Now, here is somebody who deserved his holiday to Tokyo with his family, and a trip to Tower Records for some of his favorite music on vinyl. Meet Jacee from Manilla who, after many years of hard vacation-less effort acquiring a medical degree, has been working in the Philippines healthcare system emergency room doctor for the last year and a few months. I caught up with him and his family at the big Shibuya Scramble Crossing.

Jacee and his family with warm and welcoming and we chatted each other up quite a bit. I was able to share a bit out my visit to the Philippines a decade ago following Typhoon Haiyan and the volunteer “Photosayas” photography project spearheaded by my mate Jesslee, inspired by our volunteer project here in Japan “Photohoku, that addressed the 2011 disasters. It was great to be reminded of that amazing experience and to feel the kind, caring, positive, and resilient spirit of the Philippines.

It was a cold and busy night in Shibuya, and I didn’t want to keep Jacee and his family for long, so after a few photos (and even an obligatory “Grouphie”) I sent them on their back to their hotel, from where they would venture off together to Osaka and Kyoto in the following days. I followed with a few questions via chat with Jacee and he shared more about himself and his interests.

“My hobbies are sketching in my free time while listening to music, reading comics/manga with good coffee and going out for a walk with my dogs. It’s my first time in Japan even though my family has been there a few times (hence being so familiar with Japan already) I’m always left out cause I was busy finishing my medical degree. So I was very stoked and excited to come even though I’ve just been to Osaka and Kyoto, with a little side trip to Shibuya just to visit Tower Records.”

I asked Jacee about some of the highlights of this time in Japan and he replied, “Osaka is a bit modern with its bustling streets, and even livelier nightlife but the main highlight was the food which is absolutely delicious whether it’s street food or when we’re eating in a restaurant. In contrast, Kyoto is steeped in history, featuring ancient temples, traditional tea houses, and beautiful gardens. It preserves a more traditional atmosphere, making it feel like I’m back to the old days of samurai and kimonos, and perfectly describes how I imagined Japan to be when I was younger. My trip here in Japan was short-lived, but I’m wishing to explore more of it in the future and see what cities offer unique experiences that blend Japan’s past and present.”

Always curious about how people initially get into vinyl records, I often ask people “Why, when you can stream anything, do you buy records?” Jacee replied to me, “I think the difference between Vinyl and streaming is they offer distinct experiences. Vinyl provides tangible, nostalgic sound with album art, while streaming offers convenience and a vast digital library. The choice depends on personal preference for either analog warmth or modern accessibility.” Not familiar with Twice’s “Perfect World” (which I did go listen to, and actually surprised myself liking it more than I expected I would, it not being the typical music I reach for), I asked Jacee more about his taste in music and he replied “I used to confine myself with alternative rock music, which I still listen to from time to time, but now exploring more music has opened up so many opportunities to love other genres.”

With several generations of Philippine music lovers there in front of me, I had to ask for a couple of local recommendations from Mom, Dad, and extended family. They insisted I check out, Ariel Rivera (a huge beloved heartthrob legend), Juan Karlos (a now 22 year-old singer and song-writer and rocker who has had the limelight since he was 13, and who I really quite dug after checking out), and Ben&Ben (a sorta indie-sounding folk pop band who I guess have been winning tons of awards since forming in 2017 – I also checked them out and really dug what say). Three great recommendations from the Pearl of the Orient!

Great to meet you, Jacee and fam! Happy trails!

More Tokyo Record Style on the way…

Twice – Perfect World
Label: Warner Music Japan – WPJL10202
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Limited Edition
Country: Japan
Released: Dec 6, 2023
Genre: Pop
Style: J-pop, K-pop

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