November 14, 2012

Eat Until You Drop, Swim Until You Drown at Dotonbori?

I'm behind the times, but I was catching up on news at Kansai Scene and just read there are plans to turn Dotonbori canal into a swimming pool. Whaaaaat?

The 'glittering' waters of Dotonbori...
...Transformed into 'Pool Dotonbori' (Image source)
Apparently Osaka's plan is to transform the canal into the world's longest swimming pool, to be called Pool Dotonbori. They hope to have it completed in time for the area's 400th anniversary in 2015.

The idea, while pretty epic, perplexes me. For one thing, Dotonbori canal is filthy. It has traditionally been somewhat of a headache for the Osaka City Council thanks to the legendary activity known as the 'Dotonbori Dive', in which drunk Osakans challenge each other to leap into the murky waters, especially after baseball games. Participants have been repeatedly warned of the toxic nature of the canal - according to the Council, there are 28 sewer outlets dotted along the river. Breathe it in, kids.

And why are they trying to transform Dotonbori - historically an area of shenanigans, vice, and self-indulgence - into a wonderland for watersports? It goes against everything Dotonbori represents. The catchphrase for Dotonbori is kuidaore, or eat until you drop. It is Japan's foodie destination. It is home to takoyaki and okonomiyaki. You're not supposed to swim after you eat at the best of times, so why would you put a swimming pool in the middle of a place where you are supposed to EAT until you DROP?

Glico Man, you athletic bastard. I bet this was all your idea.


  1. Hi ye
    well They think Osaka needs some attractions which more tourists want to come to Osaka!! However I think they should promote Xmas events such as Osaka's Hikari no renaissance (大阪光のルネサンス) as they don't have a website for it even in English at the moment even if they have a web site for Aqua metropolis festival in Nakanoshima park,Osaka,October!!
    Even my Aussie mate in Osaka didn't know about it before I told him!! Maybe they will have websites in English next year!! Many tourists overseas seem go to Tokyo instead of Kansai region!! So they have been thinking about something new including dotonbori pool!! of course they won't use the water in the pool!!

  2. Hi! Yeah, you're right - not enough people come to Kansai! So maybe a new tourist attraction is good. The Hikari no Renaissance sounds much nicer though. =)

  3. Aye,My kiwi mates whose they used to live in Osaka also told me that they wanted to see the Hikari no renaissance when they saw pictures of it I sent them 2 years ago!! well Actually their relatives also said they wanted to see it as well as them though!! I suppose they didn't know about it whilst they were in Osaka about 4 years ago!!
    This Friday Snowman festival will be held in Umeda so there will be more than 10000 snowmen/women in Umeda too!! lol

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