Haven't been playing too many shows since my Kyushu tour, but luckily that's left me with enough time to finally see some more gigs from other bands and djs, as well as spend some quality time in good old Koenji! Me and Zana joined our friend Matt on his "Koenji staycation" project, the object of which is him spending his summer vacation at home to explore Koenji's endless labyrinth of amazing bars, shops, cafes, restaurants and live venues. We went from visiting shops that we've passed by numerous times and never walked into, to finding hidden treasures in places we've never bothered to look at or even knew existed. It was fascinating to see Meluken, supposedly the oldest cafe in Koenji, which feels like a fairytale cavern lost in time, shrubs overgrowing the entrance, classical music playing with the hiss of old vinyl, ancient decor and an incredibly charming madame running the place as if the outside world hadn't changed for decades. On the other hand you have post-apocalyptic clothes shops such as Kitakore or Nincampoop Capacity, retro-futuristic sci-fi bars like Godzilla 2, 1930s era Japanese film themed izakayas in basements, European styled cafes in the street, bizzarro music venues Muryoku Muzenji and Enban, bleach white sparsely decorated minimalist coffee shops, and places like the mysterious Cafe Rui which seem as if the only people who ever visit them must be ghosts. The more time I spend here, the more exciting I find Koenji. One can observe beautiful sights from early morning when the first people head to work and the monks see to their rituals in the temples, to late night when the last incredibly shitty yet in some way amazing street bands play their songs outside Koenji station.
But just in case you were wondering, no, we're not just sitting around eating and drinking and partying (although that does seem to take up a large percentage of our time), there is also an N'toko video being shot and a new Trinitron album being recorded and a bunch of gigs coming up....More on that soon!
Still from the new N'toko video
Words of wisdom in a clothes shop
Pictures in Cafe Apartment
Got some really vintage photos from the Bamii archive
Coffee in Koenji
From an old video shop
The mysterious Cafe Meluken
Our friends joined us on the Staycation
Amazing performance by Moja
Hanbei, old movie posters and film music izakaya
Went and saw me some Bo Ningen
Koenji stamp of approval