Hatagaya has a special place in my heart. It was the first place I lived in Tokyo, two stops from Shinjuku on the microscopic 2-station Keio-Shinsen Line. Little did I know when my pal Taku and I traded places, him leaving Japan on a sojourn of a lifetime, and me ending mine, that when he handed me the keys to his little apartment in Yashiro Mansion, and the keys to his motorcycle, that I would become forever rooted to Japan and that Shimokita/Shibuya/Shinjuku triangle would more-or-less remain my stomping grounds all these nearly 20 years later.
Back then Hatagaya was fairly pedestrian, by no means hip I’d say, but its proximity to the aforementioned neighborhoods, as well as to Nakako in the other direction made it pretty darn convenient, but really not much to write home about besides a couple of non-descript shotengai shopping streets with all the usual fixings, the vegetable stand, the flower shop, the sento and post office, a few specialty shops here-and-there, and lots of ramen and short-lived bars. These days Hatagaya seems to have become an outpost of “oshare” Uehara with Select Recycle Shops, Live Houses, BBQ Joints, Coffee Roasters, Wine Bistros, Premium Beer Bars, and one of the finest little record stores this side of Yamate Dori. But it’s still ever-so-slightly off the radar, and these are all the reasons why I selected it as the location of Volume 3 of Tokyo Record Style Day.
So after an amazing pre-record-shopping lunch at Freeman Shokudo where a few of us devoured some choice Pastrami Sandwiches, and amazing Pork Shoulder Plates, Pickles, Hummus, Fries, and Beer, All special thanks to Jeremy Freeman &Co (Thank you guys!! It was delish!!), we headed down to charming Ella Records and essentially commandeered the place, another whirlwind of vinyl junkies descending on an unsuspecting record shop, each of us in every corner of the shop, shouting at scores we’d found in bins or albums being played on the house system.
As you’d imagine, it was a blast mixing it up with Sean, Bemsha, Taylor, Fede, Keesh, and Morgan, and my only regret is that I unluckily struck out and didn’t manage to find any grails I was looking for at the right price and in the right condition, a rare occurrence (but a sometimes welcome relief as Keesh put it… I knew exactly what he meant. But Ella’s crew was and is always super nice and chatted us up a bit and made shot a nice photo of us, and what else can I say – I’ll just quote Lou Reed “Oh, it [was] such a perfect day, I’m glad I spent it with you [guys]!”
Last thing, heads up! June 17th, I’ll be hosting a 12th Episode of “Top 5 Records – DJ Event and Talk Show. The theme is “Heroes …Just for One Day!” Link here.
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