Nick Luscombe has been travelling the world exploring not just the sights but above all the unique sounds that the world’s cultures create. You will know him from his shows on BBC Radio 3, Late Junction and Flomotion. You can catch him now on his show NEW RATIO on Mixcloud where he continues his never ending adventure into sound.
Ken Nishikawa started his career in the UK working with the BBC and after moving to Tokyo hosted his radio show “Massiveloop” for 13 years. Still heavily involved in music attention has also turned to filmmaking with titles that include “Ghostroads- a Japanese Rock ’n’ Roll Ghost Story” and “Matsuchiyo-Life of a Geisha” that looks in to th life of one of Japan's last true Geishas, who also happens to be his Mother. He is currently putting the finishing touches to a project as “Neuropop” unit “Niva-tak” with Belgian artist Catherine Scaillet.
As the world’s focus is on the sporting arenas of Tokyo we spent some time with Nick and Ken as they gave us a glimpse of some of their favourite sights and sounds of Tokyo.
In the video where had you been vinyl shopping?
We went to the Disk Union shop in Shinjuku that specialises in classic J-Pop.
What albums are you holding in the video?
Akiko Yano - "Japanese Girl"
Happy End - “Kazemachi Roman”
|Tatsuro Yamashita - “Melodies”|
What’s your favourite Olympic sport and what would be your ideal theme music for that sport?
Nick - I’ve loved watching the women’s and men’s 3x3 Basketball - so intense.
Goes well with Afrika Bambaataa and The Soulsonic Force “ Planet Rock”!
What were your first impressions of Tokyo?
Nick - I can still recall my first visit in the late 90s. It was a huge shock to discover the scale of the city, and despite its vast size, how Tokyo is comprised of many smaller towns and cities, each with a different identity. I am still discovering new areas all the time.
How do London and Tokyo compare, if they do at all?
Nick - Space is at a premium here, even more than in London, so that dictates the use of land here and generally most places - homes, shops etc in the central areas are much smaller. Having said that the space is used so well that it’s easy to adapt and adjust to that, so it never feels claustrophobic! There’s no point in me comparing the transport systems or the trains in general!
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Any favourite new flavours?
Nick - I am loving a new compilation of Japanese City Pop and Boogie called Tokyo Glow which is out later this year via Nippon Columbia / We Want Sounds. It's so good from start to finish... I have also been enjoying Emerson Kitamura's latest YouTube videos of laid back organ dub and reggae. I also went shopping at El Sur records recently in Shibuya and found some amazing new Okinawan music.
Consequently I'm off to the forest near Lake Yamanaka tomorrow to record some musicians, and no doubt insects. So that's my soundtrack for this week sorted!
What would you suggest for 24 hours in Tokyo?
Ken - Suppose the COVID-19 pandemic is over, get up early to go to Tsukiji fish market and have the freshest sushi on the planet for breakfast. Then explore the old town - Asakusa is a popular area for tourists with a charm from the bygone era. My personal recommendation, however, is Shibamata, another area where traditional old Tokyo is very well preserved and considerably less touristy. If you’re into Japanese pop culture, then go to Akihabara and/or Nakano Broadway. If anime is not your cuppa, then expose yourself to the history of Tokyo at Edo-Tokyo Museum. In the evening, head to either Ginza, Shibuya or Shinjuku - depending on your age group and preference - Ginza is very high-class whilst Shibuya is very much youth-orientated. As for Shinjuku, anything goes and it has the biggest Gay town in Japan, if not the world - for dinner and, since you’re in Tokyo, give post-dinner karaoke a go - especially if you never sing at home!
On this note we'll leave our two finely turned out adventurers to their new horizons, Insect Karaoke in a forest near Lake Yamanaka maybe? Either way many thanks and enjoy and if you see Nihal the next bento box is on him.