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.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Asagaya Romantics -- Yukari(所縁)

Years ago, when I was teaching in Tokyo, one day, one of my students invited a bunch of us to her and her husband's apartment in the community of Asagaya which is located in Suginami Ward. My impression of the area was that it was the usual city neighbourhood centered around a train station, that being Asagaya Station on the JR Chuo-Sobu Line. However, what set it apart for me was that there was a sumo stable near my student's apartment. Since it was the afternoon that we got to her place, we didn't really hear any activity from the sumobeya; I'm assuming that it was because all of the rikishi were probably getting down to lunch or taking a nap.

Well, being back here, a few months ago, I came across this band called Asagaya Romantics(阿佐ヶ谷ロマンティクス). That was during the time when I was discovering quite a few intriguing contemporary groups on YouTube such as Blue Peppers, BLU-SWING, and microstar, each with their own distinct sound.

Even in Japanese, it was difficult to find out any deep news about them even on their own website. However, one other page noted that Asagaya Romantics is a 5-member band started in 2014 consisting of guitarist Tomoya Kishi(貴志朋矢), bassist Yuya Ogura*(小倉裕矢), vocalist Tomoe Arisaka(有坂朋恵), drummer Rie Furuya(古谷理恵)and keyboardist Satoshi Hori*(堀智史) (well, that information is also listed on the band website). To paraphrase from that page, they specialize in lyrical romantic songs with elements of Central and South American music including rocksteady and reggae. The page also mentions that they get some inspiration from some of the New Music from the 1970s, including Tin Pan Alley(ティンパンアレイ).

One example that I would like to introduce here is "Yukari" (Affinity/Connection) from their first album released in January 2017, "Machi no Iro"(街の色...Colour of the Street). Written and composed by guitarist Kishi, it has that sunny Sunday feeling, and yep, I can hear their musical influences. It would be nice to walk to this one in the band's titular neighbourhood. From what I can hear and read in Kishi's lyrics, I think it's about just stopping by and smelling the roses...not a bad piece of advice. Although I never lived in Asagaya, I'm still reminded of my old area in Ichikawa which surrounds Minami-Gyotoku Station on the Tozai Line. There were a lot of convenience stores, plenty of restaurants, pachinko parlors, a few supermarkets, a park, and even a McDonalds (well, McDs is pretty much everywhere).

Would like to delve further into Asagaya Romantics' discography.

*Once again, a couple of names in the band's lineup have a number of readings, so my usual caveat goes out there. If anyone from the band or the record company ever sees this article and would like to correct me on the readings, please let me know. Also, the Profile page on the band's website has the bassist listed as Rei Honma(本間玲).


  1. Hi J-Canuck !

    I'm not from the band nor record company staff either but can help you on names :)

    Yuya Ogura's departure from the band was sometimes at the beginning of the year. Official news on 25th of February:

    Name's romanization here:

    Rei Homma is their new bassist. He was officially introduced on their website in the news section on 24th of July this year.
    Current top news on their webpage:

    This is the current lineup according to their twitter

    Vocal: Tomoe Arisaka
    Guitar: Tomoya Kishi
    Keyboard: Satoshi Hori
    Drums: Rie Furuya
    Bass: Rei Homma

    1. Hello, Daemonskald!

      Many thanks as usual for clearing things up there. I will make the correction on Arisaka's name.


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