The Japan Times ran a page on punk in Japan to coincide with the shitty Punk Spring event that happened on March 29th, and I was recruited to do something about the verious venues around Japan where you can go to see the local punk scene in its natural environment. I won’t repeat the stuff I’ve already written in the article, so just go read it on The Japan Times site here (if you run out of your free view allocation for the month, you can increase it to 20 articles by doing a free registration — they don’t spam you!)
In a music scene where there are very few venues dedicated to specific genres and event organisers and bands are constantly shopping around for the cheapest options, punk is a rare case where the scene does show a tendency to become fiercely loyal to particular places, once those places show themselves equally committed to the relationship. I think it’s a combination of the size (there are tons of punk bands all over the place) and the distinctive and subcultural nature of the music that allows this to happen.
I wrote the article in the airport in Fukuoka waiting for my flight back home from the tour I was on in Kyushu, where I’d been frantically picking the brains of everyone I met and texting and messaging local experts I knew all over the country. We were lucky enough that the show we were doing in Kagoshima was at a dyed in the wool punk venue, and the Fukuoka show featured Accidents In Too Large Field, who are punk royalty in their hometown, so I got good advice there. The photo for the piece is from 20000V/Ni-man Den-atsu near my flat in Higashi Koenji, which is one of the greatest punk venues in the country. The guy in the picture is one of the venue’s managment staff, Tak Ishida of the brilliant band Firebirdgass, who everyone should see live at least once in their lives. The man is so punk rock he actually has the words “punk” and “rock” tattooed across his knuckles.