I suppose it was inevitable, but Julie and I have recently started collecting records. We were finally convinced after hearing the sound quality of some albums on vinyl that our friend played for us a few weekends ago. I don’t think we’ll take it too seriously or anything but over the years to come I imagine we’ll gradually accumulate some of our favorite albums and spin them while we relax at home.
Of course it’s also fun to go digging around for old, forgotten records. We were able to do just that in the tiny town of Hiranai and the following week in the city of Hachinohe.
Here’s the recycle shop in Hiranai with the records. I can’t remember if we’ve blogged about this place before or not, but it’s absolutely amazing. All sorts of antiques, toys, clothes, and appliances. You can find anything from cooking utensils to traditional wooden dolls to bed frames to analog synthesizers to a kanji printing press. And, of course, there is a huge cache of records.
Stuff we found:
Takeshi and the Blue Jeans. This is without a doubt our best find. On this record the band plays surf rock versions of traditional Japanese folk songs with the electric guitar carrying the melody. So why does the album cover look so rebellious? Well, when these guys were making music, the electric guitar was pretty controversial. I’ve read reports that an attempt was made to ban the instrument from being played in public places (though obviously those efforts were in vain).
Takeshi and his band were heavily influenced by the Ventures as were thousands of other young people in Japan in the ’60s. In fact if you look close enough you can see the Ventures logo on the headstock of the guitar. The Ventures continue to play hundreds of shows in Japan every year. They’ve sold more albums in Japan than the Beatles. Later this month I’ll get a chance to see them live in Misawa.
Our main find in Hachinohe was a collection of Ishida Ayumi 45s. Julie and I became fans of Ishida a couple of years ago.
One last story about the recycle shop in Hiranai. While were browsing the aisles I came across a set of four records that appeared to be a collection of nationalistic/military songs from the early 1900s through World War II. The set was in perfect condition and included several photos and some sort of informational essay that accompanied it. We couldn’t believe we found it. It was like finding an important historical document and made the other records we found seem like 40 year old candy wrappers.
So we brought it to the counter and then owner said, in Japanese of course, “Oh this record. Was it over there? Oh, I see, well, I’m sorry about it’s not for sale. It’s my personal record. Sorry.”
It was disappointing but at the same time he can appreciate that record in ways we’ll never be able to so it’s just as well. We’re just glad it won’t be tossed into the trash anytime soon.