Me and my fellow DJ's have been remininsing about our favorite record stores. Digging through endless stacks of original and re-printed vinyls in a dusty, moldy, rat-infested basement with only those three light bulbs illuminating the way and the smell of mircowavable burritos emintaing in the room. Ahhh......memories. Well, our days of splunking has died with the rise of internet downloads and even the archaic medium of CDs. With this, record store across the US has closed up shop due to lost of business, lease payment defeciencies, and the manager's DJ friend getting caught with the owner's daughter in the dusty, dark basement. Ahhh.......memories. Anywho, in our favoritest of places, Japan, they deicided to keep hope alive and the vinyl collections and sales are unbelieveble!!! It's DJ's mecca!!! With that said, i would like to show you the five best record store in all of Nippon.
(1): Be-In Records: Be-In's owner, 52-year-old Chinone Yoshiaki is a trule lover of classic vinyl. It is stationed among rehearsal studios and cellphone shops on a grungy Koenji shotengai. Yoshiaki’s store, in business since 2000, is stacked floor to ceiling with vinyl, everything from ¥1,000 Belgian-issued raw funk compilations to a ¥1.8 million, gold-and-black first pressing of The Beatles’ Please Please Me. Customers are a mixture of serious collectors—40 to 50-year-old salarymen who might spend ¥100,000-¥200,000 in a visit—and DJs seeking out rare-as-hen’s-teeth ’60s beat, soul or ska 45s.
2F, 3-57-8 Koenji-Minami, Suginami-ku. Tel: 03-3316-3700. Open daily 12:30-9pm. Nearest stn: Koenji, south exit. http://www.bein.co.jp/
(2): Warsawza: Launched in 1990 but housed at its current location since 2005, Warszawa (pronounced wa-ru-sha-wa) is the jewel in the crown of Udagawacho’s hive of independent record stores, specializing in techno, house, dubstep, breakbeats and experimental rock. The store manager, Yuji Yanagisawa, says he opened the shop to give people a chance to hear underground music from overseas. While Yanagisawa has wholeheartedly embraced the internet—a whopping 40 percent of sales come through the shop’s website, which brims with impassioned recommendations from the staff—dance-music fans could and should spend hours in the shop itself, a laidback place with vinyl stacked inside retractable bins so that even during peak hours your elbows won’t be banging against a fellow shopper’s.
3F, 31-3 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-5458-0700. Open daily noon-8pm. Nearest stn: Shibuya. http://www.warszawa.jp/
(3): Coconuts Disk Kichijoji: Kazuyoshi Yajima, the youthful manager of the Kichijoji branch of Coconuts Disk opened up shop in 1999-2000. His shop majors in all things Japanese, particularly Group Sounds, kayoukyoku (Japanese ballads) and ’80s New Wave/punk, most of it on vinyl.
2-22-4 Kichijoji-Honcho, Musashino-shi. Tel: 0422-23-1182. Open noon-9pm. Nearest stn: Kichijoji (Koen exit). http://www.coconutsdisk.com/
(4): Dub Store: In the shadow of Nishi-Shinjuku’s skyscrapers and around the corner from Tokyo’s “Vinyl Valley” behind Seibu-Shinjuku station lies Dub Store, in operation since 1997. This shop features Jamaican music from way back to the present day, from early rockers and calypso through to ska, skinhead, lover’s rock, and latter-day dancehall and ragga, as well as a small selection of 45s devoted to contemporary Japanese reggae artists. Lately, Dub Store has added boutique London-based reissue labels such as Soul Jazz and Honest Jon’s to their stock. Dub Store also does a mean line in vinyl paraphernalia, from classy record bags to those easy-to-lose adapters that fit in the middle of 45s. Dub Store’s gold metal diamond-encrusted adapter (¥12,800) is for the record buyer who likes a bit of bling with their Prince Buster.
7-13-5 Nishi-Shinjuku. Tel: 03-5389-1423. Open Mon-Fri 10am-8pm. Nearest stn: Shinjuku, west exit. http://www.reggaerecord.com/
(5): Escalator Records: A record shop, label and cafe situated in a quiet residential street, Escalator provides welcome respite in the otherwise manic Harajuku. Owner and DJ Masashi Naka (Haruka’s husband) used to be a buyer for the dearly departed Zest, a record store that helped launch the Shibuya-kei scene that briefly put Japanese pop on the global map in the mid-’90s. Escalator’s own imprint—as well as the (mainly British) indie and electro imports that you can pick up in the record shop—is more frenetic.
3F, 2-31-3 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-5775-1315. Open Mon-Sat noon-8pm, Sun & hols 1-7pm. Nearest stn: Harajuku. http://www.escalator.co.jp/
And there you have it, five awesome places to get your dig on!!! Happy hunting!!