January 20, 2003

My oasis

I live in Nishi Koyama. It's a very small station that you really wouldn't get off at unless you live there. Lots of jiichan & baachan (grandpas and grandmas), a shotengai (traditional shopping arcade), and a community feel (although it's already changed in the year I've been there: McDonald's pushed its way in, 3 new big apartments went up, my pharmacy totally remodeled into a place I'd rather not visit now...).

BUT, there is "Gekko," a super cool Booze&Vinyl bar tucked away in the back alley. I poked my head in for the first time during summer because the door was open and I was attracted to the gentle candle light inside. It's like a home for me now. I particularly like going alone and meeting whoever happens to be there. For some reason, quite a few actors stop by (although I don't watch much tv so I really don't know who they are).

Here is the entrance. Just a simple light on top with sliding doors. It would be easy to mistake it for someone's personal home except for the laughter and music you can hear from the outside. Still learning new stuff: I just discoverd he has a really cool selection of Reggae records (I dig Reggae). And I hadn't noticed before, but there is an "A" on the door light. In Okinawa, that signified that the bar served foreigners. Master recently glued a gecko on too, but when he tried to show me, we discovered it had fallen. He glued it back on. And, the bar 'just' celebrated its first year anniversary so he gave me a commemorative T-shirt. I love it!

Posted by Mie at January 20, 2003 09:35 AM

heya Mia! i love your site! i got the link via hunkabutta-tokyoshoes :) what wonderful pics! i never thought phone-cameras can do such great tricks! i envy you with the Gekko T-shirt there... hehe... it's very cute! so, can you tell us more about yourself, your life in Japan, etc...? keep up with the fabulous work, Mia chan!

cheers, April

Posted by: April at January 20, 2003 11:04 AM

Thanks April! It's such fun to know people are checking this out. Glad to to know you enjoy it! Yeah, I obviously whip out my phone anytime anywhere.

: )

Posted by: Mie at January 20, 2003 05:08 PM

Seeing your shots makes me miss Kichijoji and all the sites and sounds of Nihon! (Except for the crowded Chuo/Yamanote line morning trains...) Keep it up!!! I can at least be there virtually!

Posted by: Michael at January 21, 2003 06:01 AM

Hi Michael,

Kichijyoji...now that's another cool neighborhood. Great cafes...did you know 'Sometime' by an chance? A top notch jazz bar that is intimate and casual (unlike Blue Note which is too much of a show for me). They have a counter area just for the regulars who come on their own to hear great music right in front of them. You must know Shimokitazawa too, eh? One of my favorite Reggae bars was there...
: )

Posted by: at January 21, 2003 10:35 AM

Wow, Shimokitazawa - isn't that where "mother's ruin" was, a gin bar with awesome tunes? And there was that Italian place there too, that served spaghetti in huge bowls... the record shops in Shktza were excellent.

I went to college at ICU and traversed from Club Mo to Yellow to the Liquid Room for gigs... Club Asia's Ring party were over the top. Last night I was remembering that yakitori place by Inokashira park in Kichijoji, the old run-down huge student hangout that had wickedly good food and very cold beer, and kerosene heaters in the winter, we all huddled around.

My buddy "DJ Young Jeff" is still over there, an English bloke who spins reggae/dub tunes - he worked for a while at "The Egg" radio station in Kichijoji and got me my first on-air there. I used to love Tokyo 'cause I could bike anywhere I wanted to, day or night, and it was cool with traffic. Here in the states I feel like I am taking my life into my own hands. Anyway, Mie, keep it up...

Posted by: Michael at January 21, 2003 10:15 PM


I think I've heard DJ Jeff...He played a while ago at Sugar High, no? Is he friends with Keith? I'm pretty sure...You know, Tokyo is so big, yet over and over I'm reminded how small it is too. I'm amazed at the links I find between people.

Posted by: Mie at January 22, 2003 06:00 PM

Could have been Sugar High, don't know. It has been a while since I have seen him. He is this crazy balding little red-haired English dude. I used to cut his hair, and he would clue me in to cool Indian music and bring me Asahi Superdry for payment.

We all used to live in the same gaijin house in Higashi-Koganei years ago - the Big Apple - it was called. Then I moved out and started working security at concerts and clubs, and he would show up sometimes and I would get him in for free.

The music scene was much more a free-for-all in Tokyo, here in the states it is much more set by radio stations.

Anyway, love the pop-eyed dog, give him a squeeze and watch his eyes get like Ren and Stimpy!!!

Posted by: Michael at January 23, 2003 01:00 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?