Unfortunately, this is the only photo I have that has any connection with the subject of my article today on the record shop, RECOfan. All of the cameras inside the shop had me just a little too intimidated to whip out the Casio due to irrational fears of the young staff tackling me as a security breach. In any case, the above is the BEAM Building deep in the heart of Shibuya just across the narrow street from legendary household goods emporium Tokyu Hands. Along with RECOfan, BEAM also has a joint at the top known as the J-Pop Cafe which was used in one of the scenes with Rinko Kikuchi in the movie "Babel". In addition, in the basement levels is the famed manga store, Mandarake.
As for RECOfan, it's located on the 4th floor of BEAM and I was once an occasional customer and regular browser at the main Shibuya branch. For folks who are perhaps a bit let down by the high retail prices of the discs at Tower Records, a 5-10 minute walk away, RECOfan sympathizes with them by providing a large warehouse-like space filled with the J-Pop stuff on one side and the Western stuff on the other, new and used. And although the majority of the music is sold on CD, there are some fine vinyl sections for both Japanese and, notably, Western pop and R&B. It was many a visit when I got off on the 4th floor to see potential buyers flipping through the LPs at warp speed right in front of me.
Most of the hour that I spent during a visit at RECOfan was spent in the Japanese section. I was quite happy to see the kayo kyoku/J-Pop discs selling at something less than the industry-set 3,000 yen. Depending on the state of the full CD and how popular the artist is, I could usually get a nice little discount by buying one at about 2,000 yen or perhaps even a little less. There was also a bin of those old-fashioned CD singles into which I happily stuffed my snout into like a pig in a trough to see if I could find something from the late 80s or early 90s for something as deliriously cheap as 50 or 100 yen. When I first started visiting the shop, there were some 80s discs but by the time I was ready to head home for good, the oldest obscure (i.e. non-superstar) stuff was pretty much from the 90s.
Once I finished going through the Japanese shelves, I often walked over to the other side and checked out some of the CDs and records in the Western pop/jazz/R&B sections. I didn't do as much purchasing from there, although I did pick up a few Pet Shop Boys discs and even Chaz Jankel's debut CD as a solo artist (contains the 9-minute version for "Ai no Corrida") over the years. It was a great place to just go there alone or with a friend to browse through these LPs and CDs from decades past.
Alas, as the website for the shop will inform you, RECOfan isn't into mail order or online shopping. So, if you want to do business with them, it'll mean a direct visit there but if you are already in the Tokyo (or Yokohama) areas, drop on by.