I met friendly Nana (and Tanno who will be featured in the next post) on the streets of Shibuya last week. Both carrying records, I presumed they were a couple, but turns out they’re colleagues in a small creative company making 3-D Computer Graphics, working in commercials, advertising, events, concerts, and more. When I commented on Nana’s cool Lunar Lander T-shirt, she informed me it was, in fact, her own design and shared her online store @neko_kayo where I could get one! Cool!

Not immediately recognizing the pink vinyl record bag that Nana carried, I assumed it was from a shop that I didn’t know, but turns out, it was actually a sorta alternate bag from Tower Records that was branded “Pied Piper Records.” At that moment, none of the 3 of us could determine the context. From this pink bag, Nana produced Haruomi Hosono’s seminal debut album “Hosono House” which just got a 50th (!!!) anniversary re-release. A personal long-time favorite of mine, go listen to this album if you haven’t heard it yet, or any of the follow-ups “Tropical Dandy” and “Bon Voyage co.”.

When I got back and developed the images and more closely inspected the mysterious Pied Piper Record bag, I realized I needed to ring Nana up to dig hers out of the trash and send me a better photo (Thanks, Nana!) Then I googled Pied Piper Records and proceeded to stumble down a rabbit hole in which I’m still free-falling. Pied Piper is a record store IN a record store, an interpolation of a once legendary Aoyama shop run by music-loving pioneer, Yoshiro Nagato, who apparently managed Hosono early on, and a handful of other influential Japanese artists. Pied Piper was, and still is, known for producing and promoting new artists (including Hosono, Sugar Babe, Pizzicato Five, and more) and spreading musical love and appreciation, and there’s simply not enough space here to share all that I’m continuing to discover about him. Needless to say, Nagato-san is a key figure in Japanese rock/pop history and I encourage you to look him up (Great interview from @RecordPeopleMagazine from where I grabbed a few of these images (…without permission -Thanks and sorry!)

Thank you to Nana-chan for the amazing discovery!

Haruomi Hosono – Hosono House
Label: Bellwood Records – KIJS 90038
Series: 50 Hosono House
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Limited Edition, Reissue, 50th Anniversary Edition
Country: Japan
Released: May 25, 2023
Genre: Rock, Funk / Soul, Folk, World, & Country
Style: Folk Rock, Acoustic, Psychedelic Rock

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