Are Tapes Really “Big In Japan”?

Yesterday I was in one of my favorite record shops here in Japan, a wonderful little store in Nakano called Shop Mecano. It’s a store dedicated to new wave, synthpop and electronic music – all things that are right up my ally. His stock is pretty evenly split between CDs and LPs, although I suspect that the majority of his business is CD sales, as that inventory seems to cycle a hell of a lot more frequently than his LP supply.

One thing I never saw in his store was cassette tapes, that was, until yesterday, when I saw a sole copy of Kraftwerk’s The Mix up against the wall, ready to go to someone’s home for the low price of 2,000 yen (about $20). I told the owner that he should mark this up, as cassette tapes are big in Japan now – riding a huge comeback at the moment. With a look that I can only describe as “incredulous incredulousness” he scoffed at that suggestion outright, saying, almost with disdain that the cassette tape revival is “fake.”

I asked if he meant “fad.” But now, he was insistent on his usage of “fake.”

“No one is buying those,” he said with assurance. Continue reading

Tales Of Woe And Analog-To-Digital Conversion: Turntable Edition

Since appearing on Retronauts for the second time, I’ve discovered that a few people hold me in high regard as an audio expert/audiophile. I don’t know if that’s a fair portrayal of me and my expertise regarding audio equipment, but that sure is nice of people to think so. But on nights like tonight I feel like they sure as hell shouldn’t.

I tend to get a little obsessive about my turntable when things aren’t going right. Well, to quote an ex, I get “kind of scary and weird.” And I suppose that this instance is no exception. Continue reading

Tokyo Travelogue – Tokyo Art City by Naked

Tokyo is never lacking when it comes to impressive art exhibitions at museums, galleries, or even shopping malls, but whenever the design firm Naked comes out with another light-themed artistic display, it’s usually something special. Their latest feat, dedicated to Tokyo itself, is no exception. Tokyo Art City by Naked is an amazing amalgamation of light, art, and music that creates a one-of-a-kind experience that showcases everything wonderful and amazing about the city it’s based on.

It’s also hella trippy. Continue reading

Sushi Arcade Games, Pretty Flowers, and Zima

Over the years I read a lot about “strange” Japanese arcade games. There was the one where you poke people in the butt, that’s a classic. And of course there was the table flipping one that I think a lot of people know about. But I’ve never been lucky enough to find either of them in the wild since I moved to Tokyo three years ago. I think the weirdest arcade game I had ever come across was a Typing Of The Dead style game starring Lupin The 3rd, which to be honest, was pretty damn weird now that I think about it.

But it’s not as weird as this! Continue reading

I Went To A Game Music DJ Show

West of Tokyo, about 10 minutes away from Shinjuku via the Chuo Line, is Koenji, a neighborhood called the coolest in Tokyo by many a magazine both foreign and domestic. This is thanks largely to the hood’s amazing bar and club scene. Take a stroll down any of Koenji’s dozens of sketchy-looking, but entirely safe, sidestreets and you’ll come upon any number of hip clubs and pubs, each with their own unique flavor and style. Want to eat hot dogs and down American IPAs? Koenji has bar for that. Want to watch YouTube videos of 80s hip-hop and play darts? Koenji’s got you covered. Want to dance the night away with otaku while rocking out to killer game music jams from the 80s to today? Apparently Koenji’s the place the for that now too. Continue reading

Game Music Revue – Sound Mario Bros.

Man, living in Japan in the 80s must’ve been dope as shit. Continue reading

The Second Version of The Mummy You Should See (After The 1932 One)

 

I’ve been reading a lot about the new Mummy film and how it’s a complete shitshow trainwreck that somehow shows simultaneously everything that’s wrong with Hollywood blockbusters, reboots, and Tom Cruise (which if you think about it, is kind of impressive in its own right.)

One thing I repeatedly see, in both the articles about the new film and in the comments that reply to it, is that the film doesn’t hold a candle to the 1999 Mummy film starring Brendan Fraser. I even saw an article that said, more or less, “if you only see one Mummy movie, make it the 1999 version.”

Fuck. That. Continue reading

Steve Winwood and self-realizations

Oh shit I accidentally bought a Steve Winwood album. I hate it when that happens. Continue reading

VHS Rip Success – Mario Paint Instructional Video

Just a few days back I was complaining that I couldn’t get my radical new VHS ripping machine to work properly, but that crisis is now thankfully over! I got it all up and running thanks to the magical wonder of DVD-RAM. Whatever problem I was having setting up my DVD rips to work in my computer was apparently not an issue with DVD-RAM. My computer read those files no problem at all, and I was able to convert them to a YouTube-friendly format with ease.

So enjoy the official Mario Paint Instructional Video. Continue reading

Game Music Revue: Famicom/Namcot Game Sound Museums

When I moved to Japan a few years back, my game music collecting habit really kicked itself into overdrive. And whenever I would go out looking for CD soundtracks of my favorite classic titles, I would occasionally stumble upon these strange tiny CDs of Nintendo game audio. I would pick one up whenever I saw them. They were cheap, and many of them were for some of my favorite games of all-time, so why not?

Next thing I knew, I had over 30 of them. Continue reading

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