Taiken Japan

Autumn Leaves 2016

How to Bowl in Osaka: My Experience at Round 1

Photo: kazukichi on Flickr

How to Bowl in Osaka: My Experience at Round 1


Bowling in Japanese is boringu (ボウリング), which can be easily confused with “boring”(ボーリング). I had never bowled before, but many people like spending their evenings bowling, so it must not be that boring. I had to try it out!


atari86 on Flickr

Osaka has somewhat endless shopping streets. I bet there is no shortage of brands and fashion choices. And at one of them we discovered a huge entertainment/game center near the main Dōtonbori area – The Round 1. It starts with UFO catchers (crane games) and pachinko parlors and extends into billiards, karaoke then bowling.


Eric Grossnickle on Flickr

Before starting the game we had to register at the front desk. The web-site also allows to make reservations in advance. As it was our first time, we did not have any membership (staff also asked if we had their app which also offers discount coupons).  Without a membership, we were asked just the basic details. They did not require our full names, so we signed in with random nicknames. We chose 2 games. And as a student, I got a discounted price (you need to show the student ID). Then we were told to take the rental shoes.

If you do not see your size in one of the automated shoe machines, you need to ask the staff. I got a bit confused with the order of things there, as there were lockers in front of the shoes boxes. So I assumed that we need to change there and put our shoes in the locker. However, when we were exiting the elevator at the bowling floor, the returning people all had their shoes on them and gave us strange looks. Oops! It appears you can change your shoes up at the lane you were assigned, with the lockers being an optional choice if you don't want to watch your valuable items while bowling.


Sarah Marchildon on Flickr

It was a Friday night, so the bowling area was filled with co-workers dressed smartly in white shirts and suits. And of course couples. It is one of the few activities suited for dates in Japan.


Kevin Martin on Flickr

As it was my very first time bowling in my entire life, so I was a bit nervous and picked the lightest bowl. Our nicknames and running score appeared on the screen above. I found it very convenient. And at the seats we had a small monitor to choose a different game and other.


Lee LeFever on Flickr

I am very cautious about slippery floors and any grounds. I positioned myself near the back of the lane, took a few careful steps forward, and tried to keep my arm straight as I swung it back and then forward. Maybe because of all the oil on the line or some strange moves of mine, the ball did not want to go straight but swung into weird curves. My partner was very good at hitting all at once, and after a pointer and some practice, I made a clear strike too. Although I just scored one strike, it made me feel the happiest. So exciting just knocking them all down!  And at least I did not lose with a score full of zeros.


Dick Thomas Johnson on Flickr

Time seemed to really fly. And although we were cold while strolling outside before, after the two games, the weather seemed to be very warm. We checked out at the front desk. And they even gave us the printouts of our scores. How both embarrassing and a good memory.

That was my first bowling experience, what was your's like? Good luck!