Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Star Case - Star Wars Memorabilia

Second floor shop housing the finest collection of Star Wars...erm...everything I've ever seen.
Some of the stuff there I had when I was a kid, some of it I still have, some of it I never had and most of it I'd never seen before.
All modern and vintage stuff.
A full size Stormtrooper/Sandtrooper greets you at the entrance.
They wouldn't let me take any photos in the shop, but it's impressive to say the least.
I bet they've got stuff that even George Lucas ain't got.

Website and blog:

Fixed gear and single speed bicycle specialists

The shop's called BEANS.
Fixed and single speed specialists. They're never short of work, and there's always at least a handful of people in there at any one time. I'm not sure if BEANS was the original fixed bike shop in Koenji, but it seems to be the most popular.
It's located on the street called "Koenji Look" which is easy to find if you keep walking through PAL shopping arcade.
PAL is the shopping street which is roofed, Koenji Look continues on this street, but all the shops are open air.



Beans moved from Koenji in May '09.

Cycling Legend

I spotted this guy near Koenji station. He's something to do with "No-Crime" or "Crime Prevention" in Koenji.
He's got the fold-up chair strapped to his back; shin guards for protection, football socks and a pair of Adidas Nite Jogger, and stocked up with not 1, but 2 umbrellas.
Looks like he's got supplies of food for those long nights on watch.

Let's face it, nobody's gonna fuck.

Great stuff!

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Down under the train tracks 1

Random shots from under and next to the train tracks as you turn left out Koenji station South exit.

Down under the train tracks 2

Random shots from under and next to the train tracks as you turn left out Koenji station South exit.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Clothing Time

The picture at the top, you can see Risk darts and billiards. At the top of this street, which is actually a small hill, is POEM coffee house.
Clothing Time is near the bottom of this hill. New and used clothes.

Coffee House POEM

"POEM coffee house" offers 100 different types of coffee...and I bet it's not a cup full of fuckin' froth! Come on Starbucks match that.

Over the road you can see another shop. It's a used trainers/sneakers shop. They also have some deadstock models.
Mostly Converse and Vans with a few Adidas thrown in for good measure.

At the corner and down the slope are a used record shop, darts and billiards hall and "Clothing Time". Pics of these later.

Just a bit about this blog...

Photos and stuff of the mighty Koenji.

If you've spent a few nights here, then it needs no introduction.

Mission's Live Music Bar

Turn right out of North exit of Koenji station and follow the street past the police box and Tokyu supermarket. Keep walking for 1-2 minutes, passing Family Mart on the way, and here is Mission livehouse.
Wash Club is next door, which isn't a club, just a launderette...nice name though.

They happen to have a shit load of bottled liquor.
1 drink is 500 yen, but they do 3 drinks for 1000 yen later in the night.
They serve a generous helping of whiskey, which is nice.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

高円寺20000V (Koenji 20000 volt)

Bands playing pretty much every night.
The photo at the top of this blog came from there.
Website in Japanese, map in English. Take the South exit, turn right from the station and head down PAL arcade.

Quick note that GEAR is located in the same building.

Koenji from above

Fascinating stuff...perhaps...
This is a birds eye view of Koenji and surrounding area.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Iden & Tity - filmed in Koenji

Filmed in Koenji, and part of it close to my apartment.
A Japan-only soundtrack featuring Bob Dylan was also released.

Iden & Tity is the story of one young man's discovery of his own capacity for being 'Bronson'. Nakajima (musician Mineta in an impressive acting debut) is the guitar player for rock band Speedway, a four-piece that seems chronically unable to outgrow the club circuit or expand their core audience of loyal fans. Despite a boom in the interest for homegrown rock bands, the boys find themselves saddled with a record company that boycotts any venture that is not aimed at writing chart-topping pop ditties. At the same time, Nakajima regularly clashes with lead singer Johnny over a variety of artistic differences. While spike-haired, leatherclad Johnny wants the amps turned up to 11 on all occasions, Nakajima, with his moptop and nerdy glasses, aims for a more sensitive approach to composing and performing. Crises lurk not only within the band, but at home too, as Nakajima tries to bury his insecurities by cheating on his girlfriend with a succession of groupies, all of which fall for exactly the cute and cuddly aspects of his appearance that he himself so despises.

An article and review here:

Yoshinoya/No Loan 1

What we've got here is a back street opposite the North Exit of Koenji Station, behind Neo Pachinko Slot.
This picture was one I took in 2007. I pass it every day.
The building on the left has since been knocked down and construction has begun on what I don't know, but I'm planning to take some more pictures as it develops.
I'll post them at somewhat regular intervals.
I named this post after the two big signs on the right of the picture.
This is picture #1.

Koenji Streets - Low Riders

Low Rider appreciation around the streets of Koenji.

Koenji Streets

Quick note that the place on the left has since been knocked down and they have a parking lot there. Down the road from OK Supermarket.

Koenji Streets - mono

Saturday, 17 May 2008


Every August, during the holidays, a large festival is held in Koenji.
Both North and South sides of Koenji station are decorated and spectator stands are erected.
The festival itself features a lot of dancing, singing/chanting and playing instruments-mostly drums.
Each dance group wears matching clothing and comes from all parts of Japan, as indicated by a banner carried by someone in the group.
Celebrations are held over three days and it's very busy and crowded.
Makeshift foodstalls are scattered everywhere.

Celebrations start in the mid afternoon.
Personally recommend spending a day in Koenji and come around 12-1pm and you will see a lot of people preparing and in full costume...good chance for pics just by walking around the station and back streets.
Coming early also gives you the chance to get familiar with Koenji and locate a good spot for later on.

The actual singing and dancing starts at 6pm and lasts for around 3 hours.
There are several start points around Koenji with the main attraction being close to the station.
Here is where it's most crowded and if you haven't come early enough, then you'll be watching it 3-4 people deep in the crowd.

Arriving at Koenji station anytime ater 5pm will take you a lot of time to navigate your way to a good viewing point...which you probaly won't get anyway as all the good spots will be taken.
Koenji station is relatively small with only 2 exits. On festival day, Koenji becomes a mass of bodies slowly shuffling their way to a good spot. Get here early, like I said.

Living in Koenji, I was able to find out where about 30 of the groups were starting their parade.
Head into the back streets for an in-your-face view.
I took those pics(see other posts) from the North side, about 3 minutes from the station where it seemed that all the locals knew of.
Come out of the North exit, and turn right towards the police box, and go acroos the crossing. Turn left after the crossing and walk past the pachinko parlour, and keep going. You should see "Jeans Mate".
It won't be too hard to miss as you will see the crowds. From there, be a bit adventurous and head into the back streets.
You'll get the best view and it's noisy as fuck.
There is no break from 6-9pm, so make sure you are stocked up on grub and beer. And of course, being in the summer, it's bloody hot and humid.

Awadori in Koenji is definitely a "must-do" activity in Tokyo.