Widely regarded as Japan's gastronomic capital, Osaka has hundreds of restaurants catering to every conceivable taste. There's an abundance of clubs as well, although if you don't really know where you're going when navigating the crowded streets of the Umede or the so-called 'American Village' Amerika Mura districts, you might well believe your musical diet is restricted to Eurotrance, crass hip-hop or squeaky J-pop bars. Onzi-eme is a place of more refined tastes, however. Resembling the sort of place where James Bond should be playing roulette with some yakuza gangsters, Onzieme actually offers less of 'A View To A Kill' than 'A View To A Rave'. Nor can you really imagine Daniel Craig getting shaken and stirred by the soundtrack of house, techno and electro at this almost impossibly glamorous club perched on the 11th floor of a towerblock, in the city's Chuo Ward, with the neon jungle of Japan's third largest city sprawling beneath.
The club's physical height is matched by the regard in which it's held amongst both Osaka's underground music lovers and the exclusive international crowd who rub their fashionable shoulders here. Japan's an expensive country, of course, and Onzi-eme really does look as if they've blown something close to the national debt on the interior design. Rather than the stripped-down sci-fi style favoured by Tokyo clubs like Womb and Ageha, Onzi-Eme has more of a plush penthouse feel with a restaurant, hostess service, exotic dancers and space for live bands, as well as bowing to that baffling Oriental predilection for tuneless renditions of Madonna with karaoke booths around the room.
But thankfully the music Onzi-eme pumps onto the dancefloor is much better, and the club sounds as good as it looks courtesy of a seriously hefty soundsystem. Plus, they really know which DJs to book to use it to its full advantage, with Sasha, Michael Mayer, Tom Middleton and Jesse Rose amongst the upper crust of international DJs to have played here. Hal from The Young Punx remembers their gigs here with breathless enthusiasm. "Oh my God!" he exclaims. "Onzi-eme always delivers exactly what you hope a club will every time we go. As you enter, it looks like some hyper-glamorous club in an episode of CSI, but with Japanese spins like the private karaoke booths - where we ended up doing karaoke with the Black Eyed Peas - and funky Japanese go-go girls and hostesses everywhere. The crowd are hyper-responsive too, mobbing the booth like a rock gig. "At closing time the club owner personally decided to pay all the staff extra to stay open 'til dawn," recalls Hal. "By 10am we were being taken out for noodles by the promoter and by 4pm the party was still rolling at the hotel. Glamorous hedonism without any tired cynical edge." There really are few better ways to see the dawn in the land of the rising sun.