Last week, we found occasion to visit Tower Records Kinshicho, right under the Tokyo Sky Tree. Since Kinshicho is a bit of an out-of-the-way location (except for people who live in the nuclear fallout zones west Chiba and east Saitama, and who wants to live there?) we had not hitherto paid a visit to this particular location of Tower Records, especially since the 9-storey Shibuya location is far closer to our usual digs and haunting grounds. But certain sources had informed us that the manager of Tower Records Kinshicho is a massive fanboy of the same sort of underground Japanese rock covered here on The Blog-Tick Phenomenon, so we felt that a visit might be worth our while, and we were not wrong.
Even before we entered the store, we were greeted by this light-up billboard:
And once inside, we quickly discovered the very large Buck-Tick shrine, right next to the only slightly smaller shrine to Ken Morioka! Note the inclusion of old albums and side projects, including Schaft and The Mortal (for Buck-Tick) and Ka.F.Ka (for Ken Morioka).
At the bottom right in this picture, you can see that someone, presumably the fanboy manager, had made loving zine-style black-and-white photocopies of the promo flyers for the Atom Miraiha No. 9 tour, for interested customers to take home with them for free.
And here's his long, handwritten birthday tribute to Imai Hisashi:
A close-up on the Ken Morioka tribute boards. Fans were invited to write memorial messages of their own, and as you can see, both boards are already full.
The word is that this manager is an even bigger fan of My Way My Love than he is of Buck-Tick, which would certainly explain the effort that went into crafting this My Way My Love shrine, right around the corner from the Buck-Tick shrine. Note the miniature handwritten album review for Nothing is difficult to those who have the will, an album which came out ten whole years ago. At the left side of the photo is another set of black and white photocopied flyers that were handmade by the manager, including his very own handwritten live report of "Seiten no My Way," a concert performed by The Mortal members Miyo Ken (with his band Seiten no Hekireki) and Murata Yukio (with his band My Way My Love) back in May.
Friends, this is what record stores used to be like. Though this kind of record store is growing fewer every year, let's do our best to keep a few of them open. Next time you visit Japan, I encourage all of you to check out Tower Records Kinshicho - it's imbued with the sort of DIY spirit rarely found in this corporate era, and maybe if you're lucky, the manager will be on the floor and you'll have a chance to say hi and fanboy over Buck-Tick together for a few minutes. We're sure he'd be delighted.