Airin

Pronounced as the answer to, “What do you call a Japanese woman with no arms and no legs, propped against a wall?”
The following quotes are from the unbelievably retarded Yomiuri article located here: LINK

Cheap hotels in Osaka day laborer district lure foreign tourists
Kahori Sakane / Daily Yomiuri Staff Writer
Five budget hotels in the Airin district of Nishinari Ward, Osaka, which have typically catered to day laborers, are seeing an unexpected increase in foreign and Japanese tourists looking for inexpensive lodging.

Okay so far; it’s no surprise that tourists are attracted to rooms cheaper than $80 a night (a fairly average hotel room price). But this article is just getting started, as you will see…

The trend has encouraged some of about 100 other hotels in and around the district to target foreign tourists rather than laborers. A local association of the hotel operators and a nonprofit organization supporting day laborers have also launched a project to make the area a backpackers’ town, such as Khaosan Street in Bangkok.

Well, it sounds like some new Osaka politician is going to start lobbying for prostitution visas (oh wait, they already did that with the “massage” visa earlier this year) or attempt to make Kinryu ramen available for 50 yen a bowl on the street, that’s great. One question, though: What do the urban planning visonaries propose as the prefectural backpacking destinations of choice? The container stacks at Nanko (slogan: “Visit the drug-sniffing dog petting zoo!”)? The romantic banks of the Yodogawa “Industrial” River (“Home of the Lucky Osaka Two-headed Carp”)? Or maybe there are plans to establish the 1990 Nishinari Riot Memorial… Let’s move on:

“Is there any place around here to go dancing?” a blond Finnish woman asked a clerk at Hotel Raizan South, a budget hotel in the Airin district, last Monday night. The clerk smiled and said there were some clubs in Nanba, two stops away on the Midosuji subway line.

Notice the key words, “blonde,” and “Finnish.” Aside from the inference that Hotel Raizan South clerk hiring guidelines stipulate at least one Scandinavian and one Romantic language (Aramaic is a plus), perhaps we can also assume that a brunette duchess from Luxembourg would have been referred to Kitashinchi on the JR Tozai line. More:

The question would not seem odd at most hotels. But according to Hidenori Yamada, 28, executive director of Chuo Group, “A foreign tourist leaving a Nishinari Ward hotel at 9 p.m. was unimaginable five years ago.”

Let me fill in the missing sentences here: “They used to just smoke the methamphetamine this area is most famous for and stay up all night watching the traffic cams on NHK; it would be very difficult to persuade them to leave even well after check-out time the next morning. I guess the new wave of tourists is more into Ecstasy and clubbing.”

Another attraction of Raizan Hotel is its convenient location, which is 15 minutes by train to Universal Studios Japan (USJ), one hour by train to Kyoto and 50 minutes to Kobe.

…As is the rest of Osaka, you hacks. Or Namba, at least, since that’s the comparison. Next:

Known as one of the largest day laborer districts in the nation, the Airin district has a population of about 30,000 in a 0.62-square-kilometer triangle south of JR Shin-Imamiya Station…
…In Sankaku Park, about 500 meters southwest of the hotels, many homeless people live in blue tents or spend the night in a city-run shelter, which offers hardtack in the evening. On weekends, they line up for meals at a soup kitchen.

Repeat after me: TOURIST’S! PARADISE!

The hotels began attracting a few South Korean tourists shortly after launching a Web site in the same year, although they originally hoped to attract more Japanese tourists and businesspeople.

Fishing for sea bream, the damn fugu kept stealing my bait. – Japanese proverb

In order to meet the demands of foreign tourists, mainly from China, South Korea and Taiwan, the hotels began listing their information in English, Chinese and Korean a few years ago.

…Because we all know that English is secretly the official language of all three of these countries, right? Jesus Christ. In all fairness, the discriminatory overtones I’m sensing here might be imagined – perhaps the author is just that bad.

Minerva Jormola, 22, and her friend, Ho Yueching, both from Finland, told The Daily Yomiuri they found Hotel Raizan on the Internet and decided to stay there because of the low price of 4,200 yen per night for a twin room.

Of course, what we really want to know is: Which one is the blond? For Amaterasu’s sake, could you bastards please maybe use more than a single source in your hotel guest interviews (and a random Ho doesn’t count).
Much later:

A local nonprofit organization, Kamagasaki Community Regeneration Forum, which supports the district’s homeless and day laborers, is also interested in involving laborers with the project…
…The forum hopes out-of-work laborers and local welfare recipients will engage in tourism-related jobs or volunteer work created by the project.

Wow. Somewhere in Kamagasaki, a dutchie is being passed, presumably on the left-hand side. We all know how being on the dole tends to spur the volunteerin’ spirit, right?

The forum believes a bicycle rental business could be an option since some of the workers learned to repair bicycles in an Osaka municipal government vocational seminar.

Is that what they call “jail” these days?

Under the plan, when a tourist rents a bicycle, a laborer will deliver it to their hotels. If they want to leave the rented bicycle at a sightseeing spot in Osaka, the bicycle will be retrieved and brought back to the district base.

And doesn’t that just scream VIABLE BUSINESS PLAN. The sad thing is that while one might assume that this entails paying honest, hard-working people to ride bicycles back to homebase – providing both employment and a healthy lifestyle with the added benefit of preserving the environment – I somehow suspect a flatbed truck driven by a gang of bicyle thieves is closer to reality.

Arimura said it was important to make use of people and resources in the local community.

As opposed to outsourcing it to professional tour guides and bike shops in Hokkaido, I presume. Pearls of wisdom, people. Pearls.
Lastly:

“If group tours increase through our efforts and the Airin district brings in more individual tourists, it may not be so difficult to attract 2 million foreign tourists to the prefecture,” Yano said.

Well, he did say “if.”
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Alas, I don’t know why this article, among all those churned out over the weekend, caught my eye. I also don’t know why I felt I had to fisk it. I just did.

5 Replies to “Airin”

  1. Yeah, it’ll be hard to make any part of Osaka into a tourist zone, the south even moreso. But maybe if there are enough drugs and cheap hookers, it’ll work. I remember hearing great stories about gaijin puffin’ the magic dragon in the back rooms of Namba clubs…

  2. There is plenty of drug use going on in Osaka clubs, no doubt. I was an exchange student there in 1999 so I’m definitely no stranger to it. As we know Japan is amazingly permissive of irresponsible Westerners fucking shit up on drug-fueled rampages. Do other countries — Thailand, for example– put up with this shit?
    That the businesses in Airin want to tap into this does not surprise me as they are located in none too savory an area and surely have no qualms about taking Eurotrash backpackers’ money.
    I saw that article, too. The Airin District intrigues me as a kind of locus for the poverty in Japan. I’ve been there a few times, once coming close to sleeping in the streets myself before I made my way to “Spa World”, a kind of “kenko center” similar to others that have opened recently (As far as I could tell they did all their business attracting ossan and people like me and my friends who missed the last train).
    A fellow high school exchange alumnus who has since become homeless the Southern US is planning a trip to Japan soon to look for possible ways to stay permanently, so I recommended he try staying in one of those hotels while he looks for some more permanent lodging.

  3. The “tru” backpacker would just kick it with the homeless and their blu tarps.
    The next step is of course either staying over night in SpaWorld or one of the somewhat cheaper capsule hotels dotted throughout Minami (Namba). Yes, there are even all-women capsules so the lady backpackers can stay as well. And if the backpackers want to stay in Osaka for a few days, they just need to find a locker big enough for their shit or Osaka can start a baggage service to watch their shit during the day (like they used to have in the station inbetween Nankai and Kintetsu lines).
    ONLY AFTER these cheaper options have been ruled out should foreigners have to consider Airin.

  4. In the article the hotels claim they are cheaper than the Namba capsules… I haven’t been to the area for a few years now. Maybe time for a visit.
    When did they get rid of the nimotsu azukarijo in between Nankai/Kintetsu? Did they turn it into something else?

  5. The capsules are only 2500 or so. Sure, that is only 400 yen more than the actual hotel, but you are in downtown Namba, do not have to take a train anywhere, do not have to worry about trains if you decide to stay out late, and you get to be in the middle of the excitement. If nothing else, just to people watch (instead of watching the homeless and their blue tarps). The nimotsu azukarijyo hasn’t been there for years. There was nothing for a long time and then they decided that the best way to waste, excuse me, make use of the space, was to build….yes, you guessed it – a combini!

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