Record Shops

You gotta love Tokyo record shops. Yesterday I was in Shibuya and Daikanyama checking out some record ships with my friend Patrick. Before meeting up with me, he was in Harajuku checking out the new Elevator Records shop (previously known as Caprice). In Shibuya, we went to Apres-Midi Selecao, Maximum Joy and Zest, and then in Daikanyama to Bonjour Records. The really nice thing about these shops is that they are so well curated. The goal here is not to stock as much as possible, but rather to present people with an interesting choice of records that are carefully selected. In some of the nicer shops, like Bonjour Records, you’ll find little cards next to every album written by the staff that gives info on the artist and album. I just wish I had more money to spend at these stores.

During the outing I made one purchase, at Maximum Joy, which was the Milky album by Momus and his ex-wife Shazna, TRAVELS WITH A DONKEY. Patrick picked up the new Yukari Fresh single, “Horsey Marie”, which I’m absolutely in love with (I listened to it at least 10 times on my iPod today).

Work

It’s strange, but I think I’m actually glad to be back at work. With 3 weeks of holidays, plus a first week of work that still gave me 3 days off, I think I was starting to get restless. This week I find myself looking forward to heading out to the schools to teach, and I’m having a pretty good time with the kids too. I have to say, this job can be a good one, and it’s pretty much stress free. How many people can say that they spend their days laughing with kids, and then get paid good money for it. Sure, at times I find myself thinking that I could be doing something more worthwhile, but then again, helping children learn a new language is not such a waste of time. And you know what? I’ve had kids that have stayed with me for quite a few years, and they’re actually capable of a lot now (especially when it comes to comprehension, which is probably the hardest thing to master when you’re trying to learn a language). Makes me feel like I’m doing some good.

Justin Hall

justinbowl-smI’ve just spent an hour or two reading about Justin Hall. Clicking on his name brings you to a website that describes in great detail all of the experiences he’s had in Japan. He’s a freelance writer who’s even published a little guide on Tokyo (which I’ll probably pick up if I ever see it somewhere) called Just In Tokyo. He also keeps a blog. You should definitely go and spend some time digging in his site for loads of fun and interesting stories (like the story about his visa, which is something that I can definitely see happen, even though I’ve been lucky enough not to have this kind of trouble).

Japanese Hosts

gakugei-bu

From the Japan Times (click on the link for the full article):

Host superstars Issa Tsurumi and Yuya Mikami (above, left and right) of Kabukicho’s Club Gold use their charm, stamina and common sense to earn small fortunes every month.

Also read about a reporter’s night out at these clubs, as well as an article on a woman’s addiction to these places.

Denpa Shonen

The infamous DENPA SHONEN TV show has just broadcast its last show. A very popular show for 10 years, bits of it have been profiled around the world. When non-Japanese journalists have wanted to show examples of Japan’s wacky TV shows, DENPA SHONEN was usually a good pick. Known for its crazy stunts (a man locked naked in a room had to survive by entering magazine contests – he stayed there for a over a year), it actually became a victim of one of its own stunts (well, a few). They got into some political trouble recently when they disrupted a famous politician’s speech, and then got their network in trouble when they fooled some real TV stations and newspapers into thinking that a mythical Japanese creature was living in a forest. But the final straw was when, after their move to a new time slot on Saturday night last Fall, they said that unless they could get to a certain rating level they would stop the show. They didn’t make it.

Tommy February6

This is the cover to a new Tommy February6 single that will be coming out in early February entitled “Je t’aime je t’aime”. This makes me very happy, as I love Tommy-chan, and I had heard that the album she released last year was just a one-off project (she’s in the band The Brilliant Green). Can’t wait to see the new video (Tommy is a very visual guilty pleasure).

Update (16/08/13): No more cover image, unfortunately.

Naka-Meguro

Went to Naka-Meguro today to meet up with Jason and do a bit of walking around. We had lunch at the Organic Cafe, where I could partake in the sizeable (a rare thing for a trendy spot I find) and tasty Triple-Decker Sandwhich. We then walked around a bit, checking out Cow Books, which exhibits an interesting design sense, what with scrolling text all around the store, and a comfortable and well lit table in the middle of the store. The selection was a bit pricy though (old edition of THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE going for 8000 yen), so nothing I really cared to pick up. After some more walking around, checking out all the interesting street art (look for that in the next few daily pics on the site), we went to Chano-ma, a nice little cafe/bar perfectly hidden (no sign, even on the building listing) on the 6th floor of a building. The place would make for a better visit at night, with a great view of the city, and a bit of subtle lighting.

We then seperated, as Jason had to go to work, and I stopped in Shibuya on the way back. I checked out the magazine floor of Tower Records, and picked up an interesting little London/Tokyo free zine (except that they were charging 300 yen for it, so not really free) called EXPOSURE. I haven’t had a chance to read through it yet, but it has lots of interesting design stuff. Then it was off to Parco, where they had a big sale of foreign books at the Parco Book Center (P-BC), in their Logos Gallery. Picked up two French graphic novels by Jiro Taniguchi from a series called LE JOURNAL DE MON PERE. It seems to tell the story of a boy growing up in Japan during the fifties or sixties. I look forward to reading them, and they were a steal at 1000 yen each.

A good day.