Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Koenji Awaodori 2013 and photos from 2012

It's been a while since I posted, but no better chance then to announce the upcoming dance festival.

The 57th Koenji Awaodori is held this year on 24th and 25th August. This coming weekend, then!
I'm not going to bark on about it too much other than to say it's from 5pm to 8pm.
Get there early and enjoy.
Lots to see before it starts and drinking to do after it finishes.

If you haven't been to this festival before then please check out the links links from previous awaodori's here and some photos from previous years.

Here's some from last year.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Thanks for those that checked this site...

I started this blog to share some things about Koenji.
Koenji is really a great place to visit, hang out, and live.
The bars, live houses, shops, restaurants, even the supermarkets are great.
The overall atmosphere is nothing like the places featured in guide books.

When I first came to Tokyo, over 10 years ago, I used to hang out in Shibuya, Harajuku,, Yoyogi, Shinjuku, and places nearby.
Whilst at first, those places seem cool, fashionable, unique, they also become stale.
For Shibuya, Harajuku, and Yoyogi, people try a bit too hard to stand out from the crowd, and I feel it's not a real reflection of the place, rather a place to go because it's supposed to "be cool".

I moved to Koenji just over 5 years ago, and it was a breath of fresh air.
No posers, like Shibuya and Harajuku.
I don't think that this blog gives a good account, but I hope that someone may have visited Koenji after taking an interest in some of the photos I've posted.

I don't have the time to add much more to this blog, so it will be put on indefinite hold.
I may or may not get around to posting some of the photos I have taken in Koenji.
I've taken hundreds, if not thousands.
Well, including 5 Awaodori's, I must have taken thousands...

There will always be the Awaodori held on the last weekend of August, and also Koenji Festival, held at the end of October.

Thanks for checking the blog.
Enjoy Koenji.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

56th Koenji awaodori 2012

Koenji Awaodori will be held this weekend, 25th and 26th August.

Note that the English site states from 5PM - 9 PM

And the Japanese site states 5PM - 8 PM

I'd say it from 5-8 as the dancing has been always been for 3 hours in past events.

Either way, the finish time matters not, just make sure you get there around 3PM to avoid the hordes of people.

If you get there anytime around 5, you'll be caught up in the confusion of the crowds, and it does get busy in those narrow streets, and the best view you'll get 5-rows back is the top of someones head.

A lot of the regulars and Koenji residents (I'll include myself in that list) will already have claimed their spot.

It's one party that isn't cool to be "fashionably late".

First time visitors to Koenji might notice that there are two exits, north and south, but it will all be changed and roped off and as you get off the platforms, you'll be ushered out of the exit like sheep.

North or south, you say?

In a nutshell, the South has dancing taking place down the main street, which, if you get there late on, is a complete waste of time as you'll be struggling to get a decent view.
To the side of the main street is the PAL shopping arcade, which is a good spot, if you're there early enough, but it gets very hot in there.

To the north, the action takes place a few minutes away on a smaller street and also in the back streets.
If you're coming late, the north side is probably better to get a decent view.

Get there early and have a wander around as a lot of local backstreet shops will be selling some good food and overpriced beer.
Stuff your face with food beforehand and stock up on drinks.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Tailors and Vader

One is of a tailors dummy, think the shop is called "Scissorhands" if memory serves me correctly.
Other is of Circle K's "Jumbo Frankfurter campaign which imaginatively borrows Darth Vader for the cause.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Transport Koenji Style

Bikes and motorbikes in this one.
Let's see, from top to bottom:

- Mini motorbikes
- Women's Custom with a nice saddle
- Post Office bike
- Mini Racer
- Koenji Security Patrol
- Bad-Nice hair salon custom special

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Another from Star Case

Another shot from the entrance of the best shop in Koenji, and indeed Tokyo.

Insert coins to move

Koenji's best street performer.

He remains motionless until you pop some money into his hat and watch him go.

Can be found day or night at random times throughout the day.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

A Beacon of Rebirth Poster Project

I came across this gallery in Tokyo.

The website explains it clearly, so if you have time make sure that you go to it:

From the North exit of Koenji station, turn left and head towards McDonalds and keep going under the train tracks next to Central Road.
You'll come across an ethnic goods shop and a record store. Go inside.
The gallery is against the far wall.

Apparently you can take a poster.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

11th March 2011

When the big earthquake struck in March, I was aboard a train.
Not my best memory of Japan that, but certainly one that will stick in my mind.
I was on my way back to Koenji, between Kichijoji and Nishi Ogikubo stations.
When we were finally evacuated safely from the train the only way back was on foot...

Knowing how old and rundown a lot of the buildings are in Koenji, I wondered if any of them had been unable to withstand 5 minutes of an incredibly strong quake.

To my surprise and relief, the damage was minimal.

This, from what I could tell, was the worst of the damaged bulidings.
The outer wall had collapsed.
I took the pic on the 12th March.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

55th Koenji Awaodori

The 55th Koenji Awaodori kicks off on the last weekend of August.
Recent years have seen the sweltering humidity beaten into submission from torrential rain, but that didn't put anyone off.

If you want some good street photos, be sure to get there early on the 27/28 August.
The actual dancing starts at 3pm both days instead of the usual 6pm. All part of Japan's continued reduction of electrcity outage

I'm posting up a pic that I took a few years ago.
One house near to my flat had put up two posters on their wall advertising the Awaodori at that time.
This wall was turned into a pile of rubble on the 11th March due to the earthquake.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Vintage shops

Now, it is a shame that the vintage British clothes store has closed. It was located under the train tracks and housed some vintage gear with a sixties and seventies style.

Coming from England, there was a real touch of nostalgia in that shop.

Second up, which is still about, is "Peace Face". Koenji has a lot of vintage clothes shops, but the name of this one is one of the best.

Monday, 14 February 2011


If, like me, you have a thing for trainers*, then the best place to go in Koenji is "Pick Up".
Located just off PAL.
Turn right past Village Vanguard and head down that narrow street.
There's a few good shops for new and used gear along this street, but that's for another time...

Pick Up has a good selection of trainers, some clothing and bags.
Trainers are deadstock, new and used.
The prices are very reasonable and they do have some vintage, which are, as to be expected, a little more pricey.
They have a website, but they have more trainers in shop than is featured on their site.

*Trainers = sneakers for the US viewers