Anata No Warehouse
Updated: Sep 3, 2018
A few weeks ago I was lounging about in Ginza, finishing an early sushi breakfast, when I discovered the existence of a place that seemed unrealistic: an arcade in Japan based on the demolished Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong.
The Kowloon Walled City is an interesting place that sort of existed as an anarchistic enclave within Hong Kong for many years. Originally a Chinese military base, the land had grown to include acres and acres of vertical city, so thick with building that light did not reach the bottom of the complex. The British did not want to have anything to do with it. The Chinese did not want to have anything to do with it. It just grew and grew like a manifestation of some kind of steampunk dark web in ghetto form. The police avoided it. It was filled with drugs, prostitutes, dentists, and even normal Hong Kongers who loved the cheap rent. Many called this place home - 35,000-50,000 human beings lived in the 6.5 acre plot of land. Below is a picture of it.
Famously, the film was featured in the classic JCVD movie Bloodsport. Below is a scene from that movie featuring the Kowloon Walled City. They do a good job of summarizing why the place is such a no man's land in the opening seconds.
What does this have to do with Japen?
Nothing, so it was weird that just outside Tokyo, in Kawasaki, there is an entire arcade based on the Kowloon Walled City. It was a terrific discovery, and I set about racing to Kawasaki as fast as I could to make it back to Narita in time for my late afternoon flight to Seoul.
I was not disappointed.
Peak in random window in Anata No Warehouse. The designers did not hesitate to share perversions like the picture at left that I discovered when peeping into a random window in the arcade.
So anyways, I get on the train and race to this arcade, and when I arrive I am not disappointed. Not only is it weird as hell and a strange mix of fantasy and Kowloon Walled City, but it also has plenty of old school arcade games to boot. And floors and floors of stuff to do. I would put it up there with any arcade in Akiba. It even had a massive section for table tennis and a Rad Mobile next to an entire Kowloon Walled City ensemble, including fake chickens and Cantonese graffiti.
I love this place, I repeated in my mind about 200 times.
Anyways, I regret never having visited Hong Kong during the existence of the Kowloon Walled City. It was razed in 1993-1994, when I was 15. This arcade temporarily filled a void I have on my travel canvas. Check out some pictures below, and if you find yourself in Tokyo and love weird stuff and arcades, then make your way. It is filled with glorious little details and they nail the gritty Kowloon feel