Azim and Family

Do you remember the scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail when King Arthur and his Knights reach the mysterious and feared “Bridge of Death”? Some of the knights make safe passage by correctly answering the scary and mean bridgekeeper’s riddles of various difficulty (What is your favorite color?) while some don’t (What is the capital of Assyria?) and are magically thrown into “Gorge of Eternal Peril” When it’s King Athur’s turn to answer the riddle “What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?” King Arthur stumps the bridgekeeper himself by inquiring “Which kind of swallow: African or European?” Unable to reply, the bridgekeeper is thrown to his own death. King Arthur passes safely when Sir Lancelot asks him “How do you know so much about swallows?” to which the King replies, “Well, you have to know such things when you’re king.”

When I spotted Azim carrying a Disk Union bag walking in Shimokitazawa amongst three other individuals all looking curious of their surroundings, I quickly suspected that he might be the teenage son of this family, along with mother, father, and sister, perhaps all on holiday visiting Japan from…?

“Hi there! I’m Brian and I noticed you’re carrying some records. I’m a photographer and… are you guys from around here?”

“No, we’re visiting from Brunei.”

“Not the city of Bandar Seri Begawan, by chance?”

“YES! How on earth do you know Bandar Seri Begawan?”

“Well, a photographer approaching strangers on the streets of Tokyo for portraits and musical chats has to know such things” I heard myself saying, like Kind Athur on the Bridge of Death.

For those curious, the country of Brunei is located on the Island of Borneo in the South West Pacific, rich with oil and gas, and home to the world’s oldest rainforest, where pigmy elephants, proboscis monkeys, and orangutans originate. And speaking of kings, it’s ruled by an absolute monarchy, one of the world’s very few remaining, under the 50-year reign of Hassanal Bolkiah, the Sultan of Brunei!

And speaking MORE about kings, Azim chose two great records from Disk Union that both bore the word KING: a Jay “King” Dilla record, and a “King Size” MF Doom record! WOW!

Azim and his family had already visited Kyoto and Osaka on this trip and finally, it was Azim’s turn to pick the destination and he dragged them all to hip Shimokita for the record-shopping and the like. Well done, pal! What’s more, is that these two records are Azim’s FIRST! Another new record collector alert! YES! Azim also told me about some aspirations to try his hand at being a barista and it just so happened to be that we were standing RIGHT in front of the famous Bear Pond Coffee, one of the most coffee-headed places in all of Tokyo (I haven’t been in years, but I vaguely remember once being refused a particular coffee because it was after 10am and there being too much collective draw on the entire Tokyo power grid, such that the barista’s machine could not prepare what I had ordered up to the shop standard in a sorta “No Soup For You!” Seinfeld kind way. I’m long overdue for a coffee at Bear Pond. Maybe I’ll dash over there now. Good luck on your barista dream, Azim, and thanks again for the time and smiles!

PS. One very last thing about Kings. Brian, my name, also means King in Irish, Brian Boru being the first to unite the nation and defeat the Vikings. Monty Python’s Graham Chapman, who played King Arthur, also went on to play Brian, in “The Life Brian” which is about, well… Brian, (tongue in cheek) King of the Jews. #alwayslookonthebrightsideoflife #moretokyorecordstyleontheway

J Dilla – Jay Dee A.K.A. King Dilla
Label: Ne’Astra Music Group – NMG35773LP
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: US
Released: May 19, 2017
Genre: Hip Hop
Style: Instrumental

Metal Fingers – Special Herbs (Volume 1 & 2)
Label: Nature Sounds – NSD-100, Metal Face Records – none
Series: Special Herbs – 1 & 2
Format: 2 x Vinyl, LP, Compilation, Reissue
Vinyl, 7″, 45 RPM, Limited Edition
All Media, Special Edition
Country: US
Released: Nov 12, 2013
Genre: Hip Hop
Style: Instrumental

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