Given my proclivities and never having been to a record store in Japan, it’s probably no surprise that I looked forward to my trip to Disk Union with great enthusiasm. Due to extremely limited time, I only managed to make one stop – to the used-only branch in Shinjuku.
My immediate impressions were of how small their used vinyl selection was – hardly bigger than that of Other Music. Happily, this meant I could go through everything of interest while my colleague browsed their much larger used CD collection.
For the sake of what I will pretend is public discourse, I’ve included my tally below. Due to luggage restrictions, I had to put back a bunch of reasonably priced duplicates, especially with respect to Japanese free jazz (I couldn’t resist with the Overhang Party).
I was fairly surprised to see that the records by Japanese artists were priced roughly at fair market eBay prices – due to the dominance of Yahoo Japan’s auction site in Japan, this means that Japanese goods are being sold at overseas pricing in Tokyo. The really interesting thing is that the overseas records were, if anything, underpriced compared to their US market value. This suggests (among other things) that the local market for underground American/UK records is fully mature.
By the way, I was particularly stoked on getting an original of Niyago – one of the great Japanese underground folk records. Runner up is probably the Marine Girls LP, a beautiful sounding pressing.
nb – prices are listed in yen, at approximately 90 yen to 1 USD.
Morio Agata – Virgin vs. Norimono Deluxe (JP 1982) 1,470
Dinosaur Jr – Dinosaur (Homestead, US 1985) 945
Kenji Endo – Niyago (URC, JP 1970) 1,470
Marine Girls – Lazy Ways (Trio/Kenwood, JP) 1,890
Overhang Party – Live 1994.8.22 at Showboat (Pataphysique, JP 1995) 3,990
Etcetera #2 magazine with Les Rallizes Denudes 7″ (Etcetera, JP 1996) – the only official Rallizes release on vinyl 8,190
Sonic Youth – Hold That Tiger (Goofin’, US 1991) 630
Talulah Gosh – They’ve Scoffed the Lot (Sarah, UK 1991) 1,260
Zunou Keisatsu – Zunou Keisatsu 1 (reissue, JP 2001) 2,940