A(nother) Esteemed Correspondent wrote to say, among other things: “I’m sorry to hear that much of Tennoji is gone now […]”
I thought about that and clarified a bit.
“That was a lazy description on my part– most of what was destroyed was actually the area on the Kintetsu Department Store (Abenobashi) side, behind Kintetsu and the Apollo Building, but everybody calls the whole areaTennoji. Tennoji proper, around JR Tennoji station, is still around, seedy as ever, and once you’re off the main street (the Tanimachi-suji) there are little dark old shopping arcades selling stuff no one under 80 would eat. Happily, there is no shortage of 80-year-olds in this town. Abeno’s back alleys have pretty much all been torn down (as well as the charming little residential neighbourhood along the Abenosuji, where the chinchin densha runs). I used to work around there and I miss those old izakayas (one of which was found by walking straight behind the Apollo Building and turning”left at the drag queen”, who was always at the corner, drumming up business for her bar).
Hirano around JR station is pretty much unchanged, but you wouldn’t know much around the subway station anymore [Correspondent lived there in the early 90s]. The old neighbourhoods around the temple are still intact (because they’re off the main drag), and I sometimes stroll around there in the autumn (in fact, I’m overdue for a visit). I was pleasantly surprised, while walking from that Swedish film festival in Nakazaki-cho to Umeda, that there are still a few clumps of those old blackened-wood Osaka houses of yore. The ones in Umeda and Chayamachi are long-gone and yet another bankrupt shopping mall has replaced them. The maddening thing is that the old concrete monstrosities for which Osaka is justly famed are kept up forever while anything containing the faintest whiff of character is demolished. Go figure.”