On the second full day we were in Tokyo, December 29th, Kazu from Waterslide records took my wife and I around for a whirlwind tour of record stores. This is the day things really picked up as far as buying records went. Our first stop of the day was the Disk Union in Shinjuku. This is the best record store I have ever gone to in my entire life.
The store is seven stories and each story focuses on specific genres of music. World music? Head up to the fourth floor. Looking for some J-Pop? It's down to the basement for you. But for me, it was up to the seventh floor as that was dedicated to punk rock. I really could not believe what I was walking into. This store was just crammed full of records and CDs, all by bands that I love. The genres were broken down in such specificity that became a little comical to see the sub-sub-sub genres of Psychobilly that had its own section. But any store that had a special place to browse melodic pop punk is a store that I want to go to just about every day.
The other thing that I loved about the Shinjuku Disk Union was the sheer amount of 7"s they had. It seemed like they were everywhere. A section for new 7"s, a section for used 7"s, random 7"s stacked up on shelves that you didn't even notice the first time you walked by. It was just crazy. This is also the only store I have ever been in that has its own dedication portion of the used section dedicated to Snuffy Smile 7"s. That was madness. Flipping through that part of the used bin, I couldn't believe the 7"s that were just sitting around that had previously taken me decades to find. Just as incredible as the records I did buy was the amount of records I already had that I couldn't believe I was seeing just sitting in a store.
I bought a ton of records at this Disk Union. I can't even remember all of the ones that came from this store, but I got a lot of pretty great punk rock and I was completely shocked at how inexpensive it ended up being. I spent less than a hundred bucks here, but walked out with a stack of 7"s over two inches thick and at least a dozen CDs and a couple of LPs. More than anyplace I've ever been, excluding Flipside Records in Pompton Lakes NJ during the 90's, this store just felt like home. I keep telling people that the thing I like most about Japan is the way they seem to really encourage people to find that thing they're passionate about and immerse themselves in it. It felt like this Disk Union was built specifically with me in mind. I just loved it there.
The crazy part is that we had such a busy day of record shopping planned, that I never even went into any of the other floors. Sure, I can't imagine there was a hidden gem waiting for my on the progressive rock floor, but I bet there may have been some other interesting things lying around. Just another reason to go back someday.