I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Revisiting the old shops

During my 2 weeks back in Tokyo, I managed to visit some of my old music haunts in the hopes that I would be able to pick up some good discs.

First off, my anime buddy and I hit Nakano Broadway. Now, it was my buddy who told me that Recomints had closed down during his last visit there in 2012. Well, going there in 2014, Recomints has apparently given a Wolverine-like "I got better" response, and to my relief, was very much alive, However, the two different outlets in Broadway selling discounted Japanese and Western discs respectively have merged into the original space for the Japanese stuff on the 3rd floor. The tables of cut-rate discs are gone only to be replaced by shelves as you can see above but the mix of Western and Japanese albums is still very cheap.

Happily, I was able to make my first purchase for the trip there, Akiko Yano's classic "Gohan ga Dekita yo".

(July 5 2016: Here is an update on Recomints...not a happy one, though.)

Of course, a visit to the planet's largest music store, Tower Records in Shibuya, was mandatory. At around 2010 and 2011, the store enabled the re-mastering kick of some of the old albums from the 70s and 80s. Well, going back to Tower three years later, that re-mastering has gone into high gear. In fact, I found a section on the 3rd floor which paid tribute to 70s/80s City Pop. As much as I had wanted to grab the entire selection, I just went with Tomoko Aran's "More Relax" from 1984. Such is the lot of a person on a limited tourist's budget and yet, I hit the place twice and purchased a total of 8 CDs there.

The J-Pop section was moved sometime during those 3 years from the 2nd floor to the 3rd floor. Now, the formerly 7th-floor magazine/book department was moved down to the 2nd floor, and to boot, a pretty cool-vibe cafe has been placed on that same floor. After that first giddy visit to Tower, we just had to relax a bit there with some lattes. Early in my time as a teacher in Tokyo in the mid-90s, Tower Records Shibuya did have a cafe in the basement which had the rather hilarious arrangement of having a non-smoking spot in the centre of the remaining smoking area without any barriers. That incarnation didn't last too long.

*Ah, I should let you know about one thing about Tower. The store does accept credit cards, but the staff doesn't ask for PIN numbers to be typed in...they just swipe it through something. I made my purchases on credit there and there was a bit of a consequence. Some days later when I was to pay my share of the hotel bill by that same credit card, I was rejected, even though I had informed the credit card company before the trip that I would be using the card overseas (thankfully, I was armed with another card). After returning to Toronto, I called up the credit card hotline and the operator there told me that it's possible that Tower apparently not needing the PIN but having the purchases go through anyways may have put up some red flags and froze things on my card for security purposes. However, the operator told me that things were fine and dandy now.

After my second trip to Tower a few days later (and a satisfaction for a craving of McDonalds), I hopped onto the Hanzomon Line (purple on the Tokyo subway map) and made a beeline toward Jimbocho Station. And I was reassured when I saw the familiar blue-and-white sign of Tacto once more. Tacto, as I mentioned in the article for the shop, specializes in the older and/or rarer CDs and I gave the shelves on the first floor there a good browse before I settled on four or five discs, including Kenjiro Sakiya's BEST collection.

I also visited RecoFan in Shibuya and Yamano Music in Ginza although I didn't take any shots of those old haunts. But as you have noticed, when I go to Japan, there will always be a standing order for me to replenish my want of kayo kyoku/J-Pop.

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