Creepy Namjatown

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namja1.jpgA few months ago Namjatown, Namco's indoor amusement park, opened a new attraction called the Gyoza Stadium, featuring a dozen different kinds of Chinese dumplings. We love gyoza and have been looking forward to visiting the Gyoza Stadium. We tried to get in on a weekend just a few weeks after it opened but there was a three hour wait and we were too hungry.

But yesterday afternoon there was no wait, so we paid 300 admission and stepped in.

Namjatown is divided into five sections, differently themed. We didn't even consider the other parts and headed straight for the gyoza section.

It gave me the creeps. Decorated like a downtown Tokyo neighborhood in the 1960s, it was a maze of alleys and turnings.

namja2.jpgThis map shows part of the layout. The blood red parts are the gyoza stands. The blue bit is an a mosquito-themed ride where you go around spraying mossies while riding a giant pig-shaped mosquito coil holder. All the little lanes in between are filled with nostalgic signs and antiques. And little benches where you can sit and eat the gyoza.

namja4.jpgIn addition to the gyoza, there are several other attractions. There's a public bath "converted into a studio, to participate in a quiz show" according to the brochure. There is a little shrine and a pilgrimage; this cat is supposed to be Bishamonten, one of the 7 Lucky Gods. Or you might want to search for clues to a detective game.

All I wanted to do was to eat some gyoza, but the atmosphere was so dark and claustrophobic that I couldn't do it. By the time we navigated to the gyoza stands, I was entirely too wigged out by the noir lighting, the well-faked cracked cement streets, the falling down building facades (they were in fine repair, just made to look like they were old and falling down) that I had to go without standing in line for gyoza.

It was a scary carnival funhouse. Is this how Tokyo views its recent past?

1 Comment

It sounds great. But I still find it hard to imagine almost any situation not to eat gyoza!

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  • Seth: It sounds great. But I still find it hard to read more