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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Osaka's "Village" - Gay or Straight - for a Rip Roaring Extravaganza!

大阪 ゲイ・バー ヴィレージ

A drag queen takes the stage at Osaka gay bar "Village."
Drag fun a go-go at gay bar Village, Osaka.
Just five minutes or so a walk from Osaka or Umeda Stations lies Doyama, arguably the biggest gay center in western Japan. While Doyama is not exclusively gay – some of the multi-floor, beehive-like buildings have both straight and gay small bars – suffice to say that it is gay enough that you can’t miss it. There’s something for everyone’s tastes here, be it a laid back bar, karaoke, a bustling lounge, or a full on club. And then there’s Village.

A sexy athletic work out on stage at Village, a gay bar in Doyama, Osaka, Japan.
Athletic fun a-gogo at gay bar "Village," Doyamacho, Osaka, Japan.
Village is, by Japanese standards, a cavernous space, clearly capable of handling at least a hundred revelers. One part of the place has tables and places for easy conversation, but the real action is at the bar. With two lengths of bar joined at a right angle, it’s a big, bustling center of conversation. However, the real big and bustling sight to see lies behind the bar, up on stage. It is here where, on Saturday nights, a raucous, no holds barred, cross dressing celebration of life gets underway.

The colorful space of gay bar Village in Doyamacho, Osaka, Japan.
Pinks and purples a-gogo at Village, Doyamacho, Osaka.
If you’ve been to “lady boy” bars in Thailand, reset your expectations, because Village is nothing like that. For starters, there’s no sudden crotch flashes or the like, which is sure to put certain, perhaps less gay, visitors at ease. Instead, it’s part comedy, part dance, and a lot of camp. It’s just plain fun, if not 100% clean fun. Let’s call it 90% clean.

But lest you think differently, rest assured that Village is not just about the shows. With a great mix of people: Japanese, foreign visitors, men and women, gay and straight, there’s truly a rainbow of people to get to know! It’s a very friendly vibe, so even if you go alone, just put a smile on your face, and before you know it you will have made a gaggle of friends.

Budget glam drag at Village, an LGBT bar in Osaka, Japan.
Budget glam a-gogo at Village, LGBT bar in Doyama, Osaka, Japan.
The stage performers are also your bartenders, and they love chatting. There’s a bit of English spoken as well, so don’t you worry one little bit about that!

A little trivia: Village is run by the godfather of gay bars in Osaka. He’s started or been a part of many big name bars in the area, and everyone in the business knows him. He’s around 70 now, but still behind the bar at Village.

The owner of Village, a veteran face of the gay bar scene in Osaka.
The "Godfather of Gay Bars in Osaka."

Your first drink includes some snacks, and runs 1000 yen for visitors. Successive drinks are 700 yen each. Shows are on Saturdays only, one at 11pm (-ish) and one at some point later in the evening. It will all probably be a colorful blur by then, so there’s no point in getting specific about times, but for what it’s worth, they claim it starts at 2am. On nights with no shows, there is always karaoke at the ready.

Comic camp fun at Village, a gay bar in Doyamacho, Osaka, Japan.
Comic camp fun a-gogo at Village.
Village has a fabulous website to get you in the mood: http://www.village.jpn.com/  You can find the club on the second floor at 10-3 Doyama, Kita-ku, Osaka

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