these things are amazing.

A Gachapon is basically a little machine filled with plastic capsules that contain little figures or keychains that you like. They are often in groups of between four and a billion. They look like this:

Generally, a single Gachapon is between 200 and 400 yen, which is about 1.75 to 4.50 dollars. The first step in getting your Gachapon is giving it all your money:

Next, you turn the little knob at the bottom and you get a little capsule with something inside! This is what a capsule looks like:

Finally, you have your Gachapon. What’s inside depends on the machine you picked. Usually there is a set of maybe 5 or 10 things that you have a random chance of getting. Sometimes the sets include a special rare Gachapon item that you have to try really hard (spend all your money) to get. I happen to love a little figure called “ぐでたま” or “lazy egg” so I was ecstatic to find a set of him:

I’m happy to report that there were 5 lazy egg figures and I got four of them in one go. I didn’t get the last rare one where he’s in a little avocado though. I’ll let you all know when my collection is complete!

After I went broke finally succumbing to the fun that is Gachapon, me and Bianca went to meet a friend of hers from France: Erika. She had recently gotten a job in Osaka, and wanted to meet up to chat a bit. She took us to a really fancy restaurant on the 8th floor of a huge building near Osaka station. It was a Chinese place, and it was delicious. She ordered some dumplings that contained shark fin, which were pretty expensive. However, it was nice to try shark I suppose. It tastes a little weird, so I’m fine with it being outlawed in a lot of countries. Erika then paid for our 6,000 yen dinner (around 50 dollars). ありがとうございます!That was really kind of her, I wish her the best with her new exciting journalism job!

After we parted ways, me and Bianca fumbled back to our apartment and went to sleep. We have a really busy day tomorrow, as we’re finally moving into our permanent housing in Umeda!


(see you tomorrow)

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