Diggin’ in Japan; vol 5 Tokyo Dec 2014 by MP Flapp

today brings an exciting post by guest editor MP Flapp who recently came back fully loaded from a trip to Japan and who is so generous to share his experiences on this blog. Regard it as an additional update to the published previous posts of diggin’ in Japan. First up is his report on Tokyo, next post will cover Osaka.

see also diggin’ in Japan vol 1; Tokyo record shops 

see also diggin’ in Japan vol 2; Osaka finds 

see also diggin’ in Japan, vol 3; One Box Record Fair Tokyo 

see also diggin’ in Japan vol 4-El Sur Records Tokyo-interview with Takashi Harada (translation in Japanese)

MP Flapp in Tokyo Dec 14

Diggin’ for gold in Tokyo -December 2014

by guest editor MP Flapp

Sometimes the best trips to look for records happen more by chance than design. This is one of those. It’s December and the year is running out. I’ve still not taken a proper holiday. Where’s best place to go to score some vinyl, chill a little, eat well and tactically avoid the commercial excesses of the season? It might come as a surprise that Japan would be the answer.

It’s actually a good time to go. It’s out-with the regular tourist season, the flights tend to be a bit cheaper, the hotels tend not to be fully booked, the shinkansen trains not overly busy, the weather can have an autumnal air, the shops are open every day and many record stores have end of year sales combined with the fact they pull out their top stock for the lure of the salary man’s bonus.

I’ve been to Japan more than once to buy records, so have a collection of maps and notes put together over the years with some valuable local assistance as a starting point. Having someone locally to point you in the right direction helps a lot, like anywhere else shops open, close and move, so one year’s good spots don’t necessary hold true for the next.

Until a few years ago the best guide to finding stores was the “Record Map”, a Japanese text only book detailing the locations of record and CD stores in almost every city in the country. It was never fully comprehensive, but as a guide it was invaluable. It ceased to be published in 2013. However, a sign that interest in stores and buying used music may be picking up is that the book is back on the shelves as a new and updated edition as of December 2014. The publication date was a bit late for this expedition as I was already on the ground when the book hit the shops.

This trip I’ve decided to focus on two locations: Tokyo and Osaka. Fly in to Tokyo spend some days there, travel to Osaka for a few more days, then return to Tokyo for a couple of days, before flying home on New Year’s Eve.

In my opinion, even if you drive, the best way to get between and around these cities is with the aid of the JR Rail Pass. Once you have the pass (the voucher is bought in advance of travelling to Japan) you are free to travel on any JR train. There are some exceptions with travelling on the shinkansen. The pass isn’t valid for a small number of superfast trains. However, the majority of shinkansen you can travel on by just making a reservation prior to boarding.

One thing I did differently to previous trips was to take a cheap Wi-Fi enabled tablet device. Given the short notice of the trip all I had was a rough plan with nothing fixed. Unlike a number of other countries cafes and bars tend not to have free Wi-Fi. All the hotels I stayed in had free Wi-Fi. So with this in mind all I did was firm up a plan for the day the night before and make sure any maps and the like were in an off-line form for browsing on the hoof.



For the first few days in Tokyo I usually focus on three main areas: Shibuya (with a side trip to Shimokitazawa), Shinjuku and Ochanomizu (with a side trip on foot to Jinbouchou). It’s a fairly easy circle of stores on the metro and in each of the areas there are enough shops dominated by the spread of Disk Unions to make finding your feet and common titles fairly easy. Disk Union is the dominant used music chain in Tokyo. However, in the vicinity of the stores in Shinjuku and Ochanomizu there are some other great independent stores well worth checking. Sadly a few of the regular spots in the Jinbouchou area (Turntable for example) have closed.

Although at least in Turntable’s case the entity still exists. Admittedly off the high street. Enan (the former proprietor of Turntable), having shut the physical store still operates privately and through the pop-up one day record sale. I made it to one such record sale in Jinbouchou. The record sales are usually held in a bar or small hall for one day with a few sellers offering a limited set of stock from boxes. The sale is usually wrapped in a very social setting with both sellers and buyers soundtracking the event by playing records for each other whilst discussing music. More of a house party style event in a bar than a formal record fair. The sales seem to be a welcome new trend, with the stock available and those selling varying from event-to-event.

There have been some changes in the records available and the prices since my last trip. As of 1st April 2014 sales tax went up to 8%. It’s often possible to see the price less tax and with tax on the price sticker on the record. Very few stores add the tax on unexpectedly, so what you see on the sticker is the price. One type of record I collect is the Japanese vinyl editions of what might be classed as well known releases (David Bowie, Brian Eno, Scott Walker etc). These are the LP versions wrapped by an OBI strip round the cover with an insert or booklet specifically made for the edition. Complete, these records would appear to have become much harder to find over the years and a bit more expensive than they used to be. There are a few that have eluded me for more than one trip now. A complete copy of Fripp and Eno’s “Evening Star” in theory should be relatively straightforward to score. It isn’t. There are plenty of clean copies of great titles at super cheap prices, but complete top copies are becoming a challenge.

That said there is no shortage of records from about every conceivable geographical location and genre available in almost every store. There are some highly specialist stores that focus on a specific range of music, but in general most stores are across the board. It’s the main reason I come. It’s not just the availability and price of records (which is usually very competitive), but the fact you can zip round town on public transport and without really trying visit anywhere between ten and fifteen stores in any one day and do the same again the next without covering the same ground twice.


Some recommendations? It goes without saying any of the Disk Unions are worth visiting. The stock turns over frequently and there is always a good range of records for every pocket. Of the independent stores in Shibuya I would recommend a visit to both Sonota (aka Manual of Errors) and El Sur Records. The former is a haven for the most obtuse mondo style records you’ve ever seen whilst the later has a broad range of world music with a healthy selection of African recordings (more CDs and less vinyl these days). One stop on the Keio Line on the express train from Shibuya is Shimokitazawa. Two notable spots here are Flash Disc Ranch for the selection of US used records combined with the sensible pricing policy and Yellow Pop whist not big is always good for turning up 80s alternative titles in top condition. The best Disk Union for Jazz is at Ochanomizu. A short walk from there in Jinbouchou is Record Sya. The store has existed on three floors for many years and is a great source for Japanese releases across almost every genre.

After all the digging for records you probably want a music related break for a drink. Tokyo has a wealth of unique music related café/bars. It’s really just a matter of finding them that is often the problem. Very few of these are often at street level and hence noticeable is passing. One distinct highlight of this trip was a visit to Sound Cafe Dzumi in Kichijoji. An upper floor haven for improvised and free jazz stoked with music and literature from the proprietors (Izumi Hideki) own archive. In addition to the Free Music Archive making regular radio broadcasts from the café they host frequent live performances.





  1. The for the Japanese record map book is http://recordmap.com/
  2. List of Five Independent stores in Tokyo. All of the following stores can easily be found via Google. Flash Disc Ranch and Yellow Pop both in Shimo-Kitazawa. Record Sya in Jinbouchou. Sonota (aka Manual of Errors) and El Sur Records both in Shibuya.
  3. List of Five Independent stores in Osaka. All of the following stores can easily be found via Google. Bamboo Records, Naka Records, Wild One Records, Rare Groove Records and Maru Ka Batsu
  4. For Sound Cafe Dzumi check https://www.facebook.com/SoundCafedzumi or http://www.dzumi.jp
  5. Two recommend craft beer bars that do a fine range of food in Osaka are as follows: Craft Beer Works Kamikaze (see http://www.cbw-kamikaze.com/) and Lezzet Craft Beer & Food Experience Bar (see http://ameblo.jp/lezzetcraftbeer)
  6. The Record Sale. A good resource for finding information on occasional record sales is http://www.oneboxrecordfair.com/. As well as organising the One Box Record Fair the site highlights other similar events
  7. One record sale well worth investigating if you are in Tokyo on 14th and 15th Feb. 2015 is organised by Enan formally of the Turntable store. The details of the record fair are at https://www.facebook.com/Turntable-Tokyo/. This one takes place in a rented space, so is a little bit bigger than a bar sale. A short clip of one of Enan’s previous events is here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJQQZBjpUKo


diggin’ in Japan vol 4-El Sur Records Tokyo-interview with Takashi Harada

 the LP ‘Atakora Manu & His Sound Engineers’ was part of a small haul of  vintage African records found in the El Sur Records shop in Tokyo. Please note that they do not trade African music only. The selection is generally oriented in Latin/Carib/World music but the stock changes with the flow, always with a keen eye on quality and rare vinyl.  Next to the shop El Sur runs a small label to release some of their most favorite World music. Go see their selection and releases at www.elsurrecords.com

See also diggin’ in Japan vol 1; Tokyo record shops 

reporter Eddy De Clercq & Takashi Harada -May 2012-Tokyo Japan

As I was intrigued by the selection in the shop and the style and vision of owner Takashi Harada I decided to ask him the following questions. The original Japanese version of the text has been translated by Iain Lambert. See previous post diggin’ in Japan, vol 3; One Box Record Fair Tokyo

1. 簡単に自己紹介をお願いします。
Please introduce yourself in a few sentences.

ロウティーンのころから、毎日、音楽を聞き続けています。今53歳です。30年近く、レコード /CD屋をやっています(初めはレコード店勤務でした。自分の店を始めて15年になります)。ワールド・ミュージックについて、雑誌等に原稿を書いたり、ラジオで音楽を紹介することもあります。

I’ve listened to music every day since I was in my early teens. Now I’m 53, and for nearly 30 years I’ve been working in record/CD shops. At first I was a clerk in someone else’s store, and now I have my own shop that I opened 15 years ago. I sometimes write articles on “World Music” in magazines, and introduce people to music on the radio.

2. あなたは自分で自分のことを、DJ/コレクター/トレーダー/文化人類学者だと思いますか?
Do you see yourself as a dj/collector/trader or cultural anthropologist?


I’m just someone who loves music.

3. アフリカの音楽だったら、伝統的な音楽と現代の音楽のどちらが好きですか?
Do you choose traditional tribal music or contemporary popular music from Africa?


I like both, but especially music that attempts to adapt traditional forms to the sounds and styles of its respective era.

4. あなたにとってリズムと言葉/歌詞のどちらがより大切ですか?もし言葉のほうが大切な場合、意味が理解できないことにある言葉でも大切なのはどうしてですか?

What is more important to you; the rhythms or the words/poetry? Words
that you may not understand, why do they speak to you?

リズムとメロディーとメリスマ(melisma) とあらゆるベント(bend)が大切です。言葉の意味は二の次です。

Rhythm and melody and melisma and all kinds of note-bending are important. Words and their meaning are secondary to that.

5. アフリカの音楽を集めはじめたとき、何が一番難しかったですか?
What was the biggest challenge for you to start collecting African music?


Even if we could get hold of records imported from Europe andAmerica, here in  Japan it was tough to find (or import) actual African pressings.

6. 日本人がアフリカ音楽をどれくらい熱心に聴いているか教えてください:いつ頃からアフリカ音楽が人気になりましたか?きっかけになったライブやコンサートはありますか?特に人気のあるDJ、クラブ、バンドは?

Please describe the Japanese fascination for African music. When did it start? Any live /shows? Favorites? DJ’s/Clubs/bands?

1984年にSUNNY ADEが日本でライヴをしました。多くの人が “JUJU” を中心としたナイジェリア音楽を好きになりました(が、それ以前の1970年代から、FELA KUTI、MANU DIBANGO の人気はありました。個人的にはASSAGAIが大好きでした)。1980年代末には PAPA WEMBAやZAIKO LANGA LANGA が来日し、コンゴ(旧ザイール)の音楽がブームを呼びました。そして1990年代になると、YOUSSOU NDOUR, SALIFKEITA, THOMASMAPFUMO, HUKWEZAWOSE, MAHLATHINI & MAHOTELLA QUEENS等が来日し、アフリカ全域の音楽を愛好するリスナーも増えました。

In 1984 Sunny Ade played shows in Japan and this got a lot of people interested in Nigerian music, especially Juju. Even before that, in the 70s Fela Kuti and Manu Dibango were popular. Myself, I loved Assagai. From the late 80s Papa Wemba and Zaiko LangaLanga came to Japan and there was a boom in music from Congo (formerly Zaire).

Then in the 90’s Youssou N’Dour, SalifKeita, Thomas Mapfumo, Hukwe Zawose, Mahlathini & Mahotella Queens toured here and the audience for music from all over Africa increased.

But when the Japanese economy started to decline, so did the audience for not just African music, but all kinds of “World Music”, and that brought us to where we are today. It’s rare nowadays for African artists to visit Japan.

7. どうしてアフリカ音楽を世界のために守ることが重要ですか?
Why is it important to save African music for the world?

どのような音楽も、守られる必要はないと思っています。滅びる音楽は滅びるに任せるべきだと思っています。それでも、録音 / レコードがある限り、誰かがそれを聞き続けるでしょう。

I don’t really think it’s necessary to save any particular kind of music. When music perishes we should let it go. However, if there are recordings or records then I suppose someone could continue listening to them.

8. あなた自身が発見した中で一番大切なアフリカのレコードは何ですか?
What is your best African record find ever?

FRANCO & OK JAZZ の VERKYS 参加の一連のレコードです。

A bunch of records by Franco & OK Jazz that Verckys appears on.

9. 探しているアフリカ音楽でまだ見つからないものは何ですか?

What is still on your wishlist?

I’m not a collector. I just enjoy the CDs or records I come across day by day. That’s one of the reasons I keep my shop going: to listen to as much new music as possible. Having said that, I want to listen to more original Algerian Shaabi 78s. Also, as many 78s on the Opika label from Kinshasa as possible.

Opika 430A -Andre Watele

私はコレクターではありません。日々、出会うことができたCDやアナログ盤を楽しんでいるだけです。多くの音楽に出会うために、私はレコード / CD屋を続けています。
が、強いて言えば、 ALGERIAN SHAABI のSPレコード音源をもっと聞きたいと思っています。
また、キンシャサの OPIKA LABEL の SPレコード音源を多く聞いてみたいと思っています。


diggin’ in Japan, vol 3; One Box Record Fair Tokyo

there are just too many records available in Tokyo! But not enough African records, at least not for Iain Lambert who was so kind to  guide me through my recent trip of the Japanese metropolis.

Spinning AMS finds
Iain Lambert

Collector friend MP Flapp had introduced us and after a few wee malts the music of Africa became the topic, as Iain loves African music as well and is an avid record collector but most of all, the man’s got a vision too.

Next to his regular work as an English teacher he organises One Box Record Fair in Tokyo, a small-scale event for invited sellers to buy/sell/trade records in all genres. The most remarkable aspect of the fair is the fact that sellers and traders are allowed to bring one box only (!). Now that requires a hefty task for sellers to select only 1 box! Expect deep diggin’ and ultra specialized stuff in most genres. The first fair coming up will be held on Saturday June 30th 2012 at Bar Dynamo Tokyo.


Our conversation about local record shops took an unexpected turn when I mentioned Fela Kuti’s  ‘pidgin English’ . Little did I realize that Iain was well familiar with the subject.   Reason enough to interview the man for Soul Safari. Thanks also for his translation of the interview with Takashi Harada-san, owner and label-manager of El Sur.

See more ‘pidgin’ English’  Fela Kuti -the black President -Yellow Fever -Decca Afrodisia 1976

1. Please introduce yourself in a few sentences. 

I’ve been buying records for over 30 years – the last 20 of them in Japan – and the more I hear, and the more people I meet, the more I realise I’m still just scratching the surface of what’s out there. It’s a great feeling! Now I co-run the One Box Record Fair event in Tokyo: a small-scale event for individuals to buy and sell records in all styles & genres. We’re into our second year and enjoying it immensely.

2. Do you see yourself as a dj/collector/trader or cultural anthropologist?

I’m undeniably a collector, though I get as much, if not more, pleasure from playing stuff to other people as I do from the process of acquiring records. I love to trade, and find out about a lot of good things that way. A friend once said to me that he saw himself as a “custodian” of his records … someone owned most of them before him, and someone else will have them when he dies, so his job is just to look after them and play them with love while he has them. I like that idea.

3. Do you choose traditional tribal music or contemporary popular music from Africa?

Much of what I like is a kind of intersection between modern instruments and styles and traditional musics. I’m mainly drawn to popular music of the 50s-80s from Zaire/Congo, West Africa, Tanzania & Madagascar, and I also love South African Jazz and Kwela. I like particular instruments, such as the kora, balafon or valiha, and vocal stuff like the polyphonic singing from Cameroon.

4. What is more important to you; the rhythms or the words/poetry? Words that you may not understand, why do they speak to you?

Definitely the rhythms and the interplay between instruments, especially if you take the voice as being another instrument. The vocal harmonies of singers like Djo Mpoy, Carlito and Josky from Franco’s TPOK Jazz are among some of the most beautiful sounds ever committed to vinyl, but I can remember the first time I saw some of Franco’s lyrics translated, I think it was for the track La Vie des Hommes, I’d loved that track for years without understanding the Lingala, but once I knew what it was about it opened up a new level of enjoyment.

Orchestre VéVé -Baluti 1 & 2

5.What was the biggest challenge for you to start collecting African music?

Probably overcoming my own stupid prejudices about it. The first time I heard African music was on the radio. A British DJ called Andy Kershaw had a show in the 1980s where he played a lot of guitar bands from Zimbabwe like The Bhundu Boys, and I didn’t really think it was anything special. However, after I moved to Edinburgh I met a guy who worked in a record shop there and he was the first to play me stuff like Fela Kuti or Franco. I remember going up to his flat with a bunch of other people as we were going to a football match that afternoon and seeing all these African masks on the walls and speakers in all four corners of the room. I don’t remember much about the game, but I can still remember the feeling I had when I heard the first notes of side one of Franco et le TPOK Jazz 20ieme Anniversaire. To say I was blown away would be an understatement. Of course then all I could do was ask him to tape me the album, as there was nowhere in Edinburgh that had anything like that. Then, when I came to Japan in 1991 I discovered shops like Wave in Tokyo and Rhythm Box in Kobe and started accumulating CDs and VHS tapes. I actually stopped buying vinyl when I first came over here as I only planned to stay for a year or two …

Orchestre VéVé -Mikolo Mileki Mingi

6. Please explain your interest in ¨pidgin` English?

As part of my day job I research non-standard varieties of English, and pidgins are one of the most fascinating examples of that. I’m especially interested in their use in literature as a way of marking an oppositional stance and have written about Nigerian pidgin and its use by authors like Ken Saro-Wiwa, Chris Abani and Uzodinma Iweala, as well as musicians like Fela Kuti.

7. Please describe the Japanese fascination for African music. When did it start? Any live /shows? Favorites? DJ’s/Clubs/bands?

I think someone who lived here in the late 80s would be better qualified to answer that than I would. At that time there was a boom in “Afro Pop”, especially with Sunny Ade and Zairean groups like Papa Wemba & Viva la Musica or Zaiko Langa Langa being flown over to tour and record. The label Pili Pili put out a lot of great albums. Then the fashions changed and the next trend took over. When I was first here I lived in Nagoya so didn’t often get to Osaka and Tokyo, where all the best clubs were. You could (and still can) hear African music on the radio thanks to DJs like Peter Barakan or the Sunday night “World Music” show on NHK Radio.

8. Why is it important to save African music for the world?

It’s not just African music, there are many countries whose musical tradition is undervalued domestically as we move towards an increasingly digital and disposable age. I imagine that if I was growing up in a relatively cosmopolitan African city nowadays I’d have so much foreign music from all eras available through the internet that I’d almost naturally neglect my own in favour of something I saw as “exotic”. In the same way many Japanese people are dismissive of the Japanese rock bands that western collectors fawn over, saying “why would I listen to Flower Travellin’ Band when I could listen to the first Black Sabbath album”. I think it’s important to preserve the records especially, as each one carries its own history … be it a name scrawled in pen on the sleeve or a big nasty scratch where someone bumped into the turntable at a party, each scuff or mark tells us something about how they were used and who had them at one stage or another on their journey.

9. What is your best African record find ever?

Not valuable or rare records at all, but I often play these in my African sets: Vivita by Orchestre Veve, Kokoliko by Orchestre Kokoliko du Malawi, Nya na Fesa by Abeti, Namabele by Josky Kiambukuta. I remember finding Sensible by Bibi Den’s Tshibaye in a shop in Amsterdam a few years ago and needledropping the first few songs before the first bars of the title track grabbed me and I had the rush of adrenalin you get when you hear something so good. I think I stood at the listening station with the headphones on through the whole eight minutes literally weeping for joy at how good it was.

10. What is still on your wishlist?

In terms of African records, nothing really. So much great music has been reissued that I feel satisfied with what I’ve got and am happy to just find out things by chance. There are some SA Jazz bits I’d love to have, and some Franco records I need better copies of, but I’m not sweating over them.


Dollar Brand -African Piano -live 1969 Copenhagen Denmark

another favourite of my recent Tokyo finds! ‘Xahuri Dullah Brahim’ -recorded live on October 22, 1969 in Jazz-hus Montmartre, Copenhagen Denmark. Japanese release Trio PA 7057 Stereo with obi and booklet.

See also previous post SA Jazz -Abdullah Ibrahim speaks! Staffrider interview with poet Hein Willemse NYC Dec 1986

Dollar Brand -African Piano

Side A

1. Bra Joe from Kilimanjaro



4. Xaba

Side B

1. Sunset in Blue

2. Kippy

3. Jabulani-Easter Joy

4. Tintiyana

Japo Records 60002 / Trio PA 7057 Stereo Japan


diggin’ in Japan vol 1; Tokyo record shops

metro Tokyo May 2012

Konnichiwa! The past few weeks my insatiable appetite for African music drove me to Tokyo and Osaka in Japan. Not the most obvious choice to find African music, I agree, but after a few serious digs my bags were filled with great finds, and some new discoveries too!

My guides collector MP Flapp and his friend Iain who lives and works in Tokyo, showed me around -thanks guys!

 Tokyo is without a doubt the biggest metropolis in the world and although the language is impenetrable for foreigners it was relatively easy to get around, especially if you have  a good street map.

Use the subway, it’s the best way to get around in this huge city, easy and handy once one understands the planning and structure of this excellent form of public transport.  And it’s economic too! All vending machines are operated in English and should you get lost then there’s always a helpful English speaking company employee coming to your rescue .

 Think of Tokyo as a collection of many cities and stations, each with it’s own centre/neighborhood where  most markets, shopping areas and record stores are concentrated.

Disk Union publishes an excellent catalog of Tokyo record stores and new releases.

A good map and list of places to go  makes hunting for the big five in Tokyo a lot easier…

Most shops are either ultra-specialised in one specific style or huge in terms of the selection of used -and new- vinyl on offer. Division and lay-out of the shops is quite well marked in English and the prices are relatively cheap, especially for the Japanese pressings.  There is always an interesting section of second-hand vinyl in excellent conditon. But don’t be fooled; it’s hard to find real bargains since most owners seem to know their merchandise -and the prices for rare vinyl- really well.

       The Goldmine grading system has been replaced for the Japanese version of it -using A, B, C as indication- but since the Japanese are keen on clean it is rare to find junk. Most of the staff working in the stores have a basic knowledge of English and are always helpful, a polite bow always works miracles as well.

Flash Disc Ranch

One of my favourite shops in Tokyo is  Flash Disc Ranch -at Shimokitazawa- Misuzu Bldg 2F, 2-12-16 Shimo-Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 155-0031-  a big store one flight up the stairs under a manga-styled door, opened in 1982 with a great selection of R&B, soul, jazz. The specialty of the house is “cheapies”, lots of  it! Check the 45’s boxes, lots of great finds at Yen 100. The owner Masao Tsubaki speaks English and knows his trade very well.

Open 12-10 pm daily (Saturday 14.00h -21.00h). Sundays 14.00h -21.00h. Closed on Wednesday.


  Within walking distance from Flash Disc Ranch is a small shop called Otonomad  that stocks an excellent selection of soul, jazz, world and some rare African vinyl. The selection changes with whatever the owner puts in the racks daily so do check these out as there are some treasures hidden in those bins. Excellent selection of CD’s too and there is a listening post…

Otonomad -3 minutes walk, 1F along the main street shopping district Shimokitazawa Station North Exit from First Avenue. Monday to Saturday 13:00 to 20:00 -Sun, Holidays 12:00 to 19:00 -Closed on Thursday.

Then there is the wonderful El Sur -1OF -1006 Miyamasuzaka Bld, 2-19-15 Shibuya, Shibuya-Ku, Tokyo (closed on wednesday) – not easy to find since it’s located on the 10th floor, we had to ask the postman-but well worth a visit for the best selection of African rarities and world music in general.

I asked the owner Takashi Harada  if he knew the Soul Safari compilation ‘Township Jive & Kwela Jazz’  and hey presto! -he pulled it out the rack in a flash!! Now Takashi deserves a cigar!!! The shop is also well  known for their own releases of selected rare  World music on the El Sur label.

EL SUR Records -directions -3 to 4 minutes from the East Exit of Shibuya Station. Go towards the direction Masuzaka Aoyama Palace, sequence right.Just after the bank, the Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation, Resona, Pronto, pharmacy Higuchi, Matsuya you will a see a big old building <Building Masuzaka Palace> El Sur shop is located on 10th floor, Room 1006.

The entrance is in front of the frame shop.There is a lift to the right immediately as you enter.

Business hours are 2:00 pm until around 10:00. Closed on Wednesdays

TEL 03 (5485) 9967 FAX 03 (5485) 9968

your reporter & Takashi Harada

Noah Lewis’ Records

2A Dentobiru Shimokitazawa 2-23-12 Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 〒 155-0031. Open every day from 9:00 – 12:00 PM -Closed Wednesday. Phone 03-3418-0161. Take the Western exit when leaving the Shimokitazawa subway station, walk along the rail and turn over the crossing, turn left and you’ll find the streetsign.

Noah Lewis’ Records

It may be the smallest record store in Shimokitazawa area, opened in November 2001, but it is a lovely collector’s shop with lots of interesting 78’s, 45 and 33 rpm vinyl specialising in 50’s R&B, Rock ‘n Roll, Doo Wop, New Orleans jazz and odd/weird records. It’s definitely one of my favorite places in the area since the owner speaks English and he plays the picks and advises on whatever you are looking for, very personalized and professional service. Reasonable prices too…

Noah Lewis’ Records
Noah Lewis’ Records

They also do mail order. Great finds in the shop and daily updates on their website.

Disk Union is a chain found in the major shopping centres of  Tokyo, their stock and selection is excellent and huge in terms of the vinyl on offer -both new and used. Check out the cheap Japanese pressings and the used bins. You won’t leave this store empty handed!

Do check out Disk Union’s catalog of Tokyo record stores and new releases. Definitely a must as it contains all addresses and opening hours, descriptions   in English of some of the key stores in Tokyo. Newly updated issues appear regularly at Amazon.co.jp or buy the catalog available at Disk Union stores around Tokyo.

during the coming weeks I will be reporting on the record stores of Osaka in volume 2 of Diggin in Japan.