Tokyo Record Store Report: Jar-Beat Record
When I go out hunting for record stores in Tokyo, I usually know where I’m going and how to get there. I research the hell out of an area, make my own custom Google Map, and set out on a pretermined path to maximize shopping potential and minimize needless walking. But even with all my research and meticulous planning, even I sometimes wander across a record store that I would have never found if it hadn’t been for dumb random luck.
That was the case with Jar-Beat Record, a quaint little record store located off the beaten path in the neighborhood of Kichijoji, away from the main drag of shops and most of the other record stores in the area. I found this store completely by accident, coming across it while walking home. And I’m certainly glad I did. Because while Jar-Beat may be a little on the small side, it sure packs a big punch in such a cramped space.
Jar-Beat stocks both LPs and CDs, and if I had to hazard a guess, I’d say their inventory is split pretty evenly between the two. CDs take up the entire right wall, while two rows of LPs occupy the majority of the floor space. As the sign by the front door suggests, most of Jar-Beat’s inventory is dedicated to hip-hop and electronic music, but within the confines of those genres, Jar-Bear still manages to feature a pretty diverse selection of music. Also, everything is really easy to find, because the records and CDs at Jar-Beat are incredibly organized, with space given to just about every single sub-genre imaginable. Want some Miami Bass? Jar-Beat has you covered. How about Breakcore, industrial or various sub-categories of jazz and house? They’re all separated and perfectly organized, making it as easy as possible to browse for exactly what you want.
As excellent as Jar-Beat’s main selection is, I would have to say that the real draw of the store is their “general used” section, which features a little bit of everything from hip-hop to brit-pop, American rock to Japanese pop. There are some crazy collectible records buried in these stacks. I saw a copy of the KLF-associated Space album, some rare Stone Roses, and even a sealed copy of Nine Inch Nails’ The Fragile. As you might expect, some of those records weren’t cheap, but the prices seemed fair to me.
Are there bigger stores in Tokyo? Definitely. Shit, there are bigger stores in Kichijoji (which I’ll write about eventually, trust me). But if you’re looking for club music, or a shockingly-great selection of hard-to-find rarities, then you should definitely check out Jar-Beat.